November 16: Post-Thanksgiving Options - Parent Message
First and foremost, we want to thank you. Thank you for your understanding, patience and trust during these challenging times. COVID-19 has affected life at Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s, particularly in the student experience, but we are intent on moving forward with our campus life and excellent academic programs. We are so appreciative that you are walking with us.
We are also grateful to our students. They are wearing masks and practicing social distancing. We have not had a single case of the Coronavirus being transmitted in a classroom. Our libraries and dining facilities have also been very safe.
Our students tell us they want to remain on campus for the completion of the semester. Their preference is heartening and important to us. Yet, the Thanksgiving holiday poses a significant challenge if students return to campus after several days of seeing old friends, spending time with family, and being socially active.
To promote the highest safety on campus, we are offering students the opportunity to remain at home after Thanksgiving and receive a prorated room and board refund. Students who remain at home would complete the semester online and receive a prorated refund of room and meal expenses, beginning November 29. We would apply the refund to second semester charges.
This is a choice we’ve come to after hearing from students. Students who wish to remain on campus after the Thanksgiving holiday may do so. We hope to test all students who return to campus. The current mitigation strategies will remain in place. We will ask these students to stay on campus as much as possible. We want to strengthen the integrity of our campus as a physical place with few opportunities for the virus to be carried into or out of our community.
The possibility of students remaining at home after Thanksgiving increases the safety of all students, off-campus and on-campus, because it reduces the density on campus.
We offer this choice to promote good health and to be respectful of our students and parents. We are partners always, but most especially in these difficult times.
More details about the choice we are offering are available on our website. We ask all students to notify us of their plans by Friday, November 20 using this form. To help inform your decision, answers to frequently asked questions will be posted here by noon on November 17.
Finally, anticipating the next questions: Yes, we are still offering free COVID-19 testing to students at both campuses on November 18. And yes, our campuses and classes will be open to all students for the spring semester, beginning January 25. That will be a joyous day as all of us are together again.
Laurie Hamen, J.D.