Onsite Class Restart SPRING 2021

Please check back frequently as plans develop for the restart of Roberts Wesleyan College campus and Northeastern Seminary in the 2020-2021 school year.




Update from the Vice President  |  February 11, 2021

Dear Seminary Students,

As you know, we launched the semester with onsite classes meeting via Zoom at least until after February break due to the post-holiday continued rise in COVID 19 infection rates. The Seminary Cabinet met today and made the decision that all classes will remain online for the remainder of the Spring 2021 semester. 

This decision was based on the input of a survey of all students who had originally registered for onsite classes for this semester. Of those who responded, 90% indicated a preference to remain online rather than make a change for the remaining 2/3rds of the semester. Several responses indicated that the online format is superior to the alternative of an environment on campus that is mandated to be masked and physically-distant. In addition to the anecdotal evidence that several faculty have shared from conversations with their students, the cabinet found this data convincing. While we realize that this will not reflect the desires of some, we believe it is the best decision for this time. 

In practical terms, this means that your classes that were originally scheduled to be onsite will continue their current pattern of weekly Zoom sessions. 

For D.Min. students, please note that a decision has not yet been made concerning the June 2021 residency. We are delaying this decision due to many factors, especially unknowns regarding travel restrictions.  We are as anxious as you are for plans to be finalized, and are committed to making a decision and updating you as soon as possible.  

Thank you for your willingness to be flexible as we all continue to manage our journey through the pandemic. And, especially, thank you continuing to engage fully in your courses, regardless of the modality, so that the life-giving experience of the Northeastern Seminary learning community continues to flourish.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns at all.


Douglas R. Cullum, Ph.D.
Vice President and Dean | Northeastern Seminary

Restart Updates

Update from President Porterfield | December 22, 2020



Communication and Update From President Porterfield | November 9, 2020

Faculty, Staff and Students of Roberts Wesleyan College and Northeastern Seminary,


Thank you for your diligence this semester in keeping our campus healthy. While we have had a limited number of COVID-19 cases, due to a raised alert level in Monroe County, the College has made the proactive decision to raise our campus alert level to YELLOW. The Roberts COVID-10 dashboard has been changed to reflect this new Alert Level


A YELLOW alert indicates that an increased rate of spread on campus or within Monroe county indicates additional mitigation strategies are required. The campus remains open, with the addition of the following guidelines. These changes take effect immediately.


As always:

  1. Fill out the daily screening form each day
  2. Wear a mask at all times when not alone at your workstation
  3. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or use hand sanitizer 


In addition, at the Yellow Alert level on campus:

  1. Gatherings on campus are limited to fewer than 10 people. This does not include academic classes. All student or office groups should plan for virtual meetings until further notice.
  2. Common campus spaces (aside from classrooms) are limited to 25% capacity.
  3. Residence halls are open only to residents of that building.
  4. Table capacity in Garlock is limited to 4 people.
  5. Faculty and staff are not permitted in Garlock. Students are encouraged to use take-out options.
  6. Athletic teams will roll back to phase 2 - small group play and must wear masks for all practices (indoor and outdoor).
  7. The campus is closed to all visitors, even those previously approved. 


We understand the concern and frustration these changes raise for our community, especially after working extremely hard over the past weeks to keep our cases low. At this time this is a precautionary measure to allow us to continue to maintain a safe and healthy campus environment through November 20. If you have questions about these guidelines, please contact Kristen Brown, Chair of the Restart Team at restart@roberts.edu and we will work to get you a response as soon as possible.


With prayer and optimism,


Dr. Deana L. Porterfield


Restart Update | August 4, 2020

As a critical step in the Restart Guidelines for all students, you will be required to complete a health screening before each visit to campus. The screening tool can be accessed from any device that has internet access.

Before every class or visit to campus complete this form: https://www.roberts.edu/covidfeedback 

Please contact IT Services, helpdesk@roberts.edu or 585.594.6898, if you need assistance accessing the link.

Restart Update | July 30, 2020

On Monday, August 24, 2020, Northeastern Seminary students will be able to access student service centers on campus, such as:

  • The B. Thomas Golisano Library, computer labs, and learning center are open. Students may come to campus to check out books or use the computers. Please make online appointments with the learning center for writing assistance.
  • Rinker Community Service Center and Student Financial Services offices are open. Students are to make an appointment to meet with student financial services to limit wait times.
  • The book store is open. Please place orders online for delivery or campus pick-up.
  • Anderson Hall and IT Services are open for online or on-campus IT support.
  • At this time, the Roberts Wesleyan College on-campus gym is not open.

Northeastern Seminary (Roberts Hall) will be open to onsite students, only during scheduled class times. All meetings with faculty and staff outside of class time are encouraged to be held virtually or by appointment.

All buildings require an ID card to access.

When on campus all students are asked to follow the physical distancing recommendations and Restart Guidelines.

Message from the Vice-President | June 23, 2020

Dear Northeastern Students,

You received an email from President Porterfield sharing the news about our reopening plans and the beginning of onsite courses on August 24! We are excited to have many of you back on campus for the Fall semester.

For certain, how we interact as we learn, live, worship and work together will need to be a little different, but our core functioning as a Christian community of higher education remains unchanged. On our website, you will find information about our current planning and alignment with the New York State Guidelines.

Most notably in the Fall, classes will meet on an alternative schedule. Rather than meeting on campus every week for 75 minutes, each class will meet four times during the semester for longer blocks of time. Students will attend only one class each night. The night your class was scheduled (Tuesday or Thursday) has not changed. You can find the new onsite meeting schedule below. We appreciate your flexibility as we navigate these changes.

You will find answers to other questions you might be asking about the Fall semester on our website. The safety, health and well-being of our campus community will always be paramount in our decision-making, and we are prepared to modify our plans should the conditions change. We will continue to monitor all updates from New York State as we move forward to restart operations. Please check your seminary email regularly and check back here for the latest updates and information.

If you have questions that are not answered on the Restart site, please use the form on below to submit your question and we will work on getting an answer to you.

We look forward to seeing all of you either on campus or online this fall.

Doug Cullum

Message from the President | June 22, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty, Staff and Families,

As the Finger Lakes Region projects move forward with phase four planned for June 26, I am delighted to share that Roberts Wesleyan College will be starting a modified Fall semester on campus beginning August 24! We will be offering in-person and online options in many programs for our traditional, adult, graduate and seminary students this Fall. To help enable this restart, traditional undergraduate students will be able to choose between a fully online semester or an in-person semester, through a survey due July 1.

For certain, how we interact as we learn, live, worship and work together will need to be a little different, but our core functioning as a Christian community of higher education remains unchanged. The following information includes our current planning and alignment with the New York State Guidelines.

The safety, health and well-being of our campus community will always be paramount in our decision-making, and we are prepared to modify our plans should the conditions change. We will continue to monitor all updates from New York State as we move forward to restart operations this fall as outlined below. Please check your Roberts email regularly and check our Roberts Restart webpage for the latest updates and information.

Students enrolled in non-traditional undergraduate courses, adult and graduate degree programs and Northeastern Seminary can expect to hear from their Program Directors directly in the coming weeks about details of their program. All cohort courses running between November 21, 2020 through January 11, 2021 will be held online only.

Please check your Roberts (or Northeastern) email and the Roberts Restart website regularly.

The following information is applicable to students enrolled in traditional undergraduate programs.

Adjusted Traditional Academic Calendar:

The significant changes in our academic and operational calendar are based on advice from Monroe County, New York State and CDC experts, who believe we could be facing a second wave of COVID-19 sometime late fall or early winter. The outline for Fall 2020 for our Traditional Undergraduate and BELL student body is as follows:

Traditional undergraduate students will choose between a fully online semester or an in-person semester. We ask that all traditional undergraduate students fill out this form by July 1. If the College does not receive a response from you, we will assume that you are planning to join us in-person.
Traditional undergraduate Fall 2020 Orientation will be August 21-23
The first day of Fall Semester classes will be Monday August 24 as scheduled.
Classes will continue through Friday, November 20 with no fall break.
After Thanksgiving, classes will continue in an online format only until the end of the semester (students will not be permitted to stay beyond November 21 unless approved by the College due to specific program requirements).
Final exams will be issued online in early December as scheduled with the semester concluding on December 11.
We will begin the Spring Semester 2021 as scheduled on January 11 on campus.

As you return to campus, the experience will look different. The College has worked according to state and local public health guidelines and has been in communication with peer institutions with Rochester area colleges and in other regions of the country. We are not alone in experiencing the monumental changes of our work and school lives. It is not what any of us wanted or expected. However, leaning on the faithfulness of God, we can embrace the opportunity to lead others in our response to change and our willingness to extend grace to others around us on the journey.

This announcement is just the start of our communications about your return or your start at Roberts Wesleyan College. In the near future, look for additional information for student move-in dates, guidance for faculty and staff returning to the workplace and additional details about new campus operations.

The Roberts Restart website will be updated throughout the summer as more details are available. Additional information will be communicated directly to you through your Roberts email account, from the Roberts Restart Team.

I know there is a lot on your minds, and we will do everything possible to provide answers to the many questions you may have between now and August 24. During this time, we must all prepare for some inconveniences and align with new community standards and behaviors that will help ensure a safe campus. Thank you for your commitment to Roberts Restart 2020 including these important responsibilities.

We are looking forward to seeing you on campus and continuing to serve all of our students and campus community with education for character.

With Prayer and Optimism,

Dr. Deana L. Porterfield


Student Restart Guidelines

Student Restart Guidelines

  • Students taking onsite classes or coming to campus are required to complete a health screening before every class or visit to campus.
  • Northeastern Seminary (Roberts Hall) will be open to onsite students, only during scheduled class times. All meetings with faculty and staff outside of class time are encouraged to be held virtually or by appointment. Students taking all courses online in the fall are asked to limit their time on campus.
  • All buildings on campus will require an ID card to access. Students are to contact Faith Sharp at sharp_faith@roberts.edu to request a new card or to secure one if they are a new student.
  • Students are to wear their mask at all times. The Seminary will supply students with one at no cost if needed.
  • Keep 6 feet between yourself and others. Chairs and tables will be adjusted in each classroom to accommodate physical distancing requirements.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available at the entrance of Roberts Hall (Northeastern Seminary) and in common areas. 
  • Follow the 20-second rule when washing your hands and wash them often.

Be ready for your visit to campus, by reviewing the Campus Restart page entirely and by checking back for updates.

Questions? If you have any questions regarding your return to campus, please email restart@roberts.edu.

Health and Safety

To ensure we protect ourselves and each other:

To ensure we protect ourselves and each other through: 

  • Signage throughout the campus reinforcing rules
  • Maintaining a 6 foot physical distancing 
  • Wearing a face mask is required at all times while on campus (you can wear your own or the seminary will supply at no cost)
  • Required daily health screenings before coming to campus via an easy to use app
  • Hand Washing/sanitizing stations located around campus
  • Temperature check stations on campus available
  • Designated quarantine location for residential students
  • Enhanced standards for cleaning and sanitation where cleaning logs will be kept

A  safe and healthy environment to teach, learn, work and be in authentic community is our top priority. We will be enhancing sanitation efforts across campus and ask all to keep others in mind in order to ensure everyone’s safety. In coordination with federal, state and local guidance, we will ask you to practice physical distancing, wash your hands often, use hand sanitizer, maintain clean spaces and wear appropriate face coverings/masks (provided by the Seminary for those who need them), among other best practices. 

Custodial staff will continue to clean offices and workspaces according to CDC guidelines. The cleanliness of the physical campus is very important to stop the spread. Daily cleaning in academic buildings includes cleaning and disinfecting of tables and equipment, cleaning bathrooms and paying close attention to common touch and hard service areas. Academic buildings are disinfected using different cleaning products that are rotated. Carpets are cleaned and disinfected.  Individual dorm rooms are taken care of by the resident and we recommend bringing disinfectant cleaning products. In addition, disinfectant is available through the Facilities office. 

Individuals with COVID-19 symptoms or knowledge of exposure should seek medical care and must not report to work or class. We will post signage in campus buildings with these important reminders.

Faculty and Staff Updates

We are working to keep all faculty, staff, and students safe:

Check in. Swipe in. Be all in.

Considerations of all faculty and staff are being considered as we work through the best process for returning to campus. We are phasing in the return of our workforce with a focus on the health and safety of our community. Department Heads will be contacting employees about specific work arrangements for teams and individuals in the coming weeks. We will work with faculty and staff to balance individual needs with those of the school, unit or department. Faculty and staff will be asked to abide by the community standards for health and safety.

  • Health screenings/assessments are completed daily
  • 50% capacity in large work areas
  • Virtual meetings will continue
  • Signage toolkits available for personalized areas 
  • Employee building access documented through electronic card access system

For more information: https://rwc.roberts.edu/roberts-restart/


Academic Experience

All classes will be offered online in order to best serve all students:

Our goal is to offer as much flexibility for students and faculty as possible, while continuing to offer the highest quality education.

What health protocols will be in place on campus?

  • The campus library, computer labs and buildings will be open to students.
  • A physical distance of six feet between all persons will be required at all times. 
  • Students will be required to wear face masks to protect themselves and others. Students can bring their own, buy them at the bookstore, or get them through the Seminary for free.
  • Students coming to campus will be required to adhere to campus guidelines which will include maintaining physical distance from others and wearing a face mask. 
  • Everyone who comes to campus must attest to being in good health, report a temperature below 100 degrees for 24 hours, and wear a face mask.


Events and Visitors

Here is how we are preparing:

While nearly all of us have been off-campus during the past few months, our Facilities team has conducted a thorough deep-cleaning of all our buildings. They will continue to implement a carefully guided regimen of sanitation and disinfecting of all facilities, including residence halls. We will continue to monitor NYS and Monroe County health and safety guidelines throughout the academic year, making adjustments as needed.

Everyone on our campus will be expected to adhere to our community standards and public health guidelines to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, which include wearing face masks and practicing physical distancing.

  • No visitors will be permitted in campus buildings until August 3. After that time, administrative and academic visitors will be welcomed on a limited basis
  • Limited in-person events
  • Physical distancing and face coverings required

Have a Question or Concern

Have a question or concern:


NYS Reopening Plan

NYS Reopening Plan

For any information regarding the New York State reopening plan, please use this link.



Here is what people are asking:

Will the campus be open even if all Seminary courses are offered only online?

Yes. The campus including the library, computer labs, and Seminary building will be open to students. Students coming to campus will be required to adhere to campus guidelines around maintaining physical distance from others and wearing a face mask. 

If I normally take online courses, will there be any changes?

All online courses will run as scheduled. 

Will my classes include synchronous video meetings during the semester?

Yes! Most online courses at the Seminary include Zoom discussion times with other students and your professor. Assigned times for Zoom meetings are included in the course syllabus. Faculty teaching in Rochester may include some Zoom check-ins in the off-weeks between in-person class sessions.

What if my denomination requires me to meet in-person for my courses?

We continue to work with denominational partners to keep them up to date concerning our spring schedule. All denominations that require onsite classes (including United Methodist students) have provided a concession allowing students to take online or virtual classes at this time.

What are the plans for onsite classes starting in Fall 2021? 

No plans have yet been made for changes to the fall semester. We will update on any changes before registration for the fall semester begins in March. Any final decision will be made closer to the start of the semester.

What about Doctor of Ministry residency in June?

No plans have yet been made to change Doctor of Ministry residency. If changes are required, we will let students know no later than May 1.