Office of the President
Salem Academy and College
601 South Church Street
Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27101
August 4, 2020
Dear Salem College Students:
One of the many things that have changed since March are the ways we greet one another: I hope you are safe and well. Indeed, I truly hope that for each of you. Today, I write to share news with you that you may have anticipated. Following thoughtful consideration of a wide range of factors—and with the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff always foremost—Salem will facilitate a remote student experience with online classes and activities for fall 2020.
This was an incredibly difficult decision, and I know it is difficult for you to hear. As earlier communications indicated, an amazing team of leaders worked hard to ensure that we were fully prepared to offer in-person learning on Salem’s campus. We owe them an enormous thank you. Even as they did that work, we knew that the situation was uncertain and that we might need to shift direction. Recent trends locally and nationally prompted us to make the hard choice to move to fully remote learning. We did so because of ongoing and heightened concerns about the risks of exposure and transmission of the virus in a residential setting.
Why make this decision? First and foremost, nothing is more important than the health and safety of you and all members of our Salem community. Our decision is also grounded in our commitment to excellence in education. We know that the best education is an education that is responsive to complex realities shaping our world. Both Salem Academy and Salem College are fully equipped to provide a high-quality online education. Remote education can be an uninterrupted education, without the fear of an unexpected campus evacuation like that we undertook last March.
Salem College’s faculty already had planned to offer more than 50 percent of our fall semester classes online, and many of the remaining classes would have been hybrid, meaning you would have come to class only a few times during the semester. Likewise, Salem Academy’s faculty is fully prepared to offer remote education that meets the school’s rigorous standards. As importantly, both Salem Academy and Salem College will ensure that we remain strong together with virtual programming and events that continue to build the connections that are much of what we treasure here at Salem.
As you know, Salem has been a leader since our founding nearly 250 years ago. We believe our decision once again demonstrates moral and educational leadership. At both Academy and College, we educate for leadership—leadership wrestles with complex problems in robust and inclusive ways and makes its choices grounded in information and in ethical responsibility.
As we approach our 250th anniversary, we know that one of those complex problems is health and health leadership. As an institution, we must walk the talk. Based on our commitments to excellence in education, to moral and educational leadership, and to health and health leadership, we are joining the growing number of educational institutions that like Salem, have shifted all classes online for the fall semester. Other schools that have done so include Bennett College in Greensboro, Queens University and Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, Rhodes College in Memphis, and Georgetown University in Washington, DC.
Salem’s administration and our Board of Trustees will continue to closely monitor the pandemic’s trends going forward. We will keep you informed this fall and look forward to being back together on campus as soon as possible. Please plan to join me for a virtual student informational session tomorrow, Wednesday, August 5 at 4 p.m. Use this link to join the meeting.
I know this is disappointing for all. I truly wish we could all be together in person on campus this fall. Those of us on campus this spring and summer have deeply missed you. The next months will be an opportunity for Salem students and the entire Salem community to shine as leaders and grow as individuals.
For now, the Salem community must continue to be physically apart, but you will remain close in our hearts. While it is hard for each of us, this is the best way to remain forever Salem Strong!
With much appreciation,