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March 11

Dear Members of the John Carroll University Community,

We are so appreciative of the care and resiliency that our community has displayed in recent weeks, and particularly in the last 24 hours. As our decision to transition to online learning sets in and we adjust to a temporary new reality, John Carroll’s leadership remains committed to consistent and proactive communication.

Earlier today, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Closer to home, Ohio Governor Mike Dewine announced a fourth confirmed case of COVID-19 in Ohio. The Stark County resident has no travel history outside of the U.S., which confirms that the virus is spreading within communities in our state.

We have received questions following yesterday’s announcement; some have easy answers and others are more complex. We are working toward solutions on a variety of topics. In the interim, we felt it was important to address some of the recurring themes today.

Academics

We understand the transition to online learning is a challenge for some in our community. We also realize that some individuals view virtual learning as an inferior form of education, or, more simply, “not what I signed up for.” 

Earlier today, Dr. Steve Herbert, our Provost and Academic Vice President, delivered a message to our faculty and staff acknowledging that, while online learning may feel “different,” it is, in fact, a fresh way to connect with students. We trust that the online learning and continued interactions with faculty and staff instructing the classes will reflect the care and concern for each student that is the hallmark of JCU and Jesuit education. The extent to which our faculty and staff have been working together in recent days to ask for help, share expertise, and rise to the occasion is certain to shine through in this online model.

Athletics

All spring sports that are currently in season will operate as normal with scheduled practices and games until there is further direction from the OAC, NCAA, or JCU leadership. Any student athlete who is a member of these teams who chooses to reside at their permanent address (not allowing them to participate in practices and games) will not be penalized in any way. Please note that, due to compliance rules, this semester does still constitute a season of eligibility. 

Sports that have non-traditional spring schedules (volleyball, football, soccer) with previously scheduled practices this week will continue as scheduled through this Saturday, March 14, 2020. These practices are optional. If a student athlete chooses to go to their permanent address early, they are permitted to do so without repercussion. 

During this time period, we will not permit spring non-traditional practices. 

Campus Events 

The 100 Years of Athletics Gala on March 14 and the Admitted Student Celebration on March 28 have been canceled, and attendees have been notified directly. In the case of Celebration, Enrollment and IMC will be creating virtual content to share with attendees. 

As a reminder, all University academic events and student organization programming events are canceled through at least April 13. Organizers are responsible for notifying attendees.

Campus Meetings 

As a further step, we are recommending that faculty and staff should practice recommended social distancing during all on-campus meetings. The CDC defines social distancing as "remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet) from others when possible.” Before hosting a meeting, please consider whether it can be accomplished as a teleconference, videoconference, or even via email. 

Recreational Facilities

All intramurals sports, sports clubs, reservations, and groups fitness classes are canceled through April 13. (Note: this has since been extended through May 15)

Residence Halls 

As we learn more about Coronavirus, it is becoming more clear that the virus is acquired through close contact with others. Our goal in moving to online learning, and encouraging students to return to their permanent address, was to limit the number of in-person interactions within our community, and ultimately to do our part in protecting your health. 

Residential students are now required to leave the residence halls to return to their permanent address by Saturday, March 14, 2020 at 2:00pm. The residence halls will be inaccessible until at least April 13, 2020. Exceptions to this requirement will be made for some students. All residential students will be asked by Residence Life to complete an updated form via email today.

Please continue to share your questions via this webpage.

Mark D. McCarthy, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs

Garry Homany
Director of Risk Assessment and Regulatory Affairs