Below is a letter from Rev. Paul R. Taylor, O.S.B., sent to the Saint Vincent College community on Friday, May 15, 2020.
To the Saint Vincent College Community,
In this time of patience, we prepare for a day of renewal, as soon as we are blessed with it, to restart campus life as we love it. Now, however, each of us must continue to be good stewards of our community, our campus and our resources.
While we are all eager to be together again, we realize that, in doing so, the health and safety of each member of our community is of the highest priority. As you know, we have shifted all courses this summer to be delivered fully online and canceled all on-campus events through mid-July.
With much still unknown, it is important that our community knows how we are preparing for the fall semester. There are factors with this pandemic that are beyond our control and we will continue to follow all directives and best practices for the health and safety of everyone on campus. With that in mind,we are preparing to begin the fall semester in the manner we are accustomed, as a residential campus with face-to-face instruction. While a return to campus will be met with excitement and anticipation, so too may come feelings of anxiety and uncertainty.
To ensure our students and their families, as well as our faculty, administration and monastic community are well-cared for, we have formed the Forward Together Advisory Committee. In conjunction with the President’s Cabinet, this committee will identify the guidelines to be set forth by government entities and others who are setting the standards for reopening to ensure compliance.
This group of administrators, faculty members and health care professionals will help formulate plans to implement the required guidelines in various areas of campus life while also delivering the Saint Vincent experience that we have all come to expect and appreciate.
This includes: - Enhanced cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing measures in all campus buildings and residence halls. - Residence hall and food service procedures and policies. - Evaluating the layout and entering/exiting procedures for classrooms and buildings. - Updating protocols for large gatherings and campus visitors. - Proper social distancing procedures. - Adjustments to course delivery, academic policies and the academic calendar. - Providing additional support services through the SVC Wellness Center. - Ongoing communication with local health partners and monitoring of all refinements to standards and guidelines that may be made at various times by governmental bodies.
We will continue to coordinate our planning with those entities responsible for supervising the reopening of various aspects of community life in this area and elsewhere. More detailed information will be shared during the coming weeks and months as we prepare to welcome each of our new and returning students to campus for the fall semester.
At the heart of a liberal arts and sciences education is the dialogue between student and teacher; learner and scholar; and among learners who are discerning the wisdom and knowledge of their discipline and of life. The connectedness of each person at Saint Vincent is what strengthens our College and moves us forward. When we are together to live, learn, worship, play, compete and grow, our community thrives.
While we met the challenge of online learning to successfully complete the spring semester, we wish to return to the learning and growing that occurs in all parts of our lives as members of this academic community. Therefore, we must focus our efforts on preparing to resume operations as a residential campus this fall, albeit in a way that is safe and conducive to the great work of our students, faculty, administration and staff.
Although so much uncertainty exists in our world, we know that our Bearcat family will always be strong. You and your families are in my prayers and the prayers of the monastic community and, with great optimism, we look forward to being together very soon.