Dear campus community,
I hope you are doing well as the end of an incredibly challenging semester draws near. Looking back at all that has been accomplished over the past two months is inspiring. We continue to teach, learn, and support our students and each other.
I write to you to provide an update in response to Governor Baker’s extension of the stay-at-home advisory through May 18. There has been debate about how best to reopen our state to protect the health of our society while avoiding additional financial harm. I certainly appreciate the complexities involved in those decisions, but to me it is clear – we will continue to encourage most UMass Dartmouth employees to work remotely from home until June 30, 2020. There will be exceptions, as we continue to prioritize safety and social distancing with the recognition that some staff members will continue to be needed on campus. Remember, UMass Dartmouth is open for business.
With that said, many of you have children you are homeschooling and loved ones that need care and attention. While our hospitals are not overwhelmed now, many people are still vulnerable. We all hope that our normal way of life returns swiftly, but the spread of COVID-19 is unpredictable. We must continue to safeguard the wellbeing of our community.
The reopening of our Commonwealth and our University will take time. Governor Baker has put together an advisory board that will develop guidelines and protocols for the reopening of businesses, schools, and other locations across Massachusetts. We will monitor these recommendations closely and continue to provide updates as we endeavor to reopen campus gradually in advance of the fall semester.
Once again, I hope you are well and continue to stay safe and healthy. We have been through so much together. While painful in so many ways, this shared experience has only made our community stronger and I am confident we will be able to overcome any problems we face in the future.
Robert E. Johnson, Ph.D.