May 21: An Update from Stonehill College
Fr. John Denning follows up on Governor Baker's plan to reopen the Commonwealth, which will play a critical role as the College works to welcome students back to campus.
May 21, 2020
Dear Stonehill Students and Families,
With the academic year now concluded, I want to again recognize our students, as well as our faculty and staff, for the many ways in which they came together in response to the current pandemic. With great spirit, they rallied to keep our academic program on track and our community as safe as possible, and I am deeply grateful for those efforts.
On Monday, Governor Baker presented his plan to reopen the Commonwealth. We were awaiting his announcement, as the College intends to resume classes on campus this coming fall, and the guidelines in the Governor’s plan will play a critical role in ensuring we do so safely and effectively. In reviewing these guidelines, I believe they offer us a path forward in welcoming our students back on campus in August.
The College’s Emergency Response Group (ERG)—a team of individuals from across the institution—has been hard at work developing the procedures and guidelines necessary to open campus, first in the near-term for employees and then for the start of the 2020-2021 academic year. Central to their work is ensuring the health and wellbeing of our students, faculty, and staff and adherence to the guidelines set forth by local, state, and federal officials.
Following the Governor’s announcement, our ERG shared the College’s Return to Campus Guidelines with our faculty and staff for their review and feedback. While this living and evolving document is aimed at employees, it represents Stonehill’s focus on safety as we begin to welcome our community members back to campus. Our staff is also working on similar student-centered documents regarding living and learning at the College.
Along with the work of our ERG, I have also convened a task force, co-chaired by Deans Debra Salvucci and Peter Ubertaccio, that is charged with developing a comprehensive academic plan for the upcoming year. This plan will cover all aspects of teaching and learning on campus, including the structure of our course schedules; models for in-person, remote, and hybrid course delivery; and an updated academic calendar. Please be assured that I will share a more detailed update on fall academics with our College community in June.
In the interim, we will continue to review all new guidance from government and public officials and update our plans as needed. Given our steadfast commitment, I am confident that Stonehill is ready to take all necessary steps to ensure we can be back on campus in the fall, if permitted to do so.
I recognize that reopening for the upcoming academic year will necessitate changes to campus life and how we interact with one another. Nevertheless, I trust that life at Stonehill next fall will be as vibrant and engaging as ever. I look forward to seeing our students again soon, as the College is not whole without their presence on campus.
We have a strong and close-knit community at Stonehill, one guided by our core principles of Light and Hope. We have the ability, resources, and strength of character to not only address this challenge, but to offer an even stronger educational experience—one that inspires both the minds and hearts of our students.
I will be in touch again with you in the coming weeks with further updates. In the meantime, I pray that you and your family are safe and healthy.
(Rev.) John Denning, C.S.C.