The following message was sent from President David A. Armstrong, J.D. to the university community:
Dear STU Community,
We have heard an outpouring of support from our student population for a return to on campus learning, and we are committed to making their desires a reality. We do not live in a risk-free world, and we never have. Many of our daily choices involve assessing risk and making a decision that is in our best interest. Until a vaccine is made available, there will continue to be ongoing risks surrounding Covid-19; however, in following closely state, local, and federal guidance, we are able to make a conscious decision for St. Thomas University to return to our traditional, on campus education for the Fall 2020 semester. While life is full of risks, we as a community will work together to mitigate the risks associated with the novel coronavirus.
We look forward to welcoming our students back on campus and providing the sense of normalcy that rapidly changed in late March. The STU community is resilient but more than ever will rely on personal responsibility and accountability of every member of the community to follow issued guidance. Good judgment and reason will be key as we welcome another record setting class to campus this fall. Practices such as social distancing, wearing facemasks, proper sanitization, good hygiene, honest communication about one’s health, and personal accountability will all be keys in helping our community mitigate the risks associated with Covid-19.
Our staff, faculty, and administration are working diligently to put forth new policies, practices, and procedures in response to the coronavirus and the level of uncertainty that it has brought to our world. These new procedures and practices will be put in place to further reduce the risk of transmission of the virus, and will undoubtedly take time to get used to, but will be in the best interest of the community. In addition, upon return, students will be greeted by an eager staff, clean and sanitized facilities, risk mitigation strategies, and even new buildings on campus.
While Covid-19 caused for the creation of a new normal for this past semester, it also brought about great opportunities for St. Thomas faculty and staff to re-invent our modes of teaching, expand our technological capabilities, and reinvigorate the love for St. Thomas and our community. We will continue to work to include some of the recent advancements that made this past semester successful into our on-campus curriculum, to further separate STU as a great place to learn and thrive, no matter the situation.
One adjustment that will be incorporated into the fall semester is the allowance of students in a voluntary manner to remain home and complete their course work and finals online after Thanksgiving break, if they so choose, while on campus courses continue. The residence halls and dining services will remain open and operational throughout the entire semester and students are welcome to return to campus. This flexibility will allow for the semester to go to completion without any disruption, while providing ease of mind to families that are fearful around travel concerns.
The University will continue to monitor federal, state, and local regulations and is prepared to adapt all academic programs as needed. STU faculty and staff are fully committed to student learning and student success.
For university updates on COVID-19 please visit http://www.stu.edu/coronavirus.
We look forward to seeing all of our students, both new and returning, in August!
God Bless and Go Bobcats!
David A. Armstrong, J.D.