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Coronavirus Communications

This page contains important messages sent to the Chatham community regarding COVID-19.


Dear Faculty & Staff,

With Allegheny County set to move on Friday, June 5th to the Green Phase in the Governor’s Reopening Plan, I’m writing to share what this means for campus operations over the coming weeks and summer months.

First, I’m pleased that we have been able to successfully and safely provide limited on-campus operations since March in facilities & housekeeping, residence life, the dining halls, IT and other critical departments while supporting those students still living on campus. At the same time, we have expanded our efforts during the Yellow Phase of the reopening with additional facilities and housekeeping staff returning to work while continuing to follow CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health (PDH) Guidelines. Examples of safety measures we have already implemented include: temperature screenings, physical (i.e., social) distancing, staggered shifts and mask requirements for all employees.

As we now prepare to shift to the Green Phase and insure we comply with the newly released Pennsylvania Dept. of Education guidelines for the reopening of Post-Secondary Institutions, our goal is to build on the methods and success of the past few months while introducing any changes gradually on campus in order to monitor and adjust, and keep the safety of our employees and students front and center.

Our plans for the Green Phase on-campus are currently as follows: 

  • Those already reporting to campus will continue to do so.
  • We will begin a phased reintroduction of other departments and some employees beginning June 15 through July 30 who require (or will greatly benefit from) a return to campus. The plan is as follows: 
    • Week of June 15:
      • Faculty & students in health science summer courses (at Eastside)
      • Faculty and student research assistants (for research and/or work in labs)
    • Weeks of June 29 and July 6:
      • The Office of Admissions, preparing for campus visits to resume July 6
      • Athletic Fitness Center (reduced occupancy)
    • The Month of July:
      • Other campus offices (for office and fall preparation)
    • During the phased return to campus as outlined above, we are asking departments to continue utilizing a blend of teleworking for most employees and (where necessary) have limited on-campus employee presence in order to keep campus activity low and allow effective monitoring.
      • Academic Departments that need access to facilities for lab and classroom preparation should provide their specific requests to their Dean by June 9
      • The Vice-Presidents or Deans will develop the plan and timing for each department by June 12  
    • All employees and students reporting to campus will be required to receive daily temperature checks, engage in physical distancing, wear masks and follow other Chatham, CDC and PDH guidelines.
      • Further instructions on these requirements will be shared by June 12. 

Throughout the weeks ahead, we will proceed cautiously forward with our plans while monitoring, adjusting where needed and sharing updates with everyone on our efforts. 

In addition to the Green Phase plan outlined here, the initial Fall 2020 Operating Plan developed from the ongoing efforts of the Working Groups is being shared with the Board of Trustees this week. Following the Board’s feedback, the Plan will be shared with the campus community the Week of June 8 for review and feedback.



Dear Staff, Faculty and Students,

 I hope that you and your family continue stay healthy and well as we navigate the ongoing and evolving efforts that our county, state, nation and world are deploying to confront the COVID pandemic. I am pleased to see the curve flattening in many areas and the progress that is being made in our understanding of (and treatments for) this disease, while always keeping in my thoughts those who have lost their lives to the virus.

As Allegheny County prepares to move to the Yellow Phase of Pennsylvania’s Coronavirus reopening plan on May 15, I wanted to take a moment to share what this means to our campus operations. The Yellow Phase begins to lift some restrictions on retail stores, restaurants, and childcare facilities, but still recommends teleworking continue for jobs where it is feasible and keeps colleges closed to in-person instruction.

Given this directive, Chatham will continue with our virtual learning format and predominantly remote work for the time being. Employees who are able to do their jobs remotely should continue working from home. Some additional employees in facilities, grounds and housekeeping will begin to return to campus on Monday for summer maintenance. They will join those employees who have been reporting to campus over the past few weeks to provide critical in-person support to operations and residential students. All county and state health guidelines for the workplace will continue to be followed.  In keeping with this approach, our Board meeting on June 4-5 will be entirely virtual. 

Chatham is also preparing for how faculty will be able to return to labs for research later this month. Additional details will be shared on the protocols and process for this the week of May 25th

As we look ahead to our return this fall, the 13 planning task forces are hard at work preparing their recommendations for operating campus under enhanced social distancing guidelines (and fall back plans for what will happen in case government directives make that not possible). We are planning to share their work and plans in early June through a website, other resources and a virtual campus update. Please know that whenever we begin our return to campus, we will do so in a phased approach with enough time, direction and support to ensure the safety of our community.

I continue to speak regularly with the other Pittsburgh university presidents, our professional organizations and the Pennsylvania Department of Education about the issues and considerations we collectively face now and over the coming months. This collaboration helps support the work of our task forces and has reinforced for me once again the unique commitment to shared problem-solving that is a hallmark of the Pittsburgh region.

I wish you all continued good health and look forward to safely coming together again while embracing and practicing social distancing and other shared efforts to protect all of us—and especially the most vulnerable—in our community.



Dear Students:

With the spring term now behind us, I hope that you and your family continue to stay safe and healthy over what will be a very different summer than any of us imagined a few short months ago. 

As we look ahead to the fall semester here at Chatham, we muse face the reality that the Coronavirus (and increased social distancing measures) will be with us for many months to come, and that preparing for what this means for in-person education in the fall and beyond is the critical task ahead.  

At Chatham, the educational experience has always been about coming together to embrace discussion and debate, to participate in hands-on learning, and to have our world views expanded by encounters, both planned and chance. And, because being together is core to who we are as a community, we are currently envisioning how the campus will operate in the fall under enhanced social distancing guidelines to keep our community safe. 

A series of task forces are working diligently to plan for the possibilities and contingencies of what a return to campus will look like, examining all aspects of the Chatham experience—from academics to athletics, to housing and dining and campus events. While it is our firm intention to be together on campus this fall, we are also developing plans in case government health directives do not allow us to fully return to campus. 

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Stay-at-Home order is beginning to lift across the state, and we look forward to receiving additional guidance from state and county officials over the coming weeks. Our task forces will then finalize their work, and in early June, we will share our plans for how the campus will operate in the fall. 

In our over 150 years of history, Chatham has faced numerous challenges, and always emerged stronger. We expect that this unprecedented time will be no different, and we thank you for your patience and faith. 

I am so very proud of the Chatham community and how everyone has risen to the challenges we’ve faced with COVID-19, and I continue to look forward to brighter, healthier days ahead for us all. 


David Finegold

Dear Chatham Students,

After an academic review of summer courses, and to comply with Governor Wolf’s stay-at-home order (in effect through April 30, 2020), Chatham will be adjusting the course schedule for classes running between April 27 and June 16 (regardless of term length). All previously scheduled online courses which have sufficient students enrolled, will run as normal.

For summer terms and classes running after June 16, a decision on course offerings and delivery format will be made by May 15 based on government and public health directives in place at that time.
To review Summer 2020 academic dates, please visit the Academic Calendar on our website. To review scheduled summer classes and/or to register, please visit the Schedule of Courses on my.chatham. The summer schedule will be undergoing updates over the next 10 days to reflect new and revised offerings.
If you have questions about specific summer classes, please contact your faculty advisor. If you have general questions about summer courses or other academic considerations, please e-mail AcademicAffairs@chatham.edu
Thank you for your continued patience and flexibility as we navigate the academic challenges and disruptions caused by this global pandemic together, and best of luck to you over the coming final weeks of this (virtual) semester.
Stay distant, stay safe, and stay healthy. 
Jenna Templeton 
Vice President of Academic Affairs 
Dear Chatham Students,
With Chatham’s move to virtual learning for the final weeks of this semester, we have entered into a new way of engaging with each other to help you realize your academic goals. We continue to be focused on the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff as we navigate this situation together. I know this is a challenging and uncertain time for all of us, but we are Chatham, and we will work together to meet these challenges.
Below are some important academic updates—including information on new pass/fail options for this semester—that I want to share with you. Please read this message in its entirety.  


Your professors are communicating with you about course information, the methods they are using to teach, expectations about how you should engage with the course, and other details about assignments and due dates. Keep in mind that your instructors may have to alter the course assignments and schedules to accommodate our virtual teaching environment. We all need to be flexible with each other as we navigate this new environment.

As always, your primary form of electronic communication should be your Chatham University email or through the Moodle classroom. The Chatham IT team can help with technology-related questions or challenges you may have. Please visit the ITS Student Resource Page for a complete list of resources and assistance.

Grading Policies

Recognizing that the uncertainty of this unprecedented situation can be a source of significant anxiety, and to help decrease stress and facilitate your continued academic success, the University is adopting a significant level of flexibility in course grading for this semester as detailed below. 

Graduate Course Grading
Graduate courses will continue with their current grading systems (either pass/fail or grading scale). However, Chatham recognizes that there may be individual extenuating or exceptional circumstances that arise. Students should work with their course instructor, academic advisor, and/or program director to address any individual concerns regarding courses and grading.

Undergraduate Course Grading (Pass/Fail Option)

After the conclusion of this term, undergraduate students will be permitted for a limited period of time to convert any of their courses during this Spring 2020 term only from a letter grade basis to a Pass/Fail (P/F) basis. Courses that are awarded P grades will count toward graduation/degree requirements, will satisfy future course prerequisites, and will not impact a student's GPA. This exception only applies to courses currently in progress and not courses for which a final grade has already been recorded for Spring 2020.
By allowing this change to be made after grades have been assigned, we are enabling students to consider all of their options and have time to contact academic advisors to fully discuss the potential impact of their decisions, including effects on specialized program accreditation, external scholarship eligibility, impact on future educational pursuits (e.g., graduate school, medical school, residency applications), etc. Additional guidance to help you, your faculty, and advisors with this process and decision will be forthcoming.

Incomplete Grades

While maintaining instructional continuity is important to your continued academic success, we understand that this challenging situation may pose unforeseen obstacles for students. If completion of a course or courses is temporarily insurmountable for a student, faculty will discuss incomplete (I) grades and completion dates. In those cases, Chatham will do what is necessary to ensure that subsequent completion of those I grades does not result in additional tuition charges for affected students. In addition, and as needed, flexibility will be granted with respect to the disposition of the I grade.

Summer Courses
Online programs and courses will proceed as scheduled. We know you are curious about summer face-to-face courses and we plan to update everyone in the next few weeks as we continue to monitor the situation.
I thank each of you for your flexibility as we navigate through these days of social distancing and remote learning and operations. We are committed to your success and well-being, and are ever hopeful that continued observance of public health guidelines will allow us to return to campus in the near future. I am confident that this experience will make our strong Chatham community even stronger.
Dr. Templeton, Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dear Members of the Chatham Community:

This morning I participated in a phone call with the Presidents from the Pittsburgh-area Universities and the Deputy Secretary of Postsecondary and Higher Education, Noe Ortega. The call was to provide clarification concerning Governor Wolf’s order late yesterday calling for the closure of all businesses that are not “life sustaining” as defined in the order. 

All of us expressed our firm belief that Universities are critical to the housing, feeding and safety and well-being of our students still on-campus, and to ensuring the continuity of learning for all our students in remote formats. The administration agrees and the Deputy Secretary provided clarification. 

Please read the important details we are implementing in response to the Governor’s order: 

Essential On-Campus Services
We will continue to provide essential on-campus employee services that support the housing and dining of remaining on-campus students; the safety and operation of our campus buildings; and the infrastructure to ensure continued remote learning. 

This currently includes the following areas only: on-call residence life, dining services, public safety, the post office, building facilities, housekeeping and information technology. 

Managers will provide guidance and direction to all employees in these areas. If additional guidelines are issued, this direction may modify again. 

Faculty or staff who need to come into campus to pick up materials vital to continuing operations can do so at this time. This may change if new guidelines are issued.   

All other departments, employees and students who are able to work and learn remotely off-campus should continue to do this. 

We are continuing to help our students move out of the Residence Halls through tomorrow’s deadline. We are also ready to house and support any student who is not able to move out based on the exceptions we identified earlier. Everyone will be located in private or semi-private housing that we have available at Shadyside and Eden Hall Campuses. 

Dining Changes
Anderson Dining and Eden Hall Dining will provide take-out food only effective Friday, March 20 under modified hours. There will be no in-person dining. Eastside Café and Café Rachel are closed. Groceries and sundries will be available for purchase at Anderson for residents who were unable to leave campus. Additional details will be sent to residents on this service and updated hours. 

Chatham shuttles will suspend operations after Friday, March 20. 

Campus Buildings
The majority of campus buildings will be closed and locked for key or keycard access only beginning Sunday, March 21. The Shadyside Helpdesk, Post Office and 24/7 library lab space will remain open at this time under social distancing regulations (i.e., limited number of people,  6 feet apart, etc.). This may change at a later date if new governmental guidelines are implemented. 

I want to reinforce that this is a public health emergency of the highest order. The best defense we have as individuals—and as a community—right now is to follow the social distancing guidelines that have been issued. The choices we make today to adopt this behavior will help protect the health and safety of our families, communities and our health care providers. 

This has been a time of rapid change, transition and uncertainty for us all. I want to thank you again for your resiliency, patience and willingness to support each other during these times. We are uncertain what the future may hold in terms of additional social distancing and governmental orders, so I ask for everyone to please continue to be ready for these measures, and to take care of yourself, your family and each other as we navigate this together. Let’s also not lose sight of keeping those directly affected by this virus in mind at all times in the days ahead. 

History has shown us that there will be a day when this is behind us and we cannot lose hope or sight of that day. Stay home, stay safe and take care of each other. 



~ Please continue to visit www.chatham.edu/coronavirus for the latest updates, copies of campus communications such as these, frequently asked questions and to submit any questions you may have.

Dear Students,

It is with much sadness that I write to tell you that Chatham has made the difficult decision to postpone our Spring 2020 Commencement and related activities as part of our efforts to help curb the potential spread of COVID-19.

Though we make this decision along with many other universities and under the recommendations of government and public health officials, we fully acknowledge and share in the disappointment that comes with it. The Commencement ceremony is an important tradition for us all—from the students who walk the stage, to the faculty who helped them achieve their goals, to the friends and family cheering them on—and we will sincerely miss seeing our graduates walk across the stage this spring.

Our goal moving forward is to create as many opportunities as possible for our graduates to celebrate this occasion and accomplishment. We will finalize and share details, dates and more as they take shape around the following: 

  • An August Commencement ceremony and related activities
  • Inviting Spring 2020 graduates who cannot attend in August to participate in the Spring 2021 Commencement ceremony and activities
  • Digital/virtual recognition and celebration opportunities for graduates in April & May

The Office of Academic Affairs will provide additional updates via email announcements and the Commencement website as we work on the dates and details over the coming months. In the meantime, if you have questions about anything related to Commencement, please email Academic Affairs.

We continue to be inspired by our students’ resiliency and kindness during this unprecedented time. We're so proud of all you have accomplished and look forward to celebrating with you and your families as soon as we are able.


David Finegold

Dear Residents,

Chatham continues to monitor the outbreak of COVID-19 and remains in close contact with local health officials and neighboring colleges and universities. The health situation is changing daily as testing increases and more cases are identified locally in Allegheny County and around the country. At the same time, an increasing number of social distancing recommendations and requirements are being implemented by governments and organizations around the country. 

Given this rapidly evolving situation, Chatham is requesting that all remaining resident students who can return home, do so by Saturday, March 21. We feel this is the best decision to support the health of our students and others as this public health emergency continues to unfold each day. Residence Life will be following up with directions and details on how to check out properly later this evening. 

Housing Exceptions

We know that for a variety of reasons, some students cannot return home. Students that have extenuating circumstances and may not be able to leave immediately, if at all, should complete the Spring 2020 Resident Exemption Form no later than Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

The following criteria will be considered for students permitted to remain living on campus at this time:

  1. Out-of-State student who may need more time to get home and/or needs to remain on campus until the end of term,
  2. A student who faces housing insecurity,
  3. A student who lives with someone in an at-risk population for COVID-19 and does not wish to risk exposing that member of their household,
  4. Students who need housing for student teaching or internships
  5. International students (Note: we plan to offer international students who are planning to return next year the option to stay on campus over the summer at our reduced summer rates).

Please note, those who are approved to remain on campus will be notified by 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 19, and the following will apply:

  1. You are likely to be required to relocate to an apartment on lower campus within the next 2 weeks (because each unit has its own bathroom, these will offer the best chance to contain any spread of the virus).
  2. No outside guests are allowed in the apartments/residence halls until further notice.
  3. Dining and other campus facilities and services may operate on a limited schedule.

Room & Board Credits & Refunds

In addition, Chatham is finalizing the details and will pro-rate student housing and meal plans for any student who decides to move home based on the date a resident completes the check-out process. This includes those who already moved out following the initial transition to virtual learning.

The exact amount a resident is pro-rated varies individually based on the date they check-out of housing and upon the student’s specific situation with respect to Federal aid since some refund may be refunded directly to Federal agencies. Additionally, for meal plans several factors are utilized to determine the meal plan pro-rate amount, which not only include the resident’s check-out date, but also how much flex they have utilized this term and the meal plan they selected.

Residents who check-out of housing will have their housing and meal plans pro-rated and handled based on the following criteria:

Returning Students

Any student who is not graduating at the end of this term will have the pro-rated amount for housing and meal plan applied to the Fall 2020 semester. 

Graduating Students or Students Not Returning for Fall 2020

Any student who is graduating, transferring, or withdrawing, and therefore, not returning to Chatham in the Fall 2020 term, will have the pro-rated amount refunded to them unless they have an outstanding balance on their student account. Refunds will be calculated and issued in accordance with Federal Financial Aid regulations, as appropriate. 

The pro-rated amount cannot be determined until a resident student has checked-out of housing. Additionally, only students who elect to return home and check-out of housing are eligible to have their meal plan and housing pro-rated if they complete the move-out process by March 21, 2020 (unless approved for an extension).

As a reminder, only students who are requesting an exception to remain in campus housing should complete the Resident Exemption FormAll other residents should plan to move out no later than Saturday, March 21, 2020. Residence Life will be following up with directions on how to check out properly later this evening.

We appreciate your patience and cooperation as we continue to navigate this unprecedented situation. Chatham will continue to share updates as new or clarifying information emerges.


Shawn A. McQuillan, Director of Residence Life                             

Heather Black, Dean of Students

Dear Chatham Community,

These are historic times for Chatham, our country and the world. The situation is rapidly changing from day-to-day and all of us are having to adapt to new ways of living and working in order to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

I want to extend my deepest gratitude to the patience and resilience you are all showing in the face of these challenges. When we started the year, none of us could have ever imagined the National Emergency we’re now confronting.  Speaking on behalf of all the faculty and staff, I want to assure the students that we will work as hard and as imaginatively as possible to deliver a different, but still distinctly Chatham, experience for you through the rest of the academic year.    

Since my last communication to you earlier this week, I need to provide additional updates on important items that have been decided during the first days of our transition period:

  • After discussions among the Deans, Program Directors and Department Chairs concerning the status of in-person labs and other hands-on classes, Chatham has made the decision to transition these classes into a virtual format given how quickly the health situation continues to change. This decision covers science and health science labs, problem-based learning classes and creative studio classes. These in-person classes are cancelled March 16-20 and will resume in their new virtual format on Monday, March 23. UPDATE: This now also includes Pathways-to-Nursing students at UPMC Shadyside School of Nursing.  
  • We are continuing to monitor student internships and hear from various internship sites and students completing their internship. All students are encouraged to continue their internship if the site still allows them to attend in-person or offers remote work opportunities. If the internship site closes or does not accommodate remote internships, alternative arrangements will be discussed with each student later this month. No student will be penalized for this due to this very unique situation.
  • Chatham’s Residence Halls and Dining Services are still open at this time for those students who wish to stay on-campus based on their particular situation or preference. For those who wish to move out now or at a future date, please complete the housing intent form. The Office Residence Life will be open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday to accommodate move-outs. In addition, Chatham continues to review our policies and procedures concerning Room & Board refunds or credits to apply to a future year, taking into account the complex process of reconciling this with each student’s aid package. We will issue an update to residents by close of business on Monday, March 16.

Continue to visit our informational website at www.chatham.edu/coronavirus for the latest updates, frequently asked questions and to submit a question.

We remain grateful that there are no reported cases of COVID-19 at Chatham, and will do all we can to continue to protect the members of the Chatham community.

Take care and have a good weekend, 

David Finegold

Dear Faculty, Students & Staff,

Chatham continues to monitor the outbreak of COVID-19 and remains in close contact with local officials and other local Universities. While there is still no presumptive positive case in Allegheny County, many colleges around the country are beginning to implement more preventive social distancing measures with an emphasis on reducing the number of settings with larger groups of people on campus.

With this guidance in mind and following the decision of the University of Pittsburgh and other Universities, Chatham will transition all face-to-face classes to virtual instruction formats for all on-campus classes with the exception of laboratory, PBL and field experience sessions for the remainder of the spring semester. To provide time for the Schools, Deans and faculty to complete this transition, the University will suspend all classes Thursday, March 12 through Monday, March 16.  Classes will resume in the new virtual learning protocol on Tuesday, March 17. Existing online classes will operate as normal. 

Students involved in clinical placements, internships and experiential outplacements will continue at this time and should follow the protocols of the facility and their Program Director. Students and faculty are encouraged to do what is best for their personal circumstances as we transition to this new form of instruction delivery.

Effective immediately, the University is also implementing the following actions:

  • The cancellation of all campus events larger than 20 people until Friday, April 17, 2020.
  • Asking all departments and campus groups to suspend on-campus meetings for groups larger than 20 or more participants and/or shift to a virtual meeting whenever possible.
  • All University-sponsored and funded international travel and domestic airline travel for staff, faculty and students is suspended until April 17, 2020. Limited exceptions for essential travel may be granted by a departmental Vice-President. 
  • The cancellation of the Chatham Abroad summer trips to Greece and Costa Rica.
  • Outdoor athletic events and travel to away games will continue unless guidance from the PAC, the NCAA or the individual school changes this.
  • Residence halls (both upper and lower campus) and dining services will remain open for students to continue to stay and live on campus during this period.

The University will remain open, including academic resources such as the library and study spaces, student and academic support services, classroom and office buildings, and athletic and recreation facilities.

Social distancing and the continuation of enhanced preventative public health and hygiene measures we are already pursuing will be continued. Additional details specific for staff, faculty and students will be sent out in separate communications. 

These are difficult and unprecedented decisions for Chatham. They are decisions that are guided by the latest recommended preventive health measures and will help us do our part to proactively reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the area, protect the health and safety of our community, and ensure the highest academic integrity and continuity possible. 

I ask for everyone’s patience, understanding, flexibility and continued willingness to look out for each other and the most at-risk among us as Chatham and the country navigate the coming days and weeks ahead.

Sincerely yours,