Dominican University, like schools across the country, is operating under extraordinary conditions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout this challenging time, we continue to focus on embracing our mission and supporting our community. Since the outbreak of the virus, the safety of Dominican students has been our greatest priority.

To combat the spread of the virus, campus was closed abruptly following spring break, resulting in disrupted classes, operations and employment to an extent and duration that we have never experienced. Spring Break trips—international and domestic—were cancelled, as were all Spring Semester events, academic programs, athletic competitions, and end-of-year ceremonies. Students were required to vacate residence halls and faculty and staff began working remotely.

None of this has been easy, but it is important to recognize that Dominican more than survived these first critical weeks because we were as prepared as possible, given the unprecedented circumstance.

Of the 881 classes offered during spring semester, over 200 were already taught remotely or offered in a hybrid format. Between March 12-23, faculty, with the help of IT, moved the other 658 face-to-face classes online. This transition was supported by a robust menu of online teaching resources and ramped up efforts to reach out to, and meet, the needs of faculty, staff and students without the technological equipment demanded for studying and working off campus. In addition, our Division of Student Success and Engagement stepped up to provide online resources for students struggling academically and personally with the change in their circumstances, including a case management tool giving students the opportunity to self-report their own concerns and needs—and those of their families.

The university has now moved from crisis management to sustainability, looking to academic year 2020–2021 and doing all that we can to assure that students and faculty return with confidence and readiness to a safe campus with healthy plans in place to stay safe and healthy. We are confident that, through lessons learned throughout this pandemic, Dominican will build upon our accelerated advances in technology and online learning and support services for students—and renew our call to mission.