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August 13, 2020 | Campus Communication
Dear BenU Community,
We have lived under the threat of a global pandemic for most of 2020, and we continue to face the blunt reality of COVID-19’s unpredictable turns and outcomes. At this moment, even knowledge, science and education cannot predict or control the spread of this virus. Each disruption, cancellation and loss erode our sense of security. This is the “Year of Community” and as such, we have a moral and ethical obligation to protect all in our community.
As we plan for the opening of the fall semester, I am reminded on a daily basis that we cannot ignore the fact that most public health experts and scientific models are predicting a significant resurgence in the spread of the COVID-19 virus this fall. Based on the information from our health experts, Benedictine University must consider the health and safety of our community as we explore our decision to reopen campus. For this reason, we have decided to protect our community from future disruption to learning by shifting now to a safer, more controllable educational environment. BenU classes will be delivered in a virtual format this fall, with the exception of some of our labs and experiential classes that will be held in person. However, with our campus and facilities adapted for safe social distancing and the BenUFlex model already in place, we have an opportunity to elevate our engagement and learning opportunities to ensure the same rich BenU educational experience. We intend to minimize fear and uncertainty and restore a sense of security to safely learn and grow.
Our campus will continue to serve as a Learning Center to safely support all residential and commuter students by providing individual learning spaces with access to the internet and computer labs, as well as in-person experiential instruction in labs, music and art studios. A variety of classrooms and campus spaces will be available through a booking system to reserve blocks of time to engage with online learning experiences.
We will safely welcome and support our residential students in University housing as planned, provide our Federal Work-Study students with employment, co-curricular programming will be offered virtually and our Athletic Department will be supporting student-athletes this fall. On-campus dining options will also be available. More details on our BenU Engagement, Learning Center and class scheduling will be covered in our upcoming virtual Town Hall meeting, for students and parents, on Thursday, August 20 at 6:30 p.m. Be on the lookout for the Zoom link which will be sent via ben.edu email and posted to ben.edu/coronavirus early next week.
As always, the safety and well-being of our community is our top priority. We cannot eliminate all risk of exposure to COVID-19, however with your allegiance to the Healthy Hallmarks, we can safely and effectively deliver a transformative Benedictine University experience this fall. As Benedictines, we know the value and meaning of “community” and we must lean into this value and each other, knowing “if all are committed, there is strength in numbers.”
All my best; my hope and prayers are with you and your loved ones to remain safe and well.
Charles W. Gregory