About Manchester

Weekly Update - August 20


From: President <President@manchester.edu>
Sent: Thursday, August 20, 2020 2:00 PM
To: All Colleagues <AllColleagues@manchester.edu>
Subject: COVID update for Aug. 20


Dear Colleagues,

If you follow the news, you’ll know that any number of colleges and universities are dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks as they resume school. Many positive tests are traced to off-campus student parties that took place even before classes resumed. With these experiences in mind, we will increase our communication with students about the imperative of following the rules we’ve put in place to maximize health and safety on campus. Our early messages will be stern: you must follow the rules. They aren’t optional. We want students to know that we can’t do it without them.

A tremendous amount of preparation has gone into keeping the MU community as safe as possible and, at the same time, providing our students with the best on-campus, in-person learning experience that we can. Thanks to each of you for acting as role models and reinforcing the strategies we’ve laid out.

Our finances: I’m asked regularly about our finances. Do we have the resources to weather an enrollment hit this year if that should happen? Yes, we do. If we experience a big enrollment drop, though, it will carry forward through several years and we will need to make adjustments. Any adjustments we make will be based on campus- and program-specific strengths and opportunities. We will share a budget update in September once fall enrollments are set and then monitor the impact of any changes in our current plan for face-to-face instruction.

Room and board refunds: We’ve been asked about room and board refunds if we need to go online earlier than Nov. 20. We are already crediting students for the room and board they won’t use after Thanksgiving and will refund any additional time on a prorated, per day basis. 

Off-campus learning placements: While we know circumstances may change, we are planning on clinical rotations for pharmacy students and certain field placements for undergraduates, such as student teaching. In all cases, we are making every effort to ensure that our students are safe in these placements and following the protocols of their host organizations.

Gratitude: From kindergarten to university, this is an anxious time for schools of all kinds. So many at Manchester have done so much to get ready. I am grateful to all of you who have prepared for this unconventional semester – whether you have developed hybrid and hyflex courses, installed plexiglass panels to protect colleagues, ordered extra cleaning supplies, found virtual ways to connect with alumni and donors, or any number of other tasks outside of the realm of normal.  

I feel the anxiety that many others feel. So much is out of our control. Things that have been done with muscle memory, routine and habit can’t be taken for granted anymore. The start of the school year exacerbates all of this. I sometimes feel like a broken record when I say be patient with one another, and offer and accept grace, but it is true now more than ever.

Like many of you, I’m also looking forward to having students and many colleagues back. See you soon!