APRIL 30: Campus update from President McPhee

To our entire University community,

With Wednesday’s conclusion of classes for the Spring 2020 semester, and the summer sessions about to start, our planning focus now turns to August and the start of the new academic year. I have decided to resume on-campus and in-person classes and operations for the Fall 2020 semester. Please know that our actions ultimately will be guided by the advice and recommendations of the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and state public health officials concerning the coronavirus.

Like most of you, I miss the energy and vibrancy of our campus community. The task before me as president, working closely with our University leadership team, is to chart a course that will allow us to welcome our new incoming freshman class, transfers and returning students, as well as faculty and staff, to a safe and healthy campus for the new academic year. 

To assist the University in planning for the return of students and employees to campus, I’ve appointed a diverse team of faculty, staff and community leaders, led by Provost Mark Byrnes, to develop options and scenarios and submit recommendations on how we proceed when we reopen in the fall. We will act quickly, but carefully, keeping the safety of our community at the forefront of our planning. 

While we cannot predict the future, we can prepare for the possibilities that lie ahead. Will everything be just like it once was? Unlikely, but we will be prepared to adapt and evolve so that we remain efficient, effective, and even more relevant as our nation emerges from this crisis.

We are aware that you will have many questions about our plans for the upcoming fall semester.  Please be assured that we will address them as we learn more about the status of the virus and its impact on our state and region.  Again, I want to emphasize that we will consider the health and welfare of our community with every decision we make. We will be prepared to adapt should public health guidelines or orders dictate that we alter our plans.

Each of you, as members of our True Blue family, have amazing abilities to handle challenges, no matter how difficult. I have no doubt that we will demonstrate that resolve once again, as we move beyond the health and financial challenges our world is facing from this horrific pandemic.

Sidney A. McPhee