Dear Members of the Loyola Community,
We are busily preparing our campuses to welcome our students for the fall semester when the University will resume normal operations to the greatest extent possible as the public health situation permits. Our focus is on the health and safety of our community as we continue to deliver on our promise of a high-quality Jesuit liberal arts and professional education and experience for our students.
Today, I write to share with you our reopening plan. This plan has been developed and will be implemented in accordance with the State of Maryland’s Roadmap to Recovery plan, as well as guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Baltimore City Health Department, and other government and health experts and organizations. The plan will continue to evolve as more information becomes available and as we follow the path of COVID-19. I assure you that I will continue to share updates in the weeks ahead.
Although we will take steps to try to keep our community safe and healthy, it is important to recognize that no one can guarantee a COVID-19-free environment. Working to minimize the risk of infections and spread will be a shared responsibility.
As we take steps to promote healthy behavior within our community, we must also be mindful of the need to care actively for one another. It is important for every member of our community to feel welcome, included, and safe. We will focus on health and safety, as well as greater inclusion, greater equity, and greater justice within our community, listening to one another, and working toward being the community we want to be—and should be—as a Jesuit, Catholic university.
You can find the full plan for reopening on this site, but I want to offer an overview here:
Promoting Healthy Behavior
Every member of the Loyola community has a role to play in advancing the health of our campuses. Testing and screening will be important, but we can each make a real difference through our approach to personal hygiene—wearing face coverings in classrooms and public spaces, washing hands frequently, using hand sanitizer, and engaging in physical distancing in public spaces.
Students, faculty, staff, and administrators will participate in online health and safety training/education programs prior to their return to campus. Those not adhering to the required public health practices will be subject to the student conduct process or employee disciplinary action.
Health and Safety
As a community, we will lean on scientific knowledge and research in our approach to care of the whole person—mind, body, and spirit—in setting the stage for a successful semester on our campuses. Loyola is establishing a contract with a local hospital group to serve as our healthcare partner. That partner will offer medical guidance and support, as well as assistance in case management for any students who require closer monitoring and/or hospitalization related to COVID-19.
We are developing a plan of effective screening, testing, and contact tracing protocols that will be designed with a view toward mitigating health risks and the spread of infection. Undergraduate students who test positive for COVID-19 will isolate at home—if their home is within driving distance of Loyola; those who are not able to go home will isolate on campus in Ahern. Undergraduate students who have been exposed to COVID-19 but remain asymptomatic will quarantine in their rooms.
Graduate students who test positive for COVID-19 or who have been exposed will isolate/quarantine at home and work with Student Health Services to confirm that they are ready to return to campus for face-to-face instruction. They will also be responsible for daily symptom checking and following up with Student Health Services if they have symptoms.
To help reduce density and allow for physical distancing in our current indoor spaces, we will add a dining tent and 10 modular classrooms on Diane Geppi-Aikens Field.
Loyola is also making changes to student housing in the interest of public health and to mitigate risk. While students are in their rooms, suites, or apartments, they will not need to wear face coverings, but they should still try to promote health and safety within their spaces. To create additional space for students who want Loyola housing, Loyola is establishing off-campus communities in the Social North Charles and the Woodberry Apartments for the 2020-2021 academic year. See the FAQs to learn more about living in the Social at North Charles or the Woodberry Apartments.
Faculty—supported by administrators and staff—are deeply engaged in planning so that students will receive a high-impact education through a blend of face-to-face and digital pedagogy.
All courses will be available to students who choose to participate in classes remotely for the fall 2020 semester. The ways in which remote learners participate in a particular class will vary, depending on course type and instructor. If you plan to take all your courses remotely from home, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements.
Some classes will be offered only online. Those will be both the larger classes, where it is too difficult to schedule them in spaces allowing for physical distancing, and those where faculty need to teach all their classes online. Moving those courses online helps free up physical space for classes with smaller enrollments where faculty rely more on whole-class discussion and small-group work.
Most classes with smaller enrollments will be offered in a hybrid manner, with students attending class in a physical space at least once per week, ideally, and attending other class sessions virtually. Hybrid courses will be designed to offer as much interaction between faculty and students and among students as possible.
Students who access fall courses in Moodle, Loyola's course management system, should ignore any welcome messages that indicate that particular courses would be fully online. That message was part of a standard template that is meant to be revised by faculty as they finish preparing fall courses and may or may not be accurate. As courses are moved online because of size or faculty inability to teach on campus, instructors will contact students. Due to concerns raised about the welcome-message template, student access to fall Moodle courses will be unavailable until early to mid-August, when faculty will have had time to finalize their fall courses.
Facilities Management & Maintenance
The University’s facilities department is implementing new health and safety measures for all campus spaces for the reopening of Loyola’s campuses. These measures include HVAC building modifications; cleaning protocols; hand sanitizers and disinfecting spray or wipes; minimizing the use of shared equipment; signage; and furniture layout. Plexiglass and other barriers will be placed in locations where physical distancing isn’t possible, including transaction counters, dining serving areas, and administrative/reception areas.
Events & Athletics
University events will be designed to allow for physical distancing and to prevent campus community spread/transmission of COVID-19, following CDC Guidelines and additional measures.
Greyhounds Athletics is actively working to finalize plans for the fall and will follow the guidance from the NCAA and Patriot League. Follow the latest updates on the Loyola Greyhounds site.
The office of undergraduate admission is planning to resume a modified, limited campus visit schedule following all public health guidelines for admission guests at the end of July.
Labor & Employment
The office of human resources is working to promote a safe workplace for all faculty, staff, and administrators. Employees’ return to campus will happen in phases. To reduce workforce density, some staff and administrators will continue remote work as appropriate, so that employees who need to have an on-site presence to serve students and colleagues can be on campus.
University-sponsored travel for employees is canceled and postponed until further notice. Employees should avoid unnecessary personal travel domestically and internationally. Proposals for future travel must be approved by the respective vice president, provost, or president. Learn more on the Return to Work on Campus page.
You can find more information on these sites:
• A more detailed version of our plan on our reopening site
• More about what we can each do to promote health and safety within our community on the Healthy Hounds website
• The Return to Campus Guide for faculty, staff, and administrators
• The University’s statement on COVID-19
As we look ahead to reopening our campuses in time for the fall, we recognize there are still challenges, questions, and unknowns. We feel confident, however, that this plan will help position Loyola well for adapting to and embracing opportunities as they arise. The strength and innovation of our community will carry us forward. We look forward to working together as a community to help ensure this will be a safe, healthy semester for our university.
Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J.