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 healthy and successful 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, and residential students will participate in a Campus Arrival Restriction Period (CARP) from their move-in date through Wednesday, Jan. 20, limiting their interactions with others until the start of in-person instruction and activities on Thursday, Jan. 21. We will also encourage students who are living off-campus and commuting, as well as our graduate students, to treat CARP as a time of preparation with limited interaction with others and safe, healthy decisions—the same decisions we hope all students will continue to make throughout the semester.
We have a plan for ongoing surveillance and symptomatic testing for all 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. 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. We have also greatly increased our isolation and emergency-use housing space for residential undergraduate students.
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, students will receive information from SHS on how to participate in mandatory online training. I encourage our students to speak with their friends and 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.
Undergraduate students should familiarize themselves with the undergraduate student policies.
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.
Students will be encouraged to view their living unit as a “family unit.” While students are in their own rooms, suites, or apartments, they will not need to wear face coverings. Students should recognize and accept, though, their shared responsibility to help reduce the risk to their living unit especially, and that non-compliant behavior by one member of the living unit (such as not wearing a face covering while away from their room or not observing physical distancing) increases the risk to other members of the unit.
We will offer students a two-week grace period for room and board. Residential students will have two weeks from the first day of classes, Jan. 19, to decide whether they want to live on campus for the whole semester. If students voluntarily decide by Feb. 2, 2021, that they want to move home and continue instruction remotely, we will refund their room and board expenses for the semester. This refund does not apply to tuition and other fees and will not apply to students who withdraw from or leave the University.
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 digital pedagogy. Our plan for classes offers as much in-person instruction as possible while ensuring that physical distancing and high-impact learning is possible. Hybrid courses will be designed to offer as much interaction between faculty and students and among students as possible. We have also enhanced our classroom 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. Undergraduate students should have received a communication on Nov. 2 from the dean of undergraduate and graduate studies, requesting that they confirm their intent to take all their spring courses remotely by Dec. 1.
Town Hall Reminder
Please join us for one of our upcoming Town Halls where we will delve more fully into the plan and answer your questions about the Spring 2021 semester. If you haven’t registered to attend a Town Hall, you can use one of these links to register:
Monday, Nov. 23, 5 p.m. (seniors)
Tuesday, Nov. 24, 5 p.m. (first-year students)
Tuesday, Nov. 24, 7 p.m. (sophomores and juniors)
You are invited to submit questions as you are registering for the Town Hall. Please feel free to send any more urgent questions to email@example.com.
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.