Letter from the President:
VIEW PDF | Letter to Students – Emergency Grant
May 5, 2020
Dear Schreiner Student,
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated federal funds to higher education institutions to provide eligible students a student emergency grant with the purpose of helping defray extra expenses incurred as a result of the COVID-19 disruption. The Department of Education asked each higher education institution to determine how to disburse these funds to eligible students. Therefore, the enclosed check is based on the following two-part calculation.
First, all eligible students received a base stipend of $250. Second, using the federal government’s calculation of a student’s EFC (an “estimated family contribution” to each student’s educational expenses), additional funds were applied. Those students with a smaller EFC received a marginally larger allocation compared to those with a larger EFC.
Please note that it is not yet known whether the federal government will determine if these funds are taxable. Although most people believe it was the intention of Congress to not tax these funds, this exemption was not specifically included in the CARES Act.
In addition, we are reserving a special fund for students who have an acute need for additional emergency-relief. These funds are limited, are available through a simple online application, and will provide grants of up to $2,000. We anticipate that approximately 100 of these grants will be available. The application is available in SchreinerOne under the “Student” tab, so I encourage you to check there for further information. Of course, because these additional grants are limited and intended for those with the greatest need, not every request can be granted. I ask for your understanding and patience as we make these decisions.
All of the faculty and staff at Schreiner are hoping that you and your family are healthy and happy, and we look forward to seeing you face-to-face soon.
Charlie McCormick, Ph.D.
Message from the President:
As you are well aware, the coronavirus (known as COVID-19) crisis has been developing rapidly. Responses have been developing just as quickly. Schreiner University intended to return to somewhat normal operations beginning Monday, March 23, 2020, but new recommendations from the White House released yesterday afternoon (March 16, 2020) regarding the size of gatherings (10 people or less) have made it impossible to continue face-to-face instruction on campus. Across the country, states, cities, and municipalities—including the City of Kerrville—are heeding the federal government’s guidelines. All of us who have been monitoring this situation over the past several weeks and were planning to stay operational are heartbroken by this turn of events. We know that many of our students, faculty, and staff are heartbroken, too. In this moment, our priority is identifying the next steps in providing educational continuity to students and ensuring they are not disadvantaged financially by the steps we are having to take due to this situation.
Beginning Monday, March 23, Schreiner University will move its coursework into virtual environments. This will look different for each course, and we are assuming that Monday will be a “soft” start to these virtual learning environments as we learn where challenges and obstacles exist. At a minimum, faculty will establish communication with each student in their courses through the student’s Schreiner email account. If you have not been able to communicate with each of your faculty members by Wednesday, March 25, 2020, you should call the Dean of Faculty at (830) 792-7415 to troubleshoot this issue. Courses will continue and end according to the established academic calendar.
We anticipate that for students in the RN to BSN program and the Masters programs in Education and Business Administration coursework will proceed as planned. Students in the Brownsville and El Paso campuses will move to virtual learning environments, too. As of this moment, University offices in Brownsville, El Paso, and Kerrville are open, though we are limiting gatherings within spaces where people cannot practice social distancing to 10 individuals at once.
Academic support services will begin operating virtually on Monday, March 23, too. Peer tutoring and writing center support will be available remotely. Further information will be posted on the Schreiner University website by Monday morning at 9:00 am regarding utilization of these services. Other support services also will be available virtually, including counseling, campus ministry, and learning support services. Very shortly thereafter, career services and the registrar’s office will begin virtual operations too. Again, information on accessing these support services will be available on the University website by Monday morning at 9:00 am or as soon as possible as the virtual environment is launched. Registration information for the fall semester will be forthcoming. At this moment, all public events on campus have been cancelled, and other meetings will be modified as necessary.
The University has not made a decision on Baccalaureate and Commencement Exercises at this time, but we will have made a decision by April 3rd so that students and their families can make appropriate plans. We definitely will host some sort of graduation experience. It may be moved to a new date or held in an alternative fashion. Updates will be available on the University’s website.
Unless there are extenuating circumstances for living in the residence halls and the apartments, students will move out of their halls and apartments beginning Friday, March 20 and no later than Sunday, March 29, 2020. A reservation system is available at https://www.picktime.com/7010b266-c118-49c6-802b-645ca7293dc2 for students to identify the time slot in which they want to move out. Our goal with this reservation system is to limit the number of people who gather in a residence hall or apartment at any one time. Staff will be on hand to help students move out.
If you believe you have an extenuating circumstance that requires a special accommodation, please send the Dean of Students an email (DeanOfStudents@schreiner.edu) with this request at your earliest convenience. Note that current living arrangements may not be available, and a student may be instructed to move to different apartments designated by Residence Life.
As part of the check-out process, students may discuss with financial services their account balances either in person or by phone or email after moving off campus. All students moving out of residence halls will receive a prorated credit on housing from Monday, March 23rd through the end of the semester. The credit will be applied to each student’s account. Those with a refund available will receive funds on Friday, April 3rd.
At the moment, it is the University’s intention to suspend dining services, although it may become necessary to make accommodations in very limited instances. All students on meal plans will receive a prorated credit on the meal plan from March 23, 2020, through the end of the semester. This credit will be applied to each student’s account. Those with a refund available will receive funds on Friday, April 3rd.
At the moment, it is the University’s intention to keep campus operations open, including the Campus Clinic. We are limiting access to the Logan Library and the Mountaineer Fitness Center to currently enrolled students and employees until further notification. We will require social distancing and limited numbers of guests at these locations at any given moment. While offices may make accommodations for select employees, we intend offices to remain open and to have staff be available by phone, email, and—in some cases—in person.
Supervisors will be in contact with student employees for next steps.
Note that we have established a Schreiner Transition information line (formerly the COVID-19 information line) to answer your questions or provide you further information at (830) 792-7337. We will be answering questions and returning phone calls between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm Monday through Friday.
We will continue to provide updates on our website in the days and weeks ahead. While this message has been directed towards students, we are concerned about the common good. Soon, we will issue further communications to employees and other Schreiner community members about how this will impact their lives. I look forward to seeing you again soon when this crisis passes.
Message from the President:
Schreiner University Diner Closed to the General Public – Until Further Notice
Schreiner University and Chartwells announced a proactive measure today that the Schreiner Diner will no longer be open to the public until further notice – to include the popular Sunday Brunch. The Schreiner Diner will continue to serve the University’s students, faculty and staff. A current Schreiner identification card will be required to enter the diner. While a temporary measure, there is no current estimate on how long this will be in effect.
“In abundance of caution to COVID-19, we are taking precautions to ensure the health and safety of the Schreiner community and all of our guests,” said Eloy Rico, Marketing Manager for Chartwells. “The Schreiner Diner will only be open to the Schreiner University community, and Sunday Brunch will be canceled until further notice.”
Updated information on the Schreiner Diner can be found at www.chartwellshighered.com and schreiner.edu. Questions can be directed to Eloy Rico, Chartwells Marketing Manager, at 830-896-2347 or email@example.com.
Message from the President:
Someday, we will tell stories about the spring semester of 2020. Today is not that day. Today, we’re caught between the hysteria of coronavirus and the reality of wanting to keep our community as safe as possible. And that makes for a difficult moment in which to write this final update before Spring Break begins.
I have—and all the senior officers at Schreiner have—been attentive to the actions of our colleagues around the nation who have made the decision to close their campuses for a short amount of time or for the entire semester. I understand their logic, and I understand that, in many cases, they find themselves in cluster sites or potential cluster sites (like major metropolitan areas). Their decision does not reflect the decision of many colleges and universities around the country, and it does not reflect our current best thinking. I believe that Schreiner, Kerrville, and the Hill Country will likely remain a safe place for students and employees to be.
Therefore, as students leave for Spring Break, I encourage everyone to prepare for Schreiner to still be in session when Spring Break ends. We intend to be here on Monday morning, March 23rd, when the school day begins. I hope that all of you will be, too. Some of you—out of an abundance of caution—may decide to stay on campus during Spring Break and to not travel. If that is the case, we have made accommodations for meals (expect a no-frills meal), and we will allow you to stay in residence.
Why are we trying to stay open? Most importantly, we want our students to continue with their educational experience. But I also want our seniors to celebrate their last athletic events. I want us to cheer on students who engaged in ground-breaking research at the Academic Showcase, and I want us to congratulate all the students who have earned admission into an honors society. I want us to wear our regalia at baccalaureate and commencement ceremonies. I don’t want a virus to eliminate the joy and the challenges and the triumphs that await all of us over the next few months.
I know that this decision will be difficult for some people, students and employees alike. If you have specific concerns, I encourage you to contact the Dean of Students or the appropriate Vice President to discuss your situation. As possible, we will try to make accommodations. But if we’re going to move forward and remain open, we cannot accommodate everyone.
Here’s the awkward truth: there currently are not enough COVID-19 test kits available in the state to test people in a timely fashion, and it is unclear when these kits will be widely available. Whether we know of an infection or not, though, the most recent reports suggest a sort of inevitability in all of this. There is likely to be a case of COVID-19 or symptoms that are similar to those of COVID-19 in Kerr county. Therefore, we will manage individuals with symptoms similar to COVID-19 on a case-by-case basis. If necessary, we will ask students with minor symptoms to self-isolate on campus. Health professionals indicate that for the profile of people like most of our students, the symptoms associated with the infection are similar to a cold or flu. Students with more severe symptoms will be directed to a site where they can receive treatment. I can imagine a moment in which we become overwhelmed in terms of our ability to self-isolate, but if we all practice basic precautions, the current evidence suggests that, collectively, we will be fine. If you have symptoms that are associated with a bad cold or flu—and particularly with fever and shortness of breath—please contact Dr. Julie Lunsford at 830-792-7285 who can determine what the appropriate next steps are.
Let me assure you that Schreiner University will follow any and all directives from state and federal agencies. If they mandate our closure, we will close. And you should expect us to continue to modify our day-to-day operations as we try to maintain the sanctuary of Schreiner. I fully expect to cancel additional study abroad experiences, and I expect that we will limit our larger gatherings on campus. It also is the case that this situation has the possibility to change rapidly. Should these changes occur, then we will modify our plans again and let you know as quickly as possible. Faculty and staff continue to prepare for educational continuity regardless of how this situation changes.
Expect another communication from me by email and on the website no later than Thursday evening, March 19th as an update to our most current plans.
Schreiner and its students have always been resilient and gritty. We will be resilient and gritty through this COVID-19 event, too. I believe that Schreiner is safe, and if we practice common sense and best practices, it will remain a relatively safe place for students and employees to be. I ask for your patience and cooperation as we work through each problem we encounter step by step. Spring will come to the Hill Country, and I look forward to sending our seniors off to their grand futures and welcoming our juniors, sophomores, and first-year students to the next step of their Schreiner experience.
Message from the President:
We continue to monitor developments related to COVID-19 in order to identify prudent and measured responses. Since no cases have been identified in Kerr or our contiguous counties, our discussions continue to be centered around:
- Decisions about group travel, especially study abroad;
- Recommendations regarding non-essential travel; and
- Protocol for screening individuals who present symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
Here are our most current decisions regarding these issues:
As of today, we have decided to cancel the following trips:
- Model UN trip to New York City, scheduled for April 4-9;
- Summer School trip to Italy, scheduled for May 31 – June 29; and
- the Korean Summer Studies Program trip to South Korea, scheduled for June 28 – July 24.
Other scheduled international trips are being evaluated and are subject to cancellation, pending decisions made within the next week or so.
Business Travel and Non-Essential Individual Travel
At this point, we are not curtailing domestic university business travel other than the Model UN trip noted above. Our decisions will continue to be informed by CDC and other oversight entities in monitoring this issue. While individuals must make their own decisions regarding personal travel, we recommend prudent judgment in choice of destinations and mode of transportation. Note that in order to safeguard the Schreiner community, we reserve the right to refuse access to campus for anyone who has travelled to an area where COVID-19 cases are clustering. Should this become necessary, students would arrange with faculty ways in which they can make up work during their absence, and employees may be required to use sick leave for this period of time.
Screening and Testing
If a student, faculty, or staff member becomes concerned that he or she might be at risk of having been in direct contact with a person who has tested positively for COVID-19 or exhibits the primary symptoms of COVID-19 (fever and shortness of breath), we ask that you please call Dr. Julie Lunsford at 830-792-7285. Dr. J will make arrangements for screening and testing as appropriate.
While there is still much we do not know about COVID-19, it is very clear that we can minimize the risk to ourselves and others by using some common sense measures:
- Avoid unnecessary travel, particularly international travel and cruise ships;
- Avoid unnecessary travel to densely populated areas, especially those with multiple cases of COVID-19;
- Avoid large mass gatherings, particularly those attended by a large number of people who have traveled by plane to attend;
- Wash your hands thoroughly and often, especially after touching highly used surfaces like handrails, doors and door knobs, light switches, table tops and counters;
- Avoid touching your face, particularly with unwashed hands;
- As much as practical, maintain a social distance of 6 feet or more, especially from individuals who are coughing or sneezing;
- Cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow or into a tissue – not into your hand; and
- Do not wear a mask unless you are already sick.
We will continue to be in contact as this situation develops.