The following is the transcript of the conference call with parents that took place at 2 p.m. on Friday, March 13.
Brad Lindberg: Hello, everyone. Thank you for joining us. My name is Brad Lindberg, I’m the Assistant Vice President for Admission and Financial Aid. And I'd like to talk to you for a moment about room and board proration. As well as other questions you've had about financial aid, finances and Grinnell.
Before I get into that, I just like to say we are all working hard with your children to ensure that we're able to get them to where they need to be safely. So I would like to use this opportunity to share with you if you or your student are experiencing a financial stress. Please do encourage your students to visit the financial aid office or email us directly yourself at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have financial aid counselors who are busily processing refunds for students helping facilitate different transactions for travel. We would love to do that for your student if needed as well. Our office will be open till 7pm Central time today and again, be open tomorrow from 10am until 2pm so I want to share a few answer a few questions that you have regarding room and board.
We will be providing prorated room and board credit refunds for room and board. These refunds will be activated by your student’s submission of the survey that student affairs sent out earlier this week. If your student has not completed that survey, please encourage them to do it as soon as possible. Refunds will be issued for students who are currently living and dining on campus and will be leaving Grinnell for the remainder of the semester. We will be prorating refunds as of today, which would equal a 47% refund of room and board charges. Additionally, a second refund period has been established for students who have been approved to live on campus but may at a later date chose to go home. We will again be approving refunds on April 17 for students who are currently staying on campus in Grinnell, but choose to go home after this current refund period. The precise amount of your refund will depend upon a number of factors unique to your family. And generally credit will be placed on your students account and a reimbursement will be issued for any balance that was due to you and your students. As we can reimbursements will be direct deposited to the student's bank information we have on file. Otherwise, the check will be mailed to your student's home address that is on file with the billing system at Grinnell.
I'd like to reiterate that if your student has plans in place to get home, they do not need to visit the financial aid office. Your refund will be processed automatically triggered by the submission of that survey that Student Affairs has distributed to students. However, if you're student does have pressing financial needs. Financial aid officers are ready to assess those needs and please encourage them to visit us. A few direct questions about unique aspects of billing at Grinnell.
Someone had asked about payment plans - do I need to make an adjustment to my payment plan? The answer's no. Credit adjustments and changes to your students account will automatically change or cancel your payment plan. There is nothing further that you must do to cancel that plan.
Another question directly about tuition - will be will we be refunding a part of tuition? Because tuition is linked to the award of academic credit and we're continuing instruction in a distance format and credit will be earned we will not be offering refunds for tuition. At the same time, students’ financial aid will remain unchanged. We will not change students’ financial aid. We know they'll have expenses associated with living and eating at the location in which they're going to. So although room and board changes are prorated, Grant assistance will not change.
I would like to offer a couple of answers about work study and the continuance of work on canvas. We are going to evaluate each student's individual circumstances to ensure there is no need for students to remain on campus solely due to need of work. We will do that in one of a number of ways. First, for students leaving campus who are on need based financial aid, the college will pro rate their student employment award and convert that employment to grant assistance. That is assistance that does not have to be repaid. That grant will then be applied to the students account and issued in the same refund way that we discussed earlier in the call. For students remaining in Grinnell who were approved to live on campus or have an approved off campus living situation. Those students will be able to work and continue completing their student employment award. We will have many jobs available on campus at this point. And I encourage students to look at the handshake websites for opportunities as those opportunities arise. There will be a number of remote work options available for students with or without need based awards, as approved by the college and a process for those remote options are currently in progress. Your students should work with their supervisor to determine if a remote working option is available to them. Thank you.
Angela Voos: Thank you very much. I'm now going to pass them over to Sarah Moschenross, who will talk to you about moving out and staying in Grinnell. Thank you, Sarah.
Sarah Moschenross: Thanks. Yes. Hi, this is Sarah Moschenross. I'm the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and I work alongside an incredible team of people who've been working day and night to help support your students through this very important transition.
Many of you had questions about moving out and staying in Grinnell. We have sent out some information for parents who are planning to help their students to move out, we ask that parents do not enter any of our campus buildings. If they would like to arrive in their vehicle, they can park on the closest sidewalk or near the closest sidewalk and members of the campus community will help students to pack up their things and get their things down to your vehicle. But again, we ask that no parents enter our residence halls.
Storage we have designated storage space within residence halls for students and we are working with a local provider who can also help with storage and everything will be labeled very nicely for students. Information has been sent out to your students and posted on our social media sites as well about storage. We also were a little bit delayed in getting the plastic bins that we ordered. And so we had some help from volunteers took a horse trailer to Des Moines and bought all the plastic bins they could find and have brought them back to campus and now I've been seeing a stream of students constantly all day today checking out their plastic bins to store their items. So those things are rolling right now.
Students can leave their cars on campus if they need to. If they can take them we hope they take them but if they need to leave them they can. If they are taking their cars home and want a refund on their parking tag, they can go to campus safety for 20% refund on that item.
There were some questions about if you live off campus and on the meal plan can you continue to use the dining services. If your student already lives off campus and has been living off campus this semester, they will continue to have access to the dining hall and to the place of work and to the library on campus. If your student has lived on campus, and is trying to find housing off campus now, I cannot stress this enough: we need your help to discourage them from doing that. Students living in close quarters off campus does not afford them any opportunity to self-isolate when they need to. We are working very hard to disincentivize students from staying in the community who do not already live in the community. Students who choose to do that will not have access to campus offices, services or buildings. So if they go off campus, they are on their own. We are doing everything we can to help our students. And we are motivated by their safety and their health. Our local hospital has made it so that we cannot go with students any longer to the hospital as we normally would in Student Affairs. Anytime a student is sick or needs care, we go with them to the hospital and we help them. Now we're not allowed to do that. So we're really, really trying to get students to go.
We made an announcement today that students who are planning to leave next week need to do everything they can to leave as soon as possible. This is a change from the communication that they received prior and we are making that change because of quickly changing dynamics for travel in our country. We know that this is very hard. This is very hard for all of us.
Anne Harris: Okay, all right. What you're hearing there is Sarah and her team's incredible commitment to think and her capacity and her team's capacity to think about each and every single student. So as she's speaking to you, she has dozens and dozens of student cases and faces in her head and in her heart, when she makes this appeal to you, if you are a parent of a child who is thinking of staying here, without the permission of the college, we are not saying you need to leave because we are trying to be mean or punitive. We are doing this for public health and for individual safety and assurance of your students, please, this is my appeal. This is Anne Harris. Again. If you have a student who is thinking about staying at Grinnell without the permission of the college, we implore you to work with your students to get them home as quickly as possible. Sarah's comments come from tremendous care and concern for those students, we are now in a completely new normal. We may be put under, you know, the protection of the IDPH at the Iowa Department of Public Health. We are trying to control circumstances as much as possible. We need your help to make that work. So I'm just going to say one more time and hand it back to Sarah. If you have a student who wishes to stay in town, and it has not received express permission of the college, please do all you can to get that student home, no matter what it is, that is keeping them here. I've read everything from making art, to not wanting to say goodbye to friends, public health needs to come first. I'm actually going to pass things over to Angela Voos. She'll introduce herself she'll have more to add about this.
Angela Voos: I thought maybe we can come back to moving and we'll move on to health and then we'll come back to Sarah. So regarding health issues and health questions that we have heard. This is Angela Voos, I am the chief of staff and the Vice President for planning. I just want to remind everyone that the reason that we made this very difficult decision and we're hearing decisions all over the nation, ones that are unprecedented, like Broadway closing, the NBA, you know, canceling their season, is that we as a nation are trying to slow the infection rate so that our services and our testing can catch up. And the more we can flatten that curve, the better we have a chance of helping the most vulnerable.
So we have questions about if a student is hospitalized. I will answer some of those questions. I'm going to touch on isolation for a moment because I think people are beginning to think we're all self-isolating, and that is not the position we're in right now. Why don't I just talk about that for a minute. So students who are staying on campus, that does not mean that they are self-isolating, we are not we do not have a case to the best of our knowledge. So what that means is people will be asked not to be in group gathering, but they can walk around, they can go for run, they can go to their work. So we're not in a self-isolation program at this point. If a student gets very ill, parents have a few questions, how will we transport the student to the hospital and if the student needs to be transferred to a tertiary care center, how would we do that? I'm going to pass the mic to Heather Cox, who is our incident preparedness director.
Heather Cox: Good afternoon. Thank you. Our city and county has limited resources and so that has been a factor in planning. If someone is seriously ill, there will be ambulance service provided but for any student that may have minor illnesses or need to be transported to the hospital for possible testing, that is something that we are developing plans around we need to ensure that we can transport the students safely while also ensuring the safety of our staff. So while that is not solidified yet, that is a plan that we are working around.
Angela Voos: We have a question if the coronavirus, covid-19, if there's a case at Grinnell in the city or on campus, will my student be allowed to leave campus? If there's a case, we will take direction from the Iowa Department of Public Health. We will follow their directions. So if they ask us to self-isolate or to isolate certain students, we're going to follow their direction. Finally, there's a there's a question about therapy appointments if students need assistance. We're working on our licenses of different kinds of therapists that allow for teletherapy. And we are working on figuring out how to do that. Right now SHAW is open for phone calls. So we're working on that. And finally, a person is worried about, and I'm sure she, he, or they are not the only ones, about their students not getting the kind of physical exercise that can really contribute to mental health and wellness, when we're in this distance learning. We're in contact with the athletic department who is figuring out how they can deliver wellness messages and fitness programming through distance learning. So we will get back to you. We're going to be in touch with you a lot as we figure this out. And I want I'm going to pass it back to you, Sarah, I want to add my thanks that Anne has already thanked the enormous amount of work and energy that is gone to helping the students, and thank the students and families as well. This is unprecedented. And people are. Yes, people are working around the clock. And people are stretched really thin. And I think all of us showing grace to each other. It's so lovely to see an amazing community. Your children are amazing and in very good hands. Sarah, thank you.
Sarah Moschenross: Thank you. Really hard not to cry this time and I couldn't pull it off. So sorry about that. I think that I just needed to expand a little bit on the announcement that was made today. That we want students who are able to leave to leave as soon as they possibly can we know that that's not going to be true for everyone and we will work with those students. But if your student has a car and the ability to come home, we, we really want them to try to come on home. If your student has a flight, we are working with students, we have people standing by to help them with flight arrangements. With changing flights to see if we can move them up, we understand that not all flights will be able to be moved up. That is okay. We will take care of the students who are here and help everyone to leave safely. We do not want anyone to panic. We don't need students to feel panic. We are just moving up the timeline as things continue to change very rapidly in our country. And with a lot of uncertainty about what travel bans may be coming. So we're going to just work very carefully and closely with students and if your students need help, all they need to do is ask. We have a team of people in the residence halls, there RLCs are there, we have volunteers there to help them pack to help them move. If they need help, help will be provided they just need to speak up.
Anne Harris: Wonderful. This is Anne Harris, and I'll bring it back over to me. I want you to know, one of the one of the kind of sayings that we've got around campus right now is if you stay you stay, if you go you go. In other words, we're trying to be very, very clear about the best place for students to be in what happens once you've located. And so this is why I think Sarah and her team are doing exactly the right thing by inviting students if they're leaving something like the 22nd or the 23rd to consider leaving earlier. We're watching so many things happen in so many different states in very real time. And so this is just providing that option doing our beyond due diligence, really doing the care to say, hey, things are changing, we're going to give you a heads up, that you might want to have an opportunity. To create an opportunity for our students to get home sooner if they can. And we've got all this support for them to do so. So thank you to Sarah and her incredible team.
I'm now going to talk to you a little bit about distance learning. So this is what we're doing now after spring break distance learning will start at Grinnell College. For the first time in its history on March 30, 2020. We're going to be spending those two weeks of spring break our faculty and staff will be spending those two weeks getting everything ready. I will tell you that the faculty just had a very successful distance learning session and instructional continuity session. It was supposed to last an hour and lasted an hour and a half. It started out with 80 spots, we had to grow it to 130. You will be happy to know we were able to conduct the meeting virtually so we're able to practice our own precautionary measures here on campus. And I just want to underscore how dedicated our faculty are, how incredibly sorry they are to see your students go how much they will miss them. It is existential for some “Who am I without my students?” is something that I've heard said. So you can be assured that your faculty members will be reaching out to your students. Very, very regularly, things are probably going to get quiet over the next two weeks over spring break as people figure out their platforms, I will tell you that we are approaching our distance learning with technological minimalism. And what I mean by that is we're going to make it incredibly simple. So that it's easy to be standardized. We're not going to try to invent a fancy bells and whistles and things like that, because we want students with, we have students from all 50 states and over 50 countries. And so this is why we're using the simplest things possible in order to make absolutely sure that everyone can plug in and everyone can keep learning. So a couple of things on that, you're going to see a lot of asynchronous teaching meaning, or because of all these different time zones, we're not going to probably do a whole lot of classes that meet at a certain time, unless it just so happens that all the students can easily get up or be at the same time on the technology. But there'll be still a lot of that care that you're used to from your faculties, basically getting down to what are the skills that are needed for course completion, and how does the students demonstrate those skills? So just the incredible turnout, no one is not tuned in among our faculty and staff for this. And they're coming up you get, we're going to give them that week to attend as we've got several training sessions next week as well. So they won't be getting much of a spring break, but they really want to be ready for your students as of March 30. To move into the distance learning that we're doing there.
We are making provisions for students who do not have computers or who do not have Wi Fi at home. There are MiFi devices we've ordered a significant number of those. They're coming in and we will be sending students away with them or we will be making sure students get them. Any students who don't have a computer or who are concerned about their technology needs, should address themselves to financial aid. That's the place to go. And they will help you get connected in every way. So that's email@example.com. I'll say it again, any students who need a computer, a computer or Wi Fi connection, and these are the basics and this is why we're approaching this with technological minimalism, should refer themselves to financial aid, and that is firstname.lastname@example.org. And we'll get that in writing to you as well.
I then want to discuss the pass fail option at Grinnell, which is known as S/D/F: satisfactory, D or F. And that was an ingenious move by the faculty working with student government. So really our governing bodies thinking about our community, the faculty Executive Council made an executive decision to create an S/D/F option for all students for all classes. The deadline for that is, I believe, April 10 for students to declare whether or not they wish to go to S/D/F. This gives them a chance to see what it feels like to do distance learning. And since then, to really have some agency over their own performance in the class and to see again to see how things are going, how this will figure into grade or rather GPA tabulations, for honors, and things like that is actually something that the faculty have worked out because students take pass/fail classes quite often. So there are all sorts of equivalences that I won't get into but your student will not be penalized for taking an S/D/F class. We're really I think, everyone here as Angela was saying, earlier showing ourselves grace in the midst of turmoil is going to be important. This is one of those bases that have been cleared by the faculty to relieve academic stress. Switching to pass fail classes does not affect financial aid. I'm going to be emphatic about that. For anybody who's worried about this. We actually check things out with our accreditation agency, we dotted all the I’s on this one, switching to pass fail classes does not affect financial aid.
I've had a question here about a couple more questions about distance learning. So I've had a question about what other colleges are doing, how they're doing self-quarantine for two weeks, and then everybody's coming back. I will tell you that Grinnell is not considering that approach. Because there's very little ability for us to control at this point, either travel or anything else, but the transmission of the virus. You know that we were actually we were the second liberal arts college in the nation, certainly the first in Iowa. To make the decision that we did to move to distance learning and to get students back to their home. And that's because our students come from all 50 states, they come from over 50 countries. So anytime we all leave campus, what we all bring back is actually tremendous. We really cover the world. We are a global campus in every sense of the word in every sense of the word. So that is why we're being definitive about the departure from campus. We're going to ride out this virus virtually, together. And there's a comma between virtually and together. I should put it that way.
All right, a couple more questions. What's the likelihood that the campus will remain closed in the summer and closed in the fall? So let me give you some dates for when we're making decisions about our next academic season. On April 10, which is a Friday we will be getting together to really get our research and assessment of where things are with the virus with travel and so forth. And for us, travel is domestic and International in order to assess the summer programs, this is summer research, you may have heard of maps, mentored advanced programs, etc. as well as externships, internships. So as of April 10th that following week, so the week of April 13, we will be making announcements and decisions about the summer, we will likely look to June 1, or maybe later if needs to be for the fall. At this point, of course, we're hoping that summer will have its desired effects on a virus and that things will have slowed down and that we will have been able to say that we are riding through this.
Oh, let's see here. Oh, yes. Importantly, so how will art classes be handled and this is experiential classes. This is anything from art, music, theater, all of our lab sciences as well. Here What I can tell you is that faculty are finding really ingenious ways for students to demonstrate their ability in a long distance way. So I've heard of a virtual choir where students send in sound files and then the choir Master, to my mind miraculously puts it all together into a choral arrangement, for example. But our faculty, that's what they're going to be spending those two weeks thinking about. Again, the priority is definitely public health. After that comes course and degree completion. So those two things are going to work together there. I think we're gonna see some real creativity from our faculty on especially on these experiential classes.
If your student has a learning disability, we have a person who's entirely devoted to working with your student. This is the marvelous Autumn Wilke and her office name, I'm going to get that for you. Her office as you want to look her up online is...
Sarah Moschenross: The Office of Disability Resources and they actually have a good really good team of people that are ready and willing to help with your students accommodations.
Anne Harris: Wonderful - to the Office of Disability Resources. And that's a team headed up by Autumn Wilke. So you can contact her directly, you can look up on the website Office of Disability Resources, and you'll get some good information there as well.
We will of course be providing support for all of our students that includes technical technological support, meaning if there are technical problems, things like that. Faculty may be able to troubleshoot many of them, but we'll probably have a space where students can send questions and so on that'll be developed over the next two weeks.
Finally, then the last thing about distance learning. I love this question a great deal. What steps is the college taking to foster social and non-academic connectivity among students and faculty and staff during this period? Not Of course, it's going to be important as we settle into this new normal with what we are aiming to be a very small number of students here on campus, the absolute minimum number of students so that we can manage things well. We will be thinking about how students connect with each other. You can be assured as I said earlier, that your faculty will be reaching out With office hours with one on one communication, but we also have SGA and academic affairs, working together on safe programming safe in the in the era of an epidemic. Programming that will be both entertaining, soothing, provide respite. We're hoping laughter every once in a while as well. And of course, our marvelous athletics department is thinking about this online fitness. So, you know, for many people there, everyone's looking for something to do to help.
And for some, it's right now today helping students move out of residence hall and over the next three and four days and rolling into March 23. Helping students move out for others finding for the future, I can tell you that we have the entire community here mobilized to endure this together. And I will say if there's a community that can be created in the midst of crisis, I believe in Grinnellians I really truly do. I'm already seeing so much evidence of it.
Okay, switching to another topic I'll be brief about this one and this is commencement. So questions about the 2020 commencement event? As you know, I think when the questions were asked, it seemed like maybe it would be a possibility maybe we could do it all. But as you're watching the news happen every day, its five days for closing K through 12. Schools, as more and more things are kind of shutting down, I can tell you that the 2020 commencement will be postponed, we will be working hard to think of an alternative commencement at this point, some other way of doing things our beloved class of 1970, which is currently Well, our beloved class of 1970 also did not have a commencement and this is their 50th reunion year. So there's a kindred spirit for the class of 2020. We're going to work on something special, we just know that it can't be right now. And it will very unlikely be May 19. We're definitely postponing it from then on all these precautions and you can hear the cost of all this in the room in terms of labor. All these repercussions of you know, making sure everybody's home, the idea of inviting everybody back on May 15 makes little sense. So, please, at this point, understand that this is not us not wanting to celebrate your child, we do want to celebrate your child. But public health really, really called for us to maintain the precautionary measures that we are taking.
If you had a question about any aid being available for low income families who lose money as a result in the event of in case of the event being canceled, I'm going to direct you to the same place as I have before, which is the financial aid. So the same thing email@example.com we're working now to prioritize students with financial need to first of all, get them home. Secondly, then yes to address the idea of having enough money for commencement. So that's the news on commencement, as well and now we're going to move on.
And we've got a couple of questions here about travel at this point. All I'm going to say now is our saying that we're using a lot on campus. If you stay you stay if you go you go. And really understanding that staying doesn't just mean you get to stay at Grinnell College, it's going to be a very different place. I just want to keep repeating that appeal, that if you've got a student who is wanting to stay and has not received permission from the college to do so you really encourage them to come home. It's not going to be familiar or easy. And we really need to know we can't have any students trying to go out under the radar or any students trying to skirt our permissions or avoid them. If a student doesn't have permission to be here. That means that they don't have the… if we don't know, we can't give them access to resources. And we really need them to be home where they have access to resources. So if they don't have permission, we need you to help us get them home. So if you stay you stay. And if you go, you go and if you stay, you stay because you've got permission. All right. I hope we're being emphatic about that one. And now we're going to move on to Mark Peltz, I'll let him introduce himself. He's here with us from career, life, and service.
Mark Peltz: Good afternoon, everyone. My name is Mark Peltz. As Anne just shared, and I'm the dean for our Center for Careers, Life, and Service. And, and let me start by just saying that I know that these recent events are certainly unprecedented, but they've really just been disruptive in the lives of our students in a variety of ways, particularly for graduating seniors who are thinking about their next step following completing their bachelor's degree and transitioning into the world of work, heading off to graduate school, as well as those students that were that have been thinking about what they're going to do over the upcoming summer. So there was a question that was put forward by a family member asking about what assistance if any, will Grinnell provide for graduating seniors for finding employment.
Since these decisions started coming forward, my team and I in our center have been moving very quickly to make sure that we are going to continue to work with and support your students at a distance. We are moving all of our career advising and coaching to a virtual format taking place via videoconference or phone. And the steps that we've taken thus far, is putting us in a position that we'll be able to resume advising activities even during spring break starting on Monday. So those measures have been taken and will soon be finalized, but we should be in a good place. Students are able to schedule it by in appointments with career advisors via platform that Brad mentioned earlier called handshake. They can use this either in a desktop app application or they can download the mobile app. In either one of those formats. Students will have the capacity to schedule appointments and meet with advisors. So if your students have not downloaded that app that would be something that they might want to consider doing in the days ahead.
Another question that often comes up, that has come up on several occasions, has to do with our plans for summer internship funding. Summer activities as Dean Harris referenced, no decisions have been made regarding summer plans at this point, that is a decision a group will convene on campus probably virtually and think about on April 10, to determine what our next steps will be. The College historically has granted grants to students to help their to help facilitate their participation in either an unpaid or in a lowly paid summer internship experience and that application process is currently open and will remain open. The deadline for students to submit those applications is April 1, so they have a couple weeks in front of them to get those applications turned in if they have secured an internship and are looking for some financial support. Again, we'll make decisions about what activities will be taking place over the summer on April 10.
Grinnell is also a member; I've had some questions about what are we seeing in terms of employers, changing their behavior with regard to recruiting, hiring expectations, summer internship opportunities. We are a member of the National Association of Colleges and Employers, which is an association of higher education and college recruiting professionals. And our association is closely monitoring and reassessing changes in recruiting intentions on the part of employers. What I can tell you is in the last 24 hours, Grinnell has continued received a stream of jobs and internship postings. So employers have not necessarily stopped posting opportunities for students to consider. It's probably been close to 200. Since yesterday, more than 200 opportunities that we've received. So that activity is continuing, which I will I'm going to hold on to with a positive signal that our employer partners are continuing to look for talent.
I'll close by saying, we are going to be preparing and distributing the communication from the Center for careers, life and service to all students that will outline all of the resources that we have available that students can access remotely, as well as guidance on how they can connect with and engage with our advising team to help them with resume prep, cover letter prep, job, search, prep, all of those things that we would normally do face to face, we will just be offering in a virtual format. So that email communication will be forthcoming.
Anne Harris: And you'll see that a great deal I mentioned faculty office hours, we'll also have our writing lab or math lab, all of those resources will go online. SHAW will go online in many ways as well. So just an incredible team here really thinking every step of the way. So I'm now down to the odds and ends questions, those that we couldn't necessarily easily categorize.
So the first one has to do with our spring athletic season, and why we ended our spring athletic season and again, this this question was probably posed a couple of days ago, where now that we've seen the NBA closeout and season now that incredibly seen NCAA closed down March Madness. All three divisions tournament are closing the NCAA now that we've got five states that have closed their K through 12 schools, I think you understand better, you have more context, certainly, for why our spring athletic season has ended and we absolutely mourn with your student athletes, that they cannot finish their season. There's no doubt about that. We know they worked hard. We know that they were proud and that they were doing really well and that they exhibited all the leadership and resilience that our athletics is so very much known for. And we are deeply, deeply sorry that they can't complete the season. There's no doubt about that. But of course, the public health gathering of people from so many different places, that means what makes those events fantastic and what makes them such a public health risk as well in this instance with the coronavirus. So let me tell you something, we're going to be cheering your student athletes. If they're graduating this year, we'll be cheering their accomplishments. If they're still rising, sophomores, juniors, and seniors, we will be cheering them in the fall. I think we're all gonna be very glad to be back together.
Will there be any ongoing updates to parents on the corona virus status of for everyone? And yes, I'm going to refer you over and over again to grinnell.edu/coronavirus for the very latest communications that are really pertinent to everyone.
When it comes to a couple of communications that are pertinent to students right now, we talked about the mailroom. Here's an important information about the mailroom and these will go out in communication as well. But if your student is checking out or leaving over the next few days, please make sure that they check their student mailbox and that they pick up their packages before they leave campus. And then please know that mail services will not begin to forward mail or packages until March 23 2020. That's the date that they set for themselves to be the most effective for you all. But that's just if you're looking for your packages and forwarded mail got will start until March 23.
And then, of course, we've got our plastic bins, our plastic storage bins, you heard Sarah talk about this road trip to Des Moines to basically buy everything out there. And these are going to be available for students as well as cardboard boxes and tape that are available in the lounges. And Sarah was going to give you a little bit more information about that.
Sarah Moschenross: Actually, I have some other questions that have come in. There's a question about whether or not there's a ride board where students can find rides. Yes, there is. It's on Facebook and we're going to post the link to that site on the DSA Facebook page. So look for that there or just tell your students to go on to the Facebook group for rides, ride sharing.
There's also been a question about, if your student isn't out by Monday will they be locked out? No, they will not. The message that went out to students this morning was not a requirement that they be out tomorrow and that things are shutting down. That's not it. The message is, please leave as soon as you possibly can. As I mentioned before, we know that not all flights can be changed. We know that not all plans can be changed. But to the extent that students and families are able to leave sooner, we urge them to do that but no the students will not be locked out of their room, if they registered on the survey that they would be here to a certain date. We're going to try to work with each individual student.
Anne Harris: Great, wonderful. And you know, on that point, I would say to you all, you know, these kinds of situations where the script is being written as the actors are on the stage, I would really say this invites all sorts of speculation, rumors. Sometimes some very, very high emotions. If you're hearing things, if things are circulating on Facebook, please come back to the source. We were the first college in Iowa, we were the second liberal arts college in America to start moving to distance learning, we will let you know if there is something to know this is how we've operated every single step of the way. We made the decision early we didn't wait for somebody else to do it. So we're not going to wait to give you information and we're going to give you accurate information. So if you're hearing things, please reach out to the DSA Facebook page and simply ask the questions. We also have on the grinnell.edu/coronavirus page a box for questions. Please ask your questions there. And we will answer them with what is actually happening here on campus.
So, of course, we're starting to hear all sorts of things in border closings at the state. And so we're pleased just know that there are no border closings, I want to be clear about that. As I opened our session together, there is no case of Coronavirus here at Grinnell College or in the town of Grinnell. Students are not being asked to leave by tomorrow. We are just, we're always going to be communicating though. And like I said, at this point it is pretty clear that our communications are daily when it comes to updating our web page. But Sarah and her team are doing an incredible job of communicating with students in a timely manner, so that we can all be as responsive as possible.
One of my last questions from the odds and ends pile, was a question that asked about President Kington's background in the NIH and whether or not that's figured or factored in the decision. As for President Kington's personal thoughts on why this step was necessary, and I will tell you that working with working with President Kington's visionary leadership, his sure leadership and the clarity with which he's approached all this has made our work solid and clear to us. And so working with under his leadership has really been not just an honor, but really a very fulfilling experience. As we move forward. As I as you've heard me say many times, we knew that we were some of those first and we're still here, putting ideas together, putting plans together in the forefront, we're able to help other institutions who are reaching out to us for ideas for how they're going to deal when they're, you know, one or sometimes even two weeks behind us. If you're watching the nation, you're really seeing that this is the trend across the United States at this point. So in reply to that question, we have been very privileged here Grinnell College to have President Kingston's leadership throughout this process, and I think we've all energized by each other in doing this work for your students. I've never seen a more dedicated and focused group of people. I think I can say that by this weekend I'll probably never have seen a more tired group of people as well. People really giving absolutely everything to your students and to this college.
So at this point, we're going to keep looking for your questions on our grinnell.edu/coronavirus page. I love that Sarah mentioned the DSA Facebook page. There's all sorts of good information on there. Maybe this is your opportunity to open that Facebook account you've always wanted to open, but you'll see lots of information on there as well. We're going to keep that information going well beyond the time that your student leaves campus will keep things going throughout the semester. We care about you we are going to miss you a great deal. We are truly sorry to see your students go but it is absolutely what is best. And so I am going to reiterate it one last time if you've got a student who's staying without explicit permission of the college, please do all you can to bring them home, it is really the very best thing. As things continue to unfold, we will continue to update. You mentioned a couple of different sites. Please keep those questions coming. And I want to thank you, parents, so much for your support and your patience; you have a tremendous amount of agility and truly kindness. Some of us are receiving messages from you that meaningful to us. We also want to hear from you where the gaps are, where things are needed and so forth. So keep that coming. Thank you so much for your support, and your patience and stay safe everybody. Goodbye.