Dear Immaculata University Faculty, Staff and Students,
I am pleased to announce that after much thought, research and planning Immaculata University will reopen the campus for students to begin in-person classes on October 19th. Residential students will be contacted by our Residence Life Team to announce the plan and timetable for returning to the residence halls.
We have been closely watching the experiences of local universities and of those from across the country to gather information that might inform our approach. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported today that health experts are saying, based on COVID-19 transmission rates, reopening schools is plausible. Local area universities like Villanova, St. Joseph, Cabrini, Neumann, and Rosemont have all reopened their campuses, and the number of reported cases in these institutions are very low relative to the number of students on campus. Even several area high schools, who chose to go online in the beginning for the fall semester, are now announcing their return to in-person learning in mid-October.
Additionally, we have received feedback from students who have truly appreciated all of the extra efforts the faculty have made to deliver an outstanding, virtual, learning experience but they prefer face-to-face instruction. Regardless of how instruction was delivered, our plans have always entailed having our students back on campus as soon as possible.
Immaculata has a Return to Campus Health & Safety Plan and we have reexamined it in light of what we learned from other colleges and universities who brought students back to campus. This plan accounts for all facets of campus life and work – from academic programming and classroom reconfigurations, to residence life, employee engagement and personal safety precautions. Throughout this process, we have been committed to returning to an in-person, on-campus experience which is at the heart of what makes Immaculata a great place to learn.
I realize that each of you may receive this decision with a range of reactions, based on your own personal and unique circumstances. I want to convey to each of you that those of us most closely connected to our return to campus planning have had the same range of reactions. From the beginning of this pandemic, our goal has been to deliver the best possible version of our Immaculata experience in a way that maintains the safety and well-being of our community. We believe that we can achieve that goal because we have done our homework, and made the necessary plans and preparations based on what we have learned.
Please know that we understand that due to personal circumstances, you may not prefer to come back to campus. Students should contact Jennifer Peruso, Executive Director of Learning Support Service, firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss accommodations. Employees should contact our Human Resources Department at x3077.
In all this, there is a shared responsibility. We all have a responsibility to keep one another safe. There will be zero tolerance for those who violate our safety standards. We are taking these violations very seriously and holding everyone accountable for their actions. It is the responsibility of all of our students and employees to act in the best public health interest of our campus and the local community. So yes, you will be required to wear your masks, practice social distancing, and monitor your health. If we have any hope of staying on campus this fall, we all have to do our part.
I look forward to seeing you back on campus soon. It has been a long, hot, busy, and lonely summer! I just can’t wait to say “Welcome Back!”