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University Operations | Update March 13, 2020, 8 p.m.

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Dear Members of the Campus Community,

I write to inform you that Fordham University has made the difficult decision to not return to face-to-face instruction, but will extend online instruction through the end of the spring semester. Students who have clinical and field practicum requirements should refer to their School for guidance and policies. We are making this decision in the interest of health and safety of all members of the Fordham community as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps through the United States.

The University will remain open throughout the Spring semester, but students are being asked to leave University housing as quickly as they can. Select on-campus operations may be curtailed, while specific personnel will continue to work remotely rather than coming to campus until further notice. Staff will also receive specific communications and instructions from their managers or supervisors regarding work locations and adjusted work arrangements. Employee pay will continue to be disbursed on its regular schedule. Any employee currently receiving a paper check will receive it by mail at their address on file unless specific arrangements are made by contacting payrollinfo@fordham.edu.

We are making this decision now for several reasons:

  • We believe this is the only way to safeguard the health and safety of the campus community (and everyone with whom they come in contact), and still ensure the delivery of classes and the continuation of University business.
  • Though as of today we have no members of the campus community diagnosed with COVID-19, given the exponential rate of infections in New York state (a more-than 20% increase per day, mirroring the pattern nationally), it is highly probable that we would see the virus spread rapidly on a fully occupied campus, and we would not be able to isolate or treat individuals who had contracted the virus.
  • We have only 21 class days between March 30 and the end of the semester, and the possibility that we might be forced to suspend face-to-face instruction again in that period would mean even more disruption to the academic enterprise;
  • Making the decision before spring break ends ensures that faculty can more easily plan their classes and exams for the rest of the semester, students can likewise be prepared to continue with virtual instruction and arrange any necessary travel logistics now, and administrative departments can better manage their staffing and operational needs for the remainder of the school year.

Students will receive specific communications regarding housing and travel logistics, beginning today. This is not the way I had hoped we would finish the semester, and I will very much miss seeing all of you out and about on campus, but the global pandemic in which we are now embroiled has forced our hand.

Westchester campus building closure.
As of Saturday, March 14, we are closing the Westchester campus to all personnel until further notice. We are doing so in light of the suspension of face-to-face classes and the ability of specific employees to work remotely. Department heads will consult with employees on alternate work locations and arrangements. Employees who require personal items or work materials from their offices should pick them up prior to 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 14.

All Events Cancelled—Fordham Athletics Completely Suspended
All University events are canceled through May 11. Yesterday the Atlantic 10 Conference cancelled all spring athletic competition (non-conference and conference), and all 2020 A10 spring championships, due to health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 virus. The decision was made in consultation with the A10 Presidents’ Council and Athletic Directors. In concurrence with that decision, Fordham has suspended all club sports and intercollegiate athletics for the rest of the semester, and all student athletes living in residence halls were directed to return home. The NCAA also cancelled its March Madness basketball tournament.

Looking Ahead
As I have written to you before, the University will restore campus operations to normal as soon as we, in consultation with local health authorities, believe it is wise to do so. We hope to communicate regarding significant events such as Commencement and Jubilee no later than Wednesday, April 8.

Again, I know these measures are disruptive, and I sincerely wish it were otherwise. Given the explosive growth in the number of COVID-19 cases in New York and across the nation, we are forced to take these drastic measures to protect the health and wellbeing of the campus community. Please refer to our information on COVID-19 precautions, and University contact information, at fordham.edu/coronavirus.

Finally, I must say here that I am deeply impressed by the spirit and dedication of the faculty who seamlessly continued to deliver classes on short notice; by the students who adapted quickly and with enthusiasm to the new model; and by the staff and administrators who continue to carry out the business of the University with dedication and élan, despite the trying circumstances.

Thank you all, and may God keep you and your loved ones safe as we weather this storm.

Sincerely,

Joseph M. McShane, S.J.

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