March 9, 2020
To: Holy Cross Campus Community
Dear Members of the Campus Community,
As spring break ends and our community returns to full numbers, I am sure you are concerned about the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and the precautions that the College is taking to protect our community. Since mid-January, the College’s Emergency Response Team (“ERT”), which is being directed by Denielle Burl and Shawn de Jong, has been constantly monitoring international, national and state organizations including the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and following their guidance.
As always, the health and safety of our community members is our highest priority. We are not aware of any infection or exposure to the virus among members of the community at this time. Our focus over the coming weeks will be to protect our community members to the best of our ability while allowing our students to complete their coursework for this semester. And while we also hope to continue campus life to the extent possible, we should all expect disruptions to our typical ways of proceeding in order to minimize the risk of severe illness among community members while also allowing this semester’s coursework to progress in whatever ways make sense given the circumstances. We will all need to be flexible as we navigate through this rapidly evolving situation.
As you have seen from recent emails and can see on the website the ERT has launched to keep the community and parents informed, we have taken precautions on campus and issued some restrictions in order to minimize illness in the community and complete the semester. You can find the latest information related to international and domestic travel, campus events, what to do if you are ill, prevention measures and other related topics on this website. The situation is constantly changing and fluid, and the ERT is monitoring and meeting continuously to address issues as they arise. Faculty and educational technology staff have been asked to develop contingency plans to allow students to complete their coursework should the College need to close or to support faculty or students who cannot be on campus due to illness or exposure to the virus. As the situation develops, we will continue to update you by email and to post the latest information on the site.
The uncertainty and apprehension inherent in this situation can be distressing as we follow the news and care for ourselves and our families, while also trying to continue our day to day lives. It will be important that we all follow the guidelines being issued to minimize the risk of infection to ourselves and other members of the community, support one another, and follow the lead and directives of the ERT in the coming weeks. If you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious, I encourage you to avail yourselves of the many resources available to you through the Counseling Center, Chaplain’s Office, Class Deans, Student Affairs, the Office of International Students and the Office of Multicultural Education. For employees, please don’t hesitate to use the Employee Assistance Program.
I want to thank the ERT for all of their work to date and all the work they will be undertaking in the weeks ahead. The health and safety of our community members is a shared responsibility. I thank you in advance for your cooperation with the established and future guidelines.
I know you join me in praying for those around the world who are ill and the families who have been impacted by the virus, as well as those who are especially vulnerable, including older people, those with underlying medical issues and people who may not have access to medical resources and community support.
Philip L. Boroughs, S.J.