Dear Assumption Students, Parents, Faculty and Staff,

College administrators have been meeting each day, closely monitoring the rapidly changing international, national and local COVID-19, coronavirus, situation. Fortunately, there are currently no confirmed cases of coronavirus among members of the Assumption community. Our approach to this global health crisis has been two-fold: promote and maintain the safety of our campus community and ensure the completion of academic programs with as few disruptions as possible. We take seriously the safety of our students and the campus community, a community that includes several individuals at high risk for serious illness from coronavirus.

We have thoroughly reviewed the evolving situation, considered the guidance of government and health officials, and explored alternative learning models. Know that this difficult decision was made after significant thought, consultation and discussion as we focused on the safety of the community and providing students the ability to complete their academic programs. I share with you the following actions that are effective immediately:

  1. Spring break will be extended to Wednesday, March 18; students will not return to campus until March 29, at the earliest.
  2. Remote learning will commence on Thursday, March 19; on-campus classes will tentatively resume on Monday, March 30.
  3. All students will be asked to leave campus during this time, except international students and others (See below for additional details.)  
  4. Undergraduate academic advising for the next academic year will begin on Monday, March 30 and registration will begin after Easter
  5. Online registration for graduate students will remain on schedule for Monday, March 30
  6. All campus events are suspended through the end of the semester. (Events in late April will be reevaluated)
  7. All athletics events are suspended through April 13
  8. College offices will remain open and staffed

We realize the tremendous responsibility and trust you place in the College to maintain the safety and health of the community. This responsibility requires a measured response to the pandemic, a response that will discourage coronavirus and its proliferation on our campus and in the greater Worcester community.

Since the outbreak, Assumption has proactively responded to the coronavirus situation since concerns first arose in January:
  • Reminded students of flu prevention efforts
  • Suspended all College-related international travel and non-essential domestic travel
  • Urged students studying aboard to return to the United States
  • Temporarily suspended Rome Campus operations
  • Students studying in Florence through the AIFS program as well as the Rome students have returned to the U.S., are self-isolating for two weeks and may return to campus after the isolation period with a physician’s approval.
  • Strongly, and several times, discouraged members of our community from traveling outside of the country during spring break.
  • All public spaces, residence halls and bathrooms were thoroughly cleaned and disinfected during spring break
  • Informed those who did travel outside of the U.S. that they may not return to campus for 14 days following re-entry to the U.S.

Students to Depart Campus
All students, including student-athletes, must depart campus no later than Monday, March 16. International students, those with local internships, those who are student-teaching and those who live 400 miles or more from campus, may remain on campus. If students are not among these groups and require a special accommodation to remain on campus, they must submit an application. (The Office of Residential Life will share with students this evening a link to the application). Health Services will be open to serve students residing on campus. Students must first call Health Services to speak with staff prior to visiting the office. Taylor Dining Hall will be open with limited hours.

Since the college will be moving to online learning for the time being, the Office of Residential Life will provide to students this evening a schedule when they may come to campus to retrieve textbooks and medications. Students do not need to fully move out of their halls, but Residential Life staff will be inspecting rooms after this time to ensure that all perishable food items have been removed. (Those students who traveled outside the contiguous United States during spring break should contact the Office of Residential Life to discuss how they may retrieve textbooks and medications.) Only those students with prior approval will be permitted on campus at times scheduled by the Office of Residential Life; card access is suspended. Please do not come to campus without prior approval.

Remote Instruction
This week, faculty began transitioning their courses to temporary online delivery however, additional time is needed to implement this system. The campus community is supporting faculty as they make this transition. On Thursday and Friday of next week, classes will begin to meet virtually, online. (Students, please begin checking your email this weekend and often for messages from your professors.)

We realize that some students may encounter connectivity or accessibility challenges. Students should contact the Student Accessibility Services for accessibility accommodations and Information Technology if they anticipate connectivity challenges. Know that Assumption is committed to providing students the ability to complete their semester, regardless of challenges.

Resumption of On-Campus Classes
On-campus classes will tentatively resume on Monday, March 30. Know that an extended transition to remote learning remains an option as we continue to navigate this ever-changing coronavirus situation. Such a decision will be made no later than Thursday, March 26.

Academic Advising & Registration Postponed
Undergraduate advising and course registration for the fall semester, scheduled to begin Monday, will be postponed to Monday, March 30 so that faculty may have ample time to fully develop their remote learning platforms. Advising may take place by way of video conference. Registration will begin after Easter. Online registration for graduate students will remain on schedule for Monday, March 30. The personal, one-on-one engagement students expect will continue throughout this process. Additional details will be provided once the remote learning system is fully operational.

All Campus Events Suspended Until the End of the Semester
To discourage gatherings of several people in enclosed spaces, all campus events are suspended through the end of the semester with exceptions as approved by the Campus Continuity Task Force. The suspension will be reevaluated at the end of March. It is too soon to make a decision on Commencement-related activities and we will keep members of the senior class and their families informed.
 
Suspension of Athletic Events
Earlier today, presidents of the Northeast-10 Conference collectively decided to suspend all athletics events (competitions and practices) until April 13. The presidents will continue to monitor this situation and reevaluate the schedule in the next four weeks.

College Offices to Remain Open
College offices and the library will remain open, staffed, and available to serve and assist students during this time. The Plourde is restricted to members of the Assumption community. (Staff and faculty with an underlying health issue or those who are in a high-risk category – or those who reside with those in a high-risk category - may discuss alternative arrangements with their supervisor.) Staff should consult their supervisor and faculty consult their Dean who will confer with the provost. Know that faculty will have full access to campus during this time.

Staff and faculty who are ill or exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus are prohibited from campus.

The faculty, staff, and administration of Assumption College remain committed to the academic success of our students. These dedicated individuals will continue to serve and provide for students as we make the necessary adjustments to deliver on the promise of imparting upon them a rich Catholic and liberal arts education and forming within them excellent character, critical intelligence, and a passion to serve.  While the delivery of our academic program has temporarily changed, the quality of our exemplary programs will continue to inspire students to discover their passions and pursue a meaningful career.

While this message has sought to provide comprehensive information relative to this situation, you may have additional questions. Please know that today until 6 p.m. and tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Assumption staff will be available by phone at 508.767.7700 to respond to your inquiries. Please know it will take considerable time to respond to all inquiries sent to this account, acpa@assumption.edu as we have directed all resources to staff a call center to provide you immediate answers. Please also reference the Coronavirus Precautions page on the Assumption website.

Thank you for your continued trust in Assumption College to act in the best interest of our campus community. I appreciate your willingness to adapt to this unprecedented situation with patience and flexibility.

Sincerely,