Looking Forward to Spring 2021

Dear Saint Mary’s Community,

As we move into the last few weeks of the fall term, I would like to celebrate our success so far and thank all of you for your creativity, flexibility, and resilience. Your diligence in following safety and public health protocols during the pandemic has been pivotal to our success.

I am enormously grateful to the faculty, who have continued to deliver the highest quality education in difficult circumstances. I have been humbled by the commitment of our staff, who have worked tirelessly to offer programs and services for our students during this complex time. Most importantly, I am grateful to our students. Your persistence in following public health practices during the pandemic is enabling the College to re-open on-campus services and to invite more students to campus for January Term and Spring 2021. 

Plans for the spring were developed in consultation with faculty, staff, and administrators across campus, and took into account the continued improvement in COVID-19 conditions throughout the Bay Area. We are monitoring conditions daily and have contingency plans in place to adapt if the situation changes. 

Looking forward to Spring 2021: 

Academic Modes of Instruction – Undergraduate spring classes will be offered in a variety of modalities to meet the needs of students. We plan to increase the number of in-person classes; offer a range of flexible classes that are designed for either in-person and remote participation; and, continue to provide remote instruction for students unable to participate in face-to-face classes. On-campus residential students will have priority registration to ensure that they are able to enroll in as many in-person classes as possible; off-campus students will be allowed to enroll in specialized in-person courses in addition to remote classes. 

Most students will likely experience a mix of course types while living on or commuting to campus. All of our courses will take place in accordance with health protocols that meet or exceed public health guidelines. This includes holding classes in outdoor pavilions and well ventilated indoor spaces in which physical distancing can be maintained, requiring the use of facial coverings on campus, and ensuring enhanced cleaning and sanitization of classroom spaces. Students can be assured that we will support their continued learning and engagement in campus life, whether in person or remotely. 

Graduate and Professional Programs - Due to the uniqueness of each of our graduate programs, the individual schools in which those programs reside will reach out to current and prospective students about their plans for the winter and spring terms. 

Campus Housing – Campus housing will be available at a reduced occupancy for as many as 948 students, or 66% of occupancy, starting spring semester. Most rooms have been converted to singles in traditional first-year housing, with double rooms available in the suites and townhouses. Applications for spring housing are available now

Campus Life – Most campus amenities, including the Recreation Center, Library, Chapel, and Oliver Dining Hall, will be open and available to all students, including off-campus students, at reduced capacity to allow for physical distancing. A range of in-person programs, events, and activities will be available to students on and off-campus, in addition to virtual activities. We will adapt the availability of in-person activities in adherence to Contra Costa County and state regulations.

Health and Safety - The College is fortunate to have a beautiful and expansive open-air campus, and we have capitalized on that by constructing numerous outdoor classrooms to minimize health risks. We have also reconfigured residential and classroom facilities, adapted large indoor spaces to serve as classrooms, and minimized class sizes as part of our health and safety measures. We will continue with our robust health protocols as described on the COVID-19 Resource website.

We have a renewed sense of enthusiasm and are excited to return to campus for the spring 2021 term. We will continue to adjust these plans and respond if circumstances change. We must remain vigilant and unwavering in our efforts to protect the health and safety of ourselves, our students, our families, and our community by complying with mandated policies and protocols. Our collective effort will help ensure a successful spring term. 

We are grateful for the strength of our community and will continue to be guided by our Lasallian, Catholic, liberal arts mission to provide a transformative educational experience for our students. We look forward to seeing you on campus or virtually soon! 

Sincerely,

 

Margaret Kasimatis, PhD
Interim Executive Vice President