As you complete your classes and look ahead to final exams, I hope you are proud of all you have achieved this semester. I know how easy it can be to dread exams. However, they do offer the opportunity for you to demonstrate to yourself and your faculty members all you have learned over the course of these past months.
During this time, we have also learned a great deal as a community. Now that the end of the semester is in sight, we have a chance to reflect on our successes and challenges of this time—and how we might apply those to our plans for the Fall 2021 semester. We look forward to sharing more details about the fall over the next few months.
You might have seen that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that vaccinated people do not need to wear masks outdoors when they are not in a crowd of people. Baltimore City still has a mask mandate, however, and so does Loyola—for now. As we plan for fall, we will be considering the best ways to promote health and safety and also deliver an enjoyable experience for students.
One thing you can do to protect yourself and help us prepare for a successful fully in-person Fall semester is to get your COVID-19 vaccine. I strongly encourage you to get vaccinated if you haven’t already. The Maryland Higher Education Commission continues to add University Days at mass vaccination clinics in the area. You can find a list of those options on Loyola.edu/covidvaccines.
If you have already been vaccinated, please take a photo of your COVID-19 vaccination record card and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The last day of surveillance testing for students will be May 12, but we will continue to offer testing to students who are symptomatic or who have been identified as close contacts up through the last day students are living on campus. Please continue to use Campus Clear daily as a way to notify Student Health Services if you have symptoms. The team in SHS will reach out to you and work with you on the appropriate next steps.
Earlier this week, I informed members of the Class of 2021 and Class of 2020 that we have had to change our plans from the three ceremonies we had planned to hold at the Ridley Athletic Complex to holding a single combined ceremony at M&T Bank Stadium. The restrictions for professional sports facilities allow us to make this current plan happen.
We have compiled some Frequently Asked Questions about Commencement, and more details will be forthcoming soon.
This pandemic has delivered many disappointments, and this ceremony will look different from what we had all imagined. We are extremely excited, however, to be able to celebrate the Class of 2021 and the Class of 2020 in person. The members of the Class of 2020 and 2021 have made clear that having an in-person ceremony was their top priority—and that’s what I want for you, too. This will be an extraordinary celebration.
Professionals across the University have been working around the clock to develop Commencement plans for the Class of 2021 and the Class of 2020. We are so looking forward to celebrating our graduates on May 22.
I wish you all the best on your final exams and know you will continue to make healthy decisions as we look toward the end of the semester.
Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J.