Dear Members of the Fordham Family,
I’m writing to you this evening regarding our decision to resume full in-person instruction and campus operations on January 18.
You should know that we have wrestled with this decision as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has spiked across the country and especially here in the Northeast. We know many of you are worried about Omicron, if not for yourselves, for the vulnerable people in your lives. We are worried, too—we care about your health, and we care about the kind of education we are delivering.
We know from our experience last year that we can deliver a Fordham education remotely. We also know that is not the best we can do for our students. We know most students and parents strongly prefer in-person teaching and learning, and with good reason.
Given that the Omicron variant appears to be far less likely to cause severe disease, especially within a fully vaccinated community, we believe the weight of all the factors comes down on the side of a fully in-person spring semester. We believe that a transformative Fordham experience is best delivered in person, and at the same time, we want to bring everyone—faculty, students, and staff—back in the safest way possible.
Toward that end, you will be hearing shortly from a senior member of my leadership team regarding all the health and safety protocols we are putting in place for the spring—many of them new.
This will not be a perfect process: given the conflicting priorities we must address, it cannot be. But we believe the path we have chosen will provide the best and safest educational and work experience we can deliver as we begin a third year of the pandemic.
Please know that you are all in my prayers, day and night.
Joseph M. McShane, S.J.