March 17, 2020

Surviving a Pandemic: Coronavirus 2020 


The world as we know it has changed, and it continues to change by the minute. As I write this message and as you read it, many of us were scheduled to be in Charleston at this time for our annual AABHE Conference.  Last week those plans were changed as the executive leadership of our organization following much consternation and deliberation wisely decided to postpone the conference due to the the coronavirus pandemic. 

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The sheer health devastation of the virus and speed of its spread is staggering.  On March 14th there were 156,098 confirmed COVID-19 cases and a resulting 5,819 deaths worldwide. Just three days later those numbers jumped to 197,167 and 7,905, respectively.  Additionally, the spread of this virus worldwide has resulted in a seismic shock to world economies, the abrupt end to most face-to-face academic instruction, shutdowns of major sporting events and other programs, and a panic of shoppers hoarding everything from medical supplies, food, and incredulously, toilet paper.


As the number of people infected increased across the U.S., subsequent results yielded an inordinate amount of misinformation, closed schools and universities, and forced those who could continue to work to work from home. These unprecedented times have resulted in the shuttering of places of entertainment, recreation, and even places of worship.


The amazing thing is that we are a resilient people.  We will make it through this.  And believe me (Evelyn, notice I started my sentence with a conjunction J) this may be a longer time than some folks are anticipating.  No matter the challenge, many of us are people of faith and have that faith on which to rely.  We all have each other and it is important at times like this that we constantly check on one another and those we care about.


Upon reflection on all that transpired over the last couple of weeks, again I am grateful for our board and for each of you. We are indeed a good organization made up of people who care and people who know how to do the right thing. Please be extra kind (not just nice) and help someone else.  Thanks again everyone for your diligence and dedication during these trying times.  Once again, I am very proud of how we come together and work for the best interests of others, of AABHE, our respective institutions, and ultimately our students.


Continue to do good work,


  • The AABHE 2020 National Conference has been rescheduled for October 21-23, 2020.  We are working with the hotel to re-secure arrangements.  In the meantime, registration fees paid for the March 18-21 conference can be applied to the rescheduled conference, (Oct. 21-23), next year's conference in San Diego (March 2021), or by request, a refund can be processed minus the $100 administrative processing fee.

  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has some valuable information for everyone

  • A few tips on how to work from home without losing your mind:

    • Create a schedule: start time, end time, lunch and break times

    • Get dressed, (put on shoes); don’t work in your pajamas

    • Create a separate place to work with limited distractions

    • When you work, work; don’t do household chores, watch tv, etc.

    • Communicate with your co-workers; text, phone, stay in touch

    • When you are done working, you are done. Go home. Oh wait, you’re already there!

    • Check out this from NPR and other articles on working remotely:

“It’s all about the students”,

Dereck J. Rovaris, Sr
Dr. Dereck J. Rovaris, Sr.
President, AABHE