First day of remote learning

Message sent March 23, 2020

On the first day of remote learning, Dean Ramsey and Provost Zappe sent this message to students.

Dear Campus Community,

As previously stated, the College is committed to communicating at least every Monday with pertinent updates and reminders as, together, we work to navigate the current health crisis. We recognize that there has been a lot of communication over the past week, but it is our belief that communication is essential during this time of rapid change.

First, you may have seen that Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf addressed the state today. In the address, he ordered a stay-at-home order for seven counties (not including Adams County), where the outbreak is more severe. He also extended the closure of public schools through early April.

Today was our first day of remote learning. We thank the Gettysburg College faculty and staff who have risen to the occasion to ensure that this experience is as robust as it can be. Sunderman Conservatory of Music Professor and Faculty Council Chair Jocelyn Swigger—alongside Biology Professor Ryan Kerney and VP of Information Technology Rod Tosten—spoke about this shift to remote learning with President Iuliano last week on the President’s podcast. I encourage you to listen to the podcast here.

We would also like to thank our students for their commitment and perseverance during this time as well. We know that there will be some hurdles as we make this transition, so we appreciate your patience and understanding in the days and weeks ahead. When the Governor made the decision last week to close all non-life sustaining businesses, we know that it had a direct impact on many of our students and families who were not able to come back to campus to retrieve their belongings, in some cases this included course materials to participate fully in the first week of classes. Please know that the faculty are abreast of the situation and they are adjusting their courses accordingly so that every student is able to participate in their classes, even if they do not have their materials.

In recent days, we have prepared and shipped nearly 200 boxes of essential items to students. With that said, given the Governor’s orders last week to close non-life sustaining businesses—and the potential for more statewide orders to come—our ability to access residence halls and ship materials is limited and could be impacted even more so at any moment. If you’ve realized you now need something you don’t have or you have forgotten something essential (such as course materials, laptops, etc.) we will do our best to ship those items to you. Please fill out the Gettysburg College Box Request form to make that request.

Additionally, if you need access to a critical medication in your room, please email Judy Williams, Director of the Health Center, at

To that end, if you are a student and have questions about remote learning, we encourage you to be in touch directly with your faculty members. Faculty: as you have questions, please be in touch with your divisional deans. Remember that Information Technology is ready and available to assist with any technology issues you may encounter over the next few weeks.

President Iuliano will be hosting virtual office hours for students, parents, administrators, and support staff. The dates and times for the coming weeks are listed below. You can sign up for each session using this Sign Up Genius link or by visiting the President’s Office webpage. More dates and times will be added on an as-needed basis.

Student, Parent, Administrator, and Staff Virtual Office Hours:

  • Thursday, March 26, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, March 31, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, April 8, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, April 16, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
  • Friday, April 24, 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
  • Wednesday, April 29, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

For your awareness, approximately 70 students have been approved to remain on campus through the petition process. The College is supporting these students through providing grab-and-go meals, regular wellness check-ins, and advice on how to stay healthy. All of the students and essential staff on campus are being reminded to partake in the social distancing recommendations given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Finally, we are pleased to report that the crowdfunding campaign to raise dollars in support of the Emergency Support Fund has surpassed its goal of $75,000. These resources are needed now more than ever, so we thank the faculty, staff, parents, students, and alumni who have given to this cause. We had an overwhelming number of donors contribute which is a true testament to the strength of this great community.

Please remember to continue to check our Coronavirus response website for the most up to date information.

Thank you,

Julie Ramsey
Dean of Students

Chris Zappe