Dear St. Michael’s…

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Dear St. Michael’s Administration, 

We understand how much pressure you must be going through during this time of national emergency. Colleges and universities from around the country have never dealt with something remotely close to this current event. There are lots of unanswered questions floating around and you are trying to figure them out. But you’ve forgotten to keep your most important people in the loop–the students. Those same questions and so many more are floating through students’ heads as well. 

We are asking for answers. St. Michael’s made the announcement a week ago today that students will not be returning until possibly April 14 and we have barely heard anything. We have received only a few emails that vaguely explain how online courses are going to work and to continue to look for further instruction. Further instructions still have yet to come and are instead just more information and updates on COVID-19’s status on our campus. We’ve heard student voices from our Instagram posts and also talking to our friends and peers leading up to spring break, and even now. Students, staff, and faculty (mostly students) are in the dark to so many unanswered questions. 

We understand that it is “spring break” and you do not want to bombard us with emails, but let’s face it, this is not an average spring break. 

Here’s what we’re hearing students ask:

  1. Why aren’t professors reaching out and explaining more about online classes? 
  2. What happens if a student does not have access to a laptop/ wifi/ or a laptop with video and audio capability? 
  3. What are Echo and Zoom? We need more explanation, not just from professors but perhaps from an IT perspective on the basics. 
  4. What’s the thinking now around commencement? Will there be one? 
  5. Is St. Mike’s going to wait until April 12 to reevaluate or as more schools start to close for the semester, is there a chance we’ll close before this? 
  6. What is the school talking about week by week? A little information about the discussions that are happening at the administration level goes a long way. 

The St. Michael’s community needs these answers. While many of the staff, faculty, and administration’s lives were not altered that much besides working remotely and teaching classes via technology; students’ lives have been turned upside down. A place they could call home until May 6, was ripped out from under them in a day. They were told they had to find living arrangements with only 45 hours of preparation. Students are craving answers even at the smallest level. We understand that the administration might not have all the answers to these questions, but if you give us even a little information on these topics it would be better than waiting and contemplating the unknown. We have faith that our school is handling the situation to the best of their abilities, we only ask that they keep us in the decisions they have to make. We all believe that St. Michael’s has its students’ best interest in mind and will do their best to make this strange time in our lives work out.  

In the current world of changing minute by minute and facing an unknown future, answers would be deeply appreciated. 

Thank you, 

The Defender 

1 Comment

  1. Patrick M Walsh Reply

    “While many of the staff, faculty, and administration’s lives were not altered that much besides working remotely and teaching classes via technology; students’ lives have been turned upside down” This is ignorant and insulting. Just because *you don’t see something happening*, that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. For the past week, I and the rest of the faculty have been working nonstop to take our classes online. Typically we spend many, many weeks planning a regular course before the semester starts; and we’re now revamping half a semester’s material in one week. For three classes. The IT staff have been even busier – they’ve put together training sessions and training videos to get faculty up to speed on the various technologies, and are working like maniacs to get VPNs, cloud, and video networks running. The administrators – from the President to the VPs to the Deans – have been putting in 15-hour days for two weeks, first to track the pandemic, then to make decisions, then to formulate plans, then to communicate them. I get about 2 emails per hour from the Administration on various policies, plans, training opportunities, and support. In the face of all of this frantic work – FOR YOU – it is insulting to be told that your lives have been more disrupted than ours.

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