January 14, 2021
A Message from:
Deanne W. Hurley, Vice President for Student Affairs, and
Kathryn M. LaFontana, PhD, Vice President for Academic Affairs
Welcome to 2021 at Ursuline! We are looking forward to seeing you after your holiday celebrations and your semester break. Here’s wishing a better, healthier, safer new year for us all.
We know that many of you have begun spring semester already, with SDAP courses, Ursuline Arrows Athletics, or return to the res halls, but for everyone else, classes begin, as previously announced, on Tuesday, January 19, with face-to-face instruction for standard undergraduate courses.
UCAP (Ursuline College Accelerated Program) for working adults will continue with remote instruction. Certain graduate programs may be mostly remote, and instructors have notified graduate students of their class formats.
Why the emphasis on in-person instruction? In short, we know that – particularly for undergraduates – real-time, in-person interaction leads to better learning outcomes. Our hope is for all Ursuline students to remain engaged with, challenged by, and enthused about their courses. Face-to-face, in-person communication with faculty and classmates helps students stay on top of the academic workload and receive answers, clarification, or guidance more quickly. With in-person instruction, students are more likely to seek and receive help they need before falling behind. And hands-on learning experiences such as science labs and art classes enhance critical thinking tremendously.
Health and safety protocols remain in effect across campus. As you know, representatives of the Cuyahoga County Board of Health and the Cleveland Clinic have confirmed that we have all the proper procedures and guidelines in place. We have had no known instances of students or faculty contracting COVID in the classroom. At the start of fall semester 2020, we were more flexible about attending class via Zoom, out of an abundance of caution, but now we know that our de-densified, socially distanced classrooms and venues, our stepped-up cleaning protocols, our masking and hand washing all worked last semester.
What’s new for spring semester? During spring semester 2021, we will increase our “surveillance testing” as recommended by the Ohio Department of Health. This means testing students not because they report symptoms but in order to identify non-symptomatic people who may unwittingly be spreading the disease. We remain in regular contact with the Ohio Department of Health and the Cuyahoga County Board of Health and will take our cues from them. If our numbers of people in quarantine and isolation rise unacceptably, we will be given guidance on what to do, potentially including a temporary shift to Virtual Plus instruction.
- All students, faculty and staff must continue to wear masks, practice good hand hygiene, social distance, and monitor their own health daily.
- Gators and face shields are not acceptable substitutes for masks. You must wear a mask covering face and nose.
- Feel free to politely remind those around you about pulling up their masks and keeping 6’ distance. Be prepared to comply if someone asks you the same.
- Drinking will no longer be allowed in classrooms. No food or drink in classrooms.
- Your safe behavior while off campus is as important as your behavior on campus, as this brief video from the Ohio Department of Health illustrates.
Undergraduates are expected to attend classes in person unless:
- They have a disability. Students requesting remote access for their own medical or disability-related reasons should contact Morgan Weber Holeski directly.
- They are in quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19. Students needing to be quarantined or isolated must contact Deanne Hurley, who will ensure that the student’s instructors are officially notified.
It is highly unlikely that students will be given permission to be remote in a face-to-face class for any other reasons. However, if they wish to pursue this option, they must request virtual accommodation using this form. This Virtual Accommodation Form is also available through the Registrar’s office, where all completed forms should be returned.
Taking care of ourselves and one another, we will have a successful semester.