Message From the President About Coronavirus: Spring Break Extended and Online Classes
Dear members of the St. Francis College community,
I write to provide you an update regarding the College's response to COVID-19, more commonly known as the Coronavirus.
Please note that as of today, there have been no known COVID-19 cases in the SFC community. That said, we believe it is critically important to be cautious in our approach to ensure the well-being and safety of all members of our community. As we continue to monitor the ongoing concern, we ask all members of our community to understand the seriousness of the issues. The approach we take will continue to be developed as more information emerges so please stay connected via the SFC portal and the SFC COVID-19 Information page.
Although we believe the risk of transmission on our campus is currently low, public health authorities are encouraging colleges and other institutions to encourage "social distancing" in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus. As such, in an abundance of caution, effective today, we are suspending all face-to-face academic instruction until further notice.
Beginning on March 18, 2020, the College will move to remote academic instruction and faculty will teach their classes online or electronically, via videoconferencing, or with some combination of digital techniques. No lectures or seminars will be conducted on campus during that time.
While it is our hope to return to face-to-face instruction on or before Monday, April 6, 2020, this is an extremely fluid situation and the period of online instruction may extend beyond April 3, 2020 if the situation around that date warrants it. We will continue to assess the situation and keep you informed.
- Spring Break will extend through Tuesday, March 17, 2020. No classes will be held on Monday, March 16, 2020 or on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Online instruction will begin on March 18, 2020. However, rather than reconvening on campus to recommence in-person classes on March 18, 2020, we will hold classes remotely beginning on that date. Please visit the MySFC portal for more information as it becomes available.
- All lectures and seminars will be conducted online from Wednesday, March 18, 2020 through Friday, April 3, 2020. During the week of March 30, 2020, the College will communicate if and for how much longer we will continue with remotely-held classes. It is our goal to restore normal campus operations as soon as possible; however, the health and safety of our community is paramount. We will be working with local health authorities to determine when we can return to face-to-face instruction. Under any circumstances, classes will be held through the end of the semester to ensure the academic continuity and progress of our students.
- All campus events are cancelled until further notice. This includes the College's Athletic Competitions, although some practices will continue. We are in close coordination with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) regarding all athletic competitions, and all are being guided by the recommendations of the CDC and departments of health.
- St. Francis College's campus will remain accessible for current employees and students with a valid SFC ID card.
- All residential students are encouraged to consider staying home after Spring Break. Student residences remain open, however, all residential students living in the dorms are also encouraged to return home immediately. Students who need to remain on campus because they are unable to return home will also take their courses online. They should be prepared for significantly limited interactions.
- Visitation rights in the EHS residence hall are suspended until further notice. Effective today, St. Francis College students will not be permitted to sign in short-term guests at the EHS dorm or on campus. This policy will be in effect until further notice and applies to both daytime and overnight guests.
- The College's business operations will remain open at this time. All departments, under the guidance of their supervisors, will continue to evaluate, where possible, telecommuting and flexible arrangements in the coming days if circumstances warrant. Please note that even if the College moves to conducting business operations remotely, we will continue to support our students and the College's mission by ensuring the on-going function of our operations. Correspondence from Richard Grasso, Executive Director of Human Resources and Dr. Jennifer Lancaster, Vice President for Academic Affairs, will also be forthcoming with more details.
- All non-essential College sponsored travel is banned until further notice. If you have questions or concerns about any trip you had planned, please contact Richard Grasso.
- Personal travel remains at your discretion. All students and employees should voluntarily register if they have done any traveling in the past 14 days. Please check your SFC email account for Faculty and Student Travel Forms.
As you assess any upcoming personal travel, please remember that rapidly changing conditions could trigger a self-quarantine period upon your return. In addition to the Travel Health Notices issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), individuals may encounter significant challenges upon their return from other affected areas. Individuals should check the CDC's website regularly to ensure that they have the most up-to-date information on travel restrictions and recommendations. If you have recently traveled or plan to travel, please contact Human Resources so the College can determine whether it is appropriate for you to work from home for a short period of time following your trip.
These measures are in force until further notice. We will continue to support, where possible and subject to appropriate restrictions, research, educational, and campus life activities that require physical presence. These measures are being taken to help ensure the health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff, and to decrease any potential impacts on the larger community.
Though we recognize that a small, intimate and personal educational environment is one of St. Francis College's great strengths, we also recognize that these are extraordinary times that require exceptional measures to deal with a health risk that affects us all.
I would again like to thank the members of our staff who have been working on these issues around the clock. The College is lucky to have a dedicated, knowledgeable, and committed team helping us navigate and respond to this complex, evolving situation. We will continue to work with the NYC Department of Health, the CDC, and other state and local health authorities to address COVID-19.
I appreciate that these measures impose significant restrictions on projects that matter tremendously to each of us. I also understand that people may have different views about how to respond to the uncertainties that we face, but I ask all of you to join in supporting these policies. St. Francis College has always been a community that cares for one another, and we will need our Franciscan spirit now more than ever. I thank you for your patience and assistance as we work through this evolving situation. I am confident that we will continue to pull together to meet the needs of our students, faculty, and staff.
Please remain in prayer as we deal with this global crisis.
In Peace and Friendship,