Dear Members of the Loras College Community,
As you are aware, the situation involving COVID-19 continues to rapidly evolve. As previously shared, we are in ongoing contact with city officials, the CDC, the State of Iowa Health Department and other agencies, higher education organizations and our colleagues locally and across the country.
There are currently 18 confirmed cases in the state of Iowa at this time with none in Dubuque County. Despite the current lack of a local health threat, but in the interest of safety, Loras College will make the following changes to its approach effective immediately:
Classes will continue as currently delivered through Wednesday, March 18. All classes scheduled for Thursday, March 19, Friday, March 20, and Monday, March 23 are cancelled. Classes will resume on Tuesday, March 24 through an exclusively on-line delivery. The on-line delivery approach will remain until at least Friday, April 17.
Further, while Spring Break will remain as planned, on-line courses will be delivered on Easter Monday, April 13 due to the aforementioned class cancellations noted above. Depending on any new information that becomes available, students will not be able to return to campus until Monday, April 20.
Campus Housing and Food Service
Students living on campus or in campus owned housing may continue to do so until no later than 5 p.m. Friday, March 20.
Students on the meal plan may access dining venues until no later than 5 p.m., Friday, March 20.
All students must leave campus or campus-owned housing with all their belongs by no later than 5 p.m. Friday, March 20.
The Office of Residential Life will send information to all residential students tomorrow morning with regard to check-out procedures.
Concerns, Anxiety, or Extenuating Circumstances
For residential students who wish to depart campus tomorrow or any earlier than Friday, March 20, they may do so after having communicated with faculty about their coursework responsibilities and after alerting residential life about their desired time of departure. All students must move all of their belongings out of their residential space prior to leaving. Once a student leaves, he or she will not be permitted to return any earlier than April 20.
For residential students who have extenuating circumstances, Residence Life will be sending an on-line form for you to complete so that we can determine if we can accommodate your situation.
Decisions made to date mostly address our mode of operations from now through April 20. As we learn more, and as we determine the way in which the remaining semester will unfold (to include Federal Government modifications to aid programs), we will communicate potential modifications to our fee structure/charges.
Faculty and Staff
We are very grateful for all you do each day for our campus community. Your efforts and support will remain essential during this time. Please work with your area vice president if you need any accommodations. Please do follow sick leave policy and remain home if you are ill.
Administrative offices and service operations will continue to operate, and faculty and staff should report as usual. More information will follow.
Prevention and Awareness
Per the CDC, and as I have previously shared, there are simple everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses and all members of the Loras community are strongly encouraged to practices these measures. These include:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Practice space distancing
- If you are sick, to keep from spreading respiratory illness to others, you should
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
I know the world’s circumstances have caused unprecedented sadness, concern, and panic. We hope and pray that the pandemic is contained and reduced as quickly as possible.
From a Loras perspective, I am especially saddened to have come to this decision given this special time of year for our seniors. Further, for all our students who have come to find Loras as a second home, I know how hard it must be to have to leave friends, mentors, and resources that Loras so capably provides. So many of you have invested time, hard work, and great love into performing, competing, presenting, etc. I recognize how devastating it must be to have so much of this stripped away so abruptly.
Thank you in advance for your understanding the larger context from which we must now proceed. As always, please access the Loras website www.loras.edu for additional information by accessing the Coronavirus banner of the front page.
Jim Collins (’84)