April 23: Classes Canceled, University Closed (Except for Essential Operations)

To Our Faculty and Staff:

The past 12 months have taken a tremendous toll on our entire campus. 

From massive disruption of nearly every aspect of daily life, to economic devastation, racial reckonings and surging infections, the past year affected everyone in multiple ways. While three new vaccines have offered much-needed hope for the future, they cannot erase the accumulated weight of 12 months of worry, fear and stress. 

We all could use a break.

On April 23, our community will get one. On that Friday, classes are canceled, offices closed and only essential services operating. 

Credit our students as the catalyst for this decision. In meetings with their organizations last month, we heard a consistent refrain: Ongoing health restrictions, reduced social interactions and no spring break together made Case Western Reserve’s academic rigor particularly tough to manage. A single day off won’t make everything better, but at least offers some opportunity for rest.

In reflecting on these themes, we recognized that our students are far from the only ones bending under these burdens. Many faculty and staff have had to balance work and child care simultaneously—and, in some instances, actually teach their charges too. They have faced worry about loved ones suffering from COVID-19 or other medical concerns, missed time with extended family, and longed for simple pleasures like attending a movie or concert.

Some may not be able to take April 23 off, but they can work with their units to arrange an alternate one. Others will receive time-and-a-half pay. If you’re not sure of your options, check first with your supervisor and, if more clarification is needed, contact Human Resources at askHR@case.edu.

We are deeply grateful for all that you have done to allow Case Western Reserve to continue its vital work of education and research despite significant obstacles. Consider this day another expression of appreciation—and please stay healthy and well.

Scott Cowen
Interim President

Ben Vinson III
Provost and Executive Vice President