Brendan W. Clark ’21
In an email to the Trinity community Wednesday afternoon, President of the College Joanne Berger-Sweeney announced that, effective Monday, Mar. 16, Trinity College would close and the College would shift all courses to an online format in an effort to provide remote learning to students. This remote learning requirement will be in effect until Sunday, Apr. 5. Any decision to extend the remote learning period will be reassessed and guidance will be issued on Friday, Mar. 27.
This decision was made in “consultation with the senior cabinet, our Emergency Management Team, and all of its four COVID-19 response subgroups, as well as with significant input from other campus governance groups,” according to Berger-Sweeney. The email emphasized that “no members of the Trinity community have been identified as having COVID-19.”
Berger-Sweeney indicated that the College expects “that students will leave campus during this period” and that meetings “between individual faculty members and students who are on campus” may continue to be held in-person.
Remote learning will be instituted across campus in accordance with the emergency provisions unanimously approved by the faculty yesterday afternoon. Berger-Sweeney added that “the Office of the Dean of the Faculty, Curriculum Committee, Faculty Secretary, and our education technology team” have been actively preparing for this transition.
Further, the College noted that they remain hopeful that “we will be able to resume regular operations on campus before the end of the semester” and added that this was determined to be the “best way to proceed…on balance.” This decision follows a briefing the faculty received yesterday from the College’s Vice President of Communications and Marketing Angela Schaeffer during their March meeting.
The email indicated that the College understands that “some students have circumstances that may require them to remain on campus” and that those students may “receive permission from the college to stay on campus.” A form has been posted and students who intend to remain must indicate their intention to do so by 9:00 a.m. on Friday, Mar. 13. This decision was likely in response to the concerns of faculty raised yesterday regarding international students and their housing.
The College further specified that students “who receive permission to remain on campus will not be permitted to travel out of Connecticut during spring break.” Further, the College specified that those students who intend to leave must do so by Monday, Mar. 16. Students are encouraged to “take with you any materials needed to complete your coursework and any belongings you would need if the period of remote learning were to be extended.”
Administrative services of the College will not close and those offices “will remain open, and its core services will continue uninterrupted during this period.” The College indicated that they will continue to assess any decisions to cease these operations at a later period.
Faculty are encouraged to be in touch with “Human Resources to discuss their needs” and the importance of administrative flexibility was also stated. Berger-Sweeney’s email also advised that the College will provide “more information as soon as we can about campus events later in the spring and summer.” The College added that they intend to move forward with “plans for Commencement and Reunion” and stressed that no decisions have been made yet “about summer programming.”
Trinity has also made the decision to prohibit “through April 5 any event or gathering with an expected attendance of more than 50.” This is consistent with the State of Connecticut and the CDC’s “principles of social distancing.” The College also encourages that regular meetings “be held via teleconference when possible.”
NESCAC athletic events have also been cancelled for the spring 2020 season, following a unanimous vote on Tuesday, Mar. 10. The College acknowledged that this is “extremely disappointing for our students, families, coaches, and fans.”
The College continued its previous restrictions on “college sponsored/work-related travel, both domestic and international, is prohibited through April 5.” The College also reiterated its call for all “community members to curtail their personal travel as well, both domestically and internationally.”
The College thanked community members “for the patience and understanding you have shown as we have worked to adapt and make the best decisions we can under very challenging circumstances.”
Feedback and concerns regarding the COVID-19 response can be addressed to the College’s dedicated email for the crisis, COVID-19-Feedback@trincoll.edu.