July 9, 2020
Greetings Post Eagles,
We hope you are enjoying your summer as best you can and staying safe. Our world has not gotten any easier over the past four months and your perseverance, patience, determination and gratitude continue to inspire us. We understand you are anxious to resume, or in the case of our incoming freshman to start, your college experience. After much deliberation, consultation with health experts and conversation with local, state and national agencies, along with considerable influence from our students and faculty by way of surveys and conversations, we have formulated a thoughtful plan for the Fall 2020 semester that prioritizes the health and wellbeing of the Post community.
As we shared with you in earlier messages, our team of more than 30 executives, administrators, faculty and associates from across the university have been working together to create a fall academic plan focused on a safe and effective learning modality while providing an exceptional financial value to our students and their families during these difficult times. We know the safety of our students is paramount but also recognize the financial stresses of so many families during this unprecedented crisis. Our plan has been informed by guidance from the CDC, federal, state and local authorities as well as other nationally recognized organizations. The resurgence we are seeing in the states that were the first to fully open has also greatly influenced our decision.
It is with your safety in mind that we have decided to remain online for our Fall 2020 semester. We know you miss your friends, professors and campus experience. We very much want to see you again. However, the upheaval we experienced in our Spring semester has not eased. As a result, the campus experience you are used to or have anticipated is no longer viable during this pandemic if we are truly committed to your safety. It is our thinking that any plan geared towards students returning to campus will only attempt to mitigate a viral infection. It is fool hearty to think any college or university plan will eliminate an infection. The only way to do so is to keep students off campus during the next semester. We are talking about a period of three months. We anticipate everyone being on campus in January.
This decision becomes a bit easier knowing that Post University is a recognized leader in on-line learning. Post University has almost 2000 faculty and staff specifically trained to teach on-line. We are specifically accredited for on-line learning, and have a robust technological infrastructure and courses specifically designed for on-line learning. In fact, we don’t want to be compared to most any other school who was suddenly forced to teach “on-line.”
With over 20 years of experience in online education, we have a strong, successful record of teaching students remotely. The investments we have made in technology and professional development of our faculty and staff also ensure that all our classes – in person or virtual — are exceptional and engaging.
We also understand the classroom is one piece of what makes up your full college experience. Our promise to ‘Make It Personal’ has led us to create a fully virtual campus. We want to ensure you are able to learn, meet new friends, create special memories and have fun. Our virtual campus includes all the amenities and events you expect of a traditional college experience, including extra support for new students and freshmen, to help them transition to the remote learning format for the fall. From orientation to academic support to counseling to student clubs and social activities, you will find it on our virtual campus.
The only element our virtual campus cannot replicate is athletics. For this reason, we are granting an exception to allow NCAA Division II athletic competition. Athletes must reside on campus under strict guidelines while learning on-line. This decision was informed after thoughtful consultation with our Athletic Director, our coaches, the leadership of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC), the NCAA as well as the University Presidents who participate in the CACC with Post University.
Not all student athletes will be on campus at one time. Student athletes will be phased onto the campus at the start of their season. When classes start this fall, only eight teams, representing about 140 students, will be on campus. All student athletes will reside in residence halls where they will create small communities by team, or ‘households,’ that is a key component of living on campus. Students must also comply with social distancing policies and procedures in place. The students will take their classes remotely. As one sport winds down, those student athletes will leave campus.
In the past 24 hours, we have also learned of new guidelines, issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which will negatively affect our international students in an online learning environment. We are following these developments closely and are making provisions in our plans to ensure our international students are not negatively impacted. We are reaching out to our students to make sure they understand the guidelines and work with each student to address their individual circumstances.
We also understand these past four months, and the foreseeable future, will likely continue to create a huge strain on our economy as well as the finances for many families. With this in mind, we have decided to lower our tuition for traditional campus-based undergraduate students to $5,700, which is a 60% reduction for the Fall 2020 semester. We are all in this together and Post University is committed to doing our part to ensure you are able to continue your education safely.
As a parent, and president of this University, I know that we cannot eliminate every risk even with the best of planning. For the few students returning to campus this fall, it will be critically important for each of us to adjust our individual behavior on campus. Working together, we can reduce those risks, and I am asking all our returning Eagle community to adopt a culture of shared responsibility for our safety and well-being. It will be up to all of us — students, faculty, and staff — to respect the changes on campus—wear face coverings in public, maintain physical distancing, report symptoms—and to live our lives in a similar manner during informal times when we are on our own. This is our collective responsibility for the health of the community. I hope we can agree to a level of mutual accountability with each other to interrupt the spread of the virus, protect this community, and maintain a healthy environment for us all.
I hope that you will take the time to read our reopening plan, which will be posted on our website, as it will provide important details beyond those contained in this message.
As we move forward together, our decisions will continue to be rooted in shared concern for community safety and well-being. Our experiences over the coming months will also depend, in large measure, on the patience with which we treat each other and ourselves. It will be a year to grow, form friendships, have fun and learn.
Let’s move forward together.
With Kind Regards,
John L. Hopkins
CEO & President Post University