Dear Members of the Loyola Community,
Throughout this summer, I have been sharing continued updates on our progress toward reopening. It is extremely important to me that every member of our community is aware of our planning, especially during a time of such uncertainty. As we move forward with our plans to reopen our campuses in time for the fall semester, I assure you we are carefully monitoring the status of COVID-19. All our decisions will be made following current health and government guidance and with concern about the health and safety of the members of our community.
We have a sound plan that has been reviewed by medical professionals. Even with the best plan, however, we cannot control every factor, including the behavior of our students and other members of our community. For us to open in person this fall and remain open on our campuses, we must have the full commitment and investment of every member of our community in promoting the health and safety of our Loyola family.
Adhere to Health and Safety Policies
It is critical for every member of our community—particularly our students—to engage in healthy behavior this summer, as we prepare for the fall. Healthy behaviors include wearing face coverings, engaging in physical distancing, washing your hands, monitoring yourself for symptoms and reporting any symptoms to your healthcare provider, and making good decisions to keep yourself and others healthy.
Wearing a face covering is an outward sign of your care and concern for another person—even someone whom you do not know. That is the type of behavior we will require for the Loyola community, but I hope you are engaging in that even during these summer months away from Loyola. Each of us has an essential role to play in helping to ensure the success of the fall semester.
We are also advising every undergraduate student to quarantine for the 14 days prior to arrival on the Evergreen campus. This may be difficult, but we are asking this of all our undergraduate students to put us in the best position for a healthy semester for our community. You can learn more about quarantining on the Student Health Services FAQs page.
We are putting our plans in place around testing, and I look forward to sharing those details with you soon. Student Health Services will also be sending a mandatory training to all students who are returning to campus. But it is never too soon to begin to familiarize yourself with the campus services available and to stay well-informed and educated about COVID-19.
I invite you to visit:
• The Student Health Services website
• The Healthy Hounds website
• Sign the pledge to commit to being a Healthy Hound
• Read the University’s statement on COVID-19
Choosing Online-only Instruction
Students who want to study remotely should send an email request to the office of undergraduate and graduate studies at email@example.com. They will let the professors teaching your fall classes know. They will answer any other academic questions you might have and direct other kinds of questions to the right office.
Last week the Patriot League announced that athletic programs will not engage in competition during the fall season. Decisions surrounding winter and spring sport competition will be made at a later date. Opportunities for practice and strength and conditioning in all sports will be permitted provided health and safety conditions support these engagements.
This is extremely disappointing news for our student-athletes and their families—and for all of us who are Greyhounds fans.
We will continue to celebrate our livestreamed 5 p.m. summer Sunday Mass in Alumni Memorial Chapel through Aug. 23. When students return to campus, beginning with Sunday, Aug. 30, we will offer Mass at 4:30 p.m. each Sunday on the Quad, weather permitting. Students will be encouraged to attend in-person. However, the livestream of Sunday Mass will continue to be available. Campus Ministry will work within guidelines from the Archdiocese of Baltimore and Loyola to ensure the safety of the community at Masses.
As we know, of course, the situation around COVID-19 continues to evolve, and though we move forward with our planning with optimism, we must be prepared to adapt to new information and guidance as it becomes available.
None of us has ever lived through a global pandemic. It can be mentally and emotionally challenging to approach each day with faith and hope. As we navigate this time, I invite you to join me in praying for the health and safety of each member of our community, for those who are suffering physically or economically or in other ways as a result, for a vaccine or a cure, and for all those who are battling this virus on our behalf. I also hope you’ll find it reassuring that each of us can play a part in keeping ourselves and others healthy as we look forward to being together soon.
The Irish poet Seamus Heaney wrote, “Even if the hopes you started out with are dashed, hope has to be maintained.” Hold onto hope. Know that it is alive and well—and that each of us has a role to play in keeping it alive for ourselves and in others’ hearts, too.
God bless you and your families.
Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J.