Dear Graduate Students,
Over the past months, we have worked diligently to create a plan that would allow us to reopen our campuses—and stay open. Individuals across the University have come together in thoughtful, creative, and research-based planning to address the challenges we are facing—and will continue to face—as a community.
Loyola is working actively to reopen our campuses so we can offer in-person instruction—and a residential experience for our undergraduate students—for the spring semester. Health and safety remain at the center of our planning, along with our commitment to continuing to deliver our high-quality Jesuit liberal arts and professional education and experience for our students.
I am immensely proud of the work that has gone into our reopening plan, and I know we will continue to refine it as we drill the plan, continue to prepare, and monitor the path of COVID-19.
I am sharing a few highlights of the plan here, but I encourage you to read the details on our Reopening Campus website
. I want our students and families to have a full understanding of what to expect, particularly since the cooperation of our students is essential to a successful, healthy semester.
Health and Safety
Student Health Services (SHS) will continue to serve as the main oversight for campus health care. Loyola has also secured a contract with Sinai Hospital, a subsidiary of the LifeBridge Health network, to assist with providing medical case management and ongoing support for students testing positive for COVID-19.
Testing for COVID-19 will be key to both the initiation and maintenance of a healthy semester for our community. We have developed a plan for baseline/pre-return testing for all students who will be attending classes in-person. We also have a plan for ongoing surveillance and symptomatic testing for students, faculty, staff, and administrators throughout the semester. We are working with health care professionals who will come to campus to conduct on-site surveillance testing. Graduate students who will be on campus six or more hours a week will be included in the pool for surveillance testing.
We are also partnering with Healthcare IT Leaders, a firm that will extend and streamline Loyola's internal contact tracing efforts, which will be aligned with state and local guidelines.
Many of our peer institutions have shared that contact tracing and case management were areas where they failed to put enough focus and resources for the fall semester, and we are determined to be prepared.
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, washing hands frequently, using hand sanitizer, engaging in physical distancing, and avoiding large gatherings.
In the next few weeks, you will receive information from SHS on how to participate in mandatory online training. I encourage you to speak with your classmates and encourage them to help make the spring semester a healthy one for our whole community.
Following the best practices for health and safety during this time will be essential. Every member of our Loyola community should feel empowered to approach individuals who are not engaging in healthy behavior to remind them cordially of the rules and the importance of the steps we are taking. We all want to make the semester a successful and healthy one.
Those not adhering to the required University guidelines and public health practices could endanger other community members and will be subject to the student conduct process or employee disciplinary action. We will be addressing policy violations by students through our student conduct process, and serious violations will have serious consequences. Employee violations will be addressed through our employment policies and procedures.
Learn more about what we can each do to promote health and safety within our community on the Healthy Hounds website.
Classes & Academic Instruction
Faculty—supported by administrators and staff—are deeply engaged in planning so that students will receive a high-impact education through a blend of in-person and virtual instruction. Classes that are taught in person will be held with physical distancing, all individuals wearing face coverings, and with regular cleaning of the educational environment. Classrooms have also been enhanced with upgraded technology to strengthen the learning experience.
All courses will be available to students who choose to learn remotely with Loyola for the Spring 2021 semester. Graduate students who wish to take courses remotely should contact their program’s director of program operations (DPO).
I hope you will take the time to read our reopening plan
. If you have a question you don’t see addressed, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay well, consider the part you can play in helping keep our community healthy, and know that we have much to look forward to together. God bless each of you and your families.
Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J.