To the Lafayette Community:
As students depart for spring break, faculty begin preparing for remote instruction, and staff work tirelessly to continue the work of the College under extraordinary circumstances, I know that we all feel a great deal of uncertainty. My memo of Wednesday, March 11 outlined in detail many aspects of our planning and response in the face of the spread of the COVID-19 virus. With everything that is going on, that already feels like a long time ago! I write now to provide an update on what we have accomplished over the last few days and what decisions still lie ahead of us.
It has been heartening to see how our community has rallied to adapt to changing circumstances. Faculty have dived immediately into creatively reimagining the courses they are teaching. Staff have worked hard to reconfigure their own work and support the many different needs of our students. Students have recognized that in asking them to change travel plans, cancel extracurricular activities, and undertake challenging academic work in entirely new ways, we are demonstrating our faith in their resiliency and strength as well.
We have worked hard to develop new community guidance relating to events, travel, remote work, and sick time during this period, which are available now at: https://covid19.lafayette.edu/updated-policies-for-faculty-staff/
I know that the main question on everybody’s mind is: will we resume on-campus instruction at the end of three weeks as planned, or will we do as a number of other colleges have done and move to remote instruction for the balance of the spring semester?
As much as we all would like a definitive answer to that question, I believe we are well served by embracing flexibility over certainty in this moment. We hope that a three-week period of absence will give us time to see how our region is affected, to learn how events play out on other campuses that remain in session, and to plan for how we manage what may be the new normal for some time to come.
Here is what I can tell you: We will continue to follow federal and state public health guidance as we prioritize the health and safety of our community. We will do everything that we can to ensure the successful continuation of our students’ academic experience. We will continue to work towards the goal of reconvening as a community to finish the spring semester. And we will strive to keep you all updated and informed.
As we head into the weeks ahead, I ask all of you to call upon the qualities that define Lafayette: creativity, resilience, and a powerful sense of community. Thank you all for your understanding and support.
President Alison Byerly