March 18, 2020

Greetings Spelman Community,

There have been a number of significant developments in the city of Atlanta, the state of Georgia and in our country in the past few days. The impact of COVID-19 has led the mayor of Atlanta to declare a state of emergency in the city; the Governor of Georgia to place the state under a public health state of emergency; and the White House to issue a national state of emergency.

Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention counsels physical distancing - staying at least 6 feet away from the next person - as a means of slowing the rate of infection or " flattening the curve." In recognition of this guidance, Spelman is doing its part to reduce the need for gatherings. Specifically, the federal government is recommending limiting gatherings to those that are fewer than 10 people; instructing businesses either to reduce their hours or to close altogether; and imploring organizations like schools and churches to provide services virtually.

With the health and wellness of our community in mind, Spelman has made the decision to transition, all but essential staff, to teleworking.

  • Beginning Monday, March 23, with the review of supervisors, a large portion of the College's workforce will shift to teleworking until further notice. The new policy is available via the myspelman portal.

  • All employees will receive instructions from their supervisors about their telework arrangements, online assignments and work product.

  • During this time, all employees will continue to receive their regular compensation at the regular pay schedule, until further notice.

  • While residential colleges are transitioning to online learning, the Department of Education has made allowances for students who are employed in the Federal Work Study program, as part of their financial aid package, to continue receiving their FWS wages. FWS students do not have to be physically present on campus to continue receiving FWS wages. Also, if students in the FWS program are not able to complete all of their responsibilities remotely, they will continue receiving FWS wages at the regular pay schedule. Students in the FWS program will receive instructions from their supervisors via email about remote assignments and documentation required to track disbursements.

  • General College student employment positions will be limited during our altered campus operations. Students should contact their supervisors after Monday, March 23, to determine the status of these campus employment positions for the remainder of the spring semester.

  • Employees will also be in conversation with their supervisors about the technology support they need to work remotely. To support the College's transition from an in-person to an online learning environment, Spelman Technology Services collaborated with the Office of the Provost to develop a faculty support website. STS is in the process of completing support websites for students and staff. Each website will provide access to FAQs, training and resources for troubleshooting.

As we continue to prepare to launch our remote learning environment on Monday, March 23, 2020, please share your thoughts, questions and observations with your supervisors, who are in constant discussion with leadership about the path forward. We are all in this new reality together. I have great confidence that as we move into this new world, together, we will develop effective solutions as collaborative partners.

Plans for Future Events

Every spring, we all look forward to the suite of end-of-year events, the high point of the Spelman academic year. The events we celebrate at the end of the year mark major milestones in the lives of our students, faculty, staff and alumnae. They are moments for us to pause and consider the hard work, sacrifice, accomplishments and promise of our graduating seniors.

For our seniors, Commencement is a momentous rite of passage from Spelman student into a permanent member of the Spelman alumnae sisterhood. When our graduating seniors walk under the Arch, each one knows that she is entering a lifetime of relationships and connections.

For alumnae, this time of year is a time to rejoice in an enduring legacy. We cherish these ceremonies and cannot imagine a year without them. For that reason, Spelman is giving careful consideration as to how we might honor these milestones and markers and still stay within the boundaries of prudent and responsible public health behaviors. Some ideas that we are considering are listed below and we invite your thoughts as we begin to put plans in place to celebrate without convening the large audiences these celebrations typically invite:

  • Founders Day will be recognized through a virtual celebration during Founders Week.

  • Research Day is being cancelled for 2020 and will return in 2021.

  • Reunion is being considered during Homecoming activities.

  • For Commencement, a virtual ceremony or postponing until a later date are two options under consideration.

All other events on campus are cancelled. Please contact the host or organizer, if you have questions.


As the health crisis deepens, we know that you will have questions and the college has assembled a list of FAQs that have come to our attention to date. This list will undergo constant modification and updates as the situation changes and as we receive additional information.

Please continue to visit the College's Coronavirus Update page on for the latest information and look for more details to be shared with you in the coming days about teleworking, events, remote learning and all that is needed to sustain Spelman as we navigate the impact of the COVID-19.

I encourage you to get extra rest, eat well, spend time with and check on loved ones and practice self-care as often as possible. Rev. Neichelle Guidry, who leads Sisters Chapel, Spelman's spiritual center, will be launching a newsletter and other social media efforts next week to assist you in your self-care practice. Please follow Sisters Chapel on Facebook and Instagram to engage.

I will be notifying members of virtual community gatherings with the president -- town halls, webinars and other community opportunities -- so that as we take this walk across troubled waters, we remind ourselves that we are not alone.

Keep the faith,
Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D.
President, Spelman College


Office of the President
Phone: 404-270-5001

Fax: 404-270-5010

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