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IMPORTANT MESSAGE ABOUT COVID-19 FROM PRESIDENT CHILLO (6.23.20)

Dear Thomas More Students,

We are eagerly awaiting your arrival to begin the fall semester and plans are underway to ensure that you experience Thomas More in a safe and healthy environment. As I mentioned last month, the fall semester will begin as scheduled on Monday, August 17. Coaches will be in touch with start dates for each fall sport in the coming weeks so that student-athletes can prepare for pre-season.

As we prepare for the upcoming academic year, our priorities remain:

  • the health and safety of our community;
  • providing an excellent Catholic Liberal Arts education; and
  • strengthening the bond and resolve of our community.

Across campus, we are busy with a number of improvements. We are in the process of installing a new all- season track and new roofs on Ackerman, Marian, Howard, and several other buildings across campus. In addition, we have purchased new lab equipment, expanded technology, and continue to make improvements inside and outside of the classrooms for the fall. As we are making improvements across campus, countless hours have been spent by numerous committees of faculty and staff drafting plans for what a safe and effective fall semester will look like.

At this time, preliminary drafts of opening plans have been shared with our new provost, Dr. Molly Smith, faculty, and staff for input so we can guarantee the final plan best fulfills our duty to ensure you with the upmost academic experience. We are also continuing to consult with state and federal governments, while following recommendations of the CDC, and we will report a final plan to you as soon as details are finalized.

Currently, these are things we know:

   Learning

    • Classes will begin on Monday, August 17, and will conclude on Wednesday, November 25. Final exams and/or virtual classrooms will be held until December 3, to ensure that we fulfill credit and contact hours as required by the U.S. Department of Education and our accrediting body (SACSCOC).
    • The fall October break has been canceled to ensure that we fulfill credit and contact hours for all courses.
    • On-ground learning will take place, but remote learning will be available for those who express need for the option. Some courses will be conducted in a hybrid format (both in-person and remote learning will be delivered).

      Housing

    • Housing capacity will be limited to 412 students to ensure additional single housing option so that rooms are available should someone become ill and requires to be quarantined.
    • Housing will not be available after the last exam/class on November 25. Exceptions may be considered, but those decisions will be made based on a formal request to the dean of the students after the fall semester has begun.
    • Dining service will be available – final details will be forthcoming.

      Health and Safety Protocols

    • If students plan on traveling internationally and returning to campus, they must self-quarantine for 14 days before the start of the fall semester. Students may wish to self-quarantine off-campus, or if they plan to reside on-campus for the fall semester, they may take occupancy of their room for the self- quarantine. International students should report all travel to the dean of students along with their anticipated arrival date for the fall semester.
    • We are consulting with national health officials to determine the safest regulations about when and where masks will be required on campus. You should expect to social distance when you are on- campus. Additional details will be available in the coming weeks.
    • Students who have any symptoms of COVID-19 or are feeling sick should not report to campus – alternative learning will be arranged on a need-by-need basis.

As stated above, finalized details will be shared with you in the coming weeks. I appreciate your patience during this process. I am still certain that we will be stronger as an institution and community because of this experience. I look forward to welcoming our community back to campus and classrooms this upcoming fall.

God bless and Go Saints!

Best regards, President Chillo