Fairleigh Dickinson University continues to take measures to reduce the risks concerning COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus. We are planning in line with recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Department of State and the State of New Jersey Department of Health, as well as Canadian federal and British Columbia health authorities for our Vancouver Campus, and the Department of Health and Social Care in the United Kingdom for Wroxton College.
The University’s notifications regarding the coronavirus will be posted here in reverse chronological order so that all messages are available and the most recent appear first. Related information for reference is also provided as links shown on this page. Members of the University community who are feeling ill or who are aware of someone who is feeling ill should review the Student, Faculty and Staff Health sections of Coronavirus Information from HR.
March 20, 2020
President’s Update — Remote Learning Extended for Remainder of Spring Semester
Dear University Community,
As you know, we have been working hard to plan and respond to all the challenges posed by the outbreak of COVID-19. Our switch to remote learning was the most significant step taken, and I want to thank all the faculty, staff and students for their devotion, understanding and cooperation as we made the transition. While I know this was a difficult and unexpected change, I understand that the vast majority of courses are proceeding well. At the same time, we have moved nearly all of our business operations remotely, and staff are doing as much as possible to support students. It’s true that campuses remain open for some resident students and some essential operations, but we have asked students, faculty and most staff to not come to campus. All campus events have been cancelled or postponed and social distancing measures need to be followed for those remaining on campus.
When we implemented these measures we did so based on the best guidance from health and government authorities, and of course with the hope that this would be temporary and that we could resume operations soon. Unfortunately, it has become clear that we need to maintain these measures for some time. On March 15, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that all events with 50 or more people scheduled in the next 8 weeks be canceled or postponed. And national and state authorities have gone even further since then urging that even fewer numbers congregate.
Due to the extended nature of the outbreak and with such guidance in mind, we have made the difficult decision to continue the suspension of campus activities and all face-to-face instruction for the remainder of the spring semester. We are extremely sorry for this inconvenience and we know how much everyone will miss the campus experiences we all cherish. We regret this disruption but we have no choice but to continue to do all that we can to reduce the risk to our community members. We will continue remote (online) learning and remote business operations, and I can assure you that students will have the opportunity to continue earning their credits and proceeding with their degree plans.
While students have adjusted well to courses being delivered remotely, we understand the need for flexibility and so we are expanding our grading policy for the spring semester to include a pass/fail option, which will allow undergraduate students more latitude in how they are evaluated this semester. More information concerning this option will be provided by the University Provost shortly.
Now that we know we won’t have students returning for courses on campus this semester, we again ask that those students remaining in the residence halls please move to other locations if possible. However, those who do not have an alternative housing accommodation may remain for the duration of the spring semester. For those who still have their belongings in the residence halls, we will lock your rooms and secure your belongings until social distancing measures are relaxed and it is safe to return to campus to collect your belongings and move out of your rooms fully. I also want to assure everyone that we are committed to providing prorated refunds for spring semester room and board. We still need to determine the details and will share more information concerning refunds as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, the continuing nature of this outbreak means that our University Commencement cannot take place as scheduled. This is a particularly painful decision for me. I know very well how much this event means to all our graduates who have worked so hard to fulfill their goals and dreams. At the same time, considering the situation and considering the need for people to plan accordingly, we must make a decision based on what we know now and so, unfortunately, we will have to cancel the live Commencement event scheduled to take place at MetLife Stadium on May 18. However, this doesn’t mean we will not celebrate our graduates. We are considering various options now for a virtual ceremony that will feature the appropriate pomp and circumstance and recognize all graduates individually.
To our graduates, I know the ceremony may not be exactly the same and, again, we regret that you have been hurt by this situation. At the same time, I want you to remember that nothing can take away from your incredible accomplishment, and we remain ready and able to confer your degrees. You will graduate and you will receive your diplomas on time. The ceremony is indeed an important symbol and, while the applause won’t be heard by all, rest assured we will applaud you. More details on the ceremony will be available soon.
Given the seriousness of the pandemic at this time and the likelihood that international travel will continue to be restricted for the foreseeable future, we are also canceling all study abroad trips through the end of July 2020. We regret having to make this decision now but believe this decision is in the best interests of our community.
I know our students and parents will have some questions, and we promise to try to continue to update you as best as possible. We will continue to offer summer programs and, if those have to be online as well, we are prepared to do that. Our fall registration will take place soon and all selections and advising can be done online. The thought of fall and a new academic year with students busily engaged and active on campus brings with it great promise, and we continue to work toward that end with hope and courage.
My sincere heartfelt thanks to our students for your positive approach amid all the challenges you’re facing, and my deepest appreciation to the entire University community for all your incredible efforts on behalf of our students and each other. I am very proud and thankful to be a part of this incredible community, and I want to continue to express my deepest wish that all of you remain healthy and well.
Christopher A. Capuano, Ph.D.
Fairleigh Dickinson University
Links to Updates
March 30: Summer Sessions 2020.
March 25: President’s Update – Commencement.
March 25: Pass/Fail Option for Undergraduate Students for Spring Semester 2020.
March 20: President’s Update – Remote Learning Extended for Remainder of Spring Semester.
March 20: Pass/Fail Option for Undergraduate Students for Spring Semester 2020.
March 15: President’s Update – Latest Actions Related to COVID-19 Pandemic.
March 13: Wroxton College Students to Return Home.
March 10: President’s Update on Moving to Remote Learning.
March 9: Working together as a community and an update on potential self-isolation.
March 6: Update on travel restrictions and recommendations, and a travel registry for faculty and staff.
March 2: Update on University-sponsored international trips as well as more travel-related news.
February 28: Update on international travel, study abroad, our international campuses and necessary precautions.