President to students: university mapping plans for fall 2020 semester

From the Office of the President
Distributed: 05/14/2020
Posted: 05/18/2020


Dear Carlow University Students,

Congratulations on your completion of the spring semester. We applaud you for your commitment, endurance and academic achievements during this global pandemic.

We recognize that some of you will be taking summer classes online, and we assure you that the University remains committed to informing and supporting all students throughout the summer months. Services such as tutoring through the CAA, disabilities services, and counseling through tele-health access will remain available.

I want to share with you an update on our plans for the fall 2020 semester considering the current global pandemic. As you may be aware, Governor Wolf has approved the transition of Allegheny County into “yellow” phase on May 15, allowing our region to take small steps toward reopening. As we understand, university face-to-face instruction will be permitted once Allegheny County is moved to “green”. We are seeing hopeful signs.

To be clear, we are actively making plans to return to campus in the fall in anticipation that Allegheny County will move to “green” phase sometime this summer. The decision to return will be based upon guidelines from the CDC, State Health Department and Governor Wolf’s office. Details of our re-population planning will be communicated in June as details are confirmed.

We recognize that you are anxious to return to the campus learning environment you came to know prior to March 16. We join you in that sentiment. However, in the interest of safety and health, it is imperative that we approach the fall intentionally to maintain community well-being.

The pandemic continues to be an evolving situation. Since March, our COVID-19 Rapid Response Team has been working to monitor the situation. Senior leadership, faculty and staff across the University are diligently working to evaluate all viable options for fall 2020 course delivery. We are working in close collaboration with State officials, universities in the region, public health officers and experts in the field.

Our decisions will be guided by five key principles:
  1. The health and well-being of our community will remain priority one
  2. Plans will mirror all official public health guidelines (e.g., the CDC, Governor Wolf’s Office, State Department of Health)
  3. All decisions will be data-driven, based on science and will be flexible and measured
  4. Technology will be used as available to inform initiatives
  5. The University standards of quality and care will not waiver
These principles will permeate operations throughout the University, including but not limited to, course delivery models, residence life, athletics, academic coaching and student tutoring support. This pandemic has shown it can both evolve quickly and be disruptive, creating an unprecedented time of uncertainty. Recognizing that this potential may exist for the foreseeable future, we will remain flexible, responsive, and calculated in how we approach the upcoming fall. While we will need to do things differently, we are taking every step possible to do so in the way you have come to expect from Carlow.

We recognize that you chose Carlow University with purpose. We are working around the clock to facilitate small classroom interaction, faculty collaboration, peer engagement, and purposeful experiential learning opportunities. At Carlow, you are someone capable of great achievement and your success remains critically important to us.

Be certain of this, while you may have experienced loss, made sacrifices, and endured hardship, you have throughout demonstrated resilience, perseverance, and courage. Carlow students are risk takers, entrepreneurs, and change makers who are driven by what is right and making a difference in their community. We will persist through this together and will be better for it. The world more than ever needs Carlow-educated graduates, and we remain committed to helping you achieve that outcome.

I’d also like to remind you that if you’ve been financially impacted by COVID-19, I encourage you to link into the Student Application for Emergency Assistance. The application only takes a few minutes to complete. The deadline for the first phase of funding is May 15.

We will continue to provide you with weekly updates, and we encourage you to continue reading emails over the summer months given the fact that many things are rapidly changing. True to our mission of mercy, we remain committed to supporting the well-being and vitality of all our students.

Sincerely,

Suzanne K. Mellon, PhD
President