Dear Graduate Students,
As we mark the midpoint of the semester, I hope you’re finding that your studies are rewarding and that you and your families are doing well. I understand that surveillance testing of graduate students who are on our campuses for six or more hours a week is underway. Thank you for your compliance with that testing and for all the ways in which you are working to keep yourself and our community safe and healthy.
Looking ahead to our Easter/Spring Break, we will be providing testing of all undergraduate students and implementing a Campus Assessment and Restriction Period (CARP) the week after Easter, beginning April 5. During that time, all undergraduate classes will be online-only. In-person graduate classes scheduled to be held on the Evergreen campus will be held online. In-person graduate classes and experiences will continue as scheduled in Timonium, Columbia, downtown, and at the Loyola Clinical Centers.
I want to remind you that, according to Maryland guidelines, people who travel out of state need to quarantine for 10 days after their return or get a negative test. You should abide by those guidelines if you travel during that time.
Those of you who will be receiving your degrees in May are eager to know our plans for Commencement, and I wish I had a firm and foolproof plan to share with you. Loyola is working actively to plan a Commencement ceremony, developing a few different scenarios. We do not know what we will be able to do within the guidelines set by Baltimore City and the State of Maryland. Currently, the State of Maryland is only allowing events of 100 people or fewer, but we remain optimistic that those guidelines will change.
At this point, we are tentatively planning to celebrate the Class of 2020 and 2021 with Commencement ceremonies the weekend of May 22, 2021. Recognizing how important it is for families to be able to plan, we will share details as soon as we finalize them. We will send another update later this month when we will have more details. We are exploring both in-person and virtual options, and we are still determining how many guests each graduate would be able to bring. We also expect to have more clarity on the government and health guidance we must follow. We are actively looking at options—both on campus and off—to find the best scenario given government guidelines.
Not being able to hold an in-person celebration for the Class of 2020 last May has been one of my greatest disappointments of the pandemic. I know what this event means to you, and we are determined to find creative and safe ways to celebrate our Classes of 2020 and 2021.
As much as we are focusing on wearing masks, social distancing, avoiding large gatherings, and taking other steps for our physical health, it is also extremely important to consider your mental health during this time. Under the leadership of the Counseling Center, a group of professionals at the University has created a COVID-19 Mental Health Survival Guide
full of resources for you. Please remember that we have many resources in place to support you, and the Counseling Center is always a good place to start if you aren’t sure where to turn.
Recently, national news outlets have been reporting violence and hate crimes directed toward Asian Americans. These acts of prejudice and bigotry are an evil that denies persons their human dignity. Whenever we see racism in action, we must ask ourselves what we can do to create a more equitable, inclusive, welcoming community—particularly here on Loyola’s campus.
Each of us has a role to play in combatting racism and creating a more just world. If you’re not sure what your role might be, I invite you to consider some of the sessions related to equity and inclusion that are scheduled for Mission Week, which begins Sunday, March 14. You'll find a full schedule of events on the Mission Week website
As we look forward to warmer weather and enjoy time outdoors, please continue to be vigilant in wearing your masks and engaging in social distancing. Thank you for doing your part to help keep yourself and our community safe and healthy.
Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J.