Update: All In-person classes moving online

March 17, 2020 BK LI

It seems hard to believe that only just a week ago I had to inform the College community that we were temporarily canceling all in-person classes and extending Spring Break through March 27. At that time, I stated that it was possible that we may have to cancel our in-person classes for the remainder of the semester. Sadly, today I must announce that we are taking this step. The safety and well-being of each of you is of utmost importance to me, and this thought is what guides me in my decision today. The current state of the COVID-19 outbreak is such that a resumption of our regular academic activities is impossible without putting members of our community at risk.

For this reason, St. Joseph’s College is moving all in-person classes to virtual and online formats as of Monday, March 30; we will continue using these formats for the remainder of the term. Faculty members will only have access and use of their offices and other campus facilities on an ‘as needed’ basis and in consultation with their Executive Deans. While some staff members may be asked to be present on campus on a limited basis, this will be done sparingly and only when absolutely necessary. Additionally, the great majority of our staff will continue to work from home and be available virtually during regular business hours. Again, this should be done in consultation with their VPs and Unit Managers.

Moreover, along with in-person classes being cancelled, all campus activities for the remainder of the semester have also been cancelled. A decision about our Commencement ceremonies will be made in the coming weeks; if no traditional event can be scheduled in this case, the College will examine other options. Should you have any questions about the abovementioned steps, I encourage you to reach out to the appropriate contacts listed here who will be able to best answer your questions.

There will also be further announcements in the coming hours for students and faculty. The Provost and Executive Deans will have detailed messages for faculty members with information about virtual teaching, registration and approaches to various challenges that may arise in the coming weeks. The Office of the Vice President for Student Life will send out communications regarding counseling, the Career Center, PASS, Campus Ministry and residence hall information.

For students, faculty and staff, I know that canceling in-person learning and our campus events is a huge disappointment. What binds our community together is our sense of family, unity and the charisms of our founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph. Having to leave our campuses and remove ourselves from our close friends and colleagues is not easy for a community like ours. At times like these, however, the wisdom of the Sisters can sustain us. One of my favorite Maxims of Jean-Pierre Médalle, used by the Sisters in their spirituality, says it all: In times of trouble, trust firmly that you are an instrument of God’s dream.

I know all of you are instruments of that dream, and together we will overcome this crisis and return to our wonderful campuses, and to life as usual, in the very near future.