Sent March 14, 2020, 1:59 p.m.
Dear Gonzaga Students, Parents and Families:
I write to provide an update to my message of Thursday, March 12th regarding the extension of Spring Break and the resumption of courses on March 23rd, 2020.
In my message, I indicated that I would make a determination about whether to shift from in-person to distance method course delivery by Wednesday, March 18th. Late yesterday, Governor Inslee announced that he was, under an emergency declaration, restricting activities at all public and private colleges and universities to prohibit them from conducting in-person classes – with the exception of labs and clinical courses (as long as “social distancing” is introduced and maintained). His declaration is effective as of Tuesday, March 17th and extends to Friday, April 24th (unless subsequently amended). The governor’s message parallels the timeline of today’s closure of all K-12 schools in the State of Washington.
With this additional parameter imposed by the State, it is now clear that we have no option but to move to digital/distance delivery of our courses when we resume the semester on March 23rd, and we will plan to deliver courses in this manner throughout the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester. As the College and Schools continue their planning, we will address various practical issues related to course delivery (e.g., what meets the definition of “labs”). It is clear from discussions with the Governor that practicing “social distancing” – by avoiding large gatherings of people in close proximity – is the goal.
The Governor’s emergency declaration did not direct universities to cease campus services and we understand the Governor was intentional about this. His declaration at this time only pertains to the teaching of academic courses. I want to assure you that we are currently actively working to develop our plan regarding all aspects of on-campus services including housing, food service, the Zag Shop and other University operations. We will communicate decisions regarding these services no later than Wednesday, March 18th, 2020.
I know that this is a very challenging circumstance within which to plan and work, and I appreciate so much the patience and flexibility that people have demonstrated during this time. Many people have communicated with us over these past days with excellent questions, thoughtful concerns, and expressions of support. Thank you and please know that we will continue to monitor and communicate about this situation, which at this point is literally evolving on an hourly basis. Please know that we are regularly updating the University website as new information becomes available, at www.gonzaga.edu/coronavirus.
Thayne M. McCulloh, D.Phil.