Updates and changes to our plans for Fall 2020

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March 17, 2020

Updates on remote learning and Commencement

To the University community:

Last week, I announced the temporary suspension of face-to-face instruction on our campus and a subsequent move toward remote learning for the week of March 30 – April 3. While there are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the La Salle community, the information we have gathered in the days since make it abundantly clear that more significant measures are required to ensure the safety of our students, faculty, and staff, as well as the wider community.

For the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester, all course instruction will be delivered through remote learning methods. In addition, La Salle University will postpone Commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2020. Lastly, University Housing will be officially closed effective April 4 at 5 p.m. More information will follow from University Housing and Residence Life.

It’s critical that we act ethically and responsibly at a time when circumstances are evolving so rapidly. Given the updated recommendations of global health agencies and the actions of local government officials, we have chosen the path that prioritizes the safety and wellness of the La Salle community and our many campus guests.

To our graduating students: I know this is disappointing. To be honest, it’s a disappointment to me, as well. We had hoped to avoid the need to take these steps. Commencement is an integral component of the student experience. It is the bookend to a transformational moment in your life. We will find a date when we can come together in-person to celebrate the Class of 2020 and your many accomplishments. While our Commencement plans have changed, here’s what hasn’t: The brightness you exude in a world in need of light. The pride you generate among La Salle’s faculty and staff. The people you are today and the leaders you will become tomorrow.

Our graduating class includes inventors and entrepreneurs, star athletes and civic leaders, and the next generation of compassionate healthcare providers, educators, artists, business pioneers, and innovative thinkers. You are engaged citizens who will make the world a better place.

I know that today’s announcement will bring more questions than it will provide answers. Know that we are working diligently behind the scenes to sort through the operational impacts of these strategic decisions and ensure that those are communicated responsibly and in a timely fashion. We appreciate your patience as we resolve the various details and challenges of this situation.

Immediate next steps for remote learning:

  • Be patient and flexible. Faculty and staff are asked to work together to make appropriate accommodations. Undoubtedly, our move to remote learning for the remainder of the semester will present challenges. There will be a learning curve for all of us. I am confident that we are up to the task.
  • Take advantage of available resources.
    • For faculty: Through this week and next, the Office of Instructional Design will offer remote learning workshops that will help prepare you to lead your courses in a digital setting. I appreciate all the work that has been done thus far on this front.
    • For students: I know the transition to remote learning may not be seamless. Leverage Zoom and the tools within Canvas to the best of your ability for assignments, discussion board conversations, and beyond.
  • Address technology gaps. For students with unreliable Internet access or who lack the access to technology that is necessary for remote learning, please contact your professors as soon as possible to find alternate opportunities for learning and the completion of assignments.  Also, Comcast is making available 60 days of free Internet access to qualifying households.

Housing update

Later today, the Offices of Housing and Residence Life will provide students with instruction for moving out of University Housing and details about the retrieval of any personal belongings that remain in the residence halls. This will be a challenging transition for our students and their families. Given recent developments, however, we feel that officially closing University Housing effective April 4 at 5 p.m. is the right choice in the best interests of our students and public health.

Events and visitors

All face-to-face events and activities at all La Salle University sites scheduled through Monday, May 11 have been suspended. Individual event organizers will work to move their events to a virtual setting, postpone, or cancel. Per last week’s announcement, all campus visitors should be redirected to virtual experiences or rescheduled. Exceptions will be made for parents and families while we coordinate residence hall move-out.

Be sure to bookmark lasalle.edu/covid19 for the latest updates from the University. The site also features a COVID-19 FAQ that is being updated regularly.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s note, I am deeply moved by the cooperation displayed by all of our students, faculty, and staff. The resolve of our community knows no bounds.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us.

Sincerely,

Colleen M. Hanycz, Ph.D.
President