Important Update Regarding College Housing, March 26, 2020
Dear Members of the Marist Community,
We are facing an urgent and rapidly changing public health crisis, and this has forced the College to make a number of difficult decisions, some of which concern the continued operation of our residence halls. Although we had anticipated being somewhat flexible in our housing policy, given the expected surge of COVID-19 cases in our region, we can no longer provide housing to all Marist students who would like to remain on campus. This decision was based on the advice of medical professionals that continuing to house students on campus poses an unacceptable risk to students, staff, and the Dutchess County community.
Since there have been misunderstandings and/or misrepresentations of the College’s policy, I want to clarify a few important points:
- This policy applies to all Marist students, whether they are domestic or international.
- Marist has asked a total of 91 students who had earlier been approved to stay in campus housing to move out by this Friday. This timeline is in the best interests of all involved because of the heightened risk of COVID-19 in our community. A number have already done so.
- Marist is committed to working with each student and their particular circumstances. For example, if a student lacks the means to travel home, Marist will provide emergency assistance.
- In circumstances where students have exhausted all other options, the College may permit them to remain in housing, but we need to recognize that the bar will be set high for these cases. For students who are allowed to stay on campus and cannot afford adequate food, the College will provide a meal allowance. We are actively considering appeals from certain students already. These exceptions will also be subject to change, based on evolving guidance from health care professionals and government officials.
It is important to recognize that the College, operating under the Executive Order from Governor Cuomo, does not have the full capability it would normally have. Food service has been suspended. Virtually all of our employees are working remotely, and the few essential employees continuing to work on campus are doing so without personal protective equipment, and without the full resources of the College to which they would ordinarily have access. Marist is truly appreciative of the staff who have been on the front lines of this extraordinary situation. As President Murray has said, “we are incredibly grateful to our housing staff, security team, house keepers, and mechanical staff who have put their own health and that of their families at risk to support the students remaining on campus.” The College has made each decision carefully and with the interests of our full community in mind, and I would ask all who are considering these decisions to understand that difficult context.