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March 11, 2020

Coronavirus Response: Major Update

Dear Members of the Emmanuel College Community,

The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is shedding light on the interconnectedness of our world. What seemed a far-off concern three weeks ago is now the focus of significant attention here in the United States. Just late yesterday, Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency in Massachusetts and urged us all to make decisions to mitigate the risk of further outbreak. While the future trajectory of the virus remains uncertain, we do know that social distancing represents the most effective way of protecting personal and public health.

In view of the recommendations of leading health officials, and after a thorough consideration of all contingencies, the College has made the following decisions:

  • Spring Break for students will be extended through Tuesday, March 17th.

  • Students who have traveled home for Spring Break should stay there. Students who have traveled to other locations should go directly home, if possible.

  • From Wednesday, March 18th, through Friday, March 27th, classes will be delivered in an online-only format. At this time, we plan to recommence face-to-face classes on campus on Monday, March 30th.

  • All residence halls are closed through Saturday, March 28th. As of today, residence halls would reopen on Sunday, March 29th. 

Considering the changing nature of this outbreak, the College’s administration will be monitoring daily the recommendations of city, state and national agencies, and may alter course should circumstances change. Please pay close attention to regular emails and website postings on our page dedicated to coronavirus information. A series of FAQs will be updated frequently. 

Given the number of individuals who planned both international and domestic travel over Spring Break, this move to an online-only format allows for the recommended 14-day period of monitoring for symptoms of illness in an off-campus environment.

We recognize that some students may face difficulties in returning home due to extenuating circumstances, while others may need to collect critical items on campus. The Offices of Residence Life and Health Services, in a separate communication to all students, will provide more specific guidance on these issues and outline resources available to help students navigate any uncertainties they may experience in the days ahead. Students who need to remain on campus will also receive instruction remotely and must prepare for limited on-campus activities and interactions. 

Additionally:

  • During the next two weeks, the College will be preparing the campus for the return of students, putting into practice stringent cleaning protocols and making modifications to food service.

  • All non-essential on-campus events/gatherings in the next two weeks will be cancelled or moved online. Large events or any gatherings being hosted by external groups over the next several weeks, will be cancelled or postponed.

  • Administrative offices will continue to be open and staffed on-site for the time being. The Office of Human Resources will be communicating with staff members regarding guidelines for travel, remote work, reporting illness and more.

  • The Office of Academic Affairs has been working with members of the faculty to provide resources and support for online teaching and learning, and will be communicating with faculty members frequently in the coming days. Focused support for faculty will be available on campus on Monday and Tuesday, March 16th and 17th, to help facilitate the transition to online coursework.

For regular updates and additional information, please visit our coronavirus information page. Please continue to send your questions to our Emergency Preparedness Committee at preparedness@emmanuel.edu and review follow-up communications from various offices on campus. Our staff is here and ready to assist you.

The College does not take the above actions lightly and recognizes the impact they will have on the daily lives of community members and their families. Our actions are consistent with the recommendations of leading health officials on how to limit the spread of COVID-19. We believe that these precautions are vital at this time to ensuring the success of our students and the health and safety of all.

My sincere gratitude for your flexibility in the face of this complex challenge. In the days to come, may we embrace a spirit of creativity and commitment, and may we all experience the blessings of Emmanuel, our God with us.

Sister Janet Eisner, SNDdeN
President

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