Mar. 11 Community Update on COVID-19
Dear Stonehill Community Members,
At our core, the Stonehill community is one of scholarship and faith, guided by a mission of educating the whole person so that we each think, act, and lead with courage toward the creation of a more just and compassionate world. That work remains central to everything we do, but we cannot fulfill its promise without a safe and healthy campus environment.
To date, the reach and impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has moved us to make a number of changes in an effort to ensure the well-being of our community. Today I write to share additional measures we are taking to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, while minimizing any impact to the academic progress of our students.
As of today, there are 95 confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, none of which are associated with the College. Governor Charlie Baker has declared a state of emergency and has strongly encouraged businesses, institutions, and individuals to take a number of precautionary steps to help mitigate the disease’s impact on public health in the Commonwealth. As a result, the College has decided to take the following proactive steps.
Shift to Remote Learning
Extended Spring Break: Spring Break will continue through Tuesday, March 17, two days later than originally scheduled. Residence halls will be closed and will tentatively re-open on Sunday, March 29 to hopefully resume in-person classes on March 30.
Remote Learning: Beginning on Wednesday, March 18, courses will recommence through remote, online instruction and continue in that format through Friday, March 27. Students should monitor their email for specific instructions related to each of their classes. We will make a determination on whether to extend remote learning and share an update prior to March 27.
Retrieving Belongings: If necessary, from Sunday, March 15 through Tuesday, March 17 until 6 p.m., students may return to campus to retrieve all materials necessary for short-term remote learning, including computers, textbooks, notebooks, essential papers and other equipment. Students cannot stay overnight during this period, and while on campus, we ask that they limit their time spent and interactions with others. Please note that students who have traveled to or through a Level 2 or 3 country may not access campus until they have returned from that country and been symptom free for 14 days.
Students Needing to Stay on Campus: While we are asking students to stay home through March 29, we realize that some may need to remain on campus given extenuating circumstances, including some international students and spring varsity athletes. For those students, residence halls will be open, and there will be access to revised dining hall options. If you believe you have extenuating circumstances that require you to stay on campus during this period, please fill out this form and the College will reach out to you directly.
Cleaning Campus: Prior to Spring Break, the College followed guidance provided by the CDC to disinfect and deep clean our campus, especially social spaces. Once students collect their belongings, another round of deep cleaning will take place.
Technology and Training: On Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17, resources will continue to be provided to assist faculty as they transition to online instruction. Additional information will be shared with faculty shortly.
No College-Sponsored Travel: The College is suspending all non-essential international and domestic travel, including conferences for faculty and staff, through April 30. Additionally, we are discouraging all personal international travel. We will re-evaluate this matter in the future.
Athletic Events: All spring varsity athletics events will continue as scheduled. Any schedule changes will be noted on the Athletics’ website.
Large Gatherings: All campus-wide events will be cancelled through March 27. We will evaluate future events and consider rescheduling cancelled events on a case-by-case basis.
Faculty and Staff
Work Schedule: Following guidance from the CDC, faculty and staff will continue their work from campus, including on Monday and Tuesday of the extended Spring Break. Human Resources has issued additional guidance, available online, that covers specifics including teleworking, childcare in the event of K-12 and daycare closings, and precautions the College will take for individuals who are at high risk for contracting COVID-19.
I recognize that this is a substantial change that will have a deep impact on our community. I ask for your patience and collaboration during this challenging time. Please know that I am committed to navigating a way through the COVID-19 outbreak, while preserving our academic programs and sense of community that make Stonehill such a special place for us all.
We will continue to provide regular updates on how we are responding to COVID-19 and recognize that we may need to make further adjustments as the situation continues to evolve. I am grateful for your understanding and confident the Stonehill community will come together and set an example of light and hope for one another and our greater community.
Yours in Holy Cross,
Fr. John Denning, C.S.C.