Motivational Update from Provost Marie Morris


Wow! The days are flying by and soon it will be Thanksgiving. Last week PJP let you know that classes will be virtual after Thanksgiving break even as we welcome you back to campus. I thought it would be helpful to provide some context for our decision-making.

As you are aware, in the summer many universities made the decision to go virtual after Thanksgiving because we know that viruses tend to spread more rapidly in the winter months due to increased time spent indoors. However, we decided to wait so we could determine the situation ‘on the ground’ closer to the date of the break in order to make the best decision possible for all.

While we have done incredibly well so far this semester, we did indeed see an uptick in cases following Fall Break. Also, infectious disease specialists are predicting a surge in Indiana to peak over the latter part of November with subsequent deaths spiking in December. In looking at the projections, it’s the rapid and overwhelming community spread that we are trying to divert for you and our community. We want you to be able to enjoy your families over Thanksgiving and we also want you to return to campus. Because in-person lecture or seminar classes gather people together in a closed space for an extended period of time it seemed the wise thing to do to move to virtual classes as much as possible. We will still have clinicals, practicums, performance areas (like Dance), labs, or performance exams that will need to meet in person because they are more difficult to do online. For those kinds of areas your professors will take extra precautions and possibly divide you into smaller groupings. Additionally, following the principle of limiting group gatherings seating in the MP will be closed and instead we will be providing “grab-n-go” meal service. You will be receiving hot meals just simply served in a ‘to-go’ container.

We understand that this is not what any of us prefer, and that we all long to go back to “normal,” but we believe this modified return to campus after Thanksgiving will provide the best and safest way for you to return to campus, to be with your friends, and to finish out the semester strong.

We also want you to have as much freedom as possible while still being safe. Therefore, you will not be expected to stay in your room. In fact, we encourage you (for mental health and physical well-being) to get outside and enjoy the fresh air.

If you’re still reading this message I’m impressed! Kudos for persevering! I’m confident there will be life after this pandemic and that we will all be much stronger and more resilient as a result.

I’m so glad you’re here and I’m praying for your success! You can do this!

Dr. Morris (marie)