The message below was emailed to the Bryn Mawr College community from President Kim Cassidy on March 12, 2020.
Dear Bryn Mawr students, faculty and staff:
Thank you for the patience and support that you have shown already during these difficult days. While there continue to be no confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 in the Bryn Mawr College community, the status of our local area is changing. I am writing to reinforce the College’s response in light of emerging news. Many of you may have seen the recent announcement by Governor Wolf: all schools, community centers, gyms, and entertainment venues in Montgomery County, where the College is located, have been directed to close for 14 days in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. The County’s critical infrastructure services — including provision of food, health care, public safety, and transportation — will continue.
Ahead of Governor Wolf’s directive, Bryn Mawr College has already moved to protect its community and our local area by providing remote learning until April 3 and by asking all students to stay home or return home during this period if they are able. I want to reiterate our commitment to supporting students who must stay on campus and to continuing with our educational mission so that students can successfully complete the semester. I also want to acknowledge the additional challenges the announced closures create for staff and faculty with children.
During this period of remote instruction we had planned to provide opportunities for staff to work from home, for those jobs that could be done remotely. To follow the guidelines as closely as possible for the two weeks specified by the Governor’s directive, the College will further increase remote work opportunities. I want to stress that we will still provide critical infrastructure support to resident students who cannot leave during this period, including dining and health care and support for faculty in their teaching and research. The College is fully open in that sense. While faculty and staff will not be on campus nearly as often, they will be working hard (as always) to support the mission of the College.
Staff should contact their supervisors to determine individual plans for meeting work obligations. Because of the changing nature of the situation, different people will need to be on campus at different times to support critical functions. Faculty and staff who must work on campus, even occasionally, should do it in the safest possible ways; please look to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for guidelines, the most important of which are effective hand washing and social distancing.
Governor Wolf’s announcement today is consonant with Bryn Mawr’s previous decision. I am grateful to all members of the community for the many positive ways that you have responded to the disruptive news of the past several days. Your resiliency and commitment to learning is remarkable. As we all meet an unprecedented challenge to balance conflicting priorities while holding fast to our mission, our community is dealing with the stress, disappointment, and frustration of this moment. This was not the semester we had planned! I also feel the support and connectedness of our community, and I am so grateful to you all for your continued patience, generosity of spirit, and kindness.
I am mindful, too, of how fluid this situation is; we must remain flexible even as we anticipate and prepare for the most likely scenarios. To that end, I remind you that you will find updates to the College’s overall status — along with answers to frequently asked questions — on our coronavirus webpage; service updates will be posted as available on our emergency site.