Changes to Spring Semester
A Message from President Woodward
Dear Campus Community,
I hope you and your families and friends are safe, healthy, and managing as best as possible through this difficult period. I am reaching out today with a message I had hoped not to write.
The health and safety of members of our community and the greater region have been our greatest priorities as we navigate this unprecedented time. The recent updates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, combined with Governor Lamont’s declaration of a public health emergency and executive orders in Connecticut, have made it clear how quickly the COVID-19 virus is spreading. Facing these realities outside of our control, I need to share that the University of Hartford will not resume in-person classes for the spring semester as planned. Classes will resume through remote instruction on March 30 and continue until the end of the semester.
We know this decision is extremely disappointing to students, families, faculty, and staff. I am especially heartbroken for our seniors. If there were any other decision to be made, I would do so. This rapidly evolving situation is new and distressing to all of us in ways we could not have imagined—we are worried about our families, friends, education, childcare, teaching, and finances. We are all in this together.
In the coming days and weeks, there are a lot of questions to be answered, processes to put in place, and plans to be made. I ask for your patience as we work through them. Please know that while the University has implemented minimal staffing levels to practice social distancing, campus operations will continue remotely. We will respond and share additional information quickly; however, there are three main questions I want to address as best I can at this moment in time.
- Residential Students: Students who received permission to remain on campus during spring break, including international students, have been asked to return home as soon as possible. We know there are students from countries with travel restrictions and students for whom UHart is their only home. Through a formal petition process, we are taking the necessary steps to ensure everyone is safe, has the necessary resources to travel, and has a place to live. The residence halls are now closed. Other than students already approved to be on campus, students will not be able to return to campus for belongings prior to April 5. By March 30, we will communicate with you about providing access to retrieve your belongings. There will be a sign-up process to ensure we are following social-distancing recommendations. Shipping options will be available.
- Finances: First and foremost, we have been focused on the health and education of our students. We are working through the complex financial realities of this crisis and will provide an update to students and families by April 15. We anticipate providing some form of prorated refund for housing and meal plans for graduating students, and an equal financial credit applied toward next year’s costs for other residential students. We are reviewing all state and federal regulations around these anticipated actions.
- Commencement: I have heard from many of you about Commencement. I know how much this traditional moment to celebrate your accomplishments means to you. It is equally meaningful to all of us at the University. It remains our hope that we will be able to invite our graduates and their families for Commencement later in the summer or fall. I will be in touch with SGA leaders and our Commencement Committee to make and communicate additional decisions as we know more about gathering recommendations and event restrictions.
Please continue to visit hartford.edu/health-coronavirus for updates and frequently asked questions, or email COVID19@hartford.edu with questions. If you are a student that is concerned about your ability to learn remotely for any reason, including because you do not have the technology available to do so, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 860.768.4999 as soon as possible.
Thank you to our students, families, faculty, and staff, for being collaborative, creative, and empathetic; these are qualities I have come to know as representative of the University of Hartford. I am incredibly grateful to the staff that remain on campus to support our students and essential operations, and for our faculty who are adapting to a new teaching reality and empowering our students in a new way. This semester will look different, but I am confident we will be proud of what we will accomplish as learners, makers, and leaders—even from a distance.
We are a strong community with a vital mission: Dedicated to learning, personal growth, knowledge creation, and the betterment of society, the University engages students in acquiring the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to thrive in and contribute to a pluralistic, complex world. Nothing could be more important right now; we will rise to this challenge together.