July 14, 2020
For nearly 160 years, La Salle University has remained consistent in its commitment to excellence in high-impact teaching and learning. We continue to meet the needs of our students, to advance an agenda of social justice and to serve the greater good. Having heard from so many of our most recent graduates, the Class of 2020, it was confirmed for me that our shared vocation as Lasallian educators is as critical today, in the midst of a global pandemic, as it was in 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, when La Salle opened its doors.
Since the arrival of COVID-19 to our region in March, we have faced significant challenges to how we live, learn, and work. #ExplorersReturn—the return-to-campus plan for La Salle University—was developed with adherence to Lasallian values and our University mission. The health and wellness of our university community has served as the guiding principle in our planning, having been the key driver in the development of this plan, and our related policies and recommendations.
Comprised of faculty and staff leaders from across campus, the University’s recovery and continuity team has worked for several months to develop our return-to-campus plan. This process has been further enhanced by valuable feedback to earlier drafts of this plan from over 1,000 students and nearly 800 colleagues, feedback that was incorporated in the iterative process of revising and finalizing this plan. The plan observes guidelines and restrictions from local, state, and federal officials, and follows guidance from local, national, and global public health organizations, such as he Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Are we certain that this plan constitutes the final word on La Salle University’s return to campus? Definitely not. In fact, the #ExplorersReturn plan is designed to be inherently adaptable. As this public health crisis continues to evolve, in Philadelphia and beyond, we remain in constant communication with public health officials and will continue to provide updates and plan adjustments, as needed. Agility and resilience have served as our hallmarks since March, during phases of remote operations and remote instruction. Therefore, it is anticipated that our return-to-campus plan will be similarly dynamic, updated as needed and to reflect any changes to the University’s plans, policies and approaches.
The success of the 2020-21 academic year is largely dependent upon our efforts and our ability to continue to create transformational experiences and to deliver a high-impact education, regardless of the unpredictability of the situation around us. Commitment and adaptability will be key. La Salle’s planning will continue to demand a significant, shared effort from everyone in our Explorer community. We must continue, as we have done throughout this pandemic, to work together and to focus on caring for one another. Let us continue to be guided by healthy practices and to act responsibly to ensure a successful return to campus. And let us, finally, continue to be at least as concerned for one another as we are for ourselves – one of our community hallmarks that has rarely been more necessary than it is during these challenging days.
St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.
Colleen M. Hanycz, Ph.D.