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 was shared online.
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