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March 10, 2020

Dear Members of the John Carroll University Community,

I write to you today with the announcement of significant measures to protect our community from COVID-19. We are at a pivotal time in our region to make a positive impact on the spread of the COVID-19 virus. At 2 p.m. today, Ohio Governor Mike Dewine made the recommendation to Ohio-based higher education institutions to transition to online learning for the foreseeable future in an effort to combat the spread of Coronavirus. Grounded in our Jesuit tradition of caring for the well-being of our people, we have made the determination that in-person classes and large gatherings on our campus are an unacceptable risk to our community at this time. 

It is important to reiterate that there are no known cases of Coronavirus on John Carroll University’s campus at this time. However, following Gov. Dewine’s recommendations, given the proximity of confirmed cases in Cuyahoga County, and in an abundance of care for our John Carroll Community, we have made the following decisions:

  • Beginning Wednesday, March 11, all in-person, face-to-face classes are suspended through and including Monday, April 13. 
  • To give our faculty and staff time to prepare for the transition to online learning, we are also cancelling all classes on Wednesday, March 11, Thursday, March 12 and Friday, March 13. 
  • Beginning Monday, March 16, all classes will resume online until at least Monday, April 13. 
  • Information related to laboratory and performance classes will be provided in the coming days.

Our goal with these measures is to proactively limit the potential transmission of the virus in our community. Certainly, these decisions will be disruptive, but they have been made with the health and wellbeing of our campus community in mind. We realize that there will be significant questions from students, faculty, and staff about logistics related to this decision. 

For Students:

  • During this time, campus will remain open, but residential students are strongly encouraged to return to their permanent address. Please reference this message from Residence Life for more information.
  • At this time, students who cannot make arrangements to return home in the immediate future will be permitted to stay in the residence halls. Please follow the instructions in the supplemental email from Residence Life. 
  • Dining services remain open at this time, but the hours are subject to change. Additional information will be communicated.
  • Students who ultimately remain on campus should practice social distancing and intentional hygiene measures.

For Staff:

  • The University remains open and staff is expected to report to campus. Staff with specific questions or extenuating circumstances should contact their supervisor. (Update: As of March 12, staff members are encouraged to telecommute if their job permits them to do so.)
  • Human Resources will issue a follow-up communication to staff members with more clarity in the coming days.

For Faculty:

  • Faculty members are permitted to use their offices and classrooms to deliver the virtual classroom experience. 
  • Faculty have received outreach from ITS with information and resources regarding the online delivery of classes. Those who still have questions should contact helpdesk@jcu.edu
  • Further updates for faculty will be forthcoming, coordinated through the Academic Continuity Working Group.

For all JCU Community Members:

  • If you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 (a fever of 100.4 or higher, respiratory issues like cough or shortness of breath) or you have been in direct contact with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19, please do not come to campus. Instead, call your healthcare provider and the Cuyahoga County Board of Health at 216-201-2000, and follow the CDC guidelines for self-quarantining. Students may also contact the Student Health and Wellness Center at 216-397-4349. 
  • To reiterate, if you are experiencing any other cold or flu-like symptoms, please do not come to campus.

General Updates

  • Effective immediately, all University academic events, including guest speakers, guest lectures, and forums, are cancelled through and including April 13. Event organizers should inform guests and attendees that their events are cancelled.
  • Until further notice, public Masses (including daily Mass) on campus will be suspended.
  • No new events should be scheduled on campus through at least April 13. 
  • University-sponsored international travel remains suspended through at least May 1, 2020 (Update: this deadline has since been extended through August 1, 2020)
  • Non-essential, University-sponsored domestic travel is strongly discouraged through at least May 1, 2020. 
  • Specific exemptions to these guidelines must be approved by the President.

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the resiliency of our community, especially in times of need. In particular, I want to thank our faculty who are adjusting their teaching delivery to accomodate the needs of our students; our staff who will shoulder a good deal of the burden in responding to these challenges; and our students - our greatest assets and our greatest hope - for their patience as we work to ensure that your academic experiences are delivered in keeping with John Carroll standards.

Members of the JCU community can continue to submit specific questions to the COVID-19 Task Force on our Health Updates webpage. We will continue to provide information when it is available.

It is in times of challenge that we shine the brightest. The hallmark of the John Carroll community has always been our deep care and concern for the other, and for each other. I have every confidence that we will rise to overcome this challenge.

Best wishes,

Michael D. Johnson, Ph.D.
President, John Carroll University