April 7, 2020

Dear Wake Forest students approved to live off campus,

Because we have no way of knowing which students might still be in Winston-Salem, we are erring on the side of the broadest inclusion possible with this information and are sending this message to families of students who were approved to live off campus. If you are not in Winston-Salem, please disregard this message.

I hope this message finds you well and thriving in the “new normal” we find ourselves in with COVID-19. It has been a whirlwind for students, faculty, and staff alike. I am writing today to share some important information about expectations for students living off-campus. Please read this entire message, as it is crucial that all off-campus students are kept in the loop about recommended public health and safety recommendations to which you must adhere.

Peak incidence of COVID-19: next 2-3 weeks

As we enter this first full week of April, public health officials are predicting that the peak incidence of COVID-19 cases in the United States will occur in the next 2-3 weeks. Our public health authorities in North Carolina and locally here in Winston-Salem are predicting a similar peak of cases later this month.

Why social distancing is so necessary right now?

The social distancing measures in place are especially critical for those most at risk for complications from this virus, including the elderly and individuals with underlying medical problems including asthma, abnormal immune systems, and diabetes (problems that are not rare in our students). Social distancing measures are sometimes hard for us to understand, and can be difficult to follow.

We know you have developed strong social bonds with your friends and classmates here at Wake Forest, and may struggle to establish new and effective ways to be engaged socially with each other in light of these public health restrictions. Please be vigilant in negotiating these social distancing requirements. Try to remain connected to your friends virtually while maintaining a “safe” distance. It is important for all of us, especially in the next month, to be diligent about following the public health recommendations.

Stay at Home Orders

Beginning Friday, March 27 at 5 p.m. we shifted from social distancing to being under the City of Winston-Salem’s “stay at home” order and affirmed by the University in this communication from March 25. Additionally, since Monday, March 30 at 5 p.m. the State of North Carolina is under a statewide “stay at home order”. Non-essential business and organizations have been closed; this has helped all of our citizens to become aware of the need to avoid public places and public gatherings.

Critical actions students need to take

We need you to avoid private gatherings such as having friends over for socializing, allowing guests to sleep over in your homes or apartments, and meeting for “end of the week” celebrations.

We continue to hear from local neighbors and community members that there are student gatherings of more than 10 people or smaller gatherings where students are not staying at least 6’ apart. We need you to avoid gathering with friends in ways that do not respect the city and state stay-at-home orders that are in effect.

University Response to Violations of Stay-At-Home Orders

This email serves as a reminder that the University’s Code of Conduct remains in effect. Complaints regarding possible violations of the Code, including violations of the city and state stay-at-home orders, will be reviewed and addressed under the Code.

Examples of violations of the stay-at-home order may include, but are not limited to:

  • gatherings of more than 10 people,
  • gatherings where people are not maintaining appropriate social distancing (6′ between individuals)
  • If one of your neighbors believes that you are violating the order, this is the process that will take place.

WFU Shelter in Place for off campus students

Your health and wellbeing are of paramount importance to the University. Thank you for working with us to help our community to remain safe during this pandemic.


Matt Clifford, EdD
Assistant Vice President of Campus Life
and Dean of Residence Life and Housing