Dear Members of the Roosevelt Community,
To begin, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot recently announced the lockdown of the Loop and certain surrounding areas, including our downtown campus, and set a citywide curfew. Yesterday, most of the downtown access restrictions have been lifted. The citywide curfew for all residents and visitors will remain in place, effective from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. until further notice. The Mayor placed both restrictions on May 30, 2020 due to the actions of rioters and looters in the midst of an important and peaceful protest over the loss of George Floyd and the many other Black men, women and children who have lost their lives to police violence in this country.
Please reflect and focus on the message and mission of the protests and never forget. As we plan to be together on campus this fall, I ask all of you: What can we do as a University to unite and advocate for societal change around injustice and racism in our country? Every one of us has a role to play in this fight.
I am very thankful and proud of the Roosevelt University community for everything we have accomplished, including our positive outlook and selfless and ongoing devotion to serving our students during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have had to face many challenges and disappointments, but our legacy is anchored in thriving during adversity. In the midst of this health crisis, this still holds true.
I know that you have many questions about the fall, including whether our campuses are safe and whether classes will be in-person or remote. I am writing to provide you with an introduction to our official framework on how we are thinking about moving forward, a path for the future. The goal of Roosevelt’s approach of returning to campus is to continue our dynamic learning environment while adhering to all government directives and putting in place guidelines that will keep our community safe and healthy, our guiding priority. We will be following the guidance and mandates of Governor Pritzker, Mayor Lightfoot and other local health and government officials as we implement our own phased plan, which will include outlining anticipated protocols and certain details around logistics as campuses slowly open.
The Return to Campus Committees — which include representatives from all campuses, colleges and departments, as well as student representation — have been working diligently to determine the state of the fall 2020 semester for the Roosevelt community. We are optimistically planning and preparing for a healthy and safe return to campuses, in-person instruction and residence life operations while balancing the evolving public health mandates and other contingency plans that may need to be put in place. Please feel free to email COVID19info@roosevelt.edu if you have ideas, suggestions or concerns.
So far, we have made changes to Residence Life by lifting the on-campus residency requirement for fall 2020 freshman and sophomore students. We have also adjusted housing policies and rates to be more flexible and safer in anticipation of students who are interested in utilizing campus housing. In addition, reduced Wabash Building housing rates have been offered for shared rooms.
The following are a number of other changes you can anticipate when we return to our campuses:
- Masks will be required on campus and provided to every employee and student.
- Hand sanitizer stations will be increased throughout campus.
- Additional disinfecting supplies will be available throughout campus, including for offices and classrooms.
- Increased daily disinfecting schedules of our facilities will be implemented.
- Guidance protocols for social distancing, elevator limits, safe passing in the hallways, wearing face masks and others will be posted.
- Course schedules will be adjusted to support flexibility of in-person and remote options to manage on-campus activity.
- Class sizes will be limited to fewer than 50 students in accordance with state guidelines.
With respect to our employees, as discussions continue in the anticipation of our return to on-campus operations, supervisors will adjust their employees’ on-campus schedules in such a way to ensure physical distancing guidelines within the department. We continue to encourage many employees to work from home to the extent possible. Until further notice, please do not return to campus unless there is a critical need that has been approved by the department head and submitted for approved building access.
This virus will not be leaving and must be managed. Keep in mind, there is a lot of pressure to get back to normal, especially because of the time we have spent in quarantine and also because of the warmer weather ahead of us. However, our path to open must be done safely. Therefore, everyone must adhere to the guidance and protocols that have been researched and put forth by the Return to Campus Committees, and the directives of the state and leading health officials.
We are in this together as a University and community. We are facing uncharted territory, but we are ready. Grounded in our mission, we will deliver on our promise to create opportunities and programs reflecting the needs in our community, providing the tools to deliver dynamic curricula and answer the needs of our students. This requires flexibility, adaptability to new environments and collaboration with one another — everything that you have been doing. Our faculty and leadership have been and will continue to develop innovative and engaging ways to provide students with the high level of education they deserve. I believe in our future and in our ability to continue safely and intentionally.
Additional detail regarding the return to campus and fall 2020 will be provided in the weeks to come. I know many of you will have questions, and we hope to address them over the course of the next few months as we proceed with caution. In the meantime, do continue to check the COVID-19 website for regular updates and answers to your FAQs.
In closing, Roosevelt’s American Dream Reconsidered Conference is a big part of our legacy. Held virtually this year, it will be even more significant following the events over recent days. Remember, these dialogues must continue and are integral to ending systemic racism in our country.
I wish everyone a peaceful, safe and relaxing summer. Please reach out if you have any questions, concerns or needs — we are always here for you.
With Warm Regards,
Ali R. Malekzadeh, Ph.D.