November 16: IMPORTANT: A Message from the President

TO: SJU Community
FROM: Mark C. Reed, Ed.D., President
RE: IMPORTANT: A Message from the President
DATE: November 16, 2020 at 5:30 P.M.

What You Need To Know:

  • Today, the City of Philadelphia announced new COVID-19-related restrictions.
  • All face-to-face instruction will transition to online at 5 p.m. on Friday, November 20. This impacts Friday evening classes and instruction on Monday, November 23 and Tuesday, November 24. After Thanksgiving, instruction will continue virtually through the end of the fall semester, as planned.
  • The University’s operations will continue.
  • Visit sju.edu/November20 for additional detail in the coming days.

The pandemic has thrown many dynamic changes our way over the past eight months. But we are a resilient community and will always continue forward whatever the challenges. The work and commitment of our students, staff and faculty have proven that we can pivot quickly to meet the changing guidance of public health officials and the latest information to keep our community as safe as possible.

Today, the City of Philadelphia announced new restrictions to activity within the Philadelphia area to curb the high transmission of COVID-19 that communities across the country are experiencing. While these restrictions are stricter than what we’ve experienced lately, they are not as severe as they were last March, when we were under a stay-at-home order. Eight months into the pandemic, we know much more about COVID-19 transmission and can be more targeted in our approach to curb the spread.

These new restrictions require us to move all instruction online for a few days before Thanksgiving, but the University remains open and operational. We must and will continue to serve our students, operate our facilities and prepare for the spring semester. The City is asking all entities to transition to work-from-home for non-essential operations. Because each position and work area are unique, these decisions will be made at the vice president and dean level, assuring we continue to serve our students with consistency throughout the University.

Please visit sju.edu/November20 for initial details on instruction, telecommuting, dining, residence life and more. I ask that you be patient over the next few days as we evaluate additional areas and add more detail. Visit the site frequently and keep an eye on the University’s social media channels.

Importantly, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s recommendations for college students to limit all activity to the essentials (e.g., learning, eating, self-care) remain in place. Students should continue to access grab-and-go dining and medical care as needed, but otherwise remain in their residence hall or apartment until they transition home for the end of the semester. The primary change for our students and faculty is the transition to online instruction beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday, November 20; continuing on Monday, November 23 and Tuesday, November 24; and then remaining online, as planned, through the end of the semester.

I was pleased to hear Dr. Farley mention during today’s press conference that education is essential and should be prioritized, which is a point we have been making since the beginning of the pandemic. With these proactive measures and prudent continued progress toward spring readiness, we will finish the fall semester strong and look forward to students returning to Hawk Hill in mid-January for the spring semester.