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President Leahy Announces Extended Remote Instruction and Employee Work

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