Coronavirus Preparedness

Pittsburgh Theological Seminary is taking preventative measures to protect the well-being of our community as the coronavirus outbreak continues to be a rapidly changing situation. 

Here you'll see several campus communications regarding the coronavirus and related resources.

June 5, 2020

Dear PTS Community,

The temptation can be great in a time like this to react out of a sense of our own strength - to fix our culturally-embedded racism or to cure a global pandemic. I am grateful for colleagues like the Rev. Ayana Teter, director of vocational discernment and placement, who invites us in this week’s message to find healing in the one whose yoke is easy and burden is light, even and especially when we feel vulnerable.

God’s peace to you,

David Esterline, President


Late one evening I was laying on my bed crying out to the Lord. Full disclosure—I could not sleep. And because sleep almost always comes to me swift and sweet and gentle, I was troubled that sleep had not yet come on this particular night. In my heart I cried, “Lord, what does this all mean?” Now, my most immediate thoughts were of my mild insomnia . . . and how swift and upending and devastating the last three months of our lives have been. 

Out of that silence, I sensed the Lord’s invitation to reflect on the following question, “What do you desire from your children when they are ill? And almost immediately I was flooded with images of my children—my youngest son sick with a winter cold, my eldest daughter with the stomach flu, my middle child battling a fever just days before the world shutdown. As I remembered the most recent time when each of them had looked up piteously from their sick bed, a clear answer came to my mind—I want them to rest and to fight! When my children are ill, I want them to rest—to suspend activity, stop their normal routine, and allow all of their bodily energy to go toward recovery. And I want them to fight, that is to participate with me in the healing process. Often my children’s participation involves taking a dose of medicine that is “yucky,” eating a small bowl of soup even when they are “not hungry,” or drinking a warm cup of tea even when they “feel hot.” In other words, it is an invitation to engage in what I know will heal, nourish, and strengthen their bodies.  

As I lay there with my memories of motherhood a new realization dawned upon me—a deep feeling of parental solidarity with the Lord. It was as if the Lord spoke an answer to my original cry declaring that His children, too, are ill. And that we are—I was—invited to rest and to participate in God’s healing work. Since that extraordinary evening, I have found myself repeatedly questioning, “Where do we need healing?” and “How can I participate in the Lord’s healing work?” As I read the news each morning and evening I discover many different answers to the former question—our national sickness is on display for the world to see. The answer of how to participate in the healing is more challenging and requires of me vulnerability, humility, and risk. Yet I have not stopped asking these two questions—willing to submit to the light of God’s love for inspection. And while I try to participate in what seems like a complete transfusion, with God’s love and justice still permeating our culture of death, I am thankful that as part of the transformation, there is an invitation to rest.


Previous Messages

Health Care Tips

  • Wash your hands often with soap and hot water for 20 seconds, and make sure you wash your thumbs, wrists, and in-between your fingers. This is the best defense against the spread of all viruses.
  • Stay home when you are ill. A day or two of rest will assure quicker recovery and decrease the spread of infectious illness on campus.
  • Cover your cough/sneeze with a tissue or the crook of your arm, and then promptly wash your hands or use hand sanitizer if soap and water is not available.
  • Get plenty of rest/sleep.
  • Get the seasonal flu vaccine. Though not protective against coronavirus, the seasonal vaccine may prevent against flu, which is known to cause possible severe respiratory illness.

Symptoms for Coronavirus May Include

  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • A general feeling of being ill

Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Communities

Protect yourself and your community from getting and spreading respiratory illnesses like coronavirus. Everyone has a role to play in getting ready and staying healthy. Check resources from the CDC about best ways to prevent the spread of diseases like COVID-19 in your community. 


PTS signed and returned certification with the U.S. government allowing access to funding to help students fund COVID-19 related expenses. PTS received a total of $40,736 of which regulation requires at least 50 percent be given directly to students. PTS decided the entire $40,736 will go to students in the form of emergency grants. 

PTS has approximately 175 students eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. However, only 37 students applied for COVID-19 emergency funding. To solicit applications PTS directly e-mailed all current students and invited application.To determine award amounts students self-reported their need and were awarded accordingly. Thirty-three students were awarded grants from the $40,736. We will continue to update this information every 45 days per federal regulation.