SMC Suspends In-Person Instruction: March 13, 2020

March 13, 2020

Dear Saint Mary’s Community,

I want to provide an update on important steps Saint Mary’s College is taking to promote campus safety. Fortunately, the College has no confirmed cases of COVID-19. We continue to follow recommendations from local, state, and national public health agencies to prevent the spread of the disease among students, staff, and faculty. However, as we all know, the situation is fluid.

Our guiding compass must always be the well-being of the campus; as such Saint Mary’s will take the following actions:  

  • The College will temporarily suspend in-person instruction beginning Monday, March 16, with the plan of resuming in-person instruction on Tuesday, April 14.
    Studio classes, laboratories, ensembles, physical activity courses, field placements, and internships may continue meeting in-person as determined by the respective School Dean;
  • EdTech will continue to provide resources and support to faculty to offer alternative means of instruction and the IT Help Desk will continue to be available for student assistance;
  • During this period, the College will remain open and services will continue;
  • The residence halls will remain open and students will be expected to practice social distancing (remaining 6 feet apart from others) and continue healthy practices such as hand-washing or sanitizing, and covering mouths when coughing or sneezing with a tissue or an elbow;
  • Students may choose to return to their personal homes during this period and are still encouraged to follow recommendations related to social distancing, travel, and healthy practices to reduce the spread of illness;
  • Dining services will remain open but will modify food distribution to support social distancing and healthy practices (e.g., multiple distribution points, no self-service offerings, use of compostable disposable service ware);
  • Public Safety will continue to operate around the clock;
  • The Library will remain open during this period but will have modified hours and virtual resources available;
  • The Joseph Alioto Recreation Center will remain open with modified services;
  • We have postponed or canceled all public events with more than 50 attendees. We will alter Saturday at SMC for admitted prospective students, providing smaller-group visit opportunities, and replacing the academic fair with virtual program presentations.

Because the College remains open for business, offices will continue to be staffed. Managers should work with their departments to implement best practices for social distancing, including modifying office space usage and remote work. Supervisors must approve all alternative work arrangements. 

Saint Mary’s COVID-19 Response Team meets daily to closely monitor this health situation, prepare for potential scenarios, and rapidly address new developments. We will regularly inform the campus about the College’s response to this public health crisis in emails and provide regular updates on SMC’s Responding To The Coronavirus (COVID-19) web page, which currently includes helpful information on-campus health; academic continuity; enhanced custodial services; FAQ’s that address student, faculty, and staff concerns; and SMC community resources. Human Resources will provide further guidance in a communication later today.

We are at a moment when many are understandably anxious. I am proud of how our faculty have responded to the challenge of providing instruction for academic continuity for students, appreciative of our dedicated staff at all levels supporting this work, and grateful for your continued commitment to our shared mission to serve our students. Let us remember to be supportive of one another, to take good care of ourselves and our families, and to have faith and confidence that we will move forward together through this challenging time.

In the Spirit of De La Salle,

James A. Donahue