President Patrick Leahy and Communication faculty Matt Harmon share updates about Monmouth University.
Monmouth University President Patrick Leahy spends some time with faculty member Matt Harmon to discuss a variety of issues that COVID-19 is having on the student population at Monmouth
Dear Monmouth Students:
Since the first message to all of you on Feb. 7, I have promised an aggressive, yet measured approach in our response to this global pandemic, which arrived recently in Monmouth County and is currently expanding in the region. The safety and welfare of those entrusted to our care is now — and always will be — our top priority.
Given Governor Murphy’s most recent executive order, as well as the public health professionals’ best estimates of the pandemic’s trajectory and timeline, we have little choice but to continue remote instruction and learning for the duration of the spring semester. We held out on making this decision as long as possible in the hope that we might all be together again before the end of the semester, but, unfortunately, that no longer looks possible. We join nearly all of the other higher education institutions in New Jersey in making this very difficult decision to suspend in-person instruction for the entire semester. While we will be unable to gather on campus as one Monmouth community, we remain committed to offering you in this remote learning environment the personalized education that you expect from us, enabling each of you to continue to make progress on your academic journey.
The decision to extend remote instruction and learning through the end of the semester prompts a cascade of other considerations, including the following.
- Grading. In collaboration with the Provost, the Faculty Council has approved a flexible grading policy for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester. At the conclusion of the semester, faculty will award letter grades to students for their work. Once standard letter grades are posted, students may choose to keep some or all of those standard grades (A-F), or they may choose to have some or all of the grades recorded as Pass/Fail (P/F). This policy offers the most flexibility possible for students. The Provost will provide the full policy details and considerations for students under separate cover.
- On-Campus Work. We have worked to preserve all on-campus student employment opportunities, wherever possible, for the remainder of the semester. Students will continue to be paid for work performed, though they have been asked to work remotely, just as full-time staff have been asked to do so. In addition, we will honor graduate assistantships and Federal Work Study awards. Please be in touch with your campus supervisor for more details.
- Residential Move-out. The Office of Residential Life will conduct the move-out process over a 14-day period, beginning Thursday, March 26. In adherence to the strict social distancing guidelines set forth by the State of New Jersey, students will be required to make an appointment to recover their belongings and may be accompanied by no more than one person. Area coordinators will provide detailed instructions, including the scheduled days for specific buildings, either later today or tomorrow. To comply with the executive order, the move-out process cannot begin until March 26, so be on the lookout for more information soon.
- Refunds. The Board of Trustees has approved a policy to ensure that all students will receive prorated refunds or credits on unused room contracts, meal plans, and parking fees. All refunds and credits will be prorated for the period beginning March 23, 2020 through the end of the semester. Additional details will be shared shortly.
- Commencement. The University is committed to hosting traditional, in-person, graduation ceremonies for both undergraduate and graduate students in order to properly celebrate our students’ achievements. The May dates will be postponed to a time later this summer when public health officials deem it safe to hold such celebrations. Details will be forthcoming.
- Summer International Trips. All faculty-led and study abroad summer programs are cancelled for the Summer 2020 sessions. Making this decision now protects students against incurring any fees that might be unrecoverable later.
- Summer Courses. At this point, summer courses will continue as scheduled. We encourage students to register for these courses as normal. Any change to the mode of delivery or to the schedule of classes will be communicated later in the spring, as the public health situation dictates.
We will continue to provide additional information in the days and weeks ahead. Please check your Monmouth e-mail on a daily basis for updates.
Lastly, I understand the hardship these trying times can create for students, especially those with limited financial means. To that end, I have established a President’s Relief Fund that can provide small grants to students to relieve financial pressures during this difficult time. Please visit monmouth.edu/relief to fill out a simple appeal form. Resources are limited, so I cannot guarantee that every appeal will be funded, but let’s try.
President Kennedy once said: “Do not pray for easy lives; pray to be stronger men and women.” I pray that all of us can summon additional strength to navigate these turbulent times. Together, we will weather this storm and make Monmouth University better than ever. If you have any questions or comments regarding these decisions, please feel free to contact my office directly email@example.com. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and will ensure each message gets a response.
Thank you for being a part of the Monmouth University community.
Dr. Patrick F. Leahy
In order to meet ongoing student needs during this COVID-19 crisis, Counseling and Psychological Services is committed to providing support for all Monmouth University students and will be transitioning to appointments via phone or video in the coming days.
- Students with an appointment scheduled within the next two weeks or had an appointment scheduled in the past two weeks will be contacted by your CPS counselor by email to confirm or reschedule your appointment. If you were meeting with a clinical trainee, a member of the senior clinical staff will contact you.
- Students with routine issues or questions, or those wishing to make an appointment with a CPS counselor, can leave a message at 732-571-7517 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. CPS staff will be regularly checking voice and email messages during typical hours of operation (Monday through Friday, 8:45 AM to 5:00 PM). Students should expect a response within one business day for answers to routine questions or to schedule a future appointment.
- For all emergency and urgent situations (i.e., thoughts of killing yourself or others, feeling an imminent risk to yourself or others, hearing or seeing things that are not there), students should call MUPD at 732-571-4444 or 911. MUPD will collaborate with the counselor on duty from CPS, if necessary.
- By calling CPS or scheduling a phone or video appointment, you are consenting to receive a response and/or services from CPS electronically or digitally.
- Due to New Jersey regulations and licensing board statutes, CPS staff might be unable to provide clinical services to you, depending on where you currently reside. In these cases, we will work with you to identify resources in your area.
- If you are a Monmouth County resident, the Monmouth County Health Department has a phone bank staffed by Disaster Response Crisis Counselors (DRCCs) to discuss any increased anxiety, fear, and worry associated with the pandemic. The phone bank is available from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM, and can be reached at 732-845-2070.
Andrew J. Lee, Psy.D.
Counseling and Psychological Services
Earlier today, Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order directing all New Jersey residents to stay home until further notice. Additionally, State Police Colonel Patrick Callahan issued an Administrative Order directing the immediate closure of all college and university libraries and computer labs until further notice.
In response to this most recent guidance, we have had to modify some of the planned accommodations for student access to technology and our campus dining operation. Specifically, we have closed the Guggenheim Memorial Library, as well as all computer labs on campus, and have limited campus food services.
I recognize that some of you were relying on the use of campus computer labs and technology centers to participate in remote learning and instruction. If you are a student who has been adversely affected by this change, i.e., you are unable to participate in remote coursework as a result of these changes, please contact me via email at email@example.com. Please include a call-back number in your email.
Additionally, we have had to significantly curtail our dining operation. On-campus food service, limited to grab-and-go, will be available only to those students who have a meal plan and who have been granted permission to reside in University housing during this remote instruction and learning period. We will not be able to accommodate commuter students who have meal plans at this time. If you have questions about these changes, please contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a call-back number in your email.
I realize there are many questions about longer-term planning and implications for the remainder of the semester. You can expect to hear more from University Administration in the coming days and weeks as that information becomes available.
Mary Anne Nagy
Vice President for Student Life and Leadership Engagement
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:
The health and safety of our University community is my top priority and I am committed to keeping you updated on campus developments related to COVID-19.
The University has been informed that a member of our campus community has tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently seeking treatment. The individual was last on campus on Monday, March 9. I know this news will understandably raise additional concerns, however, for reasons of health privacy, the University cannot identify the individual nor provide additional details. In accordance with established public health protocols, officials from the Freehold Area Health Department will reach out directly to any individual(s) who may need to be notified and/or interviewed in connection with this case. I know you join me in keeping this individual in your thoughts and prayers.
The University has taken a number of steps to reduce risk for our campus community, including moving to a remote learning and instruction model, modifying business operations to support social distancing through reduced and remote staffing, restricting University travel, canceling events and tours, and instituting an enhanced sanitation protocol. We continue to respond to the latest government and public health guidance and expect to share another update in the coming days.
Again, your health and well-being is a top priority for me. Please visit our COVID-19 web page for updated information and campus initiatives.
Dr. Patrick Leahy
First and foremost, I hope you are all doing well and staying healthy as we deal with what we know is an unprecedented public health crisis. The University continues to take a number of steps to ensure the health and safety of our campus community in the midst of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic and we will continue to do so as we progress through the next several weeks.
As part of these efforts, we are requesting that should you need to meet with a staff or faculty member on campus, please contact the individual first via email or phone to set an appointment. This will support our efforts to limit the number of drop-ins in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
We strongly recommend communication via email and phone whenever possible but recognize that it may be necessary at some point for a face to face conversation.
If you are on campus and feel ill and/or have a fever, you should not schedule in-person meetings. You should contact your personal health care provider or call the Monmouth University Health Center prior to being seen. You may call the Health Center for a telephone screening at 732-571-3464 so they may best direct your care. Services provided by the Health Center will only be provided on an appointment basis.
As our daily lives continue to be impacted by the coronavirus, anxiety and depression can become a challenge for many. It is important to remember that feelings of restlessness, stress, worry, and sadness are normal responses to situations that feel out of our control – such as adjusting to changing academics, financial stress and job losses, and restrictions in daily activities.
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. How you respond can depend on your background and personal experiences, and the community you live in. Symptoms of stress can include:
- Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
- Changes in sleeping or eating patterns
- Difficulty focusing or concentrating
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs
As you adjust to this situation going forward, we encourage everyone to remain as calm and as connected as possible, while obviously practicing safe social distancing and good health hygiene. Below
are some things you can do to support yourself, and others, during the weeks ahead:
Self-care for stress and anxiety
- Take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
- Stay connected with others by using social media or electronic devices to stay in touch. Engage with your virtual social networks and reach out to those who may be alone and isolated via text or phone.
- Take care of your body. Eat healthy foods and regular meals. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Get outside for a walk or run, move around your home or backyard. Explore free yoga, meditation, or HIIT videos on YouTube.
- Make time to unwind. Stay creative by engaging in activities that challenge and excite you – trying a new recipe, working on a creative project, or exploring new ideas.
If you are struggling and need support, please call CPS at 732-571-7517 to schedule a telephone consultation with a counselor. We are here to help and are available to you Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5 pm between Monday, March 23 and Friday, April 10, 2020.
As you are aware, the University continues to take a number of steps to ensure the health and safety of our campus community in the midst of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic. As part of these safety precautions, we are limiting in-person contact at CPS to emergency and crisis situations only. If you are experiencing an emergency, such as having suicidal or homicidal thoughts, please call CPS at 732-571-7517 during business hours, the Monmouth University Police at 732-571-4444 outside of normal business hours or call 911 immediately.
Thanks for your cooperation and stay healthy!
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Dear Parents and Families:
During this time of great uncertainty and stress, I know it is important to keep you updated on the steps we are taking to educate and support your student while responding in a safe and responsible way to the unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a parent of four children myself (two of whom are college students now at home for the entire semester), I understand the worry and concern that you may be experiencing, and I want you to know that your student’s health and well-being is my top priority. Fortunately, at this time, there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on our campus.
Over the past 10 days, we have taken a number of steps to ensure the safety of our community while transitioning to a remote instruction and learning model, the goal of which is to support continued academic progress for your student in the weeks ahead.
Yesterday, I made the decision to extend remote instruction and learning through April 10. This one-week extension to our original plan marks the midpoint of the period between spring break and finals. This new date will give us additional time to assess the progression of the pandemic and afford us one last chance to consider re-opening the campus and bringing everyone together before the end of the semester. If the coronavirus situation does not improve significantly by early April, we will then extend the remote academic delivery through the end of the semester. A final decision on this will come in the days ahead. However, we remain dedicated to delivering the same high-quality, highly personalized education you have come to expect from us, whether that be in-person or from a distance. Unless we receive additional guidance from the State of New Jersey, our University offices will remain open during the remainder of this spring semester, with most employees working remotely to support our students and their families.
Recently, I sat down for a conversation with our Student Government Association President Mike Fazzino to attempt to answer numerous student questions about the impact of COVID-19 on the student experience. A video recording of that conversation is available on our website.
I understand that this situation is incredibly disconcerting for everyone, and I appreciate your patience and kindness as we respond to the latest public health information. University leadership will continue to evaluate the situation in the context of the relevant government and public health guidance, and we will provide updates accordingly. Please visit our COVID-19 information web page for the latest information for you and your students.
From one parent to another, you have my word that we will do everything possible to keep students safe while supporting their academic progression in a high-quality manner.
Dr. Patrick Leahy
Dear Monmouth Students:
Even though you are midway through your spring break, and navigating a slew of coronavirus information, we want to share a personal message with you.
This is an unprecedented time in our country, and we are feeling the effects right here on campus. We have been working together as the University has had to make rapid adjustments and important changes to implement safety measures to keep our community safe. Some of these decisions may be unpopular: moving to remote instruction and learning; asking students to move out of their residence halls; canceling all intercollegiate athletic activities for the entire semester; and others. Throughout this process, we are both proud that students have been well-represented in each phase of this process.
We will continue to work together closely, as additional decisions will need to be made about how long to continue remote instruction and when to bring students back to campus. Our goal, of course, is to resume normal operations as quickly as possible. For seniors especially, we know that this not how you expected to spend your final months here at Monmouth. We are incredibly grateful for your patience and understanding as we adjust to emerging local, state, and federal guidance during this challenging time.
Yesterday, we sat down together to discuss several questions that have been circulating, and we’d like to share a video of our discussion with the hope that we will answer some of the most common questions that students are asking.
Please continue to monitor email communications for additional information regarding the spring semester, as this global situation unfolds. Remember: Monmouth Hawks fly together!
Patrick Leahy, President
Michael Fazzino, President
Student Government Association
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:
Thank you all for your continued understanding as we work to keep you updated on the steps we are taking to carry out our educational mission while responding in a safe and responsible way to the unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The University’s March 12 decision to move to a remote instruction and learning model places us in complete compliance with the executive order signed by Governor Murphy yesterday. Specifically, the executive order requires colleges and universities to cease in-person instruction, effective March 18. As you all know, Monmouth University has already sent most residential students home, offering exceptions only to those students who have formally petitioned for exemptions. We will initiate remote learning and instruction on March 23, at which time all academic programming will be delivered remotely without exception. Any content that cannot be delivered in this remote fashion will be made up later in the semester. At this time, we have made the immediate decision to extend remote instruction and learning through April 10. This one-week extension to our original plan marks the midpoint of the period between spring break and finals. This new date will give us additional time to assess the progression of the pandemic and afford us one last chance to consider reopening the campus and bringing everyone together before the end of the semester. If the coronavirus situation does not improve significantly by early April, then we will extend the remote academic delivery through the end of the semester. A final decision on this will come in the days ahead. However, we remain dedicated to delivering the same high-quality, highly personalized education you expect from us, whether that be in-person or from a distance.
In addition, consistent with the executive order, the University has modified its in-person business operations in support of social distancing efforts. Monmouth University will continue to operate during normal business hours, with most employees working remotely at full pay and benefits. Only a limited number of designated, essential staff will report to campus. To clarify, universities have not been mandated to close; they have been mandated to cease in-person instruction and to minimize the number of people on campus, which the University has already done. This executive order will remain in effect until public health officials declare it safe to return to in-person instruction. We will continue to evaluate this timeline and will share updates as they become available.
I understand that this situation is incredibly disconcerting for everyone, and I appreciate your patience and kindness as we respond to the latest public health information. University leadership – in collaboration with faculty, staff, and student leadership – will continue to evaluate the situation in the context of the relevant government and public health guidance, and we will update you accordingly. You may also visit our COVID-19 information web page for the latest information and resources for students, faculty, staff, and visitors.
In the coming days I will also explore additional ways for our community to stay connected during this difficult time. At times like these, I am reminded of a quote attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt. She said: “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” I am so grateful to all of you for living this maxim right now. Thank you.
Dr. Patrick Leahy