Dear Parents and Families,
These are unprecedented times in our world, for your families, and for John Carroll University. In the last two weeks, we went from welcoming our students back from Spring Break, to encouraging them to return home as we transitioned to online learning. I suspect many of you said goodbye to your children in early March, only to welcome them back into your homes a few days later. Our campus is eerily quiet, with just a few neighbors walking their families, while your homes are unexpectedly busier. Indeed, our daily schedules and way of life are on hold.
Here at JCU our meetings have also moved online and social distancing has become the norm. We continue to observe, assess, and respond to global and local events that evolve by the day and, sometimes, by the hour and minute. We remain singularly focused on the health and safety of our students and all those who live, work, and learn in the JCU community. Our emphasis has been consistent, transparent, and relevant communication about our COVID-19 response to our students, faculty, and staff. On our Health Updates webpage, you’ll see the volume of messages that we have shared proactively with our community and our students.
As parents and providers, you are likely worried about your families and your futures. Meanwhile, your students have seen their expectations for the Spring semester significantly altered. Right now, they may feel isolated from their JCU community. The in-person learning they have come to expect is now exclusively done on a laptop. It is important for all of us to remember that even though they are back with you, they are still in school and benefitting from the structure that their classes and studies provide. That said, we know that many of our students -- and for that matter, many in our JCU community -- are feeling overwhelmed. That’s why we’ve developed a COVID-19 Student Resources webpage to help your students navigate the challenge. Here, they’ll find a range of resources from mental health counseling, to spiritual and service guidance from the Center for Service and Social Action (CSSA) and JCU’s Campus Ministry department, to academic and professional support from the Career Center and Writing Center.
It is important to point out that we remain committed to delivering the high-quality and personal education that your students expect from John Carroll University. Our Academic Continuity Working Group serves as a resource to faculty and students alike, ensuring a smooth transition to the virtual classroom. Your students remain on track to earn their credits and graduate on time. As is deeply ingrained in our Jesuit tradition, we act today, and always, as men and women for and with others for the greater good. I’ve been truly impressed by the efforts of our faculty and staff throughout this transition, and the resiliency of our students.
It goes without saying that this is not the way any of us hoped to finish the semester, in particular the Class of 2020. For that I am very sorry. My heart breaks for our seniors whose next two months should be filled with anticipation and joy. We realize that our necessary decision to postpone Commencement was difficult for everyone. Please know that we share in your disappointment as we focus on the most important thing of all, our collective health.
I want to make it clear to the families of our seniors that we remain committed to hosting a Commencement for the Class of 2020. Our team is currently investigating alternate dates and opportunities to celebrate your students. As our planning develops, we will share information with you.
I know you have academic, financial, and logistical questions and concerns. Please continue to use our Health Updates webpage as a resource. There, you can submit questions which will be directed to the appropriate departments for response. To the families of our residential students and those on dining plans, we appreciate your patience as we work through details related to crediting a prorated amount for housing and meal costs.
In my video to the community last week, I delivered the following message which has been reinforced on a daily basis by the actions of our students, faculty, and staff: the hallmark of the John Carroll community has always been our deep care and concern for others, and for each other. And in times of challenge, we shine the brightest.
Thank you for trusting John Carroll University with your child’s education. My wife, Jill, and I are so grateful to be part of this incredible community. Together, we are praying for the health, safety, and well-being of your students and families.
Michael D. Johnson, Ph.D.
President, John Carroll University