To Our Faculty and Staff:
On this date a month ago, Ohio reported its first confirmed case of COVID-19. The following day, we announced our transition to remote course delivery and encouraged students who had left for spring break not to return.
Today, Ohio has more than 5,500 cases, and more than 200 deaths.
But we also have signs of hope: This week, the state’s health director reported that mitigation efforts have been so successful that they have “squashed” the curve of projected new cases from 9,800 to 1,600 a day.
Thank you for contributing to these positive developments—and also for continuing our mission of education and research despite these extraordinary circumstances. Below we share multiple updates and reminders—some of which directly affect you, and others we simply wanted you to know.
Commencement I: After extensive discussion and a survey of graduating seniors, the university has decided to hold virtual ceremonies on Sunday, May 17, the original scheduled date for commencement. We will share additional details regarding the weekend’s undergraduate, graduate and professional student graduation events in the coming weeks, but for now, please mark your calendars.
Commencement II: This year’s Homecoming and Parents’ Weekend will include events for our 2020 graduates. That Sunday, Oct. 11, is reserved for in-person commencement-related activities; for example, undergraduates choosing to attend would receive their diplomas, and hooding ceremonies for those earning advanced degrees also would take place. Again, we will provide additional information as it becomes available.
Summer Study Abroad: We waited to make this decision in hopes the pandemic would abate, but the ongoing uncertainty appears likely to continue—especially with regard to international travel. Given the health risks involved, we have made the difficult decision to cancel all summer study abroad programs.
Summer Housing: Given that many of our international students now living on campus may not be able to return to their countries this summer, we are planning to be able to provide them housing. We will provide updates as soon as more information is available.
Fall Courses: We also know that some of our international students now in their home countries may not be able to get back to campus for the new academic year. Given that possibility—as well as others involving renewed infection increases—we intend to offer courses in both traditional and remote models. [U]Tech staff already had begun planning for this possibility, and they will collaborate with UCITE to provide additional support and guidance as you begin planning for this bimodal approach.
If You Are Being Tested for COVID-19: Please contact University Health Services at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have been or are being tested for COVID-19. Within the message, please note the last day you had been on campus. As of this writing, we continue to have fewer than five positive tests reported among members of the campus community (faculty, staff and students).
Again, we appreciate all that you continue to do for Case Western Reserve every day. We extend our best wishes to you and your loved ones for a safe, healthy and enjoyable weekend.
Barbara R. Snyder
Ben Vinson III
Provost and Executive Vice President