March 30, 2020

Dear Central students, faculty and staff:

Greetings! As we begin remote teaching and learning today, I welcome you all as we resume the spring semester.

As we move to remote learning, all of us at Central have stepped up to support students and each other. I recognize your great sacrifice — most especially that of the Class of 2020. I commend all of you for your willingness to give personally to ensure the greater good.

Students, you left campus when asked even as every fiber of your being wanted to stay. You are the reason we’re here and the truth is, we miss you. Thank you for your resilience and your devotion to your education. As classes begin, please let us know how things are going for you and what we can do to help. We remain fiercely devoted to your success.

Faculty, you embraced with determination and creativity the temporary but urgent need to teach remotely. Thank you for your Herculean efforts. I know you will bring to remote teaching the same highly personalized, student-centered approach you do in person.

Staff, you’ve moved quickly to ensure the safety of our students and the continuity of our operations. Many of you have also set up essential new systems to keep us connected and to support our teaching.

We’re a family. We know each other well and care about each other deeply. Distance does not change that. Just as when family members must be away from home for a while, we continue to support each other in every way we can no matter where we are. Here are just a few of the ways we are doing that.

Central’s Website as a Central Repository

For the time being, Central’s campus is closed to the general public and visitors for everyone’s safety. I urge you all to check your Central email account and the Central coronavirus webpage frequently for updates.

This webpage has a list of announcements and resources to help you, along with instructions about how to access many college services. You’ll find separate buttons above for FAQs; student, faculty, and staff communications; and an updates button that connects you with communications from me. You’ll also receive messages in your Central email accounts and a great deal of that communication will be archived on the website for your convenience.


One way we can stay connected remotely is through social media. I encourage you to use #CentralConnects in your Central-related social media posts.

ITS Help Desk Extended Hours

Our ITS team is offering extended hours to help the Central community navigate remote learning. Beginning Monday, March 30, the ITS Help Desk will be available via phone and email during the following times:

  • 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday
  • 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday

To request tech support, faculty, staff and students may call 641-628-7010 or send an email to

Student Account Adjustments

Many of you have asked about adjustments to room and meal plans. Each student’s situation is unique and calculations based on move out dates are in process now. By mid-April, we will provide details to each student, who has completed the move out process, about their specific adjustment. Students will not be required to request an adjustment. Students who were studying on our international programs also will be receiving this information in mid-April. 


While we are disappointed we cannot celebrate as planned in May, please know we are working on details for a commencement ceremony in the fall. We look forward to celebrating the academic achievements and accomplishments of our graduates! As soon as we identify the specific date and time, we’ll be in touch with our graduates, their families and our community. It’s going to be a very special time for all of us.

Hoo-Rah Day and Central Cares

We still plan to host our annual Hoo-Rah Day on April 7 to help and celebrate the entire Central family. Your participation in celebrating Central on social media during this special day will show the world how extraordinary it is to be part of the Dutch family.

As part of the day, we will offer friends and donors the opportunity to support a new fund called Central Cares. This fund has been established to assist Central students experiencing extreme hardship during the coronavirus pandemic. It is our intent that contributions to Central Cares will be awarded to students demonstrating need for emergency assistance due to changes in economic or health conditions. Please watch for future communications providing additional details about this program and how students may apply for grants from it to ensure a successful educational experience.

 Other Spring Traditions

In addition, we are evaluating other spring traditions that we know are important – and fun – for the Central community. Student Development, in collaboration with student leaders, is working to bring some of these traditions to you remotely. Again, please stay tuned about how we can stay social distantly while social distancing.

Spirit Shoppe

Due to the recent expansion of restrictions for businesses, the Spirit Shoppe is closed but still taking online orders.

Summer Study Abroad, Chicago

Because of the continued global risks associated with the COVID-19 virus and related travel restrictions, off-campus summer programs (including study abroad) will not be offered this summer (2020). Students who applied have been notified.

 The Family You Choose

You are all part of the family I choose to be a part of. I’ll be in touch frequently in the coming days and weeks and encourage you to be as well.

Please take care of yourselves. Thank you all for embracing the challenge of continuing Central’s mission while doing everything we can to keep one another as safe and healthy as humanly possible.

These are extraordinary times. I am proud, impressed and deeply moved by how you’ve all risen to the challenge.

Mark L. Putnam
President, Central College

COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can cause several symptoms including fever, coughing, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. Central College is closely monitoring the outbreak of 2019 Novel Coronavirus, also being called COVID-19, and following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other authorities. This is an evolving world health situation. Please check with the CDC and this page regularly for updates on the COVID-19 situation and Central’s response.