June 25, 2020

EmmanuelForward: A Message from the President on Fall Planning

Dear Members of the Emmanuel College Community,

The past three months have posed historic challenges to our College community, and we have met them with creativity and resilience. In addition to weathering a global pandemic, we have engaged in important discussions on issues of justice in our society. The spirit we have shown throughout this period affirms my confidence in members of the College community as we prepare for the fall semester. 

In all our strategic discussions about the fall, we are seeking to effectively safeguard the health of all members of our community while continuing to provide learning experiences of richness and depth. A detailed roadmap for achieving these goals will appear in “EmmanuelForward,” our plan for the fall semester, which will be rolled out in July. This plan will be framed within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Phase III re-opening parameters, and informed by guidance from the City of Boston and a state-charged higher education working group.

While we recognize that these government mandates are subject to change, I am pleased at this time to announce that the College is actively planning to resume an on-campus living and learning experience for the Fall 2020 semester. Academic programs will employ a hybrid model of face-to-face and virtual instruction.  

This hybrid approach maintains the student-faculty engagement that is at the core of the Emmanuel experience. Additionally, it provides the following benefits: 

  • Health and Safety: The integration of in-person and online modalities allows for required social distancing in physical classrooms, while taking into account concerns for the health and well-being of members of our community.

  • Flexibility: Students and faculty will have options to engage in person and/or virtually, using synchronous and asynchronous formats. Students who opt to not live in residence halls will have the ability to continue their education in a fully online format.

  • Adaptability: The continued use of learning technologies and platforms enables the College to pivot quickly and seamlessly in the event that external factors require a change in course.

For undergraduate students, classes will begin on Wednesday, August 26th—earlier than in past years. On-campus instruction will conclude on Friday, November 20th, and resident students will return home by Tuesday, November 24th, just prior to Thanksgiving break. The remainder of the semester will be conducted virtually, with classes ending Friday, December 4th, and final exams taking place from December 7th to 10th. Spring 2021 classes will resume as scheduled on Tuesday, January 19, 2021.

All Graduate and Professional Programs (GPP) classes will be held online-only for Fall 1 and Fall 2 sessions.

The configuration of the residence hall experience will be reconsidered in an effort to de-densify living spaces and to create student groupings that minimize risk and contact. Guidelines for social distancing, face coverings, hygiene, gatherings, dining and more will be detailed in July EmmanuelForward communications and will be a key part of campus orientation and re-orientation. Follow-up communications will include details on a phased move-in schedule, which will begin as early as mid-August.

New students and families, both first-year and transfers, will be informed in the coming weeks of Orientation programs, which will take place in July and August. Orientation programs will be conducted virtually as the College prepares its physical campus for re-opening. In the coming weeks, new students will receive a number of communications related to joining the Emmanuel College community.

To conduct COVID-19 testing—a critical issue for moving forward—Emmanuel will be working with the internationally renowned Broad Institute. A Cambridge, MA-based biomedical and genomic research center, the Broad Institute partners with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard University, and the five Harvard teaching hospitals. The College will have a strong plan in place for testing, contact tracing and quarantining in advance of a phased residence hall move-in and the beginning of face-to-face classes.

Pending additional guidance from the City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, additional members of the Emmanuel College staff will return to campus offices in phases beginning in July. Detailed return-to-work guidelines, including health and safety protocols, are being distributed. At the current time, all offices, including student and academic services, are fully open online.

In the coming weeks, as additional EmmanuelForward plans are released, College departments will engage with you to ensure we have considered the full range of community needs. Meanwhile, I invite you to send questions to emmanuelforward@emmanuel.edu. 

Thank you for your continued flexibility as we navigate the uncertainties of these times. I know that we will see our way through them with collaboration, agility and mutual support. I look forward to welcoming our College community back to campus in August. 

Sincerely yours,

Sister Janet Eisner, SNDdeN

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