A Letter from the President

August 18, 2020

Dear Students, 

We brought you back to campus because we firmly believe in the benefits of face-to-face coursework and a residential college experience. We know you believe in it too. When given the uncertainty of the times, you chose to join us. And we can see so many of you complying daily with our masking and distancing protocols. Thank you. We hope you, in turn, can see that faculty and staff have moved mountains to create a learning environment that not only aligns with our safety protocols, but also cares for those students who may require remote learning. The complexity of this preparation cannot be overstated. 

But let me be clear. Our precious time together on campus is at risk. Right now, while we have only three positive cases among the Saint Mary’s College community, we are growing concerned. The trends on other campuses — high infection numbers that are largely due to off-campus activities — are undermining our own campus precautions. We are alarmed by what we are seeing, and it has us on high alert.

In an attempt to gain control of the spread on their campus, Notre Dame announced temporary restrictions for students earlier this evening, including all undergraduate instruction moving online, tighter controls on group gathering sizes, and the limited use of public spaces. While we are not announcing such extreme measures at Saint Mary’s yet, we will not hesitate to do so if our positive cases spike. 

For now, your coursework will continue as scheduled, but we implore you to stay on campus. Please refrain from going off campus and from attending parties. Only leave campus for essential functions, and limit your time to what is necessary. In an effort to support Notre Dame’s desire to reduce campus density, we ask that you not visit the Notre Dame campus. Since classes and activities are online for at least two weeks, tri-campus dining has also been suspended, so please utilize our campus dining options. The Transpo “sweep” is on hold for now, and Blinkie service will be limited to the Saint Mary’s campus only.

I assure you that we have a team of people who meet daily to monitor the conditions on our campus. You can find a daily report of positive cases on our Live Learn Work webpage. We are closely following campus and local trends and metrics. Our operational plan for the fall includes provisions to pivot our classes to fully remote, but no one wishes to make that decision — and I hope we won’t have to do so. Our ability to stay together will depend on your ability to adhere to these requests.




Katie Conboy, PhD

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