March 26, 2020: Update from Stritch President Kathleen A. Rinehart, J.D.
To All of Our Students:
First and foremost, we sincerely hope that each of you and your families are safe and well during this very challenging time. Though a small group of students remain on campus, most have departed for home in other parts of the United States and the world. It has been a difficult journey for some, and we are looking forward to hearing that each of you has reached your homes safely.
On behalf of the entire Stritch Community and the Office of Student Affairs, I want to provide you with some updates and information.
Residence Halls, Health & Wellness, Athletics, Academic Support
- All buildings on campus have been locked and members of Campus Security regularly monitor these buildings and the grounds. I say this to confirm for all of you who were living on campus that the residence halls remain secured. If you left personal possessions behind, please do not attempt to return to campus. Governor Tony Evers has issued a Safer At Home Order for Wisconsin as a means to contain the spread of COVID-19. Trying to get to campus may compromise your own well-being and that of others. Once this Order has been lifted, Residence Life will communicate next steps to return to collect your belongings.
- Room and Board Fees. We are in the process of finalizing the process to address a rebate and/or credit for those who had been living in the residence halls this semester. More information on this subject is forthcoming.
- Counseling Services. As Maya Angelou once said, “I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” The challenges of this period and the impact of COVID-19 on our families, friends and co-workers have produced increased anxiety, confusion and a deep sense of loss. Please know that the University continues to provide free and confidential counseling services through the Health and Wellness Center. If the counselors can be of any assistance, please email or call them to schedule a time to connect with Heidi Aringer by email at email@example.com or by phone at (414) 410-4152, or Mary Beth Wisniewski by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (414) 410-4194. Lastly, don’t forget to follow the Health and Wellness Center on Instagram at stritch_healthwell for updates and wellness tips!
- Athletics. As noted, the spring 2020 sports season has been cancelled. NAIA has informed us that “no spring sport athlete will be charged a season of competition. Any spring sport student-athlete who was enrolled full-time in 2020 will be awarded two additional semester terms of attendance or the equivalent.” Additional information will be provided over the next several weeks.
- Academic Support. The University has always made online tutoring options available to all students, but as we have moved all the delivery of our programs to an online platform, you are strongly encouraged to maximize the use of the technology and support services already in place. These include online peer and professional tutoring options; Online Writing Lab (OWL); and Smartthinking.
- Online Tutoring Options (including peer tutors): Available for math, business, ELL support, writing, biology, and many more. Sign up for an appointment using StritchPass (https://stritch.campus.eab.com)
- Online Writing Lab allows you to get feedback on your papers in a timely manner. Submit your essays to https://www.stritch.edu/Student-Experience/Student-Support/OWL-Essay
- Lastly, take advantage of the 24/7 professional tutoring available through Canvas at https://stritch.instructure.com/login/ldap We continue to be committed to your academic and personal success and if you have any questions about the academic support services available, please contact Amber Fox at email@example.com.
- Online Delivery of Classes. All classes have been conducted online via Canvas since March 16. As mentioned in a recent Stritch Communication, we will continue classes online through the end of the semester. Faculty will be communicating with you regarding final exams and/or projects. Again, if you are involved in Nursing clinicals, field experiences, student teaching or internships, please contact your Dean or supervisor regarding any updates regarding the completion of these activities. It is critical for us to know if you are facing any issues regarding access or accessibility to the Canvas site and your classes. We are committed to ensuring that all students are able to complete their academic work for the spring semester without interruption. If you have faced any access or accessibility issues for any one of your classes, please contact your instructor immediately.
- Federal Work Study and Campus Student Workers. In an effort to assist our student employees during this unprecedented time, the following procedures will be in place until further notice:
- Federal Work Study Students employed by the University, or in University-approved community roles prior to the current health emergency, will continue to be paid the allocation awarded to and accepted by them as part of the one’s financial aid package. Payments will be made on a semi-monthly basis up to the total award amount.
- Other student workers will be allowed to continue their work if the student’s supervisor has work that can be completed from home. Supervisors will be required to identify the work required and confirm authorization from the appropriate Vice President.
- Pay It Forward Giving Page. We established a Pay It Forward fund two years ago as a way to assist students who may be facing an unanticipated emergency. We have taken steps to expand that fund via an online appeal. Please see the giving page at www.stritch.edu/Pay-It-Forward.
- Commencement. The spring of every academic year is always a special time, especially for those who have completed their undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. We all look forward to celebrating our students and their accomplishments in a wide range of events. The Governor’s recent Safer At Home Order and other requirements relating to social distancing as a way to contain the spread of COVID-19 have required us to think very differently about how and when Commencement occurs. As of today, we know we will not be able to hold Commencement on May 16, since we do not anticipate that many of the social distancing restrictions will be lifted before that time. As disappointing as this news is today, please know we are in the process of preparing another update regarding several great options available to celebrate all who have worked so hard to realize one’s academic dreams – dreams of those who may be first in one’s family to go to college, or those who have pursued graduate and doctoral studies. Stay tuned.
- Food Security. For all who reside in the Greater Milwaukee area and are in need of help to access food, individuals can apply to Foodshare online at www.access.wisconsin.gov. This applies to anyone experiencing a food crisis. The application is online, a follow-up interview is conducted by phone, and a verification can be done using a smartphone app. Please encourage anyone in need of support to access this site.
As I have said in prior updates, 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. Be well.
Kathleen A. Rinehart, J.D.