We are a few weeks away from the mid-point of our quarter, and I would like to thank you for your perseverance, your commitment to Antioch and to your program of study. I know it is difficult for everyone to stay focused, keep momentum going, and to plan for a future that resembles the life we had as recently as February. That said, I am confident that Antioch will emerge stronger, prepared not only to manage well during a crisis but also prepared for the next phase of our national and global adventure.
A few updates for you:
- Many in our community have asked about our plans for the summer and fall quarters. After reviewing information available from the CDC, Washington State, and our King County Health Department, the Chancellor and the campus leadership has decided to remain closed for the remainder of the summer. That means that our summer quarter will be held via remote technologies. There may be some exceptions to this, but all exceptions will depend on a number of factors, with the primary one being public health. It is likely that Washington will lift some restrictions on gatherings in May or June, but that may not determine whether we are ready to return to a schedule toward the end of the summer (July through September) that includes weekly meetings in small classrooms. I will be working with our Director of Campus Services and with the University over the next week to sketch a set of key indicators that will help us decide whether, when, and how to open our building and have a “safe start.” Once we know what they are, we will let you know. View Governor Inslee’s “Recovery Plan” so you can see and understand some of the factors that affect our decision.
- Any return to the campus building in the summer and fall quarters will be on a limited basis. Some classes will meet on campus, and some limited access to campus services and spaces may be available. We may attenuate the schedule somewhat to decrease the daily population and reduce risks of exposure. In any event, the decision will be made with a focus first on health, and then on program needs and the quality of student learning. As we make progress, look for information from your program chair or director. Our decision to remain closed is one that almost every university is making in a similar way. I want you to know that we value the experience of being together and the importance of presence to learning in many cases. For the time being, though, concerns about health take priority. Though remote connection and online learning are less optimal for some activities, it is a necessary step until we have contained the pandemic.
- The University is working on a plan for what we expect to be a small amount of CARES act funding. This is money that is designed to be distributed to students who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Unfortunately, the federal roll-out of this funding to Universities has been confusing, so we are working to find out what our limits are and when we can allocate funds. Expect a message from me or from Financial Aid sometime later this week.
- As a reminder, we are keeping a document with links to various resources throughout the region. This document was recently updated with links concerning access to technology. Please let us know if you would like something added to the list or if you spot an inaccuracy. Contributing to the list might help a fellow student access support.
- You will soon receive a link to a University survey about your experiences in the last eight weeks. Please respond to that survey, as I will see those responses and can use them to make adjustments and to work with faculty to enhance our remote courses this quarter.
Again, thank you for your continued support of Antioch and our mission. Our only goal right now is to support your success and to help you finish your program and to introduce new students to a University that is prepared for the future. I am proud of our institution and particularly of our faculty for their ability to adapt and support students in a difficult time. I hope you share my appreciation of their work.
Please feel free to contact me directly if you have questions or concerns.