I hope this finds you and your family safe and well. Let me first thank you for your remarkable patience as we continue to work our way through the challenges that this situation has created for all of you and for us. We understand the disruption and stress that this has caused you, and we continue to work to identify ways that we can support you in the various facets of your lives. We miss being on campus with you, and remain hopeful as we continue our planning for a return to campus as soon as it is safe for this to happen. In the meantime, I am reaching out to update you on some important ongoing matters that I know you are concerned about. This communication follows—and is intended to build upon—other communications you have recently received that have addressed broader University matters including Commencement (President’s Office), residence hall move out process (Residential Life), and academic matters (Provost’s Office). We have held focus groups, administered surveys and maintained active meeting schedules and sessions with various student advisory councils and student leaders, all for the purpose of soliciting feedback from you, and listening to your concerns. With this in mind, we wanted to address some of the questions and concerns that many of you have shared with us, in the hopes of adding additional clarity to the topics outlined below.
- Personal Belongings and Residence Hall Move Out: We have heard you loud and clear: you would like to be able to retrieve your personal belongings from the residence halls as soon as possible, and you would prefer to be able to pack and move your belongings yourself, and not have others do this. Let me first assure you that your personal belongings have been safeguarded in your rooms, and the residence halls have not been in use by any outside agencies. After a long pause, due to the external state mandated restrictions we were working under, we have recently announced signups for a phased move-out process, which will take place starting May 18 and continuing through the end of June. This process will limit the numbers that are allowed on campus each day, to protect your health and safety and that of those around you, and I encourage you to review the details that have been shared on this process by the Offices of Residential Life on both campuses, and sign up for a date and time slot. Please wait for confirmation before finalizing plans for your return to campus.
- Summer Housing: by now you know from the Summer Session office that, in the interest of health and safety for all members of our community, Fordham will not be holding face-to-face courses on campus during the first Summer Session (May and June) but will be offering a broad selection of online courses instead. During the Second Summer Session (July and August), we remain focused on planning to hold a mix of online and in-person courses, with the latter being conditional on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic at the time. There will be no on campus housing for at least the first summer session. We are still not yet in the position to make a decision on this for the second summer session. As soon as we have more information, we will communicate with you.
- New Student Orientation Programming for the Summer: we are still planning to conduct in-person summer orientation sessions on the dates and at the locations noted on our website. Given the fluid nature of this situation, we will have contingency plans in place to conduct these programs virtually using the technology we have used for other similar events. In the future, we anticipate that virtual components will remain a fixture in any programming that we offer.
- Student Affairs Offices and Support Services: a reminder that all offices remain open and accessible virtually. While students obviously cannot physically walk into an office for an appointment, they can use the same communications options normally available to reach out to all offices, including telephone and email inquiries. All communications are being received and responded to, and services are still available. In particular, I highlight two offices that you have expressed interest in ongoing engagement with:
- Career Services staff are available to assist you, and are offering individual appointments and virtual programming for all students, including those who are seeking employment opportunities. For more information about our services, hours and resources, please visit our website at www.fordham.edu/career.
- Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) staff are available to offer continuing support services, including a range of clinical services for our students by phone or video-conferencing. To schedule an initial screening or virtual “walk-in” appointment, please contact us at 718-817-3725 (Rose Hill & Westchester) or 212-636-6225 (Lincoln Center). If you are already receiving services at CPS, please continue to remain in contact with your assigned counselor. For more information about our services, hours and resources, please visit our website at www.fordham.edu/counseling.
- For additional information on any of our services, please visit Coronavirus Updates for university updates, or visit the websites for each office for more information, as well as the Dean of Students website for your respective campus, which offers a complete list of student life and services FAQ’s.
- Ongoing Activities: our staff members and offices have continued to maintain active virtual meeting schedules with many of our standing committees, student leaders and students. We urge you to continue to remain engaged with us as much as your schedules allow, and share your feedback with us. We understand that the postponement and cancellation of many traditional spring activities and rituals is disappointing, and we are working with many of our programming committees and students to do what we can to reclaim as much of this as we can, in support of your student experience. Please stay in touch and let us know how we can assist you.
- Fall 2020 Semester: In our various discussions with you, and from surveys we have used to gather your feedback, you have been clear in expressing your very strong desires and hopes for a return to an on-campus, in person experience for the fall semester. We want you to know that we share your desires, and we are doing everything we can to advance planning that will make this possible. Of course, you also know and understand the primary caveats that we must pay attention to: (1) your health and safety, and that of those around you, which cannot be compromised by our hopes and desires, and (2) the external circumstances and guidelines that we must operate within. In this context, we are actively planning and preparing to do all that we can to be open and on campus for the fall, with all that this entails, including the resumption of normal academic and student life schedules and routines, fall sports competition, and other activities. While we are not yet in the position to make this decision, I would like to share some of what we are focusing on. There are various planning groups in the Provost’s area that are focusing on the academic calendar and instructional delivery, as they try to position us and you to resume your academic life in a way that will be safe and productive. Following this effort, we have organized several working groups each of which has many assigned objectives and tasks, and their focus will include but not be limited to the following areas: Community Health, Well-Being and Containment: including intervention, isolation, and contact tracing; Residential Life, including Move Out and Move In; University Health Services: including supplies, testing, immunity, staffing and PPE, vaccinations, FUEMS; Infrastructure and Building Sanitation; Student Engagement: including Orientation, Programming, Commuter Students, and Student Life; Dining Services; Athletics; Coordination with External Agencies, and others. As our planning advances, this situation will continue to evolve and we will have more information, and we will then be in a better position to make and communicate related decisions. We will post brief updates by end-of-business each Friday on the Fordham Coronavirus website and will inform the community as soon as we know the contours of how we will proceed with the first day of fall classes on August 26.
We know you miss one another, the campus community and the experience of being together. We miss it as well, and we miss seeing and working with you. It is important for all of us to remain connected in these times. Please reach out to our offices as you have questions, and we will continue to assist you in answering them, based on the information available to us. Until we are able to be together again, please stay safe and well, and all the best to you and your families.
Jeffrey L. Gray
Senior Vice President for Student Affairs