Dear Graduate Students,
The semester is moving along quickly, and I expect you are looking forward to your Thanksgiving Break, which is just around the corner. As you focus on your coursework, I hope you are also looking forward to the spring, especially if you will be returning to in-person classes.
It is troubling to see COVID-19 cases rising in Maryland and across the country, and it seems likely we are looking at a challenging winter. I assure you that we have been developing our reopening plan with the expectation that there could be an increase in cases. We feel confident that the steps we are putting in place—including creating a detailed plan for testing, contact tracing, and case management—will help mitigate the risks associated with COVID-19 and position us well for the Spring 2021 semester. I’m grateful that we have an excellent plan and that we have time to further refine it and test it before we welcome undergraduate and graduate students to our campuses for in-person instruction in January.
I look forward to sharing the reopening plan with you next week, but I wanted to be in touch with an update today.
Prior to returning to any of Loyola’s campuses, all graduate students who will be taking classes in person will need to provide proof of a negative PCR test that has been administered Jan. 5 or later. Questions and proof of the test should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ongoing Surveillance Testing
Many professionals across the University have been focused on how to help ensure the health and safety of graduate students as we prepare for the spring semester. Your health and safety are of paramount importance, and we recognize that graduate students have very different experiences, needs, and concerns than our undergraduate population.
We will be conducting surveillance testing of our undergraduate and employee population each week. We will also be conducting surveillance testing of some of our graduate student population. More information about this process will be communicated in the weeks to come, but we would like to provide a brief overview to outline the process below.
- If you are a graduate student taking classes entirely online, you will not be tested through surveillance testing.
- If you are a graduate student who is spending less than six hours on campus in in-person courses per week or taking a single course, you will not be expected to participate in the randomized surveillance testing.
- If you are a graduate student who is on campus for in-person courses for six or more hours per week, you may be randomly selected to participate in surveillance testing at one of our campus locations. If you are randomly selected and it is not convenient for you to be tested at the sites designated by Loyola, you can submit a test from another medical facility, if that is more convenient for you. (Students in this group will typically be full-time students or students enrolled in cohort programs—including full-time students of Theological Studies, Speech-Language Pathology, Clinical Professional Counseling, Psy.D. students, and students enrolled in the Emerging Leaders MBA.)
Be a Healthy Hound
Most important for all of us is that we follow all the public safety measures to keep ourselves safe—wearing face coverings, engaging in physical distancing, washing hands, and ensuring our spaces are clean.
Please do all you can to stay well, knowing how much we want to enjoy a healthy semester together in the spring, and know you and your family are in my prayers.
Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J.