President Carolyn J. Stefanco sent the following update to the campus community on April 28, 2020:
Dear Saint Rose Students and Employees,
It is hard to believe that more than a month has passed since we began the remote delivery of all courses, most of our students moved off campus, and almost all employees began working from home. While we continue to adjust to these circumstances, our thoughts turn to when life will be “normal” again.
Of course, no one knows when the pandemic and all the ways that it has impacted our lives will end. As we look for guidance from federal and state officials and public health experts, and monitor the course of the pandemic, there are still many decisions on a number of important topics that cannot be soundly made at this time:
• Fall Semester 2020 – Our goal for the Fall 2020 Semester is to hold courses on campus, with students living in our residence halls. Right now, we are operating remotely because it is best for public health and our students, faculty, and staff, and also because of the executive order issued by New York State. What will those directives be by August, when we would normally welcome residential students to our campus and begin classes? We do not know the answer yet.
• Summer Courses – We have moved Summer 1 courses exclusively online, but we have not yet decided to move all Summer 2 courses online, although many of them are already offered that way. (That session is scheduled to begin June 29). We are monitoring the situation and will make a decision soon. If you are interested in summer courses, you should sign up.
• STAR Days – Although the May 28 and June 18 Student Transition, Advisement, and Registration (STAR) Days for new students have been moved online, we are monitoring the situation and have not made a decision about the July and August dates. We have also not made a decision about the Pathways programs for incoming students, which are held in August.
• Summer Events – We are continuing to monitor the situation as we make decisions about other summer events, including the Pre-College Experience programs and on-campus rentals by outside groups.
• CARES Act Funding – We recently received an update on how we will be directed to disburse the CARES Act funding from the federal government, and we are in the process of deciding how the direct student aid will be distributed. Students will receive a brief survey this week on how the changes from the COVID-19 virus have financially impacted them.
Although we do not know what the circumstances will be in the months to come, we want to reassure you that we are preparing for multiple scenarios, based on the status of COVID-19, federal and state directives, and what is best for public health and our campus community. That means:
• We are planning to deliver courses in the Fall 2020 Semester. To be ready for the possibility of various circumstances, we are preparing for multiple scenarios, which include on-campus courses, modified or limited on-campus delivery, and remote operation. We are also considering options for students who may not be able to return to campus immediately, and we will be providing additional training to faculty to build on our remote delivery efforts.
• We are working on implementing additional health and safety protocols, including amplified cleaning/disinfecting activities across campus as an added layer of protection against COVID-19. As always, all areas of campus, including residence hall rooms and common spaces, will be thoroughly cleaned before the start of the semester, but staff will be using the new protocols. The protocols were created with employee safety in mind, as well.
• We are researching best practices for maintaining community health, so that we can implement any changes that would be helpful toward protecting our students, employees, and campus visitors when an on-campus schedule resumes.
• We are navigating significant financial challenges that the pandemic has created at Saint Rose and for colleges and universities throughout the United States. We continue to evaluate the impact on the deficit, and we will continue to make changes in order to address it. We will share information in the coming months as we have it.
We know that you still may have questions: If they are academic, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. If they are about student life, please email email@example.com. Employees should address their questions and concerns to their supervisors. We also have updated the FAQ area of our COVID-19 resource page on our website.
Our lives have changed radically over the last month, and the level of uncertainly with which we must contend is certainly trying. Millions of people in our own country and across the world have lost their jobs, struggle with food insecurity, and are experiencing the pandemic disproportionately based on race, ethnicity, and gender. We watch the daily press conferences by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo hoping to hear the date when schools, businesses, and restaurants will reopen, and we can return to the lives we once knew. Meanwhile, we contemplate, to the best of our ability, the staggering loss of life across New York State, in the U.S., and around the world. If we and our loved ones are well, we consider ourselves blessed.
While we are unable to predict the future, we promise you that we are still the Saint Rose you know – guiding and caring for students as they pursue a life-changing education – no matter what the circumstances.
With all good wishes to you and yours,