Dear Members of the Loyola Community,
Colleagues across the University are engaged in intense and important planning for the reopening of our campuses in time for the fall semester. We are finalizing a reopening plan that I look forward to sharing with you soon, but there is information that I know our students and families need to be able to plan.
Updates to the Undergraduate Calendar
We are adapting our undergraduate academic calendar to make it possible for students to complete all coursework prior to Thanksgiving. Experts suggest that we could see another surge of COVID-19 later in the fall, so we are planning accordingly to help give our students as much face-to-face instruction as possible.
To complete the required instructional time between now and Thanksgiving, we are adding some Saturdays to the class schedules—two Saturdays for Tuesday/Thursday courses and three Saturdays for Monday/Wednesday/Friday courses. More information will be forthcoming on which Saturdays.
We will also hold classes on Labor Day and on the Friday that had been designated for Fall Break. Finals will be conducted online after Thanksgiving. We are scheduling a Study Week, which will provide an opportunity for students to study for exams, finish culminating projects, and connect with faculty prior to finals.
Here is the updated undergraduate calendar:
Aug. 25-26: First-year students move in (students will receive move-in times later)
Aug. 28, 29 & 30: Returning students move in (students will receive move-in times later)
Aug. 31: Classes begin for the fall semester
Sept. 7: Classes held on Labor Day
Oct. 16: Classes held in lieu of Fall Break Day
Nov. 24: Last day of fall classes; Residence halls close to send students home for the semester
Nov. 30-Dec. 4: Study Week
Dec. 7-16: Final Exams
I regret to share that we are canceling Family Weekend this fall. Much as we look forward to that time together every year, adding another 1,600 family members to campus for a weekend visit is not advisable as we strive to reduce density on campus.
Changes to Student Housing
In addition to developing a plan for testing, tracing, and screening, we are working on our plan to reduce density on campus and identify isolation space for students who test positive for COVID-19. This planning means that, unfortunately, we must change some student housing assignments for the 2020-2021 academic year.
There are a number of reasons for these housing changes. All are grounded in the interest of public health and designed to mitigate risk. Some of them are:
• We are reducing the number of students in some apartments. In the interest of student safety, students will not be permitted to live in groups larger than six.
• Several rooms in Newman have a bedroom located in the common room and provide limited privacy. We will be reducing these units from four residents to two residents.
• Students who have been assigned to Ahern will be reassigned so that Ahern can be designated as an isolation space.
• Some students will choose to learn remotely for the fall semester or decide they do not need their Loyola housing. We will need to consolidate students as vacancies arise to further reduce density throughout residence halls, which will mean some students will be moved to different housing assignments. This consolidation process may continue throughout the summer. If you have decided that you do not need your Loyola housing for the fall, please email firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
• To help with density on campus, to create isolation space, to provide housing to those students who had planned to study abroad this fall, and to ensure every student who wants to be in Loyola housing can be, Loyola is in the process of securing apartments near campus. We plan to create off-campus communities in the Social North Charles, an apartment building that is less than a mile from campus in Guilford, and the Woodberry Apartments, a brand-new apartment building located near the Ridley Athletic Complex, for the 2020-2021 academic year. Those apartments will be completely furnished by Loyola, and students would pay the Loyola housing rate. We are putting together a plan for the best ways to support our student residents of those buildings, including finalizing transportation arrangements to and from the apartments, and we’ll share those details in the weeks ahead. Student life will be reaching out to upper-class students to offer them the opportunity to live in one of these off-campus communities.
Students who will be impacted by any of these housing changes will be contacted by student life by June 26. Regardless of whether you plan to live on or off campus next year, it is essential for students to complete this form by Friday, June 26. That information will help us further our planning and provide your updated rooming information in a timely way.
We fully understand and empathize deeply with the fact that these housing changes may be distressing to students who have already been envisioning their room assignment. It is, however, what we need to do as a university to help promote the health and safety of our community. I ask for your patience and your understanding as the University works to try to make this the best possible situation for all our students.
Room and Board Grace Period
As we look ahead to the fall, we all recognize that the campus experience will be different. With so much general uncertainty and anxiety, we are offering students a three-week grace period on room and board. If students voluntarily decide during the first three weeks of classes that they want to move home and continue instruction remotely, we will refund their room and board expenses for the semester.
I feel confident that our students will want to stay and participate in a historic, exciting semester, but I also respect and understand that it might be easier to come to campus knowing that you have the option to return home with no negative repercussions.
As we look forward to the next academic year, I decided to create a video message for our students. We have much to look forward to this fall, and I invite you to begin envisioning that experience with me.
Again, I would remind our students to complete this form by Friday, June 26, to let us know their housing needs for the next academic year.
Please know that you are in my prayers every day.
Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J.