"COVID-19" Archive

An occasional poem about graduation: "The Quarantine's Other Heroes"

Wanda Balzano, associate professor of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies, wrote an occasional poem dedicated to Wake Forest University students who finished the spring semester remotely amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The University is honoring graduates with a Virtual Conferring of Degrees today, May 18 and with an on-campus commencement ceremony on October 31, 2020.

Professor Wanda Balzano teaches her British literature class“The Quarantine’s Other Heroes”

To my Wake Forest Students

Every day, face to face with a monitor:
Computer, tablet, phone.
Not everyone is the same,
For how many members are in a family,
How many rooms are in a house,
Helping their parents
Make ends meet, perhaps,
Or helping siblings
On their homework.

Kneading voices into sleep, from the East and the West,
Pens and books on their desks, beds, or laps;
Wearing sweaters over pajamas,
Hair combed, or not,
Make-up on their faces, or not,
Or darkened screens to hide it all,
When lessons begin.

Losing connections at times
Every so often they say
Their ritual “good morning” or “good night”
In Winston, in Seattle, or Korea.

In step with programs, counting days,
To put humanity back in the word
For ‘school’—the flesh of an active noun and verb
That smells of fresh chalk or dry eraser on the board
Mixed with take-out choices,
And free-reining hormones.

Days go by, one by one,
Labeling trips untaken
Parties not attended
Celebrations unlived.

Who is going to requite
Such emotions of year’s end
To these young scholars?
The night before the exams,
With the anxiety, and relief,
That feeling of shared
Destinies with peers,
Where is that restitution?

A self-crowned microbe
Is cruel and a tyrant, but will not win.
So many of them
Have learned the ways of champions
In a suspended time.
They have a life to journey through,
And they are learning in short order
Not to be presumptive – that
Nothing ought to be for granted.

Rather, some of them
Carrying Anchises on their backs,
Will wait out of danger and go back and run,
And color again the streets,
The schools, and life
On our earth, by and by.

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A message from Provost Kersh

Provost Rogan Kersh shared the following message with the campus community on March 23, the first day of remote classes:

On this first day of remote classes, Provost Kersh has a message as we begin this new journey. In the midst of our challenging times, may you be inspired to carry on the good work you started and encouraged in the days to come.

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Wake Forest visitor/campus access guidelines

A message sent on behalf of WFU Communications and External Relations

In accordance with public health guidance and in order to slow the potential of transmission of the COVID-19 virus and protect vulnerable populations from exposure, Wake Forest University is limiting all campus functions to essential ones. Faculty and staff have been directed to work remotely, where possible, effective immediately. 

All campus tours, visits and information sessions have been discontinued until further notice. In general, visitors should avoid coming to campus until normal operations resume. 

Effective at noon on Tuesday, March 17: Campus community members must show their WFU ID or authorized parking hang tag at the Reynolda Road and University Parkway entrances. Visitors will need to request entrance at the gatehouses located at those entrances. The Polo Road gate will be closed.

Wake Forest community members, with valid Deacon One cards, can scan their ID in the outer lane at the gatehouses. Faculty Drive members without Deacon One cards should use the inner lane.

Buildings will be accessible only by card access.

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Distance-working arrangement effective immediately

The following message was sent on behalf of Executive Vice President Hof Milam and Provost Rogan Kersh this morning.

Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues,

Yesterday afternoon, Governor Roy Cooper announced that all K-12 public schools in North Carolina will close for an undetermined time period, beginning tomorrow (Monday, March 16). Wake Forest has actively been preparing for this situation and will immediately move to a distance-working arrangement for all colleagues whose work can be performed remotely.

Employees needed on campus to perform essential services will be contacted by their supervisors. Such essential employees are designated by the relevant vice president or dean, and individuals will be communicated with regarding their situation as decisions are made. Decisions regarding essential staff are subject to change as circumstances evolve. These colleagues will follow staggered schedules and workplace arrangements that promote appropriate social distancing, and they should discuss child care needs with their department.

All employees who are not designated to perform essential services, and whose work can be performed remotely, should work from home.

Employees who are not designated to provide essential services, and whose work cannot be performed remotely, should nonetheless remain at home. However, such employees may be asked to temporarily perform new duties, which may include essential services. Supervisors of these employees should contact staff members to confirm work expectations.

If you are uncertain about whether to report to campus, or if you are unable to work remotely effectively, discuss your individual circumstances with your unit head (e.g., department chair, dean, director, vice president).

While forms are customarily required to initiate remote work, they are being waived during these unprecedented circumstances. Staff who work on-site to provide essential services and those who can work remotely should continue to record their work time as usual. If a staff member is not providing essential services on-site and cannot work remotely, Wake Forest will keep the individual in a paid status based on regular work hours. Time should be recorded as regular work time.

In the coming week, our top priority will be supporting our faculty as they prepare to deliver courses remotely starting March 23. Deans are aligning various University resources to meet this need while practicing social distancing. Faculty, working with their dean’s office, should make arrangements that best enable them to meet their needs for preparing their courses for remote instruction.

Colleagues should follow the guidelines outlined on Information Systems’ IT Resources for Working and Teaching Remotely webpage and coordinate plans with their unit head (e.g., department chair, dean, director, vice president) or manager. Additionally, the “Keep Teaching” website is a valuable resource for faculty.

Expectations for all employees, whether essential and on campus or working remotely, are to maintain normal University working hours. Exceptions can be made by the appropriate vice president or dean.

The University remains open as there will be students who live off campus or have been approved to remain in campus housing accessing campus facilities. As such, core facilities will remain open but hours and access could be limited. Check the coronavirus website for more details.

We anticipate that circumstances will continue to change over the coming weeks, and we will need to make further decisions as conditions evolve. These arrangements will continue until further notice. Official policy concerning announcements in this message and additional information will be forthcoming on the Human Resources coronavirus webpage. We continue to support Wake Forest families and promote the health and safety of the University community. Thank you for your flexibility, patience and support.


Hof Milam
Executive Vice President

Rogan Kersh

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Updated travel guidance for faculty and staff

The following message was sent on behalf of Provost Rogan Kersh and Executive Vice President Hof Milam this evening.

Non-essential University Travel Canceled effectively immediately.

In response to The Centers for Disease Control (CDC)’s revision to travel health notice system on Thursday March 12, 2020, regarding the spread of COVID-19, Wake Forest is prohibiting all non-essential university-sponsored Faculty and Staff travel for both domestic and international travel until further notice.  (Essential travel is limited to travel critical to the operations of the University.) Additionally, faculty and staff participation in job-related gatherings, on campus or elsewhere (e.g. conferences or meetings), larger than 50 people is prohibited. These travel restrictions will remain in place at least through June 30th.

These restrictions will not apply to University-sponsored travel required to return to campus by community members who are currently studying or working remotely.

Faculty and staff may request an exception by contacting their Dean or Vice President.

Reporting of University and Personal Travel

This is a reminder that all faculty or staff returning from countries with Level 3 travel health notices or from a cruise should not return to campus without first completing a 14-day self-isolation period without developing symptoms of COVID-19. CDC instructions for self-isolation and symptom monitoring can be found here.

Faculty and staff are being asked to:

  1. Review both CDC Level 3 locations (international map) and states in the United States (U.S. map) with widespread (50 cases and above) COVID-19 presence.

  2. If you have traveled to any of these locations or have been on a cruise in the last 14 days, please complete the Travel Reporting Form so that the university can provide guidance regarding appropriate health care and other decisions.

In addition, if you traveled to a Level 2 location CDC guidelines recommend you closely monitor your symptoms and exercise social distancing for 14 days.

It is crucial that all faculty and staff comply with these guidelines for the safety of all our community.

Personal Travel

Prohibited travel does not include personal activity, but we urge you to seriously reconsider any plans for long-distance travel and visits to areas that have been significantly impacted by COVID-19.  Faculty and staff should carefully consider whether or not any travel is advisable in light of the possibility for quarantine upon return and/or unforeseen travel restrictions in the United States or abroad.

Other Cancellation Considerations

Information about issues such as airline waivers, refundable and non-refundable tickets, visitor reimbursements, and booking future flights will be posted as available at https://finance.wfu.edu/policies-procedures/ under “Travel.”

We are monitoring the situation closely and will reassess policies as needed in the coming days.

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