Monitoring the Coronavirus: President’s Message
Thursday, April 2, 2020, 11:00 a.m.
Subject: Remote Learning Extended to Semester End
Read the Spanish Translation
Dear Austin College community,
A week ago, I shared a message letting you know that Austin College would continue to evaluate the circumstances of the ongoing pandemic in real-time before making the next critical decision about extending remote-only teaching beyond April 10. During the past few days, our nation has watched the crisis unfold in more cities and states, resulting in official mandates to limit travel for many parts of our country.
On March 31, Governor Greg Abbott issued a directive for Texans to further restrict activity, and several cities in Texas and elsewhere already have adopted Shelter-in-Place orders.
Based on these developments, I am announcing today that Austin College is extending remote-only instruction for all classes through the end of the spring semester. The well-being of our students, our employees, and our community continues to guide our management of this crisis.
Along with this, I also must announce that Commencement will be postponed from its scheduled weekend of May 16-17 to a later date. We sincerely look forward to celebrating this milestone in person with our outstanding class of 2020, and we will let you know as soon as we have an alternate date.
What will this announcement mean for our students? Our campus remains open through the end of the semester to serve students who are currently living on campus and also to support the faculty who are delivering remote teaching. For students with personal belongings on campus, we will provide the procedures and related information about how and when you can retrieve your items shortly. If you have specific questions, do not hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Efforts are already underway on appropriate credits and refunds for room and board. Each family will receive information by mid-May regarding student accounts. Please know that each situation is unique and we thank you for your understanding as we work through the process.
We are in the second week of remote teaching and learning. I am so very proud of how our dedicated and student-centered faculty have shown flexibility and creativity in adapting their courses to fulfill our academic commitment to our students. We know this is a very difficult time for students and we support their efforts to continue progress toward their degree through the implementation of a grading system change in our S/D/U policy. Virtual support resources are available through Information Technology, the Academic Skills Center, Writing Center, and Abell Library – all accessible through the Updates for Students page. I wholeheartedly encourage students to stay connected to their mentors, peers, and course instructors. Student success depends on these virtual connections, particularly in these challenging circumstances.
We hope this announcement will help students and their families plan for the next few weeks. There is still much work ahead to successfully complete this extraordinary semester, but we look forward to doing so together through mutual perseverance and optimism for our shared future.
We are thinking of our entire Austin College community and hope you are staying safe and well. Please see this week’s Video Message for a word of encouragement.
Together, we will get through this.
Steven P. O’Day, J.D.
Austin College President