As we move through our second week of classes during the COVID-19 pandemic, it appears you are adapting well to the transition to online learning. We know it has taken extra work and patience but once again, you have made all of us on the Hilltop proud.
Your faculty and the university staff have been committed to trying to make everything go as smoothly as possible in this uncertain time. It has taken complete dedication from them to do their jobs remotely while under great uncertainty and stress. There were countless issues and complications that had to be addressed to make this transition work, but our Virus Response Team tackled every one of them thoroughly and thoughtfully. We owe these folks an enormous debt of gratitude for navigating Bradley through the immediate crisis and preparing us for the future, without precedent or playbook. That team was made up of Provost Walter Zakahi, Associate Provost Jobie Skaggs, CFO Pratima Gandhi, General Counsel Erin Kastberg, University Spokesperson Renee Charles and Vice President for Student Affairs Nathan Thomas (the unofficial chair of the group). Both our soon-to-be President Steve Standifird and current President Gary Roberts often listened in and added their input when appropriate. The Deans and Associate Deans also played a critical role in implementing the necessary changes. I hope you will take a moment to thank them for their commitment and dedication to Bradley and to you.
Earlier this week, President Roberts sent a message to the faculty and staff outlining several initiatives and decisions that have been made recently. We wanted to share information on those that impact you, along with some other details you should know.
- A pass-fail option for students (with the exception of those whose academic standing won’t allow for the option) in all spring semester courses will be implemented. We are working through the details and will provide information in the near future.
- Since no one knows when significant restrictions on social interaction will be lifted or when it will be safe once again to hold face-to-face classes, we have extended online delivery through the summer.
- All study abroad programs scheduled for this summer are canceled.
- Students who are employed during the spring semester by Bradley will be paid through the end of the semester. This applies to graduate assistants, work-study employees and other student workers. The details on implementation are being outlined now.
- We have retooled our Student Engagement Team, a group of faculty and staff representing each undergraduate college and key student support units, to focus on helping you transition to online classes and making sure you connect with the right resources while you are away. These staff and faculty members have developed an outreach and support plan to make sure you have what you need to succeed. They have already contacted you with text messages to make sure you were prepared for this transition, then again this past week to see if you had any concerns you needed to communicate. If you are not receiving these text messages, make sure your cell phone number is up to date in the "Personal Info" tab in Webster. If you have any questions or need anything at all, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. This team is here to help you.
- If you were a St. James resident during the Spring 2020 semester you have received emails about what is needed to assess eligibility for April and May rent forgiveness. As a reminder, if you're not currently living at St James, it is required that you email email@example.com by MONDAY, APRIL 13, 9 A.M. to avoid rent charges. If you are currently living at St James and plan to continue to do so, you need not do anything and your rental charges will be applied and owed as usual for April and May.
- Students who lived in the residence halls, SAC, Pi Kappa Phi and Delta Tau Delta houses for the Spring 2020 semester do not need to do anything further regarding housing and meal plan potential adjustments.
- We have received some questions regarding outside landlords and their policies. We must reiterate, Bradley University is only responsible for its residence halls, St. James, SAC, Pi Kappa Phi, and Delta Tau Delta houses. All other housing operations, including Main Street Commons, individual rental properties, fraternities and sororities are operated by outside agencies and subject to their leasing terms. All questions regarding the operations of these properties should be taken directly to the appropriate landlord.
- By now many of you have heard the phrase “flatten the curve.” We are trying to slow the spread of COVID-19 through physical distancing. By staying home, you also protect your friends who have weakened immune systems, your family members who are older and those members of the Bradley family who could be significantly affected by this disease. Experts now recommend we use the term physical distancing instead of social distancing. This means you need to keep a significant physical distance between you and others. You can still be social, but you need to do it from a safe physical distance. You can also enjoy the weather, but please do it by yourself. We are sorry to add that means no activities on the Quad. Please follow the orders to stay at home.
- In every way, we want you back on campus. We miss you! As of today, we are planning for the fall semester to return to on-the-ground, face-to-face learning, and we hope to return to many of our normal activities. However, we will closely follow recommendations from the CDC and other sources regarding our operations this fall.
Many more decisions and changes are on the horizon for Bradley, and we ask for your continued patience and understanding as we work through them. We all miss having you around and are still here for you. To show you how much you are missed, some of our faculty and staff have something to share with you. Be sure to watch for more videos next week!
–Sent to Students on 04/07/2020
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