I want to communicate additional, important updates. To those who have expressed your concerns, fears, and most importantly compassion during this difficult situation: Thank you so much for your suggestions and understanding. Your feedback is incredibly valuable and helps to shape how we think about these challenges as a community.
In that spirit, I wanted to remind everyone that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change in ways that are unpredictable. The gravity of the pandemic locally continues to grow by the day including confirmation of the first cases in Dutchess County, and the fact that County Executive Marc Molinaro declared a State of Emergency here this afternoon. This requires that K-12 schools in Dutchess County close for two weeks from March 16–March 30. Most other private K-12 schools have also followed suit.
I would like to reiterate to all students, to please take my call to return or stay at home very seriously. These recent closures are an important development and will have an impact on employees at the College and their ability to provide in-person support. We have a responsibility to minimize harm to our local community and reduce any unnecessary burden on the limited support services available at the College during this period. I and the administrators in the Dean of College who will review the Request to Return forms filled out will be taking these recent developments into account as we make our final decisions late Monday.
Vassar is committed to assuring that our students who would have or had on-campus jobs this semester will still receive a paycheck. We understand how important student employment is to our community—whether it helps pay for books, a winter jacket, or a portion of tuition. We also know how much pride many of you take in your campus jobs, whether you are a research assistant, a student photographer or one of the friendly faces that greets us all at the AFC.
Given the extreme circumstances in which we find ourselves, we will continue to pay all students who have or would have had an on-campus job for the spring semester. Payment will be based on the average hours you have worked so far this semester up to the maximum they can earn for the year. If you can perform your work remotely or on campus, continue to do so, we need you. Please touch base with your supervisor for details.
We know the disruptions of the COVID-19 outbreak have been significant. We hope that knowing you will continue to have income for your campus job will be one less source of anxiety and help make a decision to return home, where possible, easier.
As you know, Vassar College is conducting distance learning until April 10. If Vassar returns to on-campus learning and you are unable to return for any reason, we want you to know that Vassar is committed to making accommodations to ensure that you have the ability to earn the credits you would have earned under normal circumstances. Educational quality, credits and progress toward graduation will all remain unchanged. The Vassar faculty are committed to working with our students to assure they have a successful semester, whether or not they are able to join us on campus this semester.
Varsity and Varsity Club Teams
In response to the public health crisis concerning COVID-19 (2019 Novel Coronavirus), the Vassar Department of Athletics and Physical Education has canceled all athletic events for the remainder of this academic year effective March 13, 2020, with the exception of selected events for teams still completing spring break trips.
I’ve heard a lot of concerns about personal belongings. We understand this can be a very stressful topic but our ultimate goal is to continue to limit traffic to campus during this short period. Currently, the office of Residential Life is only able to facilitate the return of a very small number of items: personal identification (driver’s licenses, passports, etc.) and laptops w/chargers. Please note we cannot legally ship medication. That said, if your medication is still at the Post Office, they can forward your packaged medication to where you are.
If you need to refill your medication and your insurance will not cover your new prescription, consider downloading the Good RX app. The app offers discounts on prescription drugs, even without insurance.
As always, please continue to follow cough and sneeze etiquette and proper handwashing to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Don’t forget to look for any additional updates on the Vassar College website.
Thanks again to all of you for your questions and engagement over the last few days. Please stay safe and let’s continue to take care of one another.
Dean of the College
Associate Professor of Sociology and Latin American and Latina/o Studies