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Office of the President

March 11, 2020: COVID-19 Updates and Related Actions

To Members of the Stritch Community:

As a follow-up to my March 10 memo, I want to inform everyone that the Milwaukee Health Department has confirmed that there is no COVID-19 on campus. However, it is critical during this period of heightened stress, concern and anxiety that all of us keep in mind the Four Franciscan Values that have defined this institution for almost 100 years: Showing Compassion, Creating a Caring Community, Reverencing Creation and Making Peace. Each of us bears the ongoing responsibility to reflect those Values through our interactions and communications with others on campus. We must expect the best from ourselves and offer the best of ourselves to others.

We have continued to monitor all information regarding the spread of COVID-19 and have established a landing page at specifically dedicated to COVID-19 updates and information related to Academics, Athletics and Events on campus. You can access this page at the following link:

Given all of the most current information regarding COVID-19, the following decisions have been made – decisions reflecting the best interests of our students, faculty and staff:

  • The University will be suspending face-to-face classes from Monday, March 16 through Tuesday, March 31. During that period of time, all classes will be delivered online via the Canvas platform. Again, there is no COVID-19 on the Stritch campus. However, given the projected spread of the virus domestically and internationally, we believe it is in the best interests of our students, faculty and staff to transition to the online platform. We will continue to regularly monitor all federal, state and local health department updates and news reports regarding the spread of the virus in order to determine whether (a) face-to-face classes and activities can resume; or (b) online instruction should continue into April.
  • Students Currently Enrolled in Online Programs. These programs will continue as they have.
  • Students Who Commute to Campus. For those students who commute to campus, please know that effective Thursday, March 12, you may elect not to return to campus. You will be expected to notify your instructors of your decision to complete this week’s assignments from home. Please Note: Once you leave campus to work from home, you will not be permitted to return to campus prior to University notification that you are authorized to do so.
  • Students Who Commute to Campus. For those students who commute to campus, please know that effective Thursday, March 12, you may elect not to return to campus. You will be expected to notify your instructors of your decision to complete this week’s assignments from home. Please Note: Once you leave campus to work from home, you will not be permitted to return to campus prior to University notification that you are authorized to do so.
  • Students Who Live on Campus. For those students who currently live on campus in Clare or Assisi Halls: if you live in Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa or Minnesota, we are asking that you make immediate arrangements to return home this weekend or by Monday, March 16, at the latest. Those excepted for the moment are student-athletes who are in-season. We will, however, be following up with you this week regarding next steps regarding games/meets. Student Affairs and Residence Life will be working with all students to make sure you have taken what you need for the balance of this month. To ensure that you do not lose your room key or access card, we will be asking you to register those with Residence Life so you can retrieve them once there is an “all clear” posted authorizing your return to campus. You will be able to access your classes and complete assignments via Canvas. Please make sure you are checking the COVID-19 landing page each day on the Stritch website for updates regarding the virus and the status of campus next steps.
  • Students Who Live on Campus But May Not Be Able to Return Home in the Near Future. The latest alert from the White House is that a Level 3 designation is under consideration for all of Europe. We will keep you posted on this. The impact: Our international students and/or students from domestic “hot zone” states may need to remain on campus for the time being. In addition, we have a number of students who may not be able to return home right now for other authorized reasons. Please know that Residence Life and Student Affairs will be working with all of you regarding housing protocols during this period, food service, activities on campus, activities off campus that will not be permitted or highly discouraged.

Bottom Line: Our efforts are to ensure that we are doing everything necessary to keep all of you as safe as reasonably possible. All students will be expected to follow established protocols during the period of time. So, be alert and attentive to communications from Residence Life and Student Affairs.

  • Athletics. We are working closely with the CCAC and will be providing you with additional information yet this week regarding the status of practices, games/meets, travel, etc.
  • Events and Facilities. In order to abide by all recommended protocols regarding social distancing during the spread of this virus, we will be taking the following actions:
  • All Stritch-based events will be postponed/rescheduled for a later date. If you have a question regarding an event or the space reserved for that event, please contact the Office of the President.
  • Effective immediately, all external parties that have reserved a Stritch facility for an event during the month of March will be notified that the event will need to be rescheduled to a later time.
  • The Field House (gym and fitness center) will be closed until Tuesday, March 31. (updated March 13, 2020)
  • Clinicals, Field Placements, and Internships. We are working closely with our professional and community partners regarding each of these. Bottom line: we will be deferring to the protocols established by health care facilities, schools and school districts, and companies or nonprofits where you have placements. Should any of these sites impose restrictions on these placements, please know that we will be working with you regarding the options available to complete your assignments.
  • For our Nursing Students: Please contact Dean Gloria Jacobson regarding clinical placement updates.
  • For our Student Teachers and Clinical Psychology Students: Please contact Dr. Lisa Gies and/or Dr. Janice Jones regarding placement updates.
  • For our Stritch Experience Interns: Please contact Mr. Sean Lybeck-Smoak regarding placement updates.
  • The Doctoral Program. Until further notice, the “Doc Weekends” will be conducted online. Dr. Lisa Gies and Dr. Janice Jones will be providing updates to all cohorts.
  • Faculty and Staff. The following guidelines are established for the balance of March:
  • Faculty will be excused from campus-based work in order to enable you to meet your teaching and advising obligations online. Please consult with your Dean and the Office of Academic Affairs regarding updates.
  • Staff: We are in the process of identifying essential staff who will be on campus, but also observing appropriate social distancing protocols throughout March. The members of the Leadership Team will be notifying all direct reports regarding assignments and whether those assignments will be completed on campus or remotely.
  • For both Faculty and Staff: Please exercise patience as we ensure that all of you who will/may be working remotely have the computing equipment, software, updates and training you need. Everyone is doing their best to provide support in a timely and efficient manner. While timeliness and efficiency guide all of us at this time, so does kindness.
  • Bookstore and Campus Mail. We will be working in consultation with Follett and the campus Post Office to identify needs and operations through the end of the month, as well as the management of deliveries that typically occur on campus each day. If you have a question regarding either of these operations, please contact your Dean or supervisor.
  • Food Service: We will be meeting on Thursday with the district and campus managers of A'viands (now known as Aladdin) to finalize preparations and operations through the end of the month.
  • Updates. The Health Center will be working in consultation with the Leadership Team to provide the entire Stritch Community with updates regarding the status of the virus and any additional steps we may need to take through March and thereafter. Again, it is critical that you stay alert, informed and engaged regarding the communications issued. Please check your email and the COVID-19 landing page at

Reminder re Precautions. No matter where you are, please continue to follow these recommended steps:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your face – eyes, nose and mouth – with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Get a flu vaccine.

As I stated in my March 10 communication, this is not a time for panic. Instead it is a time to be attentive, serious and engaged regarding the steps we need to take as a Community to care for ourselves and one another. We will get through this as a Community by ensuring that we follow the established protocols and by staying current with the information provided via email and on the website. Our commitment is to your continued well-being and safety while we move through this challenging period of time. In the words of our Sisters, Pace e Bene – Peace and All Good in the days ahead.

Kathleen A. Rinehart, J.D.