Illustration of the COVID-19 virus

The SMWC COVID-19 Task Force is working on behalf of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College to provide information to its constituents about how the institution is handling the COVID-19 pandemic situation.

Updates

July 2, 2020

Dear faculty and staff,

As we begin this new fiscal year, I reflect on the challenging, and yet, rewarding, year we just completed and think how blessed The Woods is to have such dedicated faculty and staff. Thank you for pivoting with grace while delivering an excellent education and services to support our students and institution during an unimaginable time in the history of our College, our nation and our world.

The SMWC COVID-19 Task Force continues to thoughtfully plan for the fall as we work through the steps to reopen the College for in-person instruction. You can find this information outlined in The Avenue to Reopening Plan.

The next stage for SMWC begins July 13, as we fully reopen all campus offices and ask all staff to return to work for a regular schedule on campus:

July 3 -10, 2020

  • The College will be closed for summer shutdown and only essential employees should be on campus during this time.

Beginning July 13, 2020

  • Campus offices and operations will return to normal with regular summer staffing as the College follows Indiana’s Back on Track Plan.
  • Employees with underlying conditions or special circumstances must provide documentation to the Human Resources Department to seek an extension on remote work schedules.
  • Faculty allowed to return to physical office spaces as needed.

As we continue to follow the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the summer, SMWC remains committed to being vigilant. We will be ready to adapt and evolve, I often say, it’s what we’ve known how to do for 180 years.

Stay healthy and have a restful break!

Janet R. Clark, Ph.D.
Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs

Other Important Reminders:

Implementation of Infectious Disease Protocols at SMWC

All employees are asked to follow the SMWC COVID-19 safety protocols once they return to work and until otherwise advised:

  • Stay home when sick or having been notified of contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Use proper social distancing and do not congregate in public areas in buildings.
  • Recommend wearing face masks in public spaces including hallways where social distancing is not possible or may be difficult to maintain.
    • Employees will be required to wear masks during College-sponsored events
  • Disinfect common or shared equipment such as printers and copiers before and after use.
  • Limit sharing of paper documents.
  • Limit in-person meetings by utilizing technology.

Required Weekly Employee Self-Screening and Self-Reporting Procedures

All employees will be required to complete the COVID-19 Weekly Screening Form at the start of each week (or following two or more consecutive days of being away from campus) beginning May 26 until further notice.

  • The form is to be submitted electronically prior to each employee’s arrival on campus in the morning, or before the start of the workday.
  • This screening will ask employees to self-report symptoms, temperature and possible contact with others who may be infected in an effort to bring awareness to the importance of self-monitoring while helping to protect the well-being of the College community.

All employees who exhibit symptoms, have been tested or who believe they have been exposed to the virus or if you have traveled to a place that may be considered a “hot spot” are required to complete the COVID-19 Self-Reporting Form.

All personal health information will be confidential and HIPPA compliant.

SMWC Health Clinic

The Health Clinic will open summer operations for non-COVID-19 related issues by appointment only beginning June 15, 2020 and be open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to noon. Students, faculty and staff that have a fever or are experiencing a cough or shortness of breath should go to smwc.edu/covid-19 on the website for guidance and contact information for assistance.

SMWC’s Commitment to Providing a Safe Environment

The College has made a commitment to providing a safe environment for all staff and faculty through the implementation of the following measures:

  • Housekeeping will complete twice daily cleaning of high traffic and high touch areas in all buildings.
  • Housekeeping will not be entering or cleaning individual offices or workspaces; employees may request cleaning or trash services if needed.
  • Efforts will be made to separate workspaces and employees in order to maintain a safe distance.
  • Hand sanitizing stations will be maintained and are clearly marked throughout campus.

June 19, 2020

Dear students,

We’re so excited to see you return to The Woods this fall! We want you to know that your health and safety as well as your academic, athletic and co-curricular experiences are at the forefront of our minds as we continue to plan for what the fall will look like at The Woods.

You may expect the following as you return to campus for in-person, face-to-face instruction in August:

  • The residential experience will use protocols that carefully follow health and safety guidelines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic with the majority of returning students moving in on August 16. All move-in protocols will be designed to minimize interactions and provide proper social distancing measures. You will receive more information about the schedule from Student Life.
  • The fall academic calendar will be adjusted to minimize the likelihood of spreading the virus. In-person classes will begin for campus students on August 17 and will continue in-person through November 20, at which time campus students will move home. Following a week-long break for Thanksgiving, students will finish the last two weeks of the semester with remote finals. There will be no fall break.
  • Classrooms are being evaluated with the safety of students and faculty in mind. The College will be utilizing several new spaces to provide proper social distancing standards, allowing for time in the schedule for cleaning in between classes.
  • O’Shaughnessy, The Woods Café and The OSC dining hall options are being re-engineered to meet safety standards and dietary needs. Students will dine differently as meals will be either served or carryout with new prepared on-the-go options.
  • The College is recommending everyone wear face masks in public spaces and common areas as well as when it is difficult to maintain social distancing standards. Masks will be provided for all students, faculty and staff by the College. Usage of masks for classes will be determined by department.
  • Student athletes in women’s and men’s soccer, women’s and men’s cross country and volleyball will move in August 10. All athletes will be required to follow strict health and safety precautions as set by the USCAA and NAIA, but what the fall schedule might look like has yet to be determined.

Of course, even the most carefully laid out plans for fall have to be flexible. While much is still unknown about COVID-19, we appreciate your understanding and patience as we continue to navigate through this new era of learning. A contingency plan may be necessary, which could include a period of remote learning with little advanced notice.

The SMWC website offers the latest guidance on the College’s response to COVID-19 and plans for reopening outlined in The Avenue to Reopening Plan.

We realize plenty of unanswered questions remain, but please know our faculty and staff are focusing on finalizing the details of your safe and healthy Fall 2020 experience.

Best wishes and stay well,
Janet R. Clark, Ph.D.
Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs

June 3, 2020

Dear students, faculty, and staff:

As I think about how well our College has navigated recent challenges, I am filled with gratitude. You’ve truly managed a global pandemic the Woods Way – living out the values that are ingrained in everything that we do.

Over the course of the last few months, the SMWC COVID-19 Task Force has been thoughtfully and carefully building our plan, The Avenue to Reopening Plan to ensure the safety and success of our Woods community, and as such, SMWC will return to in-person instruction this fall.

We are adjusting our environments and activities to promote social distancing and protect the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and communities, while still working to make things as normal as possible for everyone. Our planning takes into consideration measures to:

  • Address classroom sizes and locations to allow for social distancing
  • Offer a staggered orientation and move-in schedule for residential students
  • Implement plans to address student population density including protocols for resident room setup
  • Offer special accommodations for athletic, academic and co-curricular events
  • Implement new infectious disease protocols for the campus which call for the continued practice of social distancing and wearing of masks when social distancing is not possible
  • Ensure special protocols for dining
  • Implement a one-to-one technology initiative for students
  • Implement special protocols for cleaning and sanitizing classrooms, offices and student areas throughout campus including new procedures for self-sanitizing of shared equipment and spaces
  • Make provisions to adjust the academic schedule if needed
  • Suspend school sponsored international travel indefinitely

As we continue to follow the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic, SMWC will remain vigilant, and we will be ready to adapt and evolve – something we’ve known how to do for 180 years. At the same time, everyone must be prepared for adjustments if changes in conditions require us to do so.

Should there be a necessity to once again shelter in place, the College will be prepared for that reality too. With a 46-year history of distance education, no school could be better prepared for remote learning.

As I look to the summer implementation of these new procedures and the finalizing of our COVID-19 planning, I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes by Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, “Have confidence in the Providence that so far has never failed us.”

Stay safe and healthy,
Janet R. Clark, Ph.D.
Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs

Read the update

May 21, 2020: SMWC Announces Return to Work Plan Beginning May 26

With great intentionality, the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College COVID-19 Task Force has put in place steps to slowly transition the campus to return to work this summer and will begin implementing this portion of The Avenue to Reopening Plan.

Last week, the College welcomed a small portion of staff members back to campus who volunteered to return early, while extending remote work for the remainder of the staff through May 22. The transition so far has been smooth and welcomed.

The following plan outlines expectations for staff and faculty to return to work safely beginning May 26. Thank you for your continued cooperation as we ramp up operations in a safe and responsible manner.

Best regards,
Janet R. Clark, Ph.D.
Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs

The Avenue to Reopening – The Return to Work Plan for SMWC staff and faculty

Beginning May 26, 2020

  • The SMWC Return to Work plan calls for the remainder of the staff to return to work on campus.
  • Staff with underlying conditions, at-risk family members in their household or other mitigating circumstances may request an extension to work remotely through July 3. This request will be made to HR by completing the Request to Work from Home Form and following the guidelines set forth in the Telecommuting Policy.
  • Faculty are requested to continue to work remotely, visiting campus only on an as needed or limited basis.
  • All employees will be asked to comply with COVID-19 safety protocols and self-reporting requirements which includes wearing facial masks in public setting, following social distancing guidelines and proper handwashing hygiene.
  • Invited guests will be allowed to visit campus by appointment. This will include prospective students and families. SMWC employees will wear masks when interacting with all guests on campus until otherwise notified.

July 6 -10, 2020

  • The College will be closed for summer shutdown, and only essential employees will be on campus during this time.

Beginning July 13, 2020

  • Most campus offices and operations will return to normal with regular summer staffing as the College will follow Indiana’s Back on Track Plan* which calls for all restrictions to be lifted by July 4.
  • Employees with underlying conditions or special circumstances must provide documentation to the Human Resources Department to seek an extension on their remote work schedule.
  • Faculty may return to work as needed.

SMWC COVID-19 Safety Protocols

All employees are asked to follow the SMWC COVID-19 safety protocols once they return to work and until otherwise advised:

  • Stay home when sick or having been notified of contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Use proper social distancing and do not congregate in public areas in buildings.
  • Wear face masks in public spaces including hallways.
    • Employees are allowed to bring their own masks, however, a cloth mask can be provided for you by contacting Josh Wood upon arrival on campus: joshua.wood@smwc.edu or 812-261-8239.
  • Disinfect common or shared equipment such as printers and copiers before and after use.
  • Limit sharing of paper documents.
  • Limit in-person meetings by utilizing technology.

SMWC will adhere to the protocols and guidance provided by Indiana’s Back on Track Plan.

Required Weekly Employee Self-Screening and Self-Reporting Procedures

All employees will be required to complete the Employee Self-Screening Checklist Form at the start of each week (or following two or more consecutive days of being away from campus) beginning May 26 until further notice.

  • The form is to be submitted electronically prior to each employee’s arrival on campus in the morning, or before the start of the work day.
  • This screening will ask employees to self-report symptoms, temperature and possible contact with others who may be infected in an effort to bring awareness to the importance of self-monitoring while helping to protect the well-being of the College community.

All employees who exhibit symptoms, have been tested or who believe they have been exposed to the virus are required to complete the COVID-19 Self-Reporting Form.

All personal health information will be confidential and HIPPA compliant.

SMWC’s Commitment to Providing a Safe Environment

The College has made a commitment to providing a safe environment for all staff and faculty through the implementation of the following measures:

  • Housekeeping will complete twice daily cleaning of high traffic and high touch areas in all buildings.
  • Housekeeping will not be entering or cleaning individual offices or work spaces; employees may request cleaning or trash services if needed.
  • Efforts will be made to separate work spaces and employees in order to maintain a safe distance.
  • Hand sanitizing stations will be maintained and are clearly marked throughout campus.
  • Front doors of buildings will remain locked until July 13 to discourage unscheduled building foot traffic and visitors.

Read the update

May, 18, 2020

As we complete the semester, I am so heartened to see how resilient our students, faculty and staff truly are – living, learning and working in a fully virtual environment during a time of uncertainty. Each of you have embodied the values of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin in your actions and deeds, and I am proud of your accomplishments.

To our students, because many of you let us know that you truly want to be together to celebrate, we have been working diligently to find a way to recognize these momentous academic achievements in a manner that will allow you to share Commencement, Baccalaureate and Ring Day with each other and your families in a safe environment, while also providing a virtual experience for those unable to attend in person.

We gathered data from two student polls and reviewed information regarding in-person events large enough to accommodate our community in accordance with guidelines set by the State of Indiana for large group gatherings to best formulate a plan. Commencement, Baccalaureate and the Ring Ceremony have been rescheduled with great care, and the following information details the plans for each event.

Commencement, Baccalaureate and Ring Ceremony for graduates

Commencement will be held on Saturday, July 25, 2020 in Hamilton Arena of the Jeanne Knoerle Sports and Recreation Center. Commencement will be broken into two ceremonies, one for graduates of the campus program and another for graduates of Woods Online and master’s programs.

For Spring 2020 graduating ring recipients, we are combining a Ring Ceremony with the Baccalaureate Mass for all graduating campus, Woods Online and master’s students. We will incorporate the meaningful traditions of this ceremony, including co-presenters, into the liturgy as we work to celebrate each students’ accomplishments.

The July 25 schedule will be as follows:

  • 10 a.m. Commencement for graduates of the campus program
  • 1 p.m. Baccalaureate Mass and Ring Ceremony
  • 4 p.m. Commencement for graduates of the Woods Online and master’s programs

Graduates will be allowed up to eight guests for the Commencement events. The Commencement ceremonies will be available for viewing on the internet via livestream. The names of each graduate will be read aloud and photos of graduates unable to attend in person will be displayed during the ceremony to honor those participating virtually.

More information regarding the details of these events and a link to RSVP for the July 25 events will be shared through email by the Registrar’s Office.

Ring Ceremony for non-graduates

Spring 2020 non-graduate ring recipients are invited to attend a re-scheduled Ring Ceremony on Saturday, September 12, 2020. More information regarding the details about this Ring Ceremony will be shared through email by the Junior Class Advisor.

I look forward to celebrating with you – the Class of 2020 and the 2020 ring recipients – as we gather to honor you as is our tradition at The Woods!

Best regards,
Janet R. Clark, Ph.D.
Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs

Read the update

May 1, 2020

Following today’s announcement by Indiana’s Governor Eric Holcomb to reopen the state in phases https://backontrack.in.gov/, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College will extend work from home operations through May 22, 2020. We will evaluate the next phase of re-opening at that time.

However, we will begin implementing exceptions for employees who wish to volunteer to return to work on-site starting May 11 as allowed by the Governor’s plan.

  • Employees who are interested in returning to work early may contact their supervisor to discuss their return to work options; employees should not assume that they may return without first consulting their supervisors.
  • Supervisors are asked to coordinate with their Cabinet officers regarding employees who wish to return early in order to ensure protocols are in place which will include proper social distancing and wearing of face masks in public spaces, following the Governor’s phased plan. This will help us to properly clean spaces, as facilities and housekeeping staff will be required to disinfect buildings including high traffic areas twice daily.

The College will communicate next steps for re-opening as we progress throughout the month of May. As we begin to consider reintegrating back into our work environment, the health and well-being of our community remains our primary focus.

Stay safe and be gentle with yourselves and each other as we continue to navigate our new normal.

Read the update

April 28, 2020

As we continue to monitor information from government and public health officials, we have been cognizant of and are planning for a thoughtful approach to reopening the College. Yesterday, Governor Eric Holcomb announced that he will share next steps for reopening Indiana later this week. We will communicate with the SMWC community again following guidance from state leaders.

We have been preparing to re-open next week, May 4, 2020, if allowed, and it will be a phased approach. Communications will be forthcoming on what this phased approach will look like. Please watch your email for updates before assuming you may return to your campus work environment.

While we remain actively engaged in the COVID-19 situation, it is also time to look forward.

President Dottie King has asked for the COVID-19 taskforce to transition to a planning team to address our return to campus and the reopening of the College for campus-based classes this fall. The committee will facilitate a comprehensive plan that will look closely at campus operations, activities, business continuity and instruction with the health and safety of our community at the forefront.

COVID-19 may have challenged us in many ways, but we have persevered and will continue to do so as we see this crisis through to its fruition. Your patience and cooperation are appreciated as we continue to move the College forward.

Read the update

April 23, 2020: SMWC to give out $319,000 in student relief funds

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) announced today it will distribute cash grants totaling $319,000 to all campus-based students affected during the COVID-19 pandemic from funds made available in the federal stimulus package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES Act.

“This crisis has created a level of added anxiety and stress, disrupting the lives of our students in ways we cannot imagine,” said Dottie King Ph.D. president. “Which is why we are making the intentional decision to distribute this money to as many students as possible within the guidelines set forth by the government.”

All campus-based undergraduate and graduate students enrolled as of March 2020 may be eligible to receive a grant of $700 from the SMWC Emergency Student Relief Fund. The funds, which were made possible through the U.S. Department of Education’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, are designed to provide relief to students throughout the nation who were forced to leave their campuses midsemester because of the pandemic. Students enrolled in online and hybrid programs are not eligible.

King said, “Being a Woods student means being part of a family. It is both a responsibility and an honor to care for these members of our family, and I am glad that we will be able to alleviate some of the burden this situation has created for their lives.”

A total of 451 campus-based students were notified about procedures to apply for funding, which includes making an official request to the College through an online form. Grants will be distributed directly to students for technology or loss due to disruption of child-care, housing and health care. Funds may also be used in assisting students to persist in their educational endeavors by providing for things such as books and supplies. The funds may not be used for lost tuition or campus housing.

SMWC Vice President for Finance and Administration, Jaclyn Walters said, “Our goal is to assist every student as seamlessly as possible. We are working very hard to get this done quickly to help alleviate financial worries that students may experience as they complete the semester.”

The deadline to apply for the grants is May 8, after which time the College will disburse the funds by check directly to students.

According to Walters, any remaining funds following the first round of grants will be allocated to students with the greatest need during a second round. Walters added that these grants will be in addition to credits the College will apply to campus students’ accounts for room and board expenses caused by the move to remote learning in March.

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is Indiana’s oldest Catholic college, established in 1840. SMWC is listed among the Best Regional Universities in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report and was second in the nation to add distance education programming in 1973.

Read the update | CARES Act Funding Notice

April 13, 2020: Student workers to receive lost wages

In an effort to provide assistance to its students during this time of hardship and crisis, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College will be paying all student workers for wages they would have earned for the month of April, 2020.

As the College leadership reacted quickly to help quell the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, moving all students online and shutting down the on-ground campus operations, a majority of the student workforce was impacted through a disruption of their campus employment.

“This left many students without jobs and an income through the remainder of the semester which they had been anticipating,” said Jaclyn Walters, vice president for finance and administration. “This did not sit well with the College leadership team. It’s not The Woods way!”

To be eligible, students must be have been actively employed by the College as of March 1, 2020. Students will be paid for the month based on an average of their wage earnings over the past six months.

Walters added, “Our students remain our top priority. Anything we can do to help them be successful… we’re going to do it.”

Read the update

April 6, 2020: SMWC Commencement, Ring Day Postponed

Traditions hold a place of great importance at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. As the College navigates the realities of COVID-19, steps are being taken to protect the health and well-being of our students and community. During this time of unprecedented uncertainty, we have made the decision to postpone Commencement ceremonies originally scheduled for May 9, 2020.

“Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College enjoys a 180-year legacy of caring for her students. In this long and storied history, the College has weathered many challenges including the Civil War, both World Wars, the Spanish Flu pandemic and so many more. Together, we will tell a new story of how we came together and met the needs of our students during this challenge,” said Dottie L. King, Ph.D., president of SMWC.

The date of June 20 is being held for the Commencement ceremonies and Ring Day, which was originally scheduled for March 21, in hopes that the COVID-19 crisis will have subsided.

“The challenges of these times try our patience and test our character. The strength of our faith will keep us united in purpose,” King added. “So much has been lost to our students during this crisis that it breaks my heart. Yet, I am prayerful that we may still celebrate together.”

More information will be provided to students and families soon regarding the details of each ceremony along with plans to recognize academic, athletic and leadership accomplishments.

Read the update

April 3, 2020

The COVID-19 Taskforce continues to monitor the on-going situation in the Wabash Valley. At this time, Saint Mary-of-the Woods College plans to resume on-ground operations on Monday, May 4, 2020. All non-essential employees are asked to continue working remotely as the College works to serve the needs of students.

We ask that all students, faculty and staff please continue to follow the guidance from local and state entities asking everyone to stay home to lessen the spread of the virus. The health, safety and well-being of the College community is our top priority.

Take care of yourself and your families.

Read the update

March 27, 2020

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is vigilantly monitoring and responding to information about COVID-19. The College is following Governor Eric Holcomb’s executive order instructing our communities to stay-at-home to halt the spread of COVID-19 which began March 25, until April 7.

While the institution may not be physically accessible, we want to emphasize the College remains open and active. Students are moving forward with their online courses. The College has worked effectively to make sure faculty and staff are equipped to work remotely. Prospective students and their families continue to express interest in The Woods.

We appreciate everyone’s patience, understanding and cooperation as we work through concerns in this new environment. You are encouraged to communicate via the normal channels of email, phone, chats etc.

The health, safety and well-being of the College community is our top priority. Take care of yourself and your families.

March 25, 2020: COVID-19 Case Affects SMWC

Today, the College was alerted that an individual working in the SMWC Health Center, operated by Union Hospital, has tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19). Although this individual is not an employee of the College, they do have a connection to our community.

Read the full update

March 25, 2020: SMWC Events 2020 and COVID-19

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 outbreak. While the College remains hopeful that Commencement, Ring Day and Reunion activities will continue, we are following the guidance of our federal, state and local governments. We will have more information in the coming weeks and all updates will be shared as soon as we are able. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate this unprecedented time with your health and safety in mind.

March 23, 2020

Today, Governor Eric Holcomb joined a growing number of public officials instructing our communities to stay-at-home in order to halt the spread of COVID-19. Beginning Wednesday, March 25 through April 7, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College will comply with the order to keep people home as much as possible and minimize the person-to-person contact that has fueled this global pandemic.

Read the full update

March 19, 2020

Against the backdrop of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, SMWC continues to evaluate the safety of our students. Today, we are taking several important steps to help safeguard the health of our SMWC community.

  • SMWC will extend online education through the end of the semester. Without the possibility of returning to the physical classroom, all students will move out of Le Fer Residence Hall by noon on March 30. Students will follow the regular move-out process and schedule a move-out time using this form to reserve your specific time. Students who need to stay after this time period are required to communicate to Student Life via this form to request a waiver.
  • In addition, all College travel is canceled through the remainder of the semester. This includes the study abroad trips to France, Greece and Ireland.
  • The leadership of the institution is mindful of the importance of time-honored traditions including Ring Day and Commencement. As the situation continues to evolve, final decisions on whether to hold Ring Day and Commencement ceremonies will be made.

Thank you for your patience while additional adjustments may be necessary.

Read the update

March 18, 2020

We care about our college community and want to keep you informed. Below are some tips to consider and information about upcoming events.

Read the full update

March 17, 2020

SMWC is on schedule to begin online classes tomorrow, March 18, 2020, for our campus-based students. We recognize the change from face-to-face to online instruction has disrupted your plans and expectations. We thank you for your patience and look forward to delivering a new learning experience.

Read the full update

March 16, 2020

SMWC has released new guidance covering frequently asked questions, building restrictions, meetings and internet access.

Read the full update

March 13, 2020

As of March 18 – April 3, 2020, SMWC will transition our academic curriculum to an online only format. We ask that everyone continue to check email and monitor the college website for updates as this situation continues to evolve.

Academics

Classes on March 16-17 will be canceled to prepare for online instruction. The College will remain open. To prepare for the potential for completely online instruction, faculty will shift to online on March 18, 2020. The Faculty Resource Center is prepared to assist with this process.

Athletic Events

All athletic events are canceled through April 3, 2020.

Residential Housing/Services

Residential Housing/Services will continue to remain open providing all services until a directive from public health officials states otherwise. Effective immediately, residential floors will be restricted to SMWC residential/commuter students only for the remainder of the semester. Commuter students should follow normal policies and procedures for access.

O’Shaughnessy Dining Hall

O’Shaughnessy will continue to be open for student, faculty and staff dining. The Sisters of Providence will be limiting their access to the area.

College Sponsored Travel

Effective immediately, all College sponsored travel requires vice president approval even if previously approved. Each vice president will evaluate on a case-by-case basis.

Travel and Symptoms Form

In following best practices for protecting public health related to Coronavirus (COVID-19), SMWC is asking students, faculty and staff to complete this voluntary form indicating where they’ve traveled or if they have exhibited symptoms related to COVID-19. The travel registry is the College’s official means for sharing urgent health, safety and security related information.

Sisters of Providence

For questions concerning the Sisters of Providence and their response, contact 812-535-3131.

Read the update

March 12, 2020: Ring Day Announcement

With our commitment to the health and wellness of the Woods community including the Sister of Providence, the College is postponing the Ring Ceremony, originally scheduled for March 21.

Read the full update

March 12, 2020

We are closely monitoring the recommendations by the CDC, the Indiana Department of Health and the World Health Organization. Here is important information as it relates to various College constituents:

  • At this time, SMWC will remain open and all classes will continue as scheduled on campus and online
  • Students who are in clinicals, internships, student teaching, practica or other experiential learning environments may be impacted and should anticipate communication and guidance by department
  • For residential students, the College is implementing a no-guest policy on residential floors

It is imperative that the College minimize the possibility of transmission and limit the possibility of “community spread” through new actions on our campus. While we have thus far not experienced any SMWC-associated cases of COVID-19, we are taking a proactive approach to preventing the spread of the virus and are asking individuals to take the following measures to reduce the potential spread

Read the full update

March 3, 2020

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is actively monitoring the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19). SMWC convened a task force of college administrators and healthcare experts to respond to guidelines and implement recommendations made by government and public health agencies, including the U.S. Department of State, the Indiana State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Read the full update

Travel information

Consistent with travel warnings from the CDC, SMWC recommends travelers avoid China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, Hong Kong and Japan. All SMWC related and personal travel to these countries is discouraged. Please register your international travel – personal or college related travel – using the SMWC Travel Registry. The travel registry is the college’s official means for sharing urgent health, safety and security related information. While there are several confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., no cases have been confirmed in Indiana. Beyond these travel restrictions, there is currently no recommendation for the general U.S. public to take additional precautions.

We encourage you to build in as much flexibility as possible into your plans as travel disruptions are possible. Please consider purchasing trip insurance in case last-minute changes or cancellations are needed. Be aware that if you travel internationally you may have difficulty returning to the United States.

This situation may rapidly change in the weeks ahead. SMWC encourages you to check U.S. Department of State and CDC websites to find updated guidance for travel destinations.

Additional information from the SMWC COVID-19 Task Force

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 (also known as novel coronavirus 2019 or 2019-nCoV) is a new type of coronavirus causing respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. It was first identified in December 2019 in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. The virus has spread to other countries including the United States.

What are the symptoms?

COVID-19 can cause mild flu-like symptoms to severe illness and death. Symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath, may appear 2-14 days after exposure. People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately and avoid contact with others.

How is COVID-19 spread?

It can spread from person-to-person and by coming in contact with infected surfaces and objects.

  • Person-to-person. The virus can be transmitted between people in close proximity with one another. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
  • Infected surfaces or objects. A person can get COVID-19 by contact with a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose and eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Prevention

CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty

  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
  • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19
  • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility)

Social distancing

The CDC recommends the implementation of social distancing measures to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. The CDC defines social distancing as “remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet) from others when possible.”

Cleaning and disinfecting

Our primary concern remains to keep our community as safe as possible. Cleaning of surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 virus and other viral respiratory illnesses in community settings. SMWC has completed several rounds of deep cleaning and disinfecting in all classrooms, public spaces, restrooms, computer labs and student common spaces. Facilities will continue to focus on these high traffic areas daily. There are approximately 55 hand-sanitizing stations on campus. Everyone is encouraged to use them if time does not allow hand washing with soap. In addition, classrooms are equipped with hand sanitizer.

SMWC Health Services Clinic

The SMWC Health Services Clinic is affiliated with Union Health and is up-to-date on the latest information about signs and symptoms of the virus. On campus, individuals experiencing flu-like illness (fever with cough or shortness of breath), are strongly encouraged to seek medical attention at the clinic or with a personal health care provider.

For further information or if you have questions, please contact any of the following campus offices: