Coronavirus Message from the President to Staff, March 11, 2020
Dear members of the Marist College staff,
I am writing to update you on the College’s plans regarding COVID-19, more commonly referred to as the coronavirus. In developing these new policies, we have relied on the advice of medical professionals, keeping the safety of the entire College community foremost in our minds.
We are fortunate that there have been no cases of this virus on our campus, and as of the time I am writing this memo, there have been no confirmed cases in Dutchess County. However, with students and community members traveling for spring break, there could be heightened risk when they return to campus. Therefore, to monitor the risk of this outbreak, we have made a decision to extend our spring break for students by one week. This means classes will continue through Friday, March 13, and will reconvene on Monday, March 30.
Residential buildings will remain open during this extended spring break to accommodate certain students. For example, student-athletes, international students, and other students who choose not to return home will be able to stay in residence halls.
During this spring break period, we will be monitoring the spread of the coronavirus, and reevaluating the risk of continuing our campus-based education. At the same time, we are asking all our faculty to begin preparing for the possibility that we may have to move all our courses to an online format. Marist is fortunate in that we have had long experience in delivering high-quality online education, and we have the technology and expertise to do this.
Please know that we have not arrived at this decision lightly. Although the College will remain open and operations will continue, we know that adjustments will be necessary. I want to thank you in advance for the flexibility and creativity you will bring to this challenge, as we all work to ensure that our students will be able to complete their spring semester credits and stay on track for their planned graduation dates. I know many of you will have questions about next steps. Executive Vice President Geoffrey Brackett will be following up with you shortly, with some additional information about what this and other policy changes will mean for operations.
During my 40 years as President of Marist, this is the fastest-moving issue I’ve ever had to deal with. I assure you that, in making these and future decisions, I will always be guided by the most current medical advice, and the best interests of the members of the Marist community.
Dennis J. Murray