Office of the President Header
Dear Members of the Stonehill Community,

I write with an update on our plans for the fall 2020 semester. In considering local and national trends with COVID-19 cases, ongoing CDC guidance, and the Commonwealth’s phased reopening process, we are continuing with our commitment to move forward with a return to in-person instruction and on-campus activities this coming fall.

I recognize these are most difficult days and am mindful of the public health inequities that disproportionately impact various members of our community. It is so important that we educate ourselves on the complex and widespread effects that racism has on the health of those from marginalized communities and ensure that we take steps on our campus to address these disparities.

At Stonehill, we are a community of scholarship and faith—where students are challenged and nurtured in face-to-face conversations, interactions, and experiential learning opportunities. As a result, they hone skills vital for our world today—how to collaborate, build consensus, and lead by example. Without students, our campus is not whole. With revised plans for fall underway, we have an opportunity to return to that model - one that inspires both the minds and hearts of our students.

Having reviewed multiple scenarios and in keeping the health and safety of the Stonehill community in mind, the College will implement the following revised fall academic calendar:

  Notable events
 Thu., Aug. 20  Class of 2024 Fall Orientation begins
 (with phased move-in throughout the week)
 Sat., Aug. 22  Returning Student Move-in (staggered throughout August)
 Mon., Aug. 24  Classes begin
 Mon., Sep. 7  Labor Day—classes held
 Mon., Oct. 12  Fall Break—classes held
 Tue., Nov. 24 &
 Wed., Nov. 25
 Residence Halls will close
 Wed., Nov. 25  Classes end
 Mon., Nov. 30  Reading Day
 Tue., Dec. 1-8  Final Exams: Take home or online

Specifically, the College is working to implement the following changes for the fall semester:

  • Classes will begin a week earlier on Monday, August 24th. 
  • Starting the first week of August, students will be provided the opportunity to move their belongings into the residence halls through a phased-in approach. Residence Life will coordinate and communicate this detailed process to students next month. 
    • First-year students will complete the move-in process the week of August 17th and begin fall orientation on Thursday, August 20th 
    • Returning students will complete the move-in process the weekend of August 22nd and 23rd. 
  • To minimize risks due to possible travel over breaks, classes will be held on Labor Day and during the previously scheduled Fall Break in October.
  • Classes will end prior to Thanksgiving on Wednesday, November 25th.
  • Residence Halls will close on Tuesday and Wednesday, November 24th and 25th.
  • Reading Day will be held on November 30th.
  • Final Exams will be administered in take-home and online formats from Tuesday, December 1st through Tuesday, December 8th.

Through this revised schedule and with additional precautions in place, we hope to mitigate the health risks to our community. In addition to these scheduling changes, the College will take great care in preparing for in-person instruction. We will implement limits on the size of in-person classes and meetings, physical distancing protocols, and enhanced cleaning and sanitizing schedules for all public spaces. As we know, we must anticipate possible disruptions during the fall semester, all courses will be designed to accommodate a hybrid in-person and online structure, and faculty will be prepared to teach in a completely online environment if necessary.

I recognize that this path to reopening brings many changes to campus life and how we interact with one another. These changes bring with them added tasks and responsibilities for all of our community members. Please know how grateful I am for your dedication and efforts in support of our educational mission during this challenging time.

In particular, I want to acknowledge the work of both the Emergency Response Group and the Academic Planning Task Force, whose members have worked so effectively to develop the procedures and guidelines necessary to reopen our campus. Thanks to their collective effort, I know that life on campus this fall will be as vibrant and engaging as possible.

Guided by our core principles of light and hope, we have the ability, resources, and strength of character to not only address challenges ahead, but to also continue our transformative educational experience. Please know that in the days ahead, we will be in touch with further updates. In the meantime, I pray that you and your family are safe and healthy.


(Rev.) John Denning, C.S.C.