Coronavirus/COVID-19 Virus News and HSU

April 9, 2020

All further updates will be published to our new COVID-19 standalone page.

April 9 Update – Employee Rights Expanded Paid Sick Leave

Families First Coronavirus Response Act Information

April 2 Update – New Building Closures & Hours:

In light of the recent communication from Governor Abbott, Abilene City Council, and the HSU COVID-19 taskforce, we are asking that all students who are able to return to their permanent address to finish out their courses, to do so with proper checkout with your RD.  Although the current situation in Abilene is not at “lockdown” status, this step is needed as we try to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the Abilene area.  We understand there are students still living on campus for a variety of reasons.  Any student who originally remained in housing due to a job, needs to provide a letter from their supervisor indicating their essential status to continue living in campus housing.  If you have other extenuating circumstances for remaining in campus housing, please communicate with your RD your need to stay in campus housing.

Students who have not returned to move out (and are able) we ask that you do so by Sunday, April 5 or wait until the first week of May (which concludes our semester) to come retrieve your belongings.  This is our tentative end of semester move out date and subject to change pending the COVID-19 status at that time.  If planning to move out by April 5, please notify your RD in advance to schedule your move out time.  The university will allow you to store your belongings through the end of the semester if you are unable to come move out by Sunday, April 5.

Students who need to remain in HSU campus housing need to know the additional expectations to keep our HSU community safe and healthy during this time.  Expectations for residential students include:

  • No guests are allowed in the HSU living spaces. Only the HSU student assigned to that housing area should be residing there.
  • Practice social distancing at all times. Group size needs to remain fewer than 10 people (indoors and outdoors) while practicing social distancing.
  • Moody Center will be open for grab-and-go meal pick up and to access the post office. No other area will be open for student use.
  • Please limit travel outside of the Abilene area.  If choosing to make a necessary trip, you need to notify your RD before leaving. If traveling to an area where there are highly documented number of COVID-19 cases, you may be asked to self-quarantine upon your return.
  • Seek medical treatment if you feel ill, run a fever, or begin showing symptoms. Please inform your RD as well.

All students need to be aware that the following areas on campus are CLOSED:

  • Gilbert’s Coffee Shop (as of 5 p.m. Friday, April 3)
  • 2nd floor & basement of Moody Center (as of 5 p.m. Friday, April 3)
  • Shelton Stadium and track area (as of 5 p.m. Friday, April 3)
  • Fletcher Fitness Center
  • Intramural Field, Volleyball & Basketball Courts
  • Hale Golf Center
  • Richardson Library
  • Sandefer Fieldhouse
  • Softball, Soccer, Track Complex and Fieldhouses
  • Streich Tennis Center
  • Johnson Building
  • All Academic Buildings
  • All Fine Arts Areas

March 31 Update:

Semester Course Grades: Academic deans and university administration decided letter grades will still be assigned at the end of the spring semester for each course.

Graduation: Hardin-Simmons currently plans to hold commencement exercises for Spring and Summer graduates on Saturday, August 8, 2020, at the Abilene Convention Center at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.  The 10 a.m. ceremony will include graduates from the Holland School of Sciences and Mathematics, the Parker College of Liberal Arts, the Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing, the College of Health Professions, and the Logsdon School of Theology and Logsdon Seminary.  The 2 p.m. ceremony will include graduates from the College of Human Sciences and Educational Studies, the Kelley College of Business, and the College of Fine Arts.

Official Class Rings and Ring Ceremony: Regarding the distribution of official class rings, the Spring 2020 Ring Ceremony for graduating seniors has been cancelled. Class rings will be mailed to each graduating senior’s home address April 6, 2020. Students should receive their rings via mail shortly after that date.

  • The only outdoor field/practice facility at HSU that will remain open is Shelton Stadium, from  7 a.m.-7 p.m. All other outdoor facilities will be closed and locked.
  • No other changes to the campus buildings that have been closed or open, at this time.

March 23 Update: For 40 days, HSU Chaplain, Dr. Travis Craver, will lead a daily video devotional for the HSU family, called HSU Together. You can watch them on our YouTube playlist updated with the newest devotional first.

March 19 Update: President Bruntmyer’s video update

March 18 Update: Richardson Library will be closed to patrons effective 5 p.m. Friday, March 20,  until further notice. The Smith Music Library is now closed until further notice.

March 17 Update: Fletcher Fitness Center will be closed at 5 p.m. on March 17 and will remain closed until further notice because of CDC and other government recommendations during the Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic for an extended social distancing period.

Telework Guidelines for HSU Faculty and Staff

Dining Services Update for students currently on campus:  Beginning Wednesday, March 18 – new dining hours and options:

  • Brunch
    • Monday – Saturday – 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
    • Sunday – 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Dinner
    • 7 days a week – 4-6 p.m.
  • Gilbert’s Coffee Shop
    • Monday – Friday – 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

HSU Post Office – Forwarding Mail Service (until you return to campus): 

For those of you who have remained off-campus and would like to receive your mail at your current location; please fill out this form: Please anticipate 2-3 business days before you will begin receiving your mail at the forwarded address.

March 12, 2020

Dear HSU,

A plan has been formulated for Hardin-Simmons University that would allow us to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and community while helping to slow the spread of the Coronavirus known as COVID-19 and to ensure the continued education of our students. This plan is consistent with the plans that other universities are now implementing nationwide.

The plan includes the following:

  • Spring Break: Spring Break is extended to include Monday, March 16 to March 22 for students only. Faculty and staff will need to report to campus as normal. However, academic instruction will not begin until March 23 for all students both undergraduate and graduate. (Physician Assistant and Nursing students see the paragraph below.)
  • For Students: We will transition to an online/remote learning mode on Monday, March 23.  Course work will begin on March 23 and continue to April 13.  We will hold all courses remotely in order to allow you to continue your courses this semester with as few disruptions as possible. Students will receive detailed information in a separate email on accessing your courses via online learning.
  • For Physician Assistant and Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing Students: We plan to transition to an online/remote learning mode on Wednesday, March 18. After Spring Break and at least until April 13, we will hold all courses remotely in order to allow you to continue your courses this semester with as few disruptions as possible. Students will receive detailed information in a separate email on accessing your courses via online learning.
  • Faculty: You will be hearing from your dean soon with more details about moving your classes online. The Office of Online Education is prepared to assist faculty with this transition. Faculty should report to campus on Monday, March 16th and be available for online training.
  • Staff: For the time being, all staff should continue reporting to work as usual and take the recommended steps to prevent illness. Vice President approval is required to work from home and that will be approved on a case by case basis. We ask that staff who are feeling sick to please remain at home and follow normal protocols.
  • On-Campus Housing, Dining and Activities: Residence halls and dining facilities, based on demand, will be open during the next three weeks; however, we ask students to determine whether their campus or permanent residence is safest. As students think about and make decisions on returning to campus, please consider the CDC’s criteria for people considered to be at higher risk, including older adults and people with serious chronic medical conditions by clicking this link.
  • Campus Events: All campus events through April 13 have been postponed or modified. You will receive additional information from your event’s sponsor in the near future.
  • All persons: Anyone in the HSU community who develops a cough or fever, or is feeling ill, should remain at home and off-campus if possible. Please follow CDC and local health department protocols regarding self-isolation. Click here for: CDC information website or Texas Department of State Health Services site.
  • Athletes: Students who are involved in Spring sports (Golf, Tennis, Baseball, Softball and Track) will be allowed to participate in practices and scheduled competitions. Coaches and Athletic Trainers will continue to exercise and encourage the preventative measures that can help reduce the risk of an infectious disease.

For student-athletes who are not in a traditional season sport, please refer to the On-Campus Housing, Dining and Activities paragraph above.

Fans are encouraged to watch the live stream broadcast of certain events or follow live stats through the HSU Athletics App.

We realize that this decision will create some disruption and disappointment. However, it is compelling that we take these steps in order to keep the risk of spreading relatively low and hopefully make it through the remainder of the semester without a confirmed case on campus.  We feel that the spread of the virus is our #1 concern and these measures will hopefully do that before the first case arrives.

Numerous questions will rise as the events unfold. We are setting up a website with answers to frequently asked questions and will be sending out more detailed communications about various elements of this plan, which we will also post on the website.  As this is an evolving situation, we will also provide updates if there are significant changes to the plan outlined in this email.

During this time, I ask that all involved exercise patience and understanding as we pivot to provide and protect in such a short period of time. Your prayers are also greatly appreciated.

We’re thankful for those who work to help keep us safe and continue to be dedicated to providing an “excellence in education enlightened by Christian faith and values.”

– Eric Bruntmyer