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Subject: Campus Closure Tomorrow, March 16, and Next Steps for Remote Instruction & Business Operations

March 15, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

COVID-19 is changing our nation and our world. At MMC, we have had to move quickly to respond to this growing health crisis. I write this evening to share several critical decisions that have been made to support the health and safety of our community and all those around us.

But, first, I want to acknowledge that, earlier this evening, our emergency response team received notice of a suspected case of COVID-19 in one of our adjunct faculty members. The faculty member last accessed campus for a class on Monday, March 9, 2020 and was not symptomatic at that time. As part of the College’s routine preventative measures, the main campus buildings were deep-cleaned and sanitized on Wednesday, March 11.

In accordance with our response protocols for a suspected COVID-19 case, the following will take place tomorrow to allow for a cleaning crew to conduct an additional precautionary deep-clean and sanitization of main campus buildings: 

Monday, March 16, 2020

  • There will be a complete closure of main campus buildings.
  • The Residence Halls and the Dow Zanghi Student Health Center will remain open. 
  • Normal business operations will be suspended. No remote work will be required.
  • Faculty training sessions are postponed.

We will be in touch as soon as possible with details about facility access for the remainder of this week.

As the COVID-19 health crisis grows, we must all continue to do our part to help limit the spread of this disease. The College is therefore moving forward with the following decisions. These decisions have been exceptionally difficult to make, but they are critical to maintaining the continued health and safety of our extended community. We appreciate your patience and flexibility as we navigate this complex new reality together: 

1.      Remote instruction will extend through the end of the semester—from Thursday, March 19, 2020 through Thursday, May 21, 2020.  In-person classes will not resume this semester.

2.      All students in the Residence Halls who can go home should do so by no later than this Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 10 PM.

o Based upon the uncertainty around possible closures, city-wide quarantine measures, and potential restrictions on domestic travel, we urge our students who are able to go home to do so as soon as possible this week.

o All students who plan to leave the residence halls should fill out this form outlining their plans for departure. Once we hear from you, students leaving the residence halls will receive a separate email with detailed instructions about the logistics of their departure and checking out. Please be prepared to bring as many of your belongings with you as possible.

o Recognizing that some students, including our international students, may face difficulty or be unable to return home, we will continue to provide limited housing to students who demonstrate need. Any student who is concerned about their ability to travel home should complete this form immediately so that we are prepared to provide the support necessary. 

o We understand that some students have already left the residence halls and have left their belongings behind. Others leaving this week will not be able to take everything with them on such short notice. We remind you again to please take all essential and valuable items with you; we will provide an update for how to proceed with other items in the coming days.

o All residential students who vacate their rooms will be issued a prorated refund on room and board from Thursday, March 19, 2020 through the end of the semester. Rest assured that we will be here to support you through this challenging time.

3.      Large-scale gatherings are canceled/postponed through the end of the semester, including Commencement.
We know this is devastating news for our seniors and their families, and we are distressed that your final year at MMC has been disrupted in this way. We are actively working on plans for a reimagined celebration of your achievements and we will be in touch, both with updates and to request your ideas and input. 

4.      Staff will fully transition to working remotely, with very few exceptions, starting Tuesday, March 17, 2020 until further notice.
This measure will help the College further contribute to the national/global effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 through increased social distancing. Some exceptions will apply for personnel who must be on-site to perform their duties. Employees should expect to receive additional information/direction from their supervisors as soon as possible.

These measures are intended to proactively limit the number of people in and around campus to slow the spread of COVID-19. Our top priority is to protect the health and safety of each member of this community, and, at this time, that unfortunately means quickly limiting the number of us who are together.

I share in your sadness and frustration at this turn of events, which affects the MMC community along with people around the globe. But I am hopeful that we will pull together and develop ways to maintain a virtual community that is as creative and connected as the physical one we all love.

Sincerely,

Kerry Walk
President