MESSAGE FROM REV. JOHN P. STACK, OSA VICE PRESIDENT FOR STUDENT LIFE
October 28, 2020
As we approach November, I am writing with several important items for you to consider regarding the end of the semester.
First, thank you for your steadfast commitment to putting Community First. I encourage you to stay the course and continue to make good decisions. It is imperative to realize the decisions you make today may impact how healthy you are when it is time to go home at Thanksgiving. Please do not jeopardize your ability—or your friends’ ability—to travel home. Students who are in isolation or quarantine on campus at the end of the semester will need to remain on campus until their isolation or quarantine time is completed.
This year, Thanksgiving may need to be reimagined for many of us. The reality is that COVID-19 rates are increasing in many regions and communities. Be cautious about gathering with friends for 14 days after you arrive at home, since at Villanova you have been in your own bubbles or pods. When at home, protect your family. Wear a mask for the first several days. Delay seeing relatives and others who are vulnerable. Continue to put Community First. You have done a terrific job this semester at Villanova, and we urge you to keep this same mindset away from campus, too.
Thanksgiving weekend will also have a more academic focus than usual this year, with finals occurring from Nov. 30 to Dec. 5. Last spring, Villanova students demonstrated that it was possible to successfully complete a semester from home. Similarly, this semester you will need to find ways to focus at home in order to complete your academic work. You’ll want to find places conducive to study. Talk now with your academic adviser or contact Learning Support Services if you need help planning how to successfully manage the remainder of the semester.
Leaving Villanova: Testing and Travel Considerations
Students need to consider their plans for leaving campus and traveling home at Thanksgiving. We have fielded many questions about testing on campus for students before they leave. While we will continue diagnostic and surveillance testing through the semester, we will not provide on-demand testing for students who have no symptoms, are not a close contact of a positive individual, or have not been randomly selected for surveillance testing.
Our Student Health Center offers the following suggestions for you to consider:
- Testing options: Students who want to be tested before Thanksgiving should explore now which care providers or medical facilities near home provide on-demand and/or rapid point-of-care testing. Check your local or county COVID-19 website for resources in your area. Many sites offer free testing, and COVID-19 testing is normally covered under health insurance plans.
- Travel from campus: If you are taking a train or a plane, be sure to wear your mask at all times and to wash your hands frequently. Pack cleansing wipes to clean seats and surfaces. Once you arrive home, consider a voluntary quarantine for 14 days to make sure you are virus-free before seeing friends or extended family. Even if you drive home, consider a voluntary 14-day quarantine as you form a new “pod” with your family.
Winter Break Housing
Resident students will soon receive a communication from Residence Life with information regarding move-out. Resident students who have extenuating circumstances and need to stay on campus over the break must register for Break Housing and be approved in order to remain on campus.
Returning to Villanova in January and COVID-19 Testing
Undergraduate classes are scheduled to begin on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021. Graduate, Law and other programs vary in their start dates. Please check the Academic Calendar for details.
We plan to offer a testing program for students, faculty and staff returning to campus in January. Our medical team is currently evaluating options and developments, as well as monitoring CDC, state and local public health guidelines, to help ensure a safe and healthy start to the spring semester. More information on testing will be forthcoming when available.
The Caritas Commitment
Finally, we will need to recommit to the Caritas Commitment when we return for the spring. While we do not yet know exactly what 2021 will bring, we do know that we will continue to put Community First and adjust behaviors to help keep ourselves and one another healthy and safe.
Thank you for being our partners in the Caritas Commitment. May God’s love and grace be our guide as we approach the final weeks of the semester.
Rev. John P. Stack, OSA
Vice President for Student Life