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A Message from the President: August 2020


August 20, 2020

Dear Members of the Villanova Community,

In keeping with our commitment to put Community First, all students, faculty and staff were required to be tested for COVID-19 prior to returning to campus. I am pleased to share that of the 10,261 tests administered, there were only 42 positive cases, which equates to less than one percent (.41%). Those who did test positive will not be able to return to campus until they are cleared by medical professionals.

While this is good news, I don’t want anyone to assume that our initial low numbers mean that Villanova is in the clear. We need to remain vigilant and continue to wear masks at all times, maintain social distancing, wash our hands frequently and stay home when sick. As we have seen at other colleges and universities this past week, failure to take these precautions seriously can cause us to end the on-campus semester prematurely.

Campus COVID-19 Dashboard

Moving forward, information about positive cases will be shared via a daily dashboard, which will be available on Villanova’s COVID-19 Campus Plan website starting on Monday, Aug. 24. New information will be posted to the dashboard each day by noon. The dashboard will include information about the number of positive cases, as well as information about the number of those in quarantine or isolation. Many thanks to Dr. Mary McGonigle and her team in the Student Health Center who organized the testing, with assistance from UNIT, Human Resources and Student Life, and who will oversee care for our student cases on campus.

Return to Campus: By the Numbers

Since our decision to return to campus, I have received several inquiries regarding what that return looks like—the number of students who have returned, the percentage living on campus, the number of classes online, etc. I am pleased to report that, overwhelmingly, our students, faculty and staff returned; many of our courses are being taught in person; and our residence halls are nearly filled. The following is an overview of a few key areas:

  • There are 4,945 total campus residents compared to 5,214 at the same time last year. 
  • 98% of students enrolled in Spring 2020 returned for Fall 2020 (excluding Class of 2020 graduates)
  • 4.6% of the traditional undergraduates requested a fully online schedule for Fall 2020.
  • Approximately 60% of our students have three or fewer online courses
  • Current new first-year student enrollment is 1,695. Our target was 1,675.

As we begin what I hope will be a productive and fulfilling semester, I would like to offer a prayer:

Good and gracious God, 
this semester has brought about many changes. 
Help us to meet any challenges and to rise above fear. 
Help us to continue to commit ourselves 
to keeping each other healthy and safe. 
Help us to listen attentively to each other’s needs, 
and continue to put Community First.

And we ask Our Mother of Good Counsel to protect us, and those we love on this journey.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA