I am writing as a follow up to President Spinelli’s announcement regarding the College’s decision to move to a virtual classroom environment in response to the unprecedented global impact of Covid-19. This decision was not made lightly or without significant thought around the impact to the student experience. Those of us in leadership recognize that the speed (and personal implications) of this transition caught many of you off guard and understandably generated a range of strong emotions and reactions.
Covid-19 is a rapidly unfolding public health crisis that is affecting many colleges and universities simultaneously. Nevertheless, you need answers to specific questions that immediately come to mind. As such, I want to share the latest guidance and address some of those initial questions that have been raised regarding next steps. Please know that we will remain committed to providing ongoing communication throughout this crisis.
As President Spinelli communicated yesterday, we are requiring residential students to move out of their housing assignments, remove all personal belongings, and return room keys by next Saturday, March 21 at 8pm. Students with special circumstances or conflicts may request a reasonable extension of time to move out by emailing email@example.com. The move-out process will be outlined in detail for all residential students by their Area Directors via email by 12pm (noon) today. The College is securing packing boxes for students which will be available in the Pietz Lounge beginning at 2 pm today and will be replenished throughout the week. For students who want to store belonging, a local storage option is listed on the College’s preferred vendor webpage.
Petition to Remain in On-Campus Housing
The College anticipates that some students will have significant barriers, restrictions, or particular circumstances that may prevent them from returning home safely at this point in time. Any student seeking to remain in campus housing for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester may petition to do so through the SELF-SERVICE section of the Hub beginning today at 12pm (noon). Here are some of the College’s considerations for the petition process:
- Immigration Status – Please contact the Glavin Office for appropriate guidance and/or documentation
- Permanent residence is shared with an older adult, pregnant person, or person with a compromised immune system/chronic medical condition (per CDC guidelines)
- Permanent residence is located in a CDC Level-3 country
- Significant hardship or extenuating personal circumstances (evaluated on a case-by-case basis)
Completed petitions including appropriate documentation are due on Monday, March 16 at 12 pm (noon) and will be promptly reviewed by the College. Any student who is granted approval to remain on campus for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester will be notified by Wednesday, March 18 at 5pm.
Please note that the College will be assessing the need to re-locate students who remain in residence into a reduced number of residence halls in an effort to support a smaller residential population and mitigate the potential transmission of COVID-19. Details regarding this decision will be communicated before online classes begin on March 23, 2020.
Dining During Spring Break
Babson Dining Services will remain open in a limited capacity throughout spring break and for the remainder of the spring semester. The dining website will be updated regularly to reflect hours of operations at the various venues.
Room and Board Fees
The College’s budget office is developing a financial policy and process to address this disruption in the residential experience. More specific information on this policy will be communicated shortly.
Residential Community Requests
Given recommended guidance from public health officials about the potential for human to human transmission of Covid-19, we are suspending the guest policy in the residence halls and request that only currently enrolled students with campus housing assignment at Babson may stay in the residence halls until further notice. As you make plans to move-out of campus housing, we also ask that any family members or friends, who come to assist you, limit their time on campus and comply with CDC recommendations to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.
As you prepare to depart from campus, we know that you will want to spend time much of your time over the next few days with your friends. We ask that you be thoughtful and use good judgment in how you choose to socialize. Consider avoiding large public gatherings that have the potential to place you and your peers at greater risk for the transmission of Covid-19.
Varsity Athletic Competition
Decisions on the continuation of varsity athletic events for the remainder of the spring semester will be made in coordination with our athletic conference (NEWMAC) and the NCAA. Any information on changes or adjustments related to the athletic schedule will be communicated shortly from the Department of Athletics and Recreation.
Student Support and Services
All student support offices from Academic Services, Health Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, Glavin Center for International Education, Career Development Center, Student Financial Services, Public Safety, and deans’ offices among others will remain open and available throughout the academic year. We will be here to provide assistance, answers, support and encouragement. As you all have been asked to adapt, we too will adapt to support and help you to navigate the remainder of the semester.
We encourage students and their families to review the campus communications website for up-to-date information from the College. Any questions that have not been addressed can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The priority for Babson remains the health, safety, and well-being of our community. I know that this level of disruption to your Babson experience is unprecedented and upsetting, especially for our seniors. The College anticipates moving forward with Commencement-related activities and will communicate those plans as soon as they are finalized.
As we are seeing with each new day, Covid-19 is a far-reaching, global crisis that is impacting major economies, markets, and industries, including higher education. Regrettably, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Babson College have now been significantly impacted as well. I recognize that not every member of our community agrees with the College’s most recent decision. Nevertheless, we remain a community facing a serious crisis. As such, we have two options – we can turn on each other or to each other. This is not the first crisis and likely will not be the only challenge that we face together. We have to prioritize and make difficult decisions. We have to take care of each other. We have to be resilient in the face of adversity. We have to maintain perspective and move forward together in our new reality.
Lawrence P. Ward, Ed.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students