Bradley University will cancel its graduation ceremony in May and host all classes online for the remainder of the semester over the concerns of the COVID-19 outbreak, the university announced on Wednesday, along with a video-taped message from the university president Gary Roberts.
“With the safety of our students, faculty and staff, as well as the larger community in mind, we have come to a couple difficult but appropriate decisions,” Roberts said in his message. “First, to move all classes for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester to an online virtual format. And second, to suspend the plans for all of our graduation events, including the commencement ceremony, originally scheduled for Saturday, May 16.”
Roberts said students who met the requirements will still receive their diplomas and graduate on time.
“It’s just that this is a really crummy way to say goodbye to Bradley, to all of your mentors, and all of the friends that you now leave behind. And it’s a crummy way to celebrate the tremendous accomplishments you have achieved during your years at Bradley,” Roberts said. “We will, however, be brainstorming and working hard to find some appropriate ways to recognize and to celebrate your achievements.”
With the courses for the spring semester to be completed remotely, the university plans to update students regarding the move-out processes once it has a detailed plan. Students will also receive the appropriate credit for the paid room and board.
“We ask that you have some patience while we figure out how to accommodate your needs while keeping you and everyone here as healthy and safe as possible,” Roberts said. “We will protect your possessions, and will make arrangements for you to get them as soon as possible.”
Roberts said this is a disappointing and difficult decision to make, but he is convinced that this is the right decision to keep the members of the Bradley community safe and healthy.
“No matter how frustrating and frightening our crisis may seem, it will pass,” Roberts said. “And if everyone keeps a positive mindset and pulls together to support and help one another, we will emerge on the other side stronger and better for it.”
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Read the announcement below:
Dear Bradley family,
Thank you for your patience, support, and understanding as we move forward during these difficult days as we hope to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus and COVID-19.
With the safety of our students, faculty, staff and the larger community in mind, we have come to the difficult but appropriate decision to move all classes for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester to an online format. Originally, we had hoped to do this for only a two-week period. Instructors will be in touch regarding the transition to online classes. Students who have not previously completed the technology survey are encouraged to do so.
We have previously advised students in on-campus residences to return to their permanent residences in an effort to follow the Centers for Disease Control social-distancing guidance. We recognize some students may have extenuating circumstances. If this is true of your situation, we will work with you on a case-by-case basis, so please follow the application process below at https://apply.bradley.edu/
For students looking to move out of on-campus residences, we ask for your patience while we evaluate the situation. In the meantime, rest assured your possessions are safe. More information will be provided about this process in the future. We are also looking into appropriate adjustments regarding room and board costs for students.
We have decided to cancel our formal Commencement program for Saturday, May 16. We know this is disappointing, especially for our graduating seniors and their families. We will work with students and faculty to find a way to celebrate your accomplishments in a meaningful way.
Bradley is also moving much of its operations to an alternative workplace scenario Thursday, March 19 until further notice. We encourage telecommuting for staff wherever possible. We will communicate more details to staff today.
With a limited number of employees on campus, most buildings will be locked to the public during business hours. All employees will have their usual access. Students will not have access to campus buildings at this time, but we will develop a plan to allow access at a later date.
We have heard from many about concerns regarding job security. Please know we are committed to getting through this together with as little disruption to our workforce as possible.
There is so much happening that we do not have all the answers right now. We know actions taken out of an abundance of caution can feel stressful, but it has been our sincere desire to do the best to support you through these challenging times.
These are not decisions we want to make and we understand some may be disappointing. We have, however, come to these decisions with the best interest of the Bradley family as our top priority.
As further decisions are made, we will keep you posted. Stay tuned to your email and the bradley.edu/coronavirus website.
President and Professor