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March 18, 2020 | Campus Communication
Dear Benedictine University Community,
It is hard to believe less than a week ago we were going back and forth about whether to take the unprecedented step to move Benedictine University to a Virtual Campus model in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Since then, we’ve seen leaders in a variety of industries take extraordinary measures to try to slow the spread of COVID-19. In the end, as the number of cases in the U.S. continues to rise, we are left wondering if it is enough. We are all called to do whatever we can to keep ourselves and our neighbors safe in this time of uncertainty.
It is with the community’s safety in mind that we announce face-to-face instruction is suspended through the end of the spring semester and spring quarter. Our virtual campus model will be extended through May 31, 2020. Staff and faculty will continue to work from home, with the understanding that some modifications may be needed in order to keep operations running smoothly during this extended period of time.
Unfortunately, this also means all campus events and programming will be suspended during the extended Virtual Campus period in accordance with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This includes cancelling our 2020 commencement ceremonies for both Lisle and Mesa. We are looking for other opportunities to celebrate our graduating class later this summer and will communicate more information about those as soon as it is appropriate to do so. Please see below for additional information on housing, access to campus resources, fall 2020 class registration and more.
Looking ahead, I must say I will miss the liveliness of what would normally be beautiful spring days at Benedictine. From students greeting each other good morning at Starbucks to colleagues waving to each other in the hall, campus will not be the same without all of you. You truly are what makes us Benedictine, and I will miss that spirit and camaraderie in the days and weeks ahead.
To our graduating students – I know this is not the ending you expected for your final semester. I would have liked nothing more than to be able to shake each of your hands as you walked across the stage at Commencement in May. Know that even without the pomp and circumstance, we are proud of each and every one of you. At the end of all of this, you will have earned a degree from Benedictine University; no one can ever take that away from you.
If there is one thing that has remained constant in our 133-year history, it is that Benedictines come together to support one another through all of life’s ups and downs. As a community, I’ve seen us celebrate with one another, cry with one another, comfort one another and build one another up even when all hope seemed lost. During these uncertain times, no matter where you happen to be reading this letter from, I hope you still feel that same sense of community that Benedictine University is known for.
We will get through this – together.
President Benedictine University
Campus residence halls will officially close for the semester at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 22. While this extended deadline gives students and families extra time to make necessary travel arrangements, we ask that residential students make plans to move home for the semester as soon as possible.
While domestic travel is unrestricted at this time, we believe it will be necessary to move quickly to get students checked out of their residence halls and apartments. We will have scheduled times for move-out beginning today, Wednesday, March 18 through Sunday, March 22. Resident students should watch their inboxes for further communication from University Housing about the move-out process. If students need an emergency exception, they should contact Mark McHorney, Chief Engagement Officer.
The first floor of the Krasa Student Center will be available for students who do not have the resources needed to complete their virtual learning at home. The space will be available Monday-Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. starting Monday, March 23. Anyone who uses this space will be required to practice social distancing as outlined by the CDC. The availability of this space will be evaluated on a week-to-week basis as recommendations from local, state and national health agencies continue to evolve.
HEALTH & WELLNESS CENTER
The Wellness Center intends to remain open through Friday, March 20 at 4:30 p.m. Counseling services, health services and the Disability Learning Resource Center will be available remotely throughout the rest of the semester.
FALL 2020 CLASS REGISTRATION
Fall class registration is being delayed one week and will begin on Monday, April 6. Students will be able to register based on seniority and will be meeting with their advisors virtually. More information will be available in the coming days about how to sign up for your advising time.
We know many additional questions will likely continue to surface as we work through the rest of the spring 2020 semester. Know that your safety remains our number one priority and that is why we are taking these unparalleled steps. Please check our Coronavirus FAQ webpage for frequent updates.