Frequently Asked Questions
For additional questions beyond what is stated here or in updates above, please email CoronaResponse@ClarksSummitU.edu.
Clarks Summit University’s traditional, on-campus Commencement will not take place as planned on Saturday, May 2. This decision to postpone the university’s largest gathering of the year is part of the efforts CSU has made to slow and limit the spread the Covid-19 pandemic.
To comply with health recommendations and gathering guidelines, 2020 Commencement will be postponed, however, plans are in place to celebrate the class of 2020 in a special, combined Commencement ceremony on May 1, 2021. All degrees earned will still be conferred to graduates at the close of the semester; diplomas will be mailed in June.
“Of course, as each day goes by, we want to see our students in person more and more. We want to celebrate the accomplishments of our 2020 graduates,” says CSU president Dr. Jim Lytle. “Right now, our greater responsibility to honor God by loving our greater community and doing our part to slow this virus.”
“The CSU family – faculty, staff, board members, students, and especially the class of 2020 – has experienced a tremendous shift from what they expected this spring semester to look like,” continues Lytle. “While I’m saddened by the effects of this virus seen around the world, I’ve seen grace-filled reactions from every part of the CSU family. Even amid disappointment, we have a confident hope and peace beyond understanding that we can share with a hurting world. This graduating class is resilient, and I’m excited to see what God does to powerfully impact our world through them. For this reason, I am confident that our graduates will handle this news with hope to temper their disappointment. I’m also confident that the 2021 Commencement will be an extra special celebration to remember!”
In a message to students this morning, Dr. Jim Lytle, university president, announced that all courses will be delivered in an online format through the remainder of the semester. His message is below:
On Monday morning, you are planning to start online classes. However, instead of continuing classes online for only three weeks, we now must confirm that your studies will remain online for the remainder of the semester. A decision has not been made about Commencement at this time; we will communicate as soon as any additional information becomes available.
This was not an easy decision to make. We all want you to return to the CSU community; however, in times like these, we are not called to do what we want. We are called to do what is necessary.
CSU’s Covid-19 Response Team has been aggressively monitoring developments. The stern recommendations from the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and PA Department of Health continue to point to the absolute need for social distancing in order to slow and limit the spread of this virus. The mandate from the Pennsylvania Governor yesterday to close all in-person operations for “non-life-sustaining organizations” only made it increasingly apparent that stronger actions would be necessary.
As Christians, our call is clear. We need to submit to God’s authority. According to Romans 13, in times like these, we also need to submit to the governmental authority He has put in place. We also know that as Christians, we need to love our neighbors. Right now, that means doing whatever we can to care for the weak and do our part to contain this pandemic.
I know you have questions—especially, “When can I come back to campus and get my stuff?” Right now, do not return to campus. Due to the governor’s mandate, our employees are not even allowed on campus to work. When the ban is lifted and we have more information, we will communicate a plan for you to come back to campus and get your belongings.
We will miss you. Actually, we already do. We thank God for the beautiful, tight-knit community that He has nurtured here at CSU, and it saddens me to picture our beautiful campus without you here.
I know this announcement will affect some of you more than others. I welcome you to reach out to the people in our CSU community who have been there for you in the months leading up to this and who will be there for you as we go through this together.
For some who this will hit particularly hard, I invite you to talk through counseling with our deans of students, Faye More and Ted Boykin (email them to get it started). Maybe some of you are concerned about this academic transition or are looking for specific details. Please reach out to your professor or academic advisors. Each of us at CSU finds joy in helping our students succeed, and this time is no exception.
So, what do we do now? Lament the loss of our on-campus community? No, now is the time for action. It’s up to us to continue to preserve—no, build upon—this tight-knit community that we love, despite these circumstances.
Reach out. Meet needs. Listen. Love on each other. Love on your neighbors. Pray. Seek things to thank God for. Reflect on the unchanging, all-powerful nature of a God who cares immensely about you and everyone in the CSU family.
The semester is not over. Ages before you arrived at your CSU Welcome Weekend, God knew this year would be different than what we all expected. Let’s rely on Him and finish this semester—creatively, gratefully and strong.
We’re in this together.
Dr. Jim Lytle
Due to the most recent recommendations from the governor of Pennsylvania, the majority of Clarks Summit University employees will be working remotely to aid in social distancing, which is known to be a preventative measure for the spread of COVID-19. At this time, the plan is in place for the next two weeks. CSU continues to monitor the information provided by the CDC and government agencies and will make adjustments as necessary.
During this time, employees are still working, although most are doing so from a remote location. Dr. Jim Lytle, university president, reminds, “Clarks Summit University is still on mission; we are still working.” Employees are still reachable via their usual office phone number and email address.
The university’s Underground Café and Recreational Center are also closed at this time.
For additional questions, email CoronaResponse@ClarksSummitU.edu.
The latest updates are posted on this page (ClarksSummitU.edu/coronavirus).
CSU will move all current on-campus classes to online format on Monday, March 23. We anticipate resuming on-campus instruction on Tuesday, April 14. Employees will work their regular schedules, but the residence halls will be closed, and school activities will not take place. Our faculty will use this next week to move current on-campus classes online.
Based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and on the US government, this virus is a significant problem, and closing the campus creates the social distancing that experts recommend.
We appreciate your prayers and patience as we make this transition. We want to serve you well and keep you and as many others as possible in good health.
- Please watch this video from Dr. Lytle to get additional information.
- Please stay tuned; we will be posting more answers to the additional questions you will certainly have.
As Dr. Lytle mentioned in the video, “It’s a challenge, but we can do this. Let’s pray for each another. Reach out to each other…I’m looking forward to seeing you in person again. Until then… I’m praying for you.”
Our conference, the Colonial States Athletic Conference, is suspending athletic activity. The suspension is now in effect for the conference, including all Defender teams.
Their website states: “In light of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic, the Colonial States Athletic Conference Board of Directors has announced that all athletic activity shall be suspended for three weeks, starting on Friday, March 13, 2020 through Friday, April 3, 2020.”
We will continue to post information about CSU-related COVID-19 updates at ClarksSummitU.edu/coronavirus/.
Dear CSU Community,
Clarks Summit University intentionally emphasizes community and care for one another. CSU has been monitoring the dynamic developments released by the experts of the Centers for Disease Control and the Pennsylvania Department of Health regarding the novel coronavirus COVID-19, and we are continually evaluating what is best for the health of our students and the greater Northeastern Pennsylvania community surrounding the school.
There are no confirmed CSU-related COVID-19 cases. However, based on the latest updates and an abundance of caution, we have decided to extend spring break one week as a preventative measure to keep the campus and community as safe as possible. This means:
- Spring break will be extended one week for on-campus classes. On-campus classes will not take place through Friday, March 20. Classes are expected to resume on Monday, March 23. (Alternative teaching methods, such as online course delivery, may be in effect at that time. Professors are equipped to move classes to an online learning format should that become necessary in the future.)
- Residence halls will be closed through Saturday, March 21 and will re-open Sunday, March 22 at noon, at the earliest. Plans are in place to help students who are unable to return or remain at home (students can find more information about this in the Schoology Hub*).
- School activities, including field trips, will be cancelled through Saturday, March 21, at the earliest.
- The Recreation Center will be closed, in effect tomorrow, Thursday, March 12, through Monday, March 23 at the earliest.
- Outdoor athletic events will take place as scheduled. Indoor athletic contests will take place with no spectators.
- Offices will remain open.
As additional action steps become necessary for the best interest of the health of students and community members, updates will be released at ClarksSummitU.edu/coronavirus.
At this time, research suggests that many younger people of college age may be at lower risk of serious complications resulting from COVID-19. Considering this fact alone may lead some to believe the extended break is overly cautious. However, there are valuable members of society who are high-risk from COVID-19. CSU’s administration has made these decisions for the benefit of the greater community, to limit the spread of the virus, especially for those who are vulnerable because of higher risk. Experts are in agreement that social distancing, practicing personal hygiene and avoiding large group gatherings are part of the solution. If CSU can help our students and our neighbors by taking active steps to prevent the spread of the virus, we want to do our part. We believe those who follow Christ should be the first to step up and take action to love our neighbors, and this is one way we can do just that.
Because updates are released rapidly, we will remain committed to monitoring information from experts and making decisions that are in the best interest of the health of our school and community. We are also committed to providing the best academic experience for our students, and we will ensure this continues to happen should conversion to alternate course delivery be necessary. Thank you for your flexibility.
Above all, we trust God as sovereign and loving, and we are grateful for your prayers for wisdom now and every day. Please continue to watch for more communication through ClarksSummitU.edu/coronavirus, which may add to or change the plans announced today.
James R. Lytle, D.Min.
CSU Spring Break Travel Advisory—Coronavirus COVID-19
Dated: March 5, 2020
With spring break travel approaching, Clarks Summit University is asking all students and employees to give careful attention to this statement regarding travel over spring break.
Clarks Summit University is closely monitoring the evolving situation regarding the coronavirus COVID-19 and is taking steps to protect our community. In light of the recent U.S. government advisories, CSU has implemented the following measures for all students and employees:
- Any individual traveling from a Level 2 or Level 3 country for COVID-19 MUST self-quarantine off campus for 14 days upon return to the U.S. As of today (3/5/2020) the list includes China, Iran, Italy, Japan, and South Korea. It is possible that this list will grow.
- CSU does not have facilities appropriate for quarantine. You will not be allowed to return to the dorms, your office, or to be on campus during your self-quarantine period. You must return to your permanent residence or make your own arrangements to be elsewhere.
- The US Government has already suspended entry to the U.S. from some countries by foreign nationals and advised against non-essential travel to other countries.
- CSU will assist students who cannot attend class with alternate academic arrangements.
- The requirement to self-quarantine for 14 days applies to all students and employees who have travelled to any level 2 or 3 country and/or been in close company with an individual infected with the virus or who has just returned from one of the countries on the list. If this situation applies to you and you will be missing class or work due to self-quarantine, [students] please contact the academic office (academics@ClarksSummitU.edu) [employees] contact human resources (hr@ClarksSummitU.edu).
The safety of our students and employees is our primary concern. CSU encourages all member of the CSU community to exercise personal responsibility in following these precautionary measures and in consistent hygiene practices such as hand washing, keeping hands away from the face and covering coughs and sneezing.
If you have any questions regarding this policy, please reach out to communications@ClarksSummitU.edu.
Clarks Summit University places high priority on the health and safety of our students and employees. Amid growing public concern surrounding the coronavirus COVID-19, CSU is closely monitoring information related to the public health situation.
There are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the campus of Clarks Summit University.
In addition to monitoring the latest information, CSU has taken action in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and also to respond to any confirmed cases—should the need arise. Steps include increased sanitizing measures across campus and communication of preventative practices to students and employees. CSU is prepared to deliver education in alternate ways should the need arise to adapt in order to keep student health a priority.
CSU students and employees have been advised of best practices to prevent the spread of coronavirus and flu-like illnesses, including:
- Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow; do not use your hands!
- Clean surfaces frequently, such as countertops, light switches, cell phones and other frequently touched areas. Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Contain—if you are sick, stay home.
The Centers for Disease Control has noted that they cannot stress enough the importance of practicing these three key steps, in addition to avoiding touching your face, eyes or mouth.
All of Clarks Summit University’s camps and conferences are still on schedule as planned. This includes LYFE Women’s Conference, Man UP! men’s 18-hour event, Defender Basketball Camp, Big Blue Basketball Camp and Teen Leadership Conference.
For emerging updates, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.