Fall Planning and Saint Mary's COVID-19 Working Groups

President Donahue's Message to Faculty, Staff & Students About Fall Planning and Saint Mary's COVID-19 Working Groups


Dear Saint Mary’s Community,

I’m writing to you with updated information as we make preparations for the 2020–2021 academic year. As we navigate through the unprecedented challenges our community is facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, our decisions will continue to be informed by guidance from state and county health officials, our own College health experts, and our Lasallian mission. Our goals are threefold. First, and most important, is the health, safety, and well-being of our faculty, staff, students, families, and community. Our second goal is to do all we can to get us back to what we do best, namely, in-person instruction and providing students with a residential campus experience. We all know that the COVID-19 pandemic has been unpredictable; therefore, our third goal is to develop structures and policies that allow us to successfully adapt if and when the situation changes.

The Saint Mary’s COVID-19 Response Group—composed of faculty and staff administrators—is charged with meeting the three goals stated above. We know that there are numerous factors to consider about how we will reintroduce students, faculty, and staff back to campus, while adhering to safety protocols and new operational procedures. We are constantly listening to our students and community members to ascertain their concerns and perspectives about how we can safely live, learn, teach, and work at Saint Mary’s. Following considerable thought and discussion, this important work has been divided into five key subgroups to develop and implement actions to prepare for the fall term and campus reopening. These five subgroups are:

·    Housing Planning and Parameters

·    Health Protocols Development & Planning - Students

·    Health Protocols Development & Planning - Employees

·    Academic Contingency Planning

·    Co-Curricular Contingency Planning

Detailed information on the goals and charge of each subgroup can be found at this link, along with the SMC community members who are serving on each team. The dedication and hard work of these individuals cannot be understated. As recommendations are developed by each group, we will share information pertaining to specific communities with those particular communities, as well as with the community at large.

As we have seen in multiple news and media reports, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on colleges and universities, and Saint Mary’s is no exception. However, due to our small classes and Bay Area location, we are in a much better position than many other colleges to return to in-person instruction. With thoughtful planning, teamwork, and a bit of luck, we will be back together on campus in the fall. It will be incredibly exciting to welcome everyone home to our Saint Mary’s community.


In the spirit of De La Salle,

James A. Donahue