April 27, 2020
Greetings and best wishes. As you know very well, we are experiencing one of the most unusual and challenging periods in recent history. Disruptions to daily life have brought frustration, challenges and uncertainty. You have been required to sustain your education via online and alternative instructional methods, and I am proud of the grit and determination you have demonstrated.
Following are a few updates as we move forward.
Summer and fall terms
We announced earlier that we will be open for summer term, but it will be necessary to deliver courses online. We are also using the summer to plan for the fall semester with the hope that we will be able to offer both in-person and online courses. While we envision a fall term that is “normal,” it is difficult to predict at this time what normal will mean. Our focus will be to ensure that you have access to the quality educational experience you expect and deserve in an environment that protects your health and safety. We are exploring multiple scenarios so that we are prepared as the situation changes.
My primary concern is that you sustain your education. We feel a responsibility to do our part to ensure that your educational goals are not severely disrupted in spite of the uncertainty. This will entail providing good advising, delivering courses in person or other accessible formats, and assisting you as needs arise. Please remember that our goal is to serve you. This is your university, and you should not hesitate to reach out with questions or requests for assistance.
Federal emergency financial assistance
I am also pleased that via the federal CARES act, emergency funds will be available to some students to assist with unexpected educational costs. We will distribute the funds according to federal guidelines. Our goal is to distribute funds as quickly as possible once we have a clear interpretation of the guidelines. We will post new information on the coronavirus website as it becomes available.
In addition, we will continue to operate our Saluki Cares program so that you can apply for resources even if you don’t meet the guidelines for the CARES funding. Our resources are not unlimited, but we are committed to doing what we can to assist.
For graduating seniors and graduate students, we now have feedback regarding your preference for recognizing your accomplishments given that our traditional commencement had to be postponed. The consensus is to plan for a later graduation, perhaps in August, with the understanding that some of you may prefer to march in the December commencement. While the option of a virtual commencement was not heavily favored, we are still reviewing the data and thinking carefully about how best to honor and respect our graduates, perhaps in multiple ways. Please stay tuned.
As always, you can reach out to us through firstname.lastname@example.org or any of the following offices.
- Dean of Students office: 1-877-725-0006 or 618-453-4846
- Saluki Cares: mail email@example.com , fill out a referral form or call 618-453-2461
- Student Health Services: 618-453-3311 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS): 618-453-5371
- University Housing: 618-453-2301
In closing, let me repeat that I am very proud of you, your commitment, your resilience, and your willingness to be as flexible as necessary during this very unusual period in our history. Our wish for you will always be protecting your safety and good health delivered in an educational environment that is respectful of you and your life goals.
Continuing best wishes for good health. Please remember, too, that you can always reach me via email: email@example.com
John M. Dunn