End of Semester and Looking Ahead

December 22, 2020

Dear Members of the Campus Community,

It’s difficult to fathom that we have reached the end of this unusual semester and tumultuous year. Twelve months ago, we never could have anticipated the extraordinary challenges 2020 would bring for the Holy Cross community, beginning with a tragic accident, continuing with racial violence, recession and a challenging election, and ending in the midst of a global pandemic that has us dispersed across the country rather than together on Mount St. James. And yet we persevered. As we do at Holy Cross, we worked together, we supported each other and we moved forward with generosity of spirit.

And while this holiday season will likely not be filled with the usual gatherings of family and friends, I pray that all of you enjoy a peaceful, restful and healthy break from work and study.

I am aware that you are all watching the rising number of cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts and across the country. At the same time, we have also seen several colleges and universities, due to robust surveillance testing, rigorous health and safety measures and vital observance of them by their students, manage the virus and complete a semester in person. We continue to move forward with our plans for the January term and an in-person spring semester. Approximately 1,950 students have told us they plan to live on campus in the spring, and another 800 or so will live locally off campus. With strict adherence to the health and safety guidelines, daily symptom checking and at least twice weekly testing, we feel hopeful that we can have a safe and well-earned semester together. 

Earlier this month, we saw the governor take a small step back in the state’s reopening plan and a few cities, including Boston, roll back even further. Those changes affected the operations of some businesses across the commonwealth. So we must acknowledge the possibility that, if numbers continue to trend negatively, further state restrictions could touch higher education. In that case, we would have to adjust. But unless and until that happens, we are moving full speed ahead towards welcoming students back for the January term right after the new year and the spring term at the end of next month. Our plans are sound, and we are looking forward to being together again on the Hill.

May the peace of Christ and a spirit of hope and joy bless your lives and those of your family.


Philip L. Boroughs, S.J.