March 19, 2020

 

Dear Dominican Parents:

Let me begin by thanking you for your patience. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the safety of Dominican students has been our first priority, followed by a single-minded focus on the transition to online course delivery and academic support. We have been communicating extensively with students about this transition, but I know that you, too, have questions, which is why I am writing. 

Please know that this is a fluid situation, with the university having to make rapid changes at the directives of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) ‎and state and local governing bodies. Today, for instance, Dominican further moved to a skeletal staffing plan and reduced campus access to comply with local “shelter in place” ordinances.

‎To give you a sense of the magnitude of our challenge, this past week, the Dominican faculty has moved over 650 classes to an online format. There are glitches, of course, but, overall, I am confident that the quality of the coursework remains strong --- and that faculty members are continuing to provide students with the relationship-centered experience that is so distinguishing of a Dominican education. It will take a few weeks for all of us to adjust, but, if we work together, the possibilities for online learning are exciting.

During this time, I encourage you to encourage students to take full advantage of all the academic and personal support‎ services, also available online. A student self-report form can be found on MyDU. Technology questions should be directed to the Support Center. Academic coaching is available for those struggling with the online format, as well as counseling support in a tele-health format through the campus Wellness Center. Our advising office will be using Zoom conferencing to meet with students about summer/fall 2020 registration. Online classes will not affect students’ financial aid awards.

As you know, most Dominican resident students were asked to move out of the residence halls and return home. It was a startling request, on the heels of spring break, but we had no alternative given the threat of a rapidly spreading virus. Remaining resident students are now required to “shelter in place” --- for their own safety. And, yes, the university will partially reimburse families for spring housing. Again, I ask your patience, as we sort through these costs --- by mid-April, at the latest.

It was heart wrenching for our student athletes, especially our seniors, to arrive back from spring break tournaments to hear that our Northern Athletic Collegiate Conference (NACC) had cancelled all remaining athletic competition for the spring semester. There was no alternative here, either. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has provided spring athletes with an additional season of eligibility, which is some solace.

I know graduating students are concerned about Commencement. As directed by the Governor of Illinois, all Dominican University events of more than 50 people have been cancelled for the next eight weeks. We are currently in discussion about rescheduling our two May 10th Commencement Ceremonies until later in the summer. A final plan will be communicated in April.

All of this is disruptive and stressful for students‎ and families, alike. It is beyond what anyone could have imagined; at the same time, the Dominican community is resilient --- and hopeful. Faculty and staff are focused on students’ wellbeing and success. Campus Safety is fully staffed and available to respond to any and all community needs.

Thank you for your confidence and patience. We will get through this together.

Sincerely,

Donna M. Carroll
President


March 6, 2020: Message to Parents and Families of Dominican University Students regarding COVID-19/the coronavirus

In the last few days communication was sent to the campus community regarding a possible COVID-19 case.

Please know that the safety of our students, faculty, and staff is of utmost importance. Knowing that our students come from all over the country and across the globe, we acknowledge our students’ growing concerns for themselves and their families living domestically and overseas.

While we understand receiving information second hand may have caused concern to families, our primary focus was on addressing the campus safety and relaying information directly to students.

Here is a summary:

March 2, 2020 – Dominican University learned that a nonresidential student was exposed last week to a patient who is being treated for the coronavirus at a suburban hospital. Although the student showed no symptoms, they were quarantined at home and tested.

The university consulted with the Cook County Department of Public Health’s communicable diseases unit for guidance on managing care for our community and campus remained open.

Out of an abundance of caution, the university sanitized specific classrooms and campus spaces which may have been visited by the student.

An increase in relaying information on healthy habits and how to address concerns was sent out to the campus community and posted on our website.

March 3, 2020 – Administration was notified that the Dominican University student exposed to the coronavirus (COVID-19) at a local suburban hospital did not test positive for the virus. The test approved by the Illinois Department of Public Health confirms the student did not contract coronavirus (COVID-19).

For further information, you are encouraged to read our FAQs and visit the Wellness Center's web page on Covid-19. We will continue working closely with public health officials at the local, state and national levels to monitor the spread of the virus.

If your student is feeling ill, please contact by phone your health care provider or Dominican’s Wellness Center at 708-524-6229, where free screening measures are available. In addition, the Illinois Department of Public Health has launched a statewide hotline at 1 (800) 889-3931 to answer any questions about the coronavirus or to report a suspected case.