Dear Graduate Students,
Today I am sharing the difficult news with our undergraduates that we will offer online-only instruction for the fall semester. Most graduate courses will also be offered in online and hybrid formats, though we are also exploring the possibility of offering some face-to-face on-campus programs or classes. Individual programs will communicate with students regarding externships and clinical placements, and you will receive more details as decisions are finalized.
Our carefully researched, extremely detailed, and well-formulated plans to hold classes in person on campus were predicated on a model that expected COVID-19 to diminish over the summer. That transition would have given us the opportunity to offer more in-person courses. Unfortunately, the data have proven that did not happen.
In reviewing the national and statewide effects of COVID-19, the Board of Trustees and Loyola’s leadership believe that this is the right choice to protect the health of our University community. We fully intend to welcome students back to campus for the spring semester, as trends move more clearly in our favor and perhaps improved therapies, better testing, and a vaccine become available. We will continue to evaluate numerous contingencies and work actively toward that reopening. We hope that our being primarily online this fall will help make being on campus for the spring semester possible.
If You Have Courses on Campus
Last week returning graduate students received an email outlining steps to prepare students for returning to our campuses. Recognizing the needs of our diverse graduate student population, we have amended the steps and modified protocols to better meet your needs. For program-specific information, I encourage you to reach out to your program director or department chair.
- Commit to being a Healthy Hound. Please visit the Healthy Hounds site and sign the pledge to commit to being a “Healthy Hound” when you are on Loyola’s campuses.
- Follow CDC protocols. Practice protocols set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. If it is impractical for you to self-quarantine for two weeks prior to attending an in-person course or session, please try to minimize your contact with large groups of people and keep your social contacts to a small circle of family and trusted friends. We hope you will continue to do this throughout the semester.
- Monitor your symptoms. If you develop any COVID-like symptoms prior to your return to Loyola, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, you should contact your health care provider who can refer you for COVID testing. If a self-quarantine is required, please notify your program director or chair, alerting them to your status. They can provide you with your options for orientation, securing your identification card, or other beginning-of-year activities.
- Complete Loyola’s COVID-19 Safety and Awareness Training. All graduate students are required to complete Loyola’s COVID-19 Safety and Awareness Training before the semester begins.
During the Semester
- Graduate students who will be on campus will participate in a daily COVID-19 self-screener program that will ask you a series of questions as you monitor yourself for symptoms and exposure to COVID-19. You will receive more information about participating in the self-screener soon.
- Students who have symptoms or exposure to COVID-19 as directed by the self-screening program will be asked to refrain from going to class or clinic and to notify their respective departments. A follow-up with your physician will be warranted. If you are from outside the Baltimore metropolitan area, you may reach out to Student Health Services at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out where to go for testing.
You can find additional information about COVID-19 on the Student Health Services FAQs page.
Thank you for your flexibility as we try to deliver an exceptional graduate education during this uncertain time. I hope you and your families are doing well and that this semester studying at Loyola will be a rewarding one for you.
Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J.