November 11, 2020
Dear Post Community,
It hardly seems possible that we are nearly nine months into the pandemic that has changed the face of higher education across this country. We have learned a great deal in that time about how to keep each other safe from this virus, and the directives around masking up, social distancing, and virtual learning are more important than ever.
Since I announced the University’s plans for a virtual spring 2021 semester, we have heard from several students and parents. Some students have expressed appreciation that the University is putting their health and safety first, while others have shared their disappointment in not returning to campus and athletic competition. The chasm between opinions underscores the difficulty and complexities of this decision. No one decision will make everyone happy, but I want you to know that I am listening to your concerns.
The student survey from mid-October and the three Student Town Halls informed us that while our students are not happy being off campus, they do still feel a connection to the University and their learning. Our students are communicating concerns with their instructors and making effective use of virtual services (tutoring, counseling, library, etc.) as needed. Some students did expressed difficulty with time management and “zoom-fatigue” associated with virtual class time. We are certainly taking that into consideration in our design of the spring semester. We also know from attendance data and student feedback that our students are taking advantage of many student life events offered through the Virtual Campus.
In the end, I am so proud that students have remained committed to their educational pursuits and have stayed connected with their Post family.
For the 40- student-athletes who met with University Officials on October 26, I wish to confirm my commitment to revisit the decision to postpone spring athletic competition in mid-December. As I shared with those who organized the meeting, any change in this decision would be pending a positive material change in this virus, and obviously conditioned on whether the CACC schools competes in the spring.
Over the coming weeks, we have scheduled additional opportunities for you to share your thoughts and be an active part in designing our virtual spring semester. This includes Fall 2020 Lessons Learned surveys that will be sent to both faculty and students and facilitated Spring Solution Focus Groups to hear directly from students about their full virtual college experience. Our goal is to ensure that we enhance the experiences and services that have worked well this semester and make any modifications or revisions where they are needed.
In closing, I will share that the recent uptick in COVID cases over the past few weeks, particularly in CT, concerns me greatly. We are not moving in the right direction in containing this virus. While we all have pandemic fatigue, I ask that you continue to maintain vigilance and care for yourself and each other. This is much bigger than the health and welfare of our students, as we all have an obligation to help stop the spread of this virus within our community as coaches, faculty, staff and commuting students go home to families.
I look forward to continuing our conversation. Please stay safe and well.
With kind regards,
John L. Hopkins
CEO & President