The following message was sent to parents and families of the Class of 2020 on April 29; it includes a message that was sent to all seniors on April 29.

Dear parents and families of the Class of 2020,

I am reaching out to you today to share important information so that your students can make the best decisions possible for their health and safety and the safety of our community. We just sent the message below to your students and need your partnership in reinforcing the need to practice social distancing so we can limit the impact of COVID-19.

As you will see below, some seniors are planning to return to Winston-Salem to celebrate the end of their Wake Forest career in the same way they would have done at the beaches during post-exams. In the interest of public health, we need your help in discouraging them from doing so.

While we rejoice in the strong connections and bonds of friendship within the Class of 2020, nothing is worth jeopardizing our students’ continued health and safety. We are grateful for your partnership in helping them understand the public health and governmental mandates that we are all living under right now.

We look forward to celebrating the Class of 2020 when it is safe to do so. I wish continued safety for you and your families.

Penny Rue
Vice President for Campus Life


To the Class of 2020,

I hope this message finds you healthy and safe. My heart breaks for your class, as you have lost so many important moments and milestones due to COVID-19. Your strength and resilience in the face of this adversity have been amazing to witness, and I could not be more proud of all the ways you have weathered this storm.

You have been at Wake Forest for four years and understand our motto, Pro Humanitate, or “for humanity.” Now is the time when we must ask you to truly live out that motto and make hard decisions for the benefit of others.

This is the last week of classes, and normally it would be a time when seniors are thinking of post-exams and having one last group vacation with friends before Commencement. We are aware of rumors that seniors are preparing to return to Winston-Salem to be with their friends in the days and weeks leading up to the virtual conferring of degrees on May 18. While I understand the urge to be with your friends and gather one last time as students, for the safety of our community and the safety of residents that live in the immediate area, we strongly urge you not to return for this purpose.

Wake Forest – and Winston-Salem in general – have experienced relatively low rates of COVID-19 infection. Our community has remained safe because of our vigilance in social distancing practices, and it is important that we continue these successful efforts. We strongly discourage students from returning to Winston-Salem for in-person social connection at this time.

North Carolina remains under a stay at home order through May 8; it is possible that the governor, the county, or the city may extend this order. It is also important to remember that campus – including Deacon Place – is still closed and is only accessible to students approved to live on campus and essential employees. Off-campus students cannot access campus or residence halls, including Deacon Place.

All of us are required to abide by the directives of the stay-at-home order, which specifies that people may congregate in groups no larger than 10 people and must maintain six feet of distance between each person. The order also allows people to leave their residences only for the following reasons:

  • Seeking emergency services, obtaining medical supplies or medication, or visiting a health care professional for medical services that cannot be provided virtually (please reschedule all routine, non-essential appointments)
  • Picking up to-go meals
  • Going to local stores for supplies and services, including groceries and food, household consumer products and supplies to do work from home
  • Performing work that provides essential services
  • Outdoor activity, keeping six feet away from others

If neighbors or community members believe there are parties taking place and contact the police, you could be subject to Winston-Salem Police Department consequences, as well as student code of conduct violations, as outlined here.

We all have a moral obligation to do all we can to reduce the potential for COVID-19 to spread. Social distancing is a vital and necessary part of the equation, as it helps reduce risks to essential workers and healthcare workers serving our community and to individuals who are immunocompromised or especially vulnerable to this infection.

We are actively trying to do our part to slow the rate of spread of this virus and are asking the same of you. Please make the best possible decision for your health and safety – and the safety of campus and Winston-Salem – and do not return in May for in-person social connection.

Penny Rue
Vice President for Campus Life