Dear Students and Families,
Since we announced on October 16 our intention to invite all students who wish to be on campus back for the spring semester, we have been working to finalize our plans. I know that you have been eagerly awaiting details, and I appreciate your patience. We are committed to bringing our students back to campus and it is important that we do so in a manner that minimizes the risks of COVID-19 to members of our campus and local community. I am writing today to share with you our detailed plan in the form of a Preliminary Guide to the January and Spring 2021 Terms for Students and Families. The guide contains information about academics, housing, campus life, testing and isolation/quarantine protocols, and health and safety measures. I encourage you to read it carefully, as some of the information has changed since the fall.
We want to be back together, and we are confident in, and committed to, our plans. We have learned many lessons over the course of the fall with limited students on campus and we have collaborated with our peer institutions as well as the local public health authorities to develop this updated plan that builds on our collective wisdom from the fall semester. Unfortunately, we also must recognize that serious public health concerns could prevent us from being together. New cases of COVID-19 are on the rise in Massachusetts, prompting the governor to issue a new stay at home advisory, a new limit on gathering sizes and a face covering order this week in hopes of slowing the spread and not requiring a rollback to Phase 1 or 2 of his reopening plan. In keeping with Massachusetts guidelines, the state must remain in Phase 3 for colleges and universities to operate at full capacity. Our COVID-19 Response and Reopening website includes a COVID-19 dashboard which tracks critical state, local and college metrics which we are watching closely as we head towards the spring semester. In January, we will add more metrics related to campus testing, testing compliance, and isolation and quarantine capacity to this page.
We will be incorporating the information from the Preliminary Guide, including a list of key dates, onto the COVID-19 Response and Reopening website in the coming week, and we will resume our weekly update emails next week to keep you informed of any new details, remind you of important dates, answer questions that have come in, and update you on the status of the metrics. We will be monitoring the email@example.com email account as well, so please send any questions there, noting that academic questions are best answered by your class dean and housing questions can be directed to Residence Life.
The spring semester will certainly be different from any we have had on campus. We will be limited in how we can gather and in what spaces. To accommodate health and safety guidelines, many activities and events that we typically look forward to may be cancelled or modified, and many of our classes will be remote. But we will be together. Our faculty and staff are creating new ways of engaging in person and developing events and activities that comply with health and safety requirements. I know that with the creativity, dedication and resilience of our community, we will have a fulfilling, even if challenging, semester in community together. I look forward to seeing you soon on Mount St. James.
Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J.