This page contains all COVID-19 Coronavirus-related messages to the Saint Martin's community. Fall semester will include an extended Thanksgiving break followed by remote instruction. 

View the latest information and protocols on the Coronavirus FAQs page >>

Messages to the Saint Martin's community

  • September 30, 2020 to all campus: Weekly community update -- COVID-19

    Dear Saint Martin’s community,

    We are now into our fifth week of classes. We have seven more weeks of classes before Thanksgiving break.

    COVID-19 cases and quarantines
    There have been no new positive cases for COVID-19 reported for over 2 weeks.

    Just a reminder, when we count cases, we are counting any positive cases among the following:

    • Students who are living on campus
    • Students who live off campus but are coming to campus to take classes
    • Faculty and staff who are coming to campus to teach or work

    We are not counting any positive cases among the following:

    • Students who are living off campus and taking all of their classes online and not coming to campus
    • Faculty and staff who are teaching or working remotely and not coming to campus

    In short, we’re mainly counting cases that pose a risk of spread to our campus community.

    We had three students in quarantine last week. Two students were quarantined because one had exposure to a positive case, but no symptoms were being exhibited, while their roommate wanted to quarantine with them as a precaution. They were both released from quarantine September 24. The third student had a sore throat and was also being quarantined as a precaution and they too have been released.

    There are no current students in quarantine.

    Spot testing
    Spot testing is going well overall. As we mentioned, we send out emails for random testing twice a week. So far we have had no positive cases reported from the spot testing program. President Heynderickx was among the random sample group from last Friday: he took the test and was negative! Thank you to all who've been contacted for the random testing for getting your tests done!

    Just a reminder that the purpose of the random testing is to identify early on anyone who is positive, but asymptomatic so we can try to reduce or mitigate the spread of the virus in our community. If you are selected for spot testing, you will receive an email with next steps. If you are a student, you can contact the Health Center regarding the test. If you're faculty or staff, you can find info on where to get your test done at www.stmartin.edu/coronavirus.

    Other testing
    We are still looking into other testing models. Our rapid antigen test is set to arrive soon. There will be a limited number of tests and these will be dedicated to screening symptomatic students, not for spot testing.

    Reminder about Thanksgiving

    • We have removed the mid-October fall break and are extending Thanksgiving break to a full week, Nov. 23-27.
    • There will be no classes that week, however campus offices will still hold regular business hours Monday through Wednesday of that week, Nov. 23-25.
    • After Thanksgiving break -- Nov. 30 and through the end of the semester -- ALL instruction will move to remote learning as a precaution, to mitigate exposure during flu season and a possible second wave of COVID-19.
    • While classes and instruction will move to remote instruction after Thanksgiving, residential students are welcomed to stay in the residence halls for the final three weeks of the semester. The dining hall will be open for meals as well through the rest of the semester. The Office of Housing and Residence Life has a sent out an email to residential students with a survey asking whether they intend to stay.
    • Note: The Health Center will remain available to all students still, with telehealth options for students at home (still by appointment).

    Community Agreement and best practices
    Thank you again to all who have signed the Community Agreement! Overall we have been doing an amazing job keeping our community safe. Remember to continue to practice the following:

    • Stay at least six feet apart from others (even when outside)
    • Wear a face mask or face covering; face coverings are required when indoors and when unable to maintain a physical distance of six feet from others outdoors
    • Wash hands frequently
    • Socialize in small groups
    • Complete the Daily Self-Health Check if we are coming to campus
    • Be kind and hold each other accountable

    COVID-19 and other resources
    Quick reminder of these COVID-related resources and other community resources:

    • Omnilert mobile app. This is an app for your phone that will give you quick links to helpful resources like the Daily Self-Health Check Form and the COVID-19 Emergency Notification Process. You'll need your personal access code to download the app: contact Public Safety at publicsafety@stmartin.edu if you haven’t received your code.
    • Coronavirus FAQs. We've compiled information on frequently asked questions in an FAQ, including information about safety and health guidelines, testing and quarantining, housing and dining, and classes.
    • Community messages. We have also been saving and posting community messages related to COVID-19 on the web. We will save these weekly updates on the web as well.
    • Saints Care. Concerned about a student or are you a student with a concern? In our community, every Saint is valued. Let us know by submitting a Saints Care report, and we will help by connecting you with resources and services across campus. Not sure where to report something? Begin with a Saints Care report.
    • Title IX/Reporting sexual misconduct. No always means no. Get help now if you or anyone you know has experienced sexual discrimination, sexual misconduct, or any type of violence and harassment. You are not alone.
    • BIRT (Bias Impact Response Team). See something? Say something. Working towards a more inclusive campus means reporting bias incidents. Use this resource to report experiences of and concerns about bias incidents on campus.

    You can quickly find the last three resources at www.stmartin.edu/we-care.

    Thank you, again, for your continued commitment to keeping our community healthy and safe!

    Genevieve Canceko Chan
    Vice President, Office of Marketing and Communications

  • September 25, 2020 to all campus: Fall semester reminders and updates

    Dear campus community,

    Next week will be our fifth week of the fall semester. We hope classes -- face-to-face, online and blended -- are all going well. 

    We wanted to share the following general updates and reminders with everyone:

    Fall semester calendar

    • We have removed the mid-October fall break and are extending Thanksgiving break to a full week, Nov. 23-27.
    • While there will be no classes that week, campus offices will still hold regular business hours Monday through Wednesday of that week, Nov. 23-25.
    • After Thanksgiving break -- Nov. 30 and through the end of the semester -- ALL instruction will move to remote learning as a precaution, to mitigate exposure during flu season and a possible second wave of COVID-19. 
    • After Thanksgiving break, campus offices will still maintain regular business hours through the end of the semester, though in-person staffing may be staggered and/or more virtual office hours may be offered. Staff should coordinate with their managers for post-Thanksgiving schedules.

    Housing and dining

    • While classes and instruction will move to remote instruction after Thanksgiving, students will be able to stay in the residence halls for the final three weeks of the semester. The dining hall will be open for meals as well through the rest of the semester.
    • If residential students plan to travel and visit with large groups over Thanksgiving break, we recommend that they do not return to the residential halls after the break but instead continue remote learning from home through the end of the semester. 
    • If a student chooses not to return to the halls after Thanksgiving break, credits for the last three weeks of the semester will be made to student accounts at the end of the semester.
    • The Office of Housing and Residence Life will be sending out an email to all residential students, which will include a survey link where students can state their preference/status. The email will also include information about adjustments to room and meal plans if a student chooses to move out of the halls before the end of the semester.

    Student services and resources

    In addition to housing and dining, student support services and resources will still be available and accessible through the end of the semester, including (check with each for specific hours of operations): 

    • Campus Ministry
    • Campus Life/Trautman Student Union Building
    • Charneski Recreation Center
    • Counseling and Wellness Center
    • Diversity and Equity Center
    • Health Center
    • O'Grady Library
    • Student Financial Services
    • Veterans Center

    Spring semester planning

    Lastly, we will be sharing our plans for spring semester in the next few weeks. Watch for that email!

    Thank you to everyone for supporting one another through this unusual time! 

    Genevieve Canceko Chan
    Vice President, Office of Marketing and Communications

  • September 23, 2020 to all campus: Weekly community update -- COVID-19

    Dear Saint Martin’s community,

    We are into our fourth week of classes. We hope all your classes are going well!

    COVID-19 cases and quarantines
    There have been no new positive cases for COVID-19 reported since last week. When we count cases we are counting any students, faculty or staff who have tested positive and who are living on or coming to campus. We are not counting any positive cases of students who are taking all of their classes online and living off campus, or faculty or staff who are not coming to campus to work. We’re mainly counting cases that pose a risk of spread to our campus community.

    The student who tested positive last week is doing well and is no longer in isolation. They have been cleared by the Thurston County Department of Public Health and Social Services to return to campus for classes without any restrictions as they are no longer contagious.

    We have three students officially in quarantine on campus. Two are roommates: one had exposure to a positive case, but no symptoms are being exhibited, while the roommate wanted to quarantine with them as a precaution. Both have a scheduled release day of September 24. The third student has a sore throat, but no other symptoms, and is being quarantined as a precaution, pending test results. All three have had an amazing attitude overall. Thank you to faculty and staff for accommodating and supporting these students!

    Spot testing
    Over 500 students, faculty and staff have now been tested for COVID-19. Spot testing is going well overall. We send out emails for random testing twice a week: 60 names are selected each week. So far we have had no positive cases reported from the spot testing program. Thank you to all who've been contacted for the random testing for getting your tests done! 

    Just a reminder that the purpose of the random testing is to identify early on anyone who is positive, but asymptomatic so we can try to reduce or mitigate the spread of the virus in our community. If you are selected for spot testing, you will receive an email with next steps. If you are a student, you can contact the Health Center regarding the test. If you're faculty or staff, you can find info on where to get your test done at www.stmartin.edu/coronavirus.

    Other testing
    In addition to the spot testing, athletics is conducting additional testing. There are seven teams in medium- or high-risk sports that are tested on a frequent basis: 13 percent of those teams are being tested weekly by team athletic trainers.

    Alice Brecht, assistant athletic director and head athletic trainer, is also working with Dr. Aaron Coby and Dr. Sam Fox on a collaboration with SalivaDirect for additional testing options for athletics and the greater campus community.

    Community Agreement and best practices
    Thank you again to all who have signed the Community Agreement! If you have not signed the agreement, please do and help keep our community safe.

    While research continues to be done, nationally and globally, examining on how COVID-19 is transmitted, and work continues on various possible vaccines, we must remember to still practice the following:

    • Stay at least six feet apart from others (even when outside)
    • Wear a face mask or face covering; face coverings are required when indoors and when unable to maintain a physical distance of six feet from others outdoors
    • Wash hands frequently
    • Socialize in small groups
    • Complete the Daily Self-Health Check if we are coming to campus 
    • Be kind and hold each other accountable

    COVID-19 and other resources
    Quick reminder of these COVID-related resources and other community resources:

    • Omnilert mobile app. This is an app for your phone that will give you quick links to helpful resources like the Daily Self-Health Check Form and the COVID-19 Emergency Notification Process. You'll need your personal access code to download the app: contact Public Safety at publicsafety@stmartin.edu for your code.
    • Coronavirus FAQs. We've compiled information on frequently asked questions in an FAQ, including information about safety and health guidelines, testing and quarantining, housing and dining, and classes.
    • Community messages. We have also been saving and posting community messages related to COVID-19 on the web. We will save these weekly updates on the web as well. 
    • Saints Care. Concerned about a student or are you a student with a concern? In our community, every Saint is valued. Let us know by submitting a Saints Care report, and we will help by connecting you with resources and services across campus. Not sure where to report something? Begin with a Saints Care report.
    • Title IX/Reporting sexual misconduct. No always means no. Get help now if you or anyone you know has experienced sexual discrimination, sexual misconduct, or any type of violence and harassment. You are not alone.
    • BIRT (Bias Impact Response Team). See something? Say something. Working towards a more inclusive campus means reporting bias incidents. Use this resource to report experiences of and concerns about bias incidents on campus.

    You can quickly find the last three resources at www.stmartin.edu/we-care

    Saint Martin's on King5
    Lastly, last week King5 news came to campus to learn how we are offering a combination of face-to-face, online only and blended classes this semester, as well as the safety and health practices we have put in place. If you missed the news story you can see it here: King5 news story. Thanks to Dr. Coby, his microbiology class and all the students and staff who were interviewed for helping represent Saint Martin's!

    Thanks again to everyone for working together to follow the guidelines to keep our community healthy and safe! 

    Genevieve Chan
    Vice President, Office of Marketing and Communications

  • September 16, 2020 to all campus: Weekly community update -- COVID-19 and community resources

    Dear Saint Martin’s community,

    We are into our third week of classes and we hope your classes are going well! We have a few health and safety updates to share. This is the first of what will be a weekly mid-week update on COVID-19 in our community.

    One positive case of COVID-19
    We have received notification that one student, a commuter student, has tested positive for COVID-19. The student has had very limited contact with others on campus. Thurston County Department of Public Health and Social Services has been in touch with the student for contact tracing. There is one known close contact and they have been notified by the health department and have been advised on their 14-day quarantine. The student who tested positive is currently quarantining off-campus for the duration of their recovery. We wish them a speedy and uncomplicated recovery!

    Spot testing
    Over 400 students, faculty and staff have been tested for COVID-19. So far, we have had only this one positive case reported. We will continue to conduct on-going random testing (spot testing) of students, staff and faculty on a twice weekly basis. The purpose of the random testing is to identify early on anyone who is positive, but asymptomatic so we can try to reduce or mitigate the spread of the virus. The spot testing program is an integral part of our re-opening plans approved by the Thurston County Department of Public Health and Social Services. If you’ve been selected, please take the test so we can accurately monitor our community.

    If you are selected for spot testing, you will receive an email informing you of being part of the random sample group along with next steps. If you are a student, you can contact the Health Center regarding the test. If you're faculty or staff, you can find info on where to get your test done at www.stmartin.edu/coronavirus.

    What we all need to do
    Saints, remember, we all need to remember the Community Agreement and do the following:

    • Stay at least six feet apart from others (even when outside)
    • Wear a face mask or face covering (see below for more info)
    • Wash hands frequently
    • Socialize in small groups
    • Complete the Daily Self-Health Check if we are coming to campus (see below)
    • Be kind and hold each other accountable

    COVID-19 resources
    The following are more COVID-related information and resources:

    • Omnilert mobile app. Earlier this semester, the Office of Public Safety sent out a personalized email to students, staff and faculty with instructions on how to download the Omnilert mobile app. This is an app for your phone that will give you quick links to helpful resources like the Daily Self-Health Check Form and the COVID-19 Emergency Notification Process, as well as links to the Saints Care and Saint Martin's BIRT (Bias Impact Response Team) forms. It’s also connected to our SMU Emergency Alerts. If you have not received that email, please contact Public Safety at publicsafety@stmartin.edu.
    • Daily self-health check. As part of our Community Agreement, we are asking everyone to take the Daily Self-Health Check. You should complete this form each day you plan to come to campus and before you come to campus. If you exhibit any of the symptoms listed, we ask that you stay home and follow the COVID-19 Emergency Notification Process.
    • Face coverings. As required by Washington state, people returning to campus for work or classes must wear a mask or face covering. Face coverings are required when indoors and when unable to maintain a physical distance of six feet from others outdoors. Per CDC guidelines, a face shield should not be used to replace a cloth face covering or mask unless such use is necessary for ADA accommodations or special approved circumstances. Here is a link to the Washington State Department of Health FAQ on masks and a link from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries on masks.
    • Coronavirus FAQs. We've compiled information to frequently asked questions about fall in an FAQ, including information about safety and health guidelines, testing and quarantining, housing and dining, and classes.
    • Community messages. We have also been saving and posting community messages related to COVID-19 on the web. We will save these weekly updates on the web as well. If you’ve missed one or need to refer to one, here is a link to that page.

    We are a community that cares. As a Catholic, Benedictine university, let us look to our values of listening and respect for others during this unprecedented semester. Remember, each person’s situation is different and their ability to return to campus may be different. Some of us will need to continue to work and learn remotely. We as instructors, managers, team members and fellow Saints need to be respectful and understanding of one another’s situations. For those of us studying and working on campus, we must remain vigilant about following safety practices, such as wearing face coverings and maintaining appropriate physical distancing. We need to remind and hold each other to these shared responsibilities: we do this so we can reduce the risk of spreading the virus, but also because we care.

    Below are three critical resources that are available to all in our community. You can quickly find these resources at www.stmartin.edu/we-care

    • Saints Care - Concerned about a student or are you a student with a concern? In our community, every Saint is valued. Let us know by submitting a Saints Care report, and we will help by connecting you with resources and services across campus. Not sure where to report something? Begin with a Saints Care report.
    • Title IX/Reporting sexual misconduct - No always means no. Get help now if you or anyone you know has experienced sexual discrimination, sexual misconduct, or any type of violence and harassment. You are not alone.
    • BIRT (Bias Impact Response Team) - See something? Say something. Working towards a more inclusive campus means reporting bias incidents. Use this resource to report experiences of and concerns about bias incidents on campus.

    Again, thank you to all for working together to follow the guidelines to keep our community healthy and safe! We are all in this together.

    Good luck with classes and we’ll send another update next week!

    Genevieve Canceko Chan
    Vice President, Marketing and Communications

  • August 28, 2020 to all staff and faculty: Information regarding COVID-19 testing for staff and faculty

    Dear Saint Martin's staff and faculty,

    This email contains information regarding Saint Martin's plans for spot testing in our community and testing resources for staff and faculty.

    SPOT TESTING. Saint Martin’s will conduct on-going random testing (spot testing) of students, staff and faculty on a consistent basis. The purpose of the random testing is to identify early on anyone who is positive, but asymptomatic so we can try to reduce or mitigate the spread of the virus. The testing is voluntary in that if you are selected to be a part of the random sample group you can volunteer to opt-out at that given time.

    If you are selected for spot testing, you will receive an email informing you of being part of the random sample group. If selected, please reach out to Kaiser as below to request the test if you have Kaiser insurance through the University. Stating that it is required for work will help.

    GETTING A TEST THROUGH KAISER. While Saint Martin's Student Health Center will be conducting voluntary random testing, staff and faculty who receive health insurance through Kaiser Permanente are asked to reach out to their assigned primary care provider and request an order for COVID-19 testing. This will help conserve the rapid tests that we are procuring for the students and still allow for our random spot testing program. At the current time, the guidelines for approval of asymptomatic testing at Kaiser include the following categories:

      *   Being a member of a racial or ethnic minority group.
      *   Having been present in a large group of greater than 50 people without a mask.
      *   Age less than 60 years with greater than 15 minutes time being unmasked near a confirmed positive case.
      *   Continuous exposure to confirmed positive case at work or home.
      *   Retest of a confirmed positive screen done elsewhere.

    Any Kaiser member can reach out to their assigned primary care provider and request an order for COVID testing. The testing is covered by the Kaiser plans the University offers at this time. It may help to copy and paste the following into your Kaiser messaging app or online portal to request an order:

    "My job places me in frequent contact with potential asymptomatic cases, often for greater than 15 minute intervals. Please place an order for SARS-COV-2 viral swab so that I can help protect myself and my community. This is required for my job."

    For those staff who do not have Kaiser insurance, they can reach out to their provider or check with other testing resources listed below.

    OTHER TESTING RESOURCES. Thurston County Department of Public Health and Social Services has posted information for COVID-19 testing resources for those without Kaiser or other health insurance here (also attached).

    QUESTIONS? If you have any questions about testing for COVID-19, you can send an email to Saint Martin's University Health Center at healthcenter@stmartin.edu.

    Jamie Nixon
    Medical Director
    Saint Martin's University Student Health Center
    360-412-6160
    healthcenter@stmartin.edu

  • August 26, 2020 to all students: Health Center updated hours and procedures

    Dear Saints,
     
    Welcome/welcome back to Saint Martin’s and our very different circumstances as a community.
     
    The Student Health Center (SHC) will have updated procedures for scheduling appointments this fall semester.
     
    Scheduling an appointment.

    • We are no longer able to offer walk-in appointments and all students must have paperwork and insurance information emailed to the office manager prior to appointment arrival. Students will be screened for COVID symptoms when scheduling and offered testing if needed. Many visits can be shifted to telehealth (see below) and that will be offered. If labs or other testing are needed, that can be arranged via appointment as well.
    • The attached paperwork (see original email) will need to be completed prior to an appointment and emailed to our office with copies of your insurance cards. We need all of this information to be current and up to date so please know your medication dosages if expecting medication refills.
    • Students who are ill will be pre-screened with touch-less temperature checks and one of our rapid tests before being allowed entrance into the clinic after a telehealth triage visit. If negative, they will be then have a physical exam and any additional testing required. Rapid tests are scheduled to arrive September 2nd. All positive rapid tests will be followed up with a LabCorp swab and the student will be isolated pending results.

    SHC hours: We will have expanded hours with a provider also available Tuesdays starting September 6th. We are now scheduling appointments Monday through Friday 10am to 4pm (closed for lunch 12:45 to 1:15pm). All in-person appointment slots will be 30 minutes to allow extra time for room cleaning. Providers may be working longer hours for administrative work, lab results review, and for management of the spot-testing program.  
     
    Staffing: Jamie Nixon PA-C, our medical director, is the provider in clinic Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Eric Frevert PA-C will be joining us Tuesdays in September. Jamie and Eric were in PA school together at the University of St. Francis and now work at the same family practice clinic in West Olympia. Dillon Linhart PA-C and SMU alum is returning as our Thursday clinic provider. Our RN Katala Lach will be on maternity leave until October and then will return to be available for triage. We would love to formally welcome our new phlebotomist and medical assistant Emi Mallada MA-C. Kailey Cunningham MS, RDN, CD will still be available by telehealth nutrition appointments only Thursdays.
     
    Telehealth: Please bookmark https://doxy.me/smushc for telehealth appointments. Our RD will have a separate account and that will be emailed prior to the appointment.
     
    For mental health appointments, we ask that you please start with the Counseling and Wellness Center and if they feel labs or medication are appropriate then to schedule with our office.
     
    Expectations: Masks are required to enter the health center for all appointments. Telehealth is the accommodation if a mask cannot be worn. Class excuse notes should not be required as all professors should be fully understanding that students are expected to stay home if sick. Please schedule telehealth visits if a note is requested by an off-campus employer.

    Please remember to wash your hands often, stay home if you feel not well, wear a mask when in public, and maintain six feet of social distance. 

    Call or email below for appointments if needed.  
     
    Jamie Nixon PA-C
    Medical Director
    Saint Martin's University Student Health Center
    healthcenter@stmartin.edu

  • August 13, 2020 to all campus: Community Agreement (read and sign) -- plus Omnilert mobile app, FAQs

    Dear Saint Martin's community,

    Fall semester begins in just a few weeks and we are all looking forward to welcoming you back to Saint Martin's! 

    In this letter, we’re providing links to resources referenced in last week's letters to students (August 5) and staff and faculty (August 6).

    Community Agreement. We know you have chosen Saint Martin’s because you value the way we work and learn together in community. Our ability to re-open campus and offer in-person classes this semester depends on all Saints following the recommended safety and health guidelines. We are asking all students, staff and faculty to read and sign the Saint Martin’s University Community Agreement. This agreement outlines a list of shared expectations that all students, staff and faculty are being asked to follow to help reduce the spread of the virus.

    >> You can read and sign the Community Agreement here. <<

    More information and resources:

    • Omnilert mobile app. The Office of Public Safety will be sending out a personalized email next week to all students, staff and faculty with instructions on how to download the Omnilert mobile app. This is an app for your phone that will give you quick links to helpful resources like the Daily Self-Health Check Form and the COVID-19 Emergency Notification Process, as well as links to the Saints Care and Saint Martin's BIRT (Bias Impact Response) forms. It’s also connected to our SMU Emergency Alerts. Watch for the email next week as it will include your personal access code, which you'll need to sign into the app.
    • Face coverings. As required by Washington state, people returning to campus for work or classes must wear a mask or face covering. Face coverings are required when indoors and when unable to maintain a physical distance of six feet from others outdoors. Per CDC guidelines, a face shield should not be used to replace a cloth face covering or mask unless such use is necessary for ADA accommodations or special approved circumstances. Here is a link to the Washington State Department of Health FAQ on masks.
    • Return to campus/Coronavirus FAQs. We've compiled information to frequently asked questions about fall in a FAQ, including information about safety and health guidelines, testing, housing and dining, and classes. Here is a link to that page.
    • Community messages. Lastly, we have been saving and posting all community messages related to COVID-19 on the web. If you’ve missed one or need to refer to one, here is a link to that page.

    We are a community that cares. As a Catholic, Benedictine university, let us look to our values of listening and respect for others during this unprecedented semester. Each person’s situation is different and their ability to return to campus may be different. Some of us will need to continue to work and learn remotely. We as instructors, managers, team members and fellow Saints need to be respectful and understanding of one another’s situations. For those of us studying and working on campus, we must remain vigilant about following safety practices, such as wearing face coverings and maintaining appropriate physical distancing. We need to remind and hold each other to these shared responsibilities: we do this so we can reduce the risk of spreading the virus, but also because we care.

    Thank you to all our community members who have been working together the past several months to create protocols and guidelines and preparing our campus for fall semester! We are all in this together. Thank you, Saints, for thinking, planning and living with heart!

    Genevieve Canceko Chan
    Vice President, Office of Marketing and Communications
    www.stmartin.edu/returntocampus

  • August 10, 2020 to community: Class of 2020 Commencement to be celebrated in May 2021

    Class of 2020 graduates,

    First, I want to extend congratulations to you on achieving your degree! Even with all the unexpected changes, please know that you have accomplished a remarkable achievement in your life. 

    In this letter, I wanted to update you on a number of areas, including what is happening with Commencement.

    Diploma. You will be receiving your diploma in the mail shortly and your transcripts have been updated.  

    Regalia. Many have you have already received your cap and gown and are marking this event with your families and friends. It was brought to our attention that the regalia vendor inadvertently shipped the wrong tassel charm. We immediately notified the vendor and asked that they replace the tassel charm with the correct year of 2020. We will be sure to let you know any updates on this such as shipping dates.

    Commencement. This has been a season of adaptation and, for many, great disappointment in our inability to provide a live graduation ceremony in May 2020. We have been working during the spring and summer to plan for a safe celebration as soon as we can. While we were hopeful that we could conduct an in-person commencement on Sept. 5, we now realize it will not be possible.  Thank you for completing the recent survey regarding your preferences for commencement exercises. The majority of you want an in-person event next May. It is important to know that this would be a separate event from the Class of 2021. You will have your own ceremony and related celebrations. We are looking at dates in early May and will confirm that day and time shortly. 

    Staying in touch. We do not anticipate any major changes to our current plan, however, we are following the guidelines of the Governor and the local department of health, and will keep you informed throughout the year. Here is how we will do that: 

    Updated Commencement website: www.stmartin.edu/commencement. This site will be updated as needed, as will our social media channels.
    Point of contact: Ann Adams, Associate Dean is our point of contact for commencement matters of any kind. Her email is aadams@stmartin.edu and she will respond to you individually.  
    Alumni Network: You are now Saint Martin's alumni and you will be officially welcomed to this network in the fall.  We hope you become active members in your local chapters.
    Frequent messages to you: we will be sending regular updates throughout the fall and spring semesters. Please keep your mailing address and email addresses current with us. Your SMU email account may not be accessible so we will use your personal email. Please use this link to provide us with your updated contact information.

    We recognize your disappointment in not being able to celebrate your commencement in the traditional way last May. We all feel the change, stress, and frustration that COVID19 has brought. We know you worked hard for your degree and for many of you it is a realization of your educational dream. We will be here next May to celebrate with you and your families. Wherever your amazing life’s journey next takes you, remember that you are all saints.

    Go Saints!

    Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D.
    President

  • August 6, 2020 to all staff and faculty: Guidelines for Fall Semester

    Dear Saint Martin's staff and faculty,

    We wanted to provide you with an update on a number of guidelines as we prepare for the beginning of fall semester. 

    Yesterday, Schelli Slaughter, director of the Thurston County Public Health and Social Services Department, and Dr. Dimyana Abdelmalek, the Thurston County Public Health Officer, met with myself, Genevieve Chan, Will Stakelin, Melanie Richardson, and Jamie Nixon to review plans and protocols for the fall that have been worked on collaboratively with their staff and the university. They commended the work we were doing to prepare for a safe working and learning environment. They’re very open to meeting on a regular basis to share information and feedback. Dr. Dimyana Abdelmalek will also be a part of our University Convocation on Wednesday, August 26.

    In a new proclamation yesterday afternoon, Governor Inslee gave more clarity on K-12 schools reopening. His previous proclamation allowing higher education to reopen as early as August 1 has not changed and his proclamation yesterday does not change his decision on higher education. As we heard yesterday from our local health authorities they are comfortable with our protocols and plans for reopening.

    Thank you again to all of you who have been helping us gather information; putting together best practices and recommendations; establishing critical training and messaging; and getting our physical campus ready overall for fall. We will continue to work with local health authorities to make sure we are following best practices.

    In a few weeks Saint Martin's will welcome students back to campus to begin fall semester in-person. Classes will include face-to-face instruction, as well as some online classes and hybrid options. We are removing the mid-October fall break and extending Thanksgiving break to a full week. That week will be used by faculty to move all instruction to remote learning after Thanksgiving break (beginning on Nov. 30 through the end of the semester) to mitigate exposure during a possible second wave. While work hours for staff will be the same after Thanksgiving break, we may adjust public-facing hours through the end of the semester, again to mitigate risk.

    Please note: We will need to remain flexible if COVID-19 cases surge and we are required to return to online or remote learning earlier than Thanksgiving. Our faculty are preparing for this possibility and a large number of them have signed up for training workshops this summer on how to better utilize technology and teach online. If we do need to move to remote learning earlier, we will make every effort to keep the residential halls open to continue to house students. 

    We realize the importance of these plans to you, our staff and faculty, and the greater campus community. Although the fall semester will look and feel different, we are eager to see our fellow students back on campus soon.

    Sincerely,
    Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D.
    President

    -----

    What to expect for fall, including general health and safety guidelines and responsibilities for the whole community

    • For staff or faculty who have been traveling to or from outside of the U.S., CDC guidelines require a two-week quarantine upon arrival in Washington state.
    • Staff and faculty should also consult with their local healthcare provider about being tested for COVID-19 before start of the semester. We ask that staff and faculty communicate the results, positive or negative, by emailing them to our Saint Martin’s Health Center at healthcenter@stmartin.edu.
    • We have implemented enhanced cleaning and sanitizing protocol throughout campus, in classrooms, offices and residence halls.
    • We have installed physical barriers, such as plastic screens, and additional hand sanitizing stations in high-contact areas.
    • We are posting signage and markings with appropriate physical distancing guides across campus.
    • We understand that some employees may need to work remotely due to health reasons or family situations and that they should work with their supervisor on their alternative work location.
    • We are ask all staff, faculty and students read and sign the Saint Martin’s University Community Agreement (see below), which includes a list of shared expectations, including safety measures, that all staff, faculty and students are being asked to follow to reduce the spread of the virus. The Community Agreement will be available online: we will send out a separate link for you to access.

    Saint Martin’s Community Agreement

    In an effort to mitigate the spread of the virus, and to show care and respect for one another, all members of the Saint Martin’s community (staff, faculty and students) will be asked to do the following:

    • Wear a face covering, as required by Washington state, to protect fellow Saints. Face coverings are required when indoors and when unable to maintain physical distance of six feet from others outdoors. Per CDC guidelines, a face shield should not be used to replace a cloth face covering or mask unless such use is necessary for ADA accommodations or special approved circumstances.
    • Maintain appropriate physical distancing from others, including following gathering limitations and campus directional signage as required.
    • Wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, or using hand sanitizer when hand washing is not feasible and following other good hygiene guidance.
    • Conduct daily self-health screenings, and stay home if they feel sick.
    • Contact the Saint Martin’s Health Center or healthcare provider if they develop COVID-19 symptoms, and if recommended, get tested.
    • Agree to self-isolate or quarantine based on the directive of a public health official and/or a medical professional and participating in contact tracing efforts, when requested.
    • Hold themselves accountable to these health and safety guidelines and encouraging their peers to do the same.

    Beginning of the year

    Move-in days for students

    • Move-in will be occurring between Thursday, 8/27 and Sunday, 8/30
    • First-year move-in will be on 8/27-8/28
    • Returning students move-in will be on 8/29-8/30
    • Early move-in for AHANA and move-in volunteers will be on 8/25
    • Students have scheduled move-in appointments (day and time) that was communicated out on 7/14 via email
    • Each student is allowed to have 2 guests assist with move-in, in addition to our own volunteers who will be assisting with move-in.
    • Guests will depart the residence halls after the two-hour move-in time slot has ended.
    • Will be a drive-through touchless process as in years past; first step will be temperature checks and questionnaire of all who are entering the residence halls.

    AHANA orientation

    • AHANA, which begins 8/25, plans to be face-to-face, practicing the proper guidelines: physical distancing, masks, self-health checks, and 50 person limits. To accommodate the total numbers, students will be placed into small groups with no large group gatherings. 

    Orientation/Incipio Welcome Weekend

    • Incipio Welcome Weekend will take place for all first-year students on Thursday, 8/27 – Sunday, 8/30. The majority of the program will take place in-person, but a virtual alternative will be available for students with medical or safety concerns. New students will spend the weekend in their Incipio Groups of 10 students learning about the university, building relationships, and preparing for fall semester. Masks and social distancing will be required for the duration of the program.

    COVID testing, reporting and quarantining protocol

    Testing

    • A voluntary random testing schedule is being developed as part of our plan for reopening and returning to campus. We are recommending testing for students, staff and faculty prior to their arrival on campus as well.
    • Saint Martin’s will conduct on-going random testing of students, staff and faculty on a consistent basis. The testing is voluntary. The purpose of the random testing is to identify early on anyone who is positive, but asymptomatic so we can try to reduce or mitigate any spread.
    • The Saint Martin's Health Center is also obtaining a rapid-testing device that will produce results in 15 minutes, along with a supply of testing kits. We're developing protocol for using these rapid tests.
    • Saint Martin’s will continue to develop and expand testing as needed and as more testing capacity becomes available.

    Reporting protocol for staff and faculty

    • Staff and faculty should follow the daily self-health screening process to include a daily temperature check. If they experience any symptoms, they must stay home and not come to campus. Per the Saint Martin’s COVID-19 Emergency Notification Process, the staff or faulty member is asked to contact Cynthia Johnson, Associate Vice President of Human Resources at cjohnson@stmartin.edu or 360-688-2290. The staff or faculty member should also contact their local healthcare provider to obtain additional directions for care.

    Quarantining

    • Staff or faculty who test positive or have been exposed will be expected to quarantine and isolate themselves in their places of residence. 

    Academic calendar and instruction

    • Faculty should have already received two emails about scheduling/expectations for individual courses from Provost Kate Boyle and another from Dr. Aaron Coby. Additional emails are forthcoming with details about:
      • Classroom set-up
      • Guiding Principles
      • Classroom policies
    • For faculty and instructors, please refer to information developed by the Academic Subgroups for more detailed guidelines on academic instruction, scheduling, etc. Below is more general information shared with the students.
    • Courses that are being offered remotely will be labeled in one of two ways in Self-Service:
      • Under Section, online classes will be labeled as "WEB" or "BOL" (Blended online)
      • Or, under Classroom, designated as "Online"
    • Physical distancing rules and limited classroom availability meant that some courses have been modified to a BOL delivery to limit the number of students in the classroom. Any online course may also be made available to students asynchronously to accommodate students in far-away time zones or students with COVID-related scheduling complications. Instructor should reaffirm meeting times and/or mode of instruction with their students.
    • For classes being taught in-person, we are configuring classrooms and labs to maintain the minimum physical distancing requirements. Classes being taught face-to-face may have limitations because of the size of the assigned classroom.  Your professor will inform you of how they will be addressing (by having half class on certain days, etc.). We will stock cleaning kits in classrooms and labs. Students and instructors will be asked to help wipe down surfaces at the end of classes. Due to the face coverings requirement, no food and beverages will be allowed in classrooms.
    • We have removed the mid-October fall break and extend Thanksgiving break to a full week. That week will be used by faculty to move all instruction to remote learning after Thanksgiving break (beginning on Nov. 30 through the end of the semester) to mitigate exposure during a possible second wave.
    • We will need to remain nimble and flexible if COVID-19 cases surge and we are required to return to online or remote learning earlier than Thanksgiving. Our faculty are preparing for this possibility and a large number of them have signed up for training workshops this summer on how to better utilize technology and teach online.
    • We understand that some students may need to take classes remotely due to health reasons or family situations. Students are being asked to contact the advising team in the Center for Student Success at studentsuccess@stmartin.edu if they have questions regarding schedules or classes.

    Dining

    • In addition to enhanced cleaning protocol for dining areas, we will continue with “to-go” options for meals and there will be limited seating for both St. Gertrude’s Café and Monk’s Bean. We will extend hours of operation for meals to spread out the volume of people going to the Café and the Monk’s Bean. Staff and faculty are encouraged to take their meals “to-go” to their offices so as to prioritize seating for students.
    • In addition to enhanced cleaning protocol for residential common areas, we will have restrictions limiting access to the residence halls to residential students and residence life staff.
    • More guidelines including signage directing traffic within and to the dining hall and the café are being developed.

    Housing

    The following information has been shared with students:

    • Rooms will be double occupancy, unless a private was requested/granted as part of a DSS accommodation. There will be no triple occupancy rooms.
    • Roommates/suitemates will be viewed as “family units”, to allow for closer than six feet contact/living conditions; this is similar to the congregate housing guidelines via the CDC.
    • Masks will be required of all who enter the residence halls, everywhere they are, with the exception of:
      • When within their own room
      • When the activity performed cannot be done so while wearing a mask, e.g., using the bathroom, eating.
    • Student residents will be assigned bathrooms in areas where communal bathrooms are being utilized.
    • Community spaces will have furniture configured to allow for social distancing.
    • Non-residential persons will not be permitted in the residence halls; including commuter students. 
    • Students who violate COVID-19 expectations will be subject to the Student Conduct Process, and may not be allowed to remain within the residence halls. 
    • While classes and instruction will move to remote instruction after Thanksgiving, students will be able to stay in the residence halls for the final three weeks of the semester. 
    • If residential students plan to travel and visit with large groups over Thanksgiving break, we recommend that they do not return to the residential halls after the break but instead continue remote learning from home through the end of the semester. 
    • If students have any questions regarding housing, including if they need to request a different or earlier move-in date, they should email housing@stmartin.edu.

    Athletics

    • With the recent decision by the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) to suspend fall sports and move them to a spring competition schedule, we are exploring options to continue team meetings, practice, and workouts during the fall semester. If practices continue, we will follow guidelines set up by the NCAA and GNAC.

    Campus Ministry

    • Student mass will be at 3 p.m. on Sundays and will take place on the softball field until weather does not allow. 

    Tuition and fees

    • Tuition and fees will cover the added cost of the above adjustments and flexibility, including any necessary investments in technology upgrades, health monitoring, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine spaces, and other needs. We will not assess any additional tuition or increase fees for students because of the pandemic. No tuition or fee refunds beyond our stated tuition refund schedule will be given based upon how courses are completed. We recognize the challenge this has placed on our students and are working to reduce our expenses in order to continue to address affordability now and into the future.
    • Full room and board will be billed for fall. Credits for the last three weeks of the semester will be made to student accounts at the end of the semester for students who are not in residence following the Thanksgiving break.
  • August 5, 2020 to all students: Return to campus for fall - more updates and recap of Student Zoom

    Dear Saint Martin's students,
     
    Last Wednesday, July 29, we held an all-student zoom to share more information about our plans for fall. Below is a recap of the topics covered. We will also be posting this information on our website, www.stmartin.edu/coronavirus, for your reference.
     
    As of today, August 5, Saint Martin's is still planning to welcome students back to campus to begin fall semester in-person. Classes will include face-to-face instruction, as well as some online classes and hybrid options. We are removing the mid-October fall break and extending Thanksgiving break to a full week. That week will be used by faculty to move all instruction to remote learning after Thanksgiving break (beginning on November 30 through the end of the semester) to mitigate exposure during a possible second wave. We continue to work with local health authorities to make sure we are following best practices.
     
    Please note: We will need to remain nimble and flexible if COVID-19 cases surge and we are required to return to online or remote learning earlier than Thanksgiving. Our faculty are preparing for this possibility and a large number of them have signed up for training workshops this summer on how to better utilize technology and teach online. If we do need to move to remote learning earlier, we will make every effort to keep the residential halls open to continue to house students. 
     
    We realize the importance of these plans to you, our students, and the greater campus community. Although the fall semester will look and feel different, we are eager to see you all soon.
     
    Sincerely,
    Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D.
    President
     
    -----
     
    What to do BEFORE you get here

    • We ask that all students voluntarily quarantine, if possible, at home for two weeks (14 days) prior to traveling to campus.
    • For students coming from outside of the U.S., CDC guidelines require a two-week quarantine upon arrival in Washington state. We are not developing additional protocols around this initial quarantine for those international students set to live in the residence halls and with roommates. If there are additional questions regarding international students, please reach out to the Office of International Programs and Development at intladmissions@stmartin.edu.
    • Students should also consult with their local healthcare provider about being tested for COVID-19 approximately 10 days prior to traveling to campus. We ask that students communicate the results, positive or negative, by emailing them to our Saint Martin’s Student Health Center at healthcenter@stmartin.edu.

    What to expect when you get here, including general health and safety guidelines and responsibilities for the whole community

    • We have implemented enhanced cleaning and sanitizing protocol throughout campus, in classrooms, offices and residence halls.
    • We have installed physical barriers, such as plastic screens, and additional hand sanitizing stations in high-contact areas.
    • We are posting signage and markings with appropriate physical distancing guides across campus, including any entrance or exit markings.
    • We ask that all students, staff and faculty read and sign the new Saint Martin’s University Community Agreement (see language below). This agreement includes a list of shared expectations, including safety measures, that all staff, faculty and students are being asked to follow to reduce the spread of the virus. The agreement will be available online: we will send out a separate link for you to access. 

    Saint Martin’s University Community Agreement
    In an effort to mitigate the spread of the virus, and to show care and respect for one another, all members of the Saint Martin’s community (staff, faculty and students) will be asked to do the following:

    • Wear a face covering, as required by Washington state, to protect fellow Saints. Face coverings are required when indoors and when unable to maintain physical distance of six feet from others outdoors. Per CDC guidelines, a face shield should not be used to replace a cloth face covering or mask unless such use is necessary for ADA accommodations or special approved circumstances.
    • Maintain appropriate physical distancing from others, including following gathering limitations and campus directional signage as required.
    • Wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, or using hand sanitizer when hand washing is not feasible and following other good hygiene guidance.
    • Conduct daily self-health screenings, and staying home if they feel sick.
    • Contact the Saint Martin’s Health Center or personal or local healthcare provider if they develop COVID-19 symptoms, and if recommended, get tested.
    • Agree to self-isolate or quarantine based on the directive of a public health official and/or a medical professional and participate in contact tracing efforts, when requested.
    • Hold themselves accountable to these health and safety guidelines and encouraging their peers to do the same.

    Beginning of the year
    Move-in days

    • Move-in will be occurring between Thursday, 8/27 and Sunday, 8/30.
    • First-year move-in will be on 8/27-8/28.
    • Returning students move-in will be on 8/29-8/30.
    • Early move-in for AHANA and move-in volunteers will be on 8/25.
    • Students have scheduled move-in appointments (day and time) that was communicated out on 7/14 via email from housing@stmartin.edu.
    • Each student is allowed to have 2 guests assist with move-in, in addition to our own volunteers who will be assisting with move-in.
    • Guests will depart the residence halls after the two-hour move-in time slot has ended.
    • Will be a drive-through touchless process as in years past; first step will be temperature checks and questionnaire of all who are entering the residence halls.

    AHANA orientation

    • AHANA, which begins 8/25, plans to be face-to-face, practicing the proper guidelines: physical distancing, masks, self-health checks, and 50 person limits. To accommodate the total numbers, students will be placed into small groups with no large group gatherings. 

    Orientation/Incipio Welcome Weekend

    • Incipio Welcome Weekend will take place for all first-year students on Thursday, 8/27 – Sunday, 8/30. The majority of the program will take place in-person, but a virtual alternative will be available for students with medical or safety concerns. New students will spend the weekend in their Incipio Groups of 10 students learning about the university, building relationships, and preparing for fall semester. Masks and social distancing will be required for the duration of the program.

     
    COVID testing, reporting and quarantining protocol
    Testing

    • A voluntary and random testing schedule is being developed as part of our plan for reopening and returning to campus. We are recommending testing for students prior to their arrival on campus as well.
    • Saint Martin’s will conduct on-going random testing of students, staff and faculty on a consistent basis. The purpose of the random testing is to identify early on anyone who is positive, but asymptomatic so we can try to reduce or mitigate any spread.
    • The Saint Martin’s Health Center is also obtaining a rapid-testing device that will produce results in 15 minutes, along with a supply of testing kits. We're developing protocol for using these rapid tests.
    • Saint Martin’s will continue to develop and expand testing as needed and as more testing capacity becomes available.

    Reporting protocol
    … for residential students

    • Students residing in the residence halls should bring their own thermometer to campus for the daily checks. There will also be touchless wall-mounted thermometers available in the lobby of Parsons, Spangler and Baran Halls.
    • If a resident student is symptomatic, they should remain in their room and contact the on-duty housing professional staff. Professional staff will assist in following university protocols and making necessary arrangements to contact the Saint Martin’s Health Center.
    • If a resident student displays symptoms, they will need to remain in their room and follow the reporting protocol. The same will apply to a roommate deemed to be at risk of exposure. The student will stay in place until a lab confirmed result of negative is received.
    • A student testing positive will be relocated to designated housing specifically set aside for COVID-19 isolation/quarantine. The student will need to remain until medically cleared to return to normal activities. The student will need to comply with requests for contact tracing.

    … for commuter students

    • Students residing off campus will follow the same daily self-health screening process to include a daily temperature check. If they experience any symptoms, they must stay home and not come to campus. The student is asked to contact Saint Martin’s Public Safety at 360-438-4555. The student should also contact the Saint Martin’s Health Center or call a local healthcare provider to obtain additional directions for care. 

    Quarantining

    • We have set aside designated temporary on- and off-campus housing to use for any residential student who tests positive and/or needs to be quarantined.
    • Off-campus students who test positive or have been exposed will be expected to quarantine and isolate themselves in their places of residence. 

    Academic calendar and instruction

    • Courses that are being offered remotely will be labeled in one of two ways in Self-Service:
      • Under Section, online classes will be labeled as "WEB" or "BOL" (Blended online)
      • Or, under Classroom, designated as "Online"
    • Physical distancing rules and limited classroom availability meant that some courses have been modified to a BOL delivery to limit the number of students in the classroom. Any online course may also be made available to students asynchronously to accommodate students in far-away time zones or students with COVID-related scheduling complications. Ask your instructor to reaffirm meeting times and/or mode of instruction.
    • For classes being taught in-person, we are configuring classrooms and labs to maintain the minimum physical distancing requirements. Classes being taught face-to-face may have limitations because of the size of the assigned classroom.  Your professor will inform you of how they will be addressing (by having half class on certain days, etc.). We will stock cleaning kits in classrooms and labs. Students will be asked to help wipe down surfaces at the end of classes. Due to the face coverings requirement, no food and beverages will be allowed in classrooms.
    • We have removed the mid-October fall break and extend Thanksgiving break to a full week. That week will be used by faculty to move all instruction to remote learning after Thanksgiving break (beginning on Nov. 30 through the end of the semester) to mitigate exposure during a possible second wave.
    • We will need to remain nimble and flexible if COVID-19 cases surge and we are required to return to online or remote learning earlier than Thanksgiving. Our faculty are preparing for this possibility and a large number of them have signed up for training workshops this summer on how to better utilize technology and teach online.
    • We understand that some students may need to take classes remotely due to health reasons or family situations. Please contact the advising team in the Center for Student Success at studentsuccess@stmartin.edu if this is your situation. They will assist you and work with your advisor, instructors, or dean if you have specific questions regarding schedules or classes.
    • For any specific questions regarding classes, including whether something is or can be offered remotely, please email your advisor, dean or instructor. You can also contact the Center for Student Success for assistance.

    Dining

    • In addition to enhanced cleaning protocol for dining areas, we will continue with “to-go” options for meals and there will be limited seating for both St. Gertrude’s Café and Monk’s Bean. We will extend hours of operation for meals to spread out the volume of people going to the Café and the Monk’s Bean.
    • In addition to enhanced cleaning protocol for residential common areas, we will have restrictions limiting access to the residence halls to residential students and residence life staff.
    • More guidelines including signage directing traffic within and to the dining hall and the café are being developed. 

    Housing

    • Rooms will be double occupancy, unless a private was requested/granted as part of a DSS accommodation. There will be no triple occupancy rooms.
    • Roommates/suitemates will be viewed as “family units”, to allow for closer than six feet contact/living conditions; this is similar to the congregate housing guidelines via the CDC.
    • Masks will be required of all who enter the residence halls, everywhere they are, with the exception of:
      • When within their own room
      • When the activity performed cannot be done so while wearing a mask, e.g., using the bathroom, eating.
    • Student residents will be assigned bathrooms in areas where communal bathrooms are being utilized.
    • Community spaces will have furniture configured to allow for social distancing.
    • Non-residential persons will not be permitted in the residence halls; including commuter students. 
    • Students who violate COVID-19 expectations will be subject to the Student Conduct Process, and may not be allowed to remain within the residence halls. 
    • While classes and instruction will move to remote instruction after Thanksgiving, students will be able to stay in the residence halls for the final three weeks of the semester. 
    • If residential students plan to travel and visit with large groups over Thanksgiving break, we recommend that they do not return to the residential halls after the break but instead continue remote learning from home through the end of the semester. 
    • If you have any questions regarding housing, including if you need to request a different or earlier move-in date, please email housing@stmartin.edu

    Athletics

    • With the recent decision by the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) to suspend fall sports and move them to a spring competition schedule, we are exploring options to continue team meetings, practice, and workouts during the fall semester. If practices continue, we will follow guidelines set up by the NCAA and GNAC.

    Campus Ministry

    • Student mass will be at 3 p.m. on Sundays and will take place on the softball field until weather does not allow. 

    Tuition and fees

    • Tuition and fees will cover the added cost of the above adjustments and flexibility, including any necessary investments in technology upgrades, health monitoring, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine spaces, and other needs. We will not assess any additional tuition or increase fees for students because of the pandemic. No tuition or fee refunds beyond our stated tuition refund schedule will be given based upon how courses are completed. We recognize the challenge this has placed on our students and are working to reduce our expenses in order to continue to address affordability now and into the future.
    • Full room and board will be billed for fall. Credits for the last three weeks of the semester will be made to student accounts at the end of the semester for students who are not in residence following the Thanksgiving break.

    Commencement for Class of 2020

    • We are disappointed and sad to announce that the status of the pandemic and current public health directives preclude us from hosting Commencement for Class of 2020 Labor Day weekend as planned.
    • We have surveyed the Class of 2020 grads to see whether their preference is for a virtual ceremony in September or an In-person ceremony in May, separate from Class of 2021. We will share the decision soon.

    Anti-racism initiatives

    • This year's theme will be the "Year of Transformation" – we will examine campus-wide systemic racism, looking within our own structures, departments and practices. Over the course of the year we hope to transform the way we listen to, educate ourselves about and respond to systemic racism within our community and the greater community in Thurston County.
    • Cabinet has begun reading and discussing So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. Many other departments, including Admissions and HR are also reading the book. We are also planning a series of panel discussions for our board of trustees.
    • We’ve held a series of meetings and listening sessions, virtual and in person, with young alumni as well as current students of color around the topic of racism.
    • We are currently meeting with and working with a group of current students who are part of the Social Justice Committee, on ideas and programs to address systemic racism within our community.
    • A faculty committee is being set up to review curricula across the university’s four colleges.
    • Faculty workshops are also being developed to address issues of implicit bias and systemic racism in the classroom.
    • We will continue the online diversity/implicit bias training that we introduced last year for all incoming students.
    • We are exploring a more interactive in-person training for students at the beginning of the year.
    • We will continue to work with students, staff and faculty to develop more programming and initiatives throughout the year.
  • July 2, 2020 to all students: Fall semester update and preparations for the return to campus

    Dear Saint Martin’s students,

    I write you to provide an update on plans for the coming fall semester as well as an update on several key health protocols we are implementing at the University. As we prepare to welcome students back to campus in the fall our top priority is to create a safe environment for all members of our Saint Martin’s family. 

    Last week, Governor Jay Inslee shared guidelines for all higher education institutions in Washington state; you can read the proclamation here. Governor Inslee stated that higher education could return to face-to-face instruction beginning Aug. 1 with a number of restrictions. 

    Our Saint Martin’s emergency management team (EMT) has been meeting weekly throughout the summer, developing protocol specific to Saint Martin’s that meets, and in some cases exceeds, the Governor’s recommendations. The team and related subgroups, which include the areas of academics, housing/dining, athletics/music/theater, campus recreation/campus life, etc., will be finalizing their set of recommendations, which Cabinet will review, in the coming weeks.

    We will share a comprehensive campus plan later this month and post it on the Saint Martin’s coronavirus website. This website also includes all past COVID-19 related messages, as well as additional resources and extensive health and safety information. Below is a summary of actions that we have already implemented and recommendations that have been made to date.

    General health and safety measures

    • We have implemented enhanced cleaning and sanitizing protocol throughout campus, in classrooms, offices and residence halls.
    • We have installed physical barriers, such as plastic screens, and additional hand sanitizing stations in high-contact areas.
    • We are posting signage and markings with appropriate physical distancing guides across campus.
    • We are also finalizing residence hall and dining hall guidelines and cleaning and usage protocols for shared common spaces such as the library, recreation center and the TUB.
    • Students, faculty and staff will be required to wear face masks and maintain physical distancing inside and outside the classroom setting. We understand there may be certain health or learning exceptions to this and we will make appropriate adjustments, within public health guidelines, as needed.
    • Students, faculty and staff will also be required to do a daily self-health check to make sure that they are not symptomatic, not running a fever, and have had no known contact with anyone testing positive for COVID-19. Individuals who exhibit symptoms or fever, or who have had contact with someone who tested positive will be asked to stay home from school or work.

    Academic calendar and instruction

    • Fall semester is still set to begin Monday, Aug. 31.
    • Classes will include face-to-face instruction, online classes and hybrid options.
    • Our EMT’s academics subgroup is developing guidelines, including limiting classroom and lab capacities for face-to-face instruction; utilizing different classroom and meeting spaces across campus to maintain physical distancing requirements; and scheduling class times to minimize traffic volume between classes.
    • We are reviewing the technology capabilities for classrooms to support simultaneous and recorded delivery of class sessions for students.
    • We will remove the mid-October fall break and extend Thanksgiving break to a full week. That week will be used by faculty to move all instruction to remote learning after Thanksgiving break (beginning on Nov. 30 through the end of the semester) to mitigate exposure during a possible second wave.
    • We will need to remain nimble and flexible if COVID-19 cases surge and we are required to return to online or remote learning earlier than Thanksgiving. Our faculty are preparing for this possibility and a large number of them have signed up for training workshops this summer on how to better utilize technology and teach online.
    • Tuition and fees will cover the added cost of the above adjustments and flexibility, including any necessary investments in technology upgrades, health monitoring, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine spaces, and other needs. No tuition or fee refunds beyond our stated tuition refund schedule will be given based upon how courses are completed.

    Housing and dining

    • In addition to enhanced cleaning protocol for dining areas, we will continue with “to-go” options for meals and we are evaluating restricting seating for both St. Gertrude’s Café and Monk’s Bean.
    • In addition to enhanced cleaning protocol for residential common areas, we will have restrictions limiting access to the residence halls to residential students and residence life staff.
    • There will be no triple occupancy rooms.
    • We are looking at having our first-year students move in over the course of two days, starting on Thursday, August 27, a day earlier than the rest of the residential students. We will confirm this soon and send additional details.
    • More guidelines including protocols for virtual and in-person programming as well as signage directing traffic within and between halls are being developed.
    • While classes and instruction will move to remote instruction after Thanksgiving, students will be able to stay in the residence halls for the final three weeks of the semester.
    • If residential students plan to travel and visit with large groups over Thanksgiving break, we recommend that they do not return to the residential halls after the break but instead continue remote learning from home through the end of the semester.
    • Full room and board will be billed for fall. Credits for the last three weeks of the semester will be made to student accounts at the end of the semester for students who are not in residence following the Thanksgiving break.

    Quarantining and contact tracing

    • For international students coming from outside of the U.S., new CDC guidelines require a 2-week quarantine upon arrival in Washington state. We will be developing additional protocols around this initial quarantine for those international students set to live in the residence halls and with roommates.
    • Students are encouraged to test for COVID-19 prior to coming back to campus, however they may need to retest once they are on campus. Our student health center is looking at potential spot testing resources and additional local testing resources for students.
    • We have developed contact tracing and quarantine protocols and have set aside (taken offline) apartments in Burton Hall to use for any residential student who tests positive and/or needs to be quarantined. Off-campus students who test positive or have been exposed will be expected to quarantine and isolate themselves in their places of residence. 
    • We will be reviewing COVID-19 reporting protocol with students, staff and faculty at the beginning of the year.

    The above are some highlights of our comprehensive campus plan – more detailed instruction will be forwarded to you soon. Check our website, www.stmartin.edu/coronavirus, for updates.

    We realize the importance of these plans to you, our students, and the greater campus community. We appreciate the many people who have provided input over the course of the past few months, especially our dedicated EMT and subgroups, as well as our local and state partners and agencies, including the Thurston County Department of Public Health and Social Services. We will continue to assess our plans as our understanding of the virus evolves. Thank you again for your patience as we finalize plans and implement new protocols. Although the fall semester will look and feel different, we are eager to see you all soon.

    We will continue to send out communications this summer as more details come together. In the meantime, be safe and enjoy your summer!

    Sincerely,

    Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D.
    President

  • May 29, 2020 to all campus: Return to On-Campus Work -- A reminder about practicing respect, grace and discretion during this process

    Dear abbey members, staff and faculty,
     
    While my previous emails focus on process, I do want to acknowledge that we hear and understand that there is a wide range of emotions and concern about the return to and re-opening of campus.
     
    As we mentioned in the University Update, while we are planning to be open and operational for our students by late August, we must remember that each person’s situation is different and their ability to return to on-campus work may be different. Looking to our Benedictine values of listening and respect for others, we as managers, team members and fellow Saints need to be respectful and understanding of one another through this transition.
     
    I am including again the Checklist for Managers (also posted on the Keep working page) here for reference. In it, and excerpted below, we emphasize the following:

    • Managers SHOULD NOT attempt to identify and target high-risk category employees but communicate to all employees about these categories and the support provided if someone wishes to voluntarily disclose. In accordance with Americans with Disability Act (ADA) protections, employees are not required to disclose if they are in a high-risk category based upon a preexisting medical disability.
    • If an employee voluntarily self-identifies as being high-risk for COVID-19, is living with someone considered high-risk based on the CDC guidelines, or are following self-quarantine protocol, managers should consult with Human Resources regarding possible employee accommodations, options for telework, or leave support for the employee. If an employee voluntarily discloses, this information will be kept confidential in accordance with Saint Martin’s University personnel policies.
    • Managers should develop a plan and schedule for who returns and when based on the University’s re-entry/re-opening timeline, the return to on campus dates established by department, and employees’ ability to return.

    Please know that we are all in this together. For managers, please remember to be mindful and caring of your employees and act with grace and discretion when making plans for your office’s return. For employees, we hope the above is helpful, but do let us know how we can provide better guidance or support through this process.
     
    I do hope that if there are any questions or concerns, that you feel free to reach out to me or members of the EMT. All of these pieces are living documents that may evolve over the next few months. We are listening and thinking of the well-being of all in our community as we plan and prepare for fall.
     
    Thank you for letting me fill your in-boxes! 

    Sincerely,

    Genevieve Chan
    Vice President, Marketing and Communications

  • May 29, 2020 to all campus: Return to On-Campus Work -- Key documents and protocol

    Dear abbey members, staff and faculty,

    At the University Update yesterday, we shared a plan for the gradual re-opening of campus. Our goal is to be fully open and operational by late August, understanding that there may be shifts to the timeline if changes to our state government’s phases or health regulations occur.

    To prepare for a safe transition and return to work on campus, we have put together four key documents for all to review: 1) the Re-opening Calendar; 2) the Emergency COVID-19 Notification Process; 3) the Checklist for Managers; and 4) the Checklist for Employees.

    Staff:

    1. Please review the Re-opening Calendar to see when your office is scheduled to re-open on campus. Contact your supervisor or manager to determine expectations for schedules and on-campus hours.
    2. Please also review a) the Checklist for Employees and b) the Emergency COVID-19 Notification Process for guidelines and protocol.
    3. If appropriate, managers should schedule a workplace site assessment with Will Stakelin at wstakelin@stmartin.edu to see if an area needs rearrangement, additional Plexiglas barriers, and/or signage PRIOR to your office’s scheduled return.
    4. Remember to complete the Employee Daily Self-Check Form EACH DAY you plan to come to campus and BEFORE you come to campus.
    5. Remember when returning to campus to bring a face covering or mask per the Thurston County Health Officer’s directive.  

    Faculty:

    1. Faculty may return to campus starting as June 1.
    2. Please review a) the Checklist for Employees and b) the Emergency COVID-19 Notification Process for guidelines and protocol.
    3. If appropriate, schedule a workplace site assessment with Will Stakelin at wstakelin@stmartin.edu to see if an office, classroom, or lab area needs additional Plexiglas barriers or signage PRIOR to your return.
    4. Remember to complete the Employee Daily Self-Check Form EACH DAY you plan to come to campus and BEFORE you come to campus.
    5. Remember when returning to campus to bring a face covering or mask per the Thurston County Health Officer’s directive.  

    These documents and the self-check form, along with other information regarding the re-opening of campus, will also be on the “Return to Work” website at www.stmartin.edu/returntowork (aka Keep working webpage). (NOTE: We are updating the website now and, allowing time for changes to go through the cache, should be fully updated by MONDAY.)

    If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to myself or the EMT.

    Thank you for your help as we safely transition and re-open our campus!

    Genevieve Chan
    Vice President, Marketing and Communications

  • May 26, 2020 to all students: Campus Update & Zoom Invite

    Dear Saint Martin’s students and families,

    I hope that you are staying safe and well. These have been challenging times and so much remains uncertain. While the school year has ended, we have not stopped thinking about all of you and planning for the coming school year, 2020-21.

    Through surveys, we have heard from our students that they want to be back on campus for Fall Semester. As a small Catholic, Benedictine university, we know the best educational experience we can provide is by being in community. With the guidance we have received from the Governor’s Office and the CDC, we are re-opening campus over the summer and will return to face-to-face instruction, all while providing our community with a “Safety First” philosophy. 

    How do we plan and prepare to do this?

    Our guiding principles. As these are unprecedented times, the steps we take are measured against these guiding principles:

    • We will look to our Benedictine values of listening, moderation, respect for persons, stewardship, hospitality and community.
    • We will follow and keep up-to-date on health and safety guidelines as well as protocols set by regional government and health organizations.

    Planning and preparedness. To help us return to campus safely, we have developed an initial framework for decision-making and communications.

    First, our Emergency Management Team (EMT) has resumed weekly meetings to gather and share information related to COVID-19 and re-opening. Representatives include, but are not limited to, Academics, Public Safety, Health Center, Counseling and Wellness, Residence Life, and Communications.

    Second, site assessments are underway to see if offices need rearrangement; more defined spaces for visitors; or additional directional or entry-exit signage.

    Also, personal protective equipment (PPE), Plexiglas screens for frontline workspaces, hand sanitizer stations, disposable masks, non-touch thermometers, and physical distancing signage are now part of the campus norm.

    Health and safety protocols. For the safety and well-being of our campus community, we must adhere to strict health and safety protocols, including physical distancing; potential de-densification of residence halls, dining areas, academic buildings, and other campus spaces; frequent cleaning; and the wearing of face masks. Over the summer you will hear more about changes and new protocols for residential living and dining services.

    Staff, faculty, and students are asked to do a self-assessment (e.g., check their temperature) before coming to work or class. We are also logging visitors to campus and will conduct contact tracing if a case is reported among our community.

    Lastly, we are prepared for the potential need to isolate or quarantine residential students who test positive or may have been exposed to COVID-19. Additionally, we must be prepared for the possibility of a new outbreak during the semester. Unfortunately, we cannot rule out the need to potentially return to virtual instruction or make further modifications to the academic calendar.

    As we re-open campus, we understand that there may be shifts to protocol if changes to government phases or health regulations occur. Our intent is to mitigate the risk to all of our community with everyone’s help.

    All-Student Zoom, Wednesday, June 3 at 3 p.m. If you have further questions, I invite you to join me and other members of Saint Martin’s community for an All-Student Zoom on Wednesday, June 3 at 3 p.m. Pacific Time. We will discuss in greater detail plans for residence halls, modifications for classrooms and labs, and special financial assistance available to students.

    Each new day is a new challenge. I have asked that every member of the Saints family be flexible and willing to adopt changes to our routines that will make our campus as safe as it can be. All of us must accept some inconveniences and follow whatever practices are necessary to protect the health of every member of our community. We are committed to providing you with a safe learning and working environment. 

    Again, thank you for patience and resiliency as we continue to navigate this new normal together. Your educational dreams are important and we will be here for you.

    Sincerely,

    Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D.
    President

  • May 21, 2020 to all campus: Community announcement regarding the re-opening of campus

    Dear Saint Martin’s faculty, staff, and abbey members,

    I hope that you and your families are safe and well. While the school year has ended, we have not stopped thinking about all of you and planning for the coming school year, 2020-21.

    Through surveys as well as messages shared with staff and faculty, we have heard from our students that they want to be back on campus for Fall Semester. We believe that with the guidance we have received from the Governor’s Office and the CDC that we can re-open campus and return to face-to-face instruction, while providing our community with a “Safety First” philosophy. 

    How do we plan and prepare to do this?

    Our guiding principles. As these are unprecedented times, whatever steps we take, we want to ensure they are measured against these guiding principles:

    • We will look to our Benedictine values of listening, moderation, respect for persons, stewardship, hospitality and community.
    • We will follow and keep up-to-date on health and safety guidelines as well as protocols set by regional government and health organizations.

    EMT and subgroups. To help us plan our safe return to campus, we have developed an initial framework for decision-making and communications.

    First, our campus response team that we established in the spring, the Emergency Management Team (EMT), will resume weekly meetings to gather and share information. The EMT has been expanded to include representatives from Public Safety, Health Center, Residence Life, Academics, International Programs, Human Resources, Abbey, Bon Appetit, Facilities, Event Services, Finance, Integrated Technology Services, Student Affairs, Admissions and Communications.

    As in the spring, Will Stakelin, director of Public Safety, and Genevieve Chan, vice president of marketing and communications, will co-lead the EMT meetings. Will’s primary role is to oversee risk and safety assessments; Genevieve’s primary role is to oversee communications and information sharing. The EMT will provide overall guidance for the University, though individual departments and offices may need to develop additional protocols specific to their areas.

    To assist the EMT, we are assigning subgroups to assess needs in the following five areas:

    • Employees (i.e., faculty and staff)
    • Academics (e.g., courses, labs, library, internships)
    • Full-time on-campus experience (e.g., residence life, dining services, international students)
    • Outside of classroom experience (e.g., student activities, recreation center, event services)
    • Unique group needs (e.g., athletics, music, band, theatre)

    These subgroups will both serve to bring recommendations to the EMT and help attend to the various steps necessary to keep the campus healthy and safe for everyone who resides and works at Saint Martin’s.

    Timeline for reopening. We are planning for a gradual re-opening of campus following the stages outlined below, understanding that there may be shifts to the timeline if changes to government phases or health regulations occur.

    • June (Stage I): On June 1, we will begin opening some of our services, starting with critical student-facing ones first: Admissions, Student Financial Services, Registrar and Public Safety. Staffing will be minimal at first and hours may be restricted. We will compile hours on a “re-opening web page” that will be live by June 1. As each new office comes back, work areas will be assessed for safety modifications and staff will be trained on safety protocols.
    • Early July (Stage II): The goal is to have all offices back to some extent and campus functions restored by July. Hours will be extended and staffing may still be staggered, and we will continue to accommodate work from home requests for those with vulnerability. We will evaluate and update safety protocols as needed.
    • Early to Mid-August (Stage III): We will be fully operational, in preparation for the arrival of our first student groups. Student leaders start returning to campus and will also be trained on updated safety protocol.
    • Late August (Stage IV): Students and faculty return to campus, unless unable to due to international travel or personal vulnerability.

    Health and safety protocol and preparedness. For the safety and well-being of our campus community, we will adhere to strict health and safety protocols, including physical distancing; de-densification of residence halls, academic buildings, and other campus spaces; frequent cleaning; and the wearing of face masks. We will also ask individuals to do a self-assessment (e.g., check their temperature) before coming to campus, log visitors to campus, and conduct contact tracing if a case is reported among our community.

    With the first offices set to open in June, we have already begun site assessments to see if workspaces need rearrangement; defined spaces for visitors; or additional directional or entry-exit signage. We have also begun bulk purchasing of personal protective equipment (PPE); Plexiglas screens for frontline workspaces; hand sanitizers; disposable masks; non-touch thermometers; and physical distancing signage. As more offices return, all orders for equipment or PPE should be coordinated with the EMT.

    The EMT is also developing the following:

    • Training presentations
    • Checklists for employees and managers
    • Self-assessment forms for returning to work

    Lastly, we will work with the various subgroups to prepare for the potential need to isolate or quarantine residential students who test positive or may have been exposed to COVID-19. Additionally, we must be prepared for the possibility of a new outbreak of COVID-19 during the semester. Unfortunately, we cannot rule out the need to potentially return to virtual instruction or make further modifications to the academic calendar. We will evaluate and modify the above safety precautions as needed for each new stage of the return.

    Our intent is to mitigate the risk to all of our community with everyone’s help. In our planning and preparation, we will:

    • Do everything we can to provide you with a safe learning, teaching and working environment.
    • Monitor developments and alter plans should a serious outbreak occur.
    • Send regular communications throughout the summer and into the fall to keep you informed of our planning and to instruct you on key steps to be taken as you return to campus.

    Each new day is a new challenge. I ask that every member of the Saints family be flexible and willing to adopt changes to our routines that will make our campus as safe as it can be. We will need to ask everyone to accept some inconveniences and follow whatever practices are necessary to protect the health of every member of our community.

    Kathleen and I are keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers. Again, thank you for patience and resiliency as we continue to navigate this new normal together.

    Sincerely,

    Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D.
    President

  • May 6, 2020 to all campus: Community message for the last week of the semester

    Dear Saint Martin's students, faculty, staff and abbey members,

    I cannot believe that the last week of the semester, and of the year, is here. While the trees and flowers are all in full bloom, campus is not the same without all of you. I wish you good luck on all your final projects and exams. 

    Supporting our Saints, current and new. Like many colleges across the country, our faculty, staff and administration continue to work from home, while still working together to make sure our university stays strong. We have applied to receive funding from the CARES Act and will pursue other grants and initiatives so that we can help our students achieve their educational dreams. In addition, our donors and sponsors have recently stepped up to help students and families, and we will be announcing soon a special grant program for those who have experienced financial hardships during this crisis. We look forward to welcoming our students, faculty and staff back to campus mid-summer based on our Governor’s phased plan. We are also getting ready to welcome our new class of Saints, including our first cohort for our Ph.D. in Leadership Studies program.

    Planning for fall semester. We continue to work on our plans for the fall. The health and safety of our Saints community remains our top priority, and we will look to the guidelines set by our regional public health organizations and governments. Right now, it is our intention to return to face-to-face instruction for fall semester. However, we are also creating contingency plans and will spend the summer developing innovative learning experiences for students in case we cannot all return to campus.  

    Staying connected over summer. Over the summer, we will also hold regular university updates via Zoom so that we can keep you all informed of any changes or news. We will share information about the scheduling of these updates both via email and the web. 

    A special note to our amazing graduating Class of 2020. We are so proud of you and feel so lucky to have been a part of your journey. You have helped shape who we are during your time here. We are putting together something special for you and your families to honor you this Saturday, May 9. Watch your emails and check our Commencement website as well as our social media channels on Saturday. We will also be updating the Commencement website in the next few weeks with more information about regalia, diplomas and the ceremony in the fall. We do hope all of you can come back on September 5 so we can celebrate all that you have achieved in Marcus Pavilion.

    Lastly, I want to thank all of you for your persistence, patience and resiliency, especially during these last couple of months. While this pandemic forced us to be physically separate, our sense of community and our Benedictine values were a constant source of strength during this time. So much remains unknown right now, but please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. Please stay connected with Saint Martin’s over the summer via email and social media. I look forward to welcoming you all back to campus soon.

    As we close out 2019-2020, the first half of our 125th anniversary, I leave you with this video that sums up what makes Saint Martin's so special. 

    Thank you and God bless,

    Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D.
    President

  • April 6, 2020 to all parents, families and alumni: Easter Week message

    Parents, Families, and Alumni of Saint Martin’s University,

    I write today to give you an update for how Saint Martin’s is navigating the COVID-19 crisis. In this unprecedented time, Kathleen and I are praying that you are safe and healthy.

    Like all colleges in the west—and virtually all across the nation—we made the decision to have students return home and have moved to online education. We did not arrive at this decision easily. Our Benedictine value of Community requires that we provide for all those within our community. And so at first, we were hopeful that we could maintain a larger group of resident students on campus.

    As new developments took place, including stay-at-home orders from the state of Washington, we realized how difficult that would be. We needed to allow our students to be with their families, our faculty and staff to remain home (working remotely when possible) and were concerned for our monastic community, making certain we provide them a safe environment.  We now have 35 resident students on campus that have valid reasons to remain, and we are providing the services and care they need. We began the semester with 600 students in residence halls.

    Our faculty worked hard prior to spring break to make the move to online education. Our students were communicated with over spring break and provided technology when needed. I take great pride in our faculty, staff and students that helped make this new modality work. While it is not perfect, it will allow our students to complete spring semester.

    Our faculty and staff are committed to helping our students as they adjust to this new learning environment. We have extended deadlines for students to opt for pass/no pass in place of a letter grade, and students will also be allowed to withdraw from a class later in the semester than usual. I realize that students can get frustrated with these abrupt changes and we are aware that many came to Saint Martin’s to receive face-to-face instruction. Yet, we continue to endeavor to provide a personalized experience to each and every student. I am pleased to hear daily from students, faculty, and staff amazing stories of their connecting and resilience.

    We have opted to move our May commencement to fall. This year’s commencement will be held, in person, on September 5. This is the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. The beauty of an early fall commencement will be having both new and continuing students to participate or observe the celebration and honor bestowed on our graduates. I look forward to welcoming all graduates and family members back to campus in September.

    We continue to seek out emergency funds to assist our students with unforeseen costs. Our annual social media giving day, 3.21 Give, focused on emergency funding and I am pleased to share with you that we raised more this year than in the past two years. Thank you to many of you for participating in this day of giving. It was an incredible showing of our Benedictine values. 

    Our students have many needs during this crisis and we will continue to seek funding, both from supporters and from the government. We know many students’ families are experiencing hardships due to COVD-19. In response, we are establishing a special COVID-19 grant to help students both this semester and for next year. Part of the federal government’s CARES ACT will help partially support this effort.

    There is much more to share with you and I encourage you to visit www.stmartin.edu to learn more. 

    It is Easter Week here on campus and the quietest I have ever seen. I pray that each of you have the opportunity to reflect on the significance of this religious Holy Week and that you find your own special way to stay connected with family. Kathleen and I have found ways to connect virtually with our immediate family and while we miss seeing our children and grandchildren in person, it is wonderful what technology can do today to help provide some comfort.

    I leave with you a prayer from Abbot Neal Roth, O.S.B., written this week:

    Loving God, in this Easter season we do not much feel like singing alleluias. The pandemic has virtually touched all your beautiful world. Yet the devastation emotionally, physically and financially does not compare with the enormous gift of your Son’s humble sacrificial death on the cross. We can sing alleluia for the hope of the Resurrection. We can sing alleluia for the wonders of creation. We can sing alleluia for our baptismal call. We can sing alleluia for family and friends, for values and healing, and for the promise of eternal life. Strengthen us and change us and guide us so we can all sing alleluias in our hearts now and forever.

    Alleluia, Alleluia. Christ is risen, He is truly risen. Alleluia!

    Stay safe and stay connected,

    Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D.
    President

  • March 27, 2020 to all campus: Community announcement regarding Commencement planning

    Dear Saint Martin's community,

    First, I want to thank all of you -- students, faculty, staff and abbey members -- again for working together and supporting one another these past few weeks. With each new challenge, and there have been many, we have leaned into our Benedictine values: we've worked to listen to one another, to respect one another, to strive for moderation, and to not be afraid to change decisions if needed due to the evolving situation. I hope you see, as I do, that this is a community that truly cares for one other.

    Earlier, we shared that we were looking at different options for Commencement. The current health crisis made it clear that we would not be able to hold the ceremony in May. I promised our graduating seniors and master's students that we would not settle for a virtual ceremony, but instead look for a later date to celebrate. We now have that date:

    Saturday, September 5, 2020

    We hope this date, which falls on Labor Day Weekend, will allow us to all come back together to celebrate our graduates' well-earned achievements.

    We are still working on the details, including when to hold related events such as Baccalaureate Mass and the Master's Hooding Ceremony. Please hold your questions until we can work out these details. We will update the Commencement website and have assigned Ann Adams, Associate Dean of Students, to answer questions and be a point of contact. We will provide more information in the coming weeks.

    In the meantime, stay strong, Saints! We miss seeing all of you. Be safe and stay healthy. We will get through this together and see one another soon.

    Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D.
    President

  • March 24, 2020 to all campus: Update to housing request and pausing classes March 25, 26 and 27

    UPDATE Taking a pause on classes for March 25, 26 and 27

    Sent on behalf of Dr. Kathleen Boyle, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs and Melanie Richardson, Dean of Students:

     

    Dear Saint Martin’s community,

    Yesterday, we announced, in response to Governor Inslee’s “Stay at Home, Stay Healthy” proclamation, that we are asking all students who are currently living on campus and are able to move out of campus to do so by Friday, March 27. As Saint Martin’s begins to shift to only essential functions on-campus, and other services to continue remotely, we feel it is in the best interest of our students’ health and safety that they continue their studies from home.

    We understand this is yet another disruption in an already tumultuous time.

    After much consideration, and hearing concerns from the community about our students’ well-being at this time, we have decided to put a PAUSE on all undergraduate and graduate classes for the next three days: March 25, 26 and 27. We will resume all classes on Monday, March 30. This "pause" also applies to ALL classes that are online, including classes that were already online before we moved to distance learning.

    We hope that by canceling classes for the next few days, this will give our residential students the additional time they need to make arrangements to secure their belongings and travel safely back home. We also genuinely hope this “pause” will give all of us – students, faculty and staff – who have worked so hard to make the transition to online, a chance to breathe.

    (Note: While we will be canceling classes for those three days, all meetings and business operations will continue as scheduled. Also, classes will not be canceled for the Microsoft Software and Systems Academy (MSSA) programs. Questions regarding MSSA should be directed to Dean David Olwell.)

    Please know that we are listening and thinking of all of you. And we thank you all again for your patience during these challenging times.

    Sincerely,

    Kathleen Boyle, Ph.D.
    Provost and Vice President, Academic Affairs

    Melanie Richardson
    Dean of Students

  • March 23, 2020 to students and families: Request to clear housing in response to Governor's proclamation

    Dear Saint Martin’s students and families, 

    In response to the COVID-19 Coronavirus health emergency, Saint Martin’s University made the difficult but necessary decision to move all classes to online instruction for the remainder of the spring semester. Since that time, our entire community – faculty and staff – have worked tirelessly to support the transition to safeguard the health and well-being of our Saints family. This work continues, and I’m grateful for those shouldering this unplanned and unprecedented burden.

    You, our students, have also been amazing, stepping up and making the transition to online, sharing concerns and solutions for yourselves and your fellow students, helping us navigate together with kindness and grace this new uncharted territory. Because of this, we have been able to respond quickly as one Saints community to this ever-evolving situation.

    And this has been an ever-evolving situation.

    As of this afternoon, Monday, March 23, Washington State Governor Inslee has ordered all Washington residents to stay home until further notice to limit the spread of COVID-19. 

    Additionally, at this time, we are also fielding requests from our local hospitals, including Providence St. Peter's Hospital, to see if Saint Martin’s University can be a site for temporary hospital beds. We are also working with the City of Lacey to designate our campus as a possible distribution center for the Thurston Food Bank. As a Catholic, Benedictine university, we are listening to these needs and want to support these efforts.

    With this new state mandate and these urgent requests from the greater community – along with the possibility of more federal mandates around sheltering in place to slow down the spread of COVID-19 and the possibility of further travel restrictions – Saint Martin’s is now recommending that all students who are currently living on campus and are able to move out of campus housing to do so by Friday, March 27. 

    To help accommodate you at this time of urgency, we are offering the following options:

    Option A – Move out of housing for the remainder of the semester and receive a credit on your 2020-21 housing contract
    This option is for those students who have the opportunity to leave campus and return home. If you select this option it is for the remainder of the semester. You do not receive a refund, but you must officially check out between Tuesday, March 24 and Friday, March 27. Credit amounts are awarded based upon current housing assignments as of March 2020:

    • Spangler, Burton, Parsons, Baran with a meal plan - $1,500
    • Spangler, Burton, Parsons, Baran without a meal plan - $1,000

    Option B – Move out of housing for the remainder of the semester and receive a refund check for the amount that you have paid already towards spring 2019-20.
    This option is for those of you who have the opportunity to leave campus and return home and would like a refund on you current 2019-20 housing contract. If you select this option it will be for the remainder of the semester. If you officially check out between Tuesday, March 24 and Friday, March 27, you will be provided the options below:

    • Spangler, Burton, Parsons, Baran with a meal plan - $1,000
    • Spangler, Burton, Parsons, Baran without a meal plan - $700

    Option C – Apply to remain on campus for the remainder of the spring semester
    International students or housing-insecure students may apply to remain in the residence halls, and these requests will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Send requests to Melanie Richardson, dean of students, at mrichardson@stmartin.edu.  Please note that there will significantly reduced services and additional closures to campus as more staff move to work from home due to the “shelter in place” order. 

    We will continue to keep you informed of any changes. In the meantime, please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and your families. 
     
    Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D.
    President

  • March 20, 2020 to graduating seniors and graduate students: President's Commencement promise

    Dear Class of 2020,
     
    To both our seniors and our graduate students who are completing their degree program, it is truly impossible to express how very sorry we feel; that your final semester has been disrupted in such a profound way. Presentations, concerts, trips, athletic events, and fun times with friends have been postponed or canceled. 
     
    For many of you and your families, we remember when you first arrived on campus. My wife, Kathleen, and I welcomed you to Saint Martin’s and we spoke of the time when you would graduate. You are all in our hearts, know that it aches for you. I wish I could give you the answers we all desperately want. 
     
    There is one promise I will make – you will have a commencement. We are discussing possible dates for later this summer. I promise to share our decision with you by next Friday, March 27.
     
    While the date may be later, there will be a day that we will proudly, and with great joy, hand each one of you your well-earned diploma. Hold onto that during these difficult days. 
     
    Sincerely,
    Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D.
    President

  • March 15, 2020 to all campus: Community message regarding campus changes and resources

    Dear Saint Martin’s students (and all of the Saint Martin’s community),

    Welcome back to spring semester, whether it be virtually or in-person.

    First off: Everyone take a deep breath. We will get through this!

    This is new territory for everyone—even me. Over the next few weeks, let's remember the Benedictine Rule to "listen with the ear of your heart". Let’s show patience, kindness and grace with one other.  

    While we are where we are because of an unprecedented pandemic, today is about how we as a community continue to fulfill our mission and help you, our students, achieve success in your educational journey. I know we can do this and I ask each of you to make that same commitment.

    Following are some campus changes and resources to help you navigate the next few weeks:

    • We will be moving to card access to campus buildings—staff, faculty and any students staying/coming on campus for work or projects will need to bring their IDs for card access starting this weekend.
    • Out of an abundance of caution, and to comply with recent state directives, all large on-campus events for the next few weeks will be cancelled. Guidelines for smaller gatherings on campus are forthcoming.
    • We’ll be expanding our website, www.stmartin.edu/coronavirus, to include resources for our community as we transition into all online classes while still maintaining an open campus. This includes areas for students ("keep learning"), faculty ("keep teaching") and staff ("keep working").
    • We will set up regular communications with the community at least on a weekly basis.
    • Let us know if you have any questions: How can we help you, and how can we help each other? Remember, none of us have been through this before. We value your questions/thoughts/suggestions.

    Let’s all stay safe and healthy, practice social distancing (maintaining approximately 6 feet or 2 meters from others when possible), and remember that good hygiene habits can help protect not only yourself but others.

    Together, we CAN do this!

    Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D.
    President

  • March 13, 2020 to international students: Options regarding online classes

    Dear International Students,

    You should have received an email from President Heynderickx regarding an update about online classes for spring 2020.  Per his (March 13) message, spring 2020 classes will be taught online until the end of the spring 2020 semester. Based on this new information you have some options.

    • OPTION 1: You may remain on campus and live in the residence halls until the end of the spring 2020 semester. You would continue to take your classes online for the rest of the spring semester.
    • OPTION 2: You may return back to your home country and continue your online classes from your home location.

    Student SEVIS Records, Travel, etc.:

    • Student SEVIS Records: Due to the overwhelming amount of schools that are moving to online classes in response to the COVID-19 situation, SEVP has determined that students who depart the United States to engage in online classes will NOT be terminated in SEVIS. These students may remain in Active status during a school closure whether or not they depart the country while engaging in online courses. I would ask that you please contact the Office of International Programs and Development (OIPD) as soon as you determine what option you choose. You do not need to decide today, but can wait and inform us next week.
    • Travel: There are many limitations and factors to consider with travel and possible return to the U.S. With several travel restrictions to the U.S. currently, State Department officials not available at some of our embassy’s/consulates abroad, and flight carriers adjusting operations, it is difficult to say exactly what a student will encounter attempting to depart/expecting to return right now. You need to be aware many limitations are involved at the present time and you will need to be flexible, as well as probably expect delays, if you plan to travel. You can text me at 484-929-0715 if you have any questions over the weekend. Remember you need to have a travel signature before departing the U.S.

    Regards,
    Roger Douglas, Ed.D.
    Associate Dean
    Office of International Programs and Development

  • March 13, 2020 to faculty from the Provost: Plans for moving instruction online through end of semester

    Dear Faculty and Instructors,

    Good afternoon. I want to start by thanking you for your resilience, creativity, and care for students and your colleagues as we navigate this unique and uncertain time. Much remains unknown and unpredictable; we are doing our best to adjust and keep you informed.

    Following the Governor’s press conference today, we have determined that it is necessary for the college to move to a plan of social distancing to the greatest extent possible, while also seeking to preserve student financial aid and strategically balance the many government and accreditation regulations that govern our work. We will teach online from Monday, 16 March to the end of the semester.

    • I ask all of you to welcome students through Moodle and start off with some reflecting on being a part of our Benedictine community which is about hospitality, listening to each other, and taking care of community. Note that as a teaching university, we will do our best to optimize a new modality of providing instruction but everyone will need to work together to make this happen. Please note that both faculty and students will be patient with each other as we work through this.
    • The university administration needs to know what you and your students need as you strive to make this adjustment. I know that in our community meeting on Thursday that Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Genevieve Chan, offered to be a point person for student/faculty hardware and connectivity needs as we move online. However, I’d like to request that we move this to four “point people” instead of one and ask that you contact the dean of your school/college schools. Thus when students have access issues due to equity, disability, etc., route those through the faculty to their respective deans. They will carefully track needs and responses and keep me informed of these on a daily basis.
    • We will be moving to card access to buildings – staff, faculty, and any students staying/coming on campus for work or projects will need to bring their IDs for card access starting this weekend.
    • We will continue to add resources (teaching and learning) to the document that Dr. Irina Gendelman’s has created.
    • Again, the purpose of moving online is for social distancing. Faculty cannot/must not hold class at another location. This not only potentially endangers them, this would be contradictory to what the students have been told.
    • I am sure you are anxious about moving online, many of your students are or might be also. I am going to send a note out to students this weekend with some resources for moving on-line; you might think about doing some proactive sharing with them also.
    • Consider adding to your syllabus some helpful things from what Irina has sent out, or for example:
    • Your office hours can be held virtually – you do not need to physically come into campus. However, as long as the campus is open you can hold them from your office, if preferred.
    • Students may access science, engineering, and computer labs to complete projects (e.g. senior design) even though the lab sessions will be virtual as long as we are not mandated to close campus. However, they should not be “forced” to come in but instead provided virtual opportunities or theoretical opportunities to show their skills/discuss what they would do. I encourage you to be flexible and creative in finding solutions that achieve the needed social distancing.
    • Students may access labs across campus. However, as the Governor noted in his press conference, they should be mindful of keeping appropriate social distancing and someone should be available to monitor them as needed. We have asked Philip Cheek, our Facilities Manager, to lock classrooms but leave labs and some social areas (e.g. Monk’s Bean area) for those staying on campus might need/want spaces where they can still gather with appropriate social distancing measures.

    Registration and Advising:

    • Our registrar, Ms. Cindy Juarez is putting together a plan for registration and I hope to have it approved by cabinet on Monday. She will then put it out in a message and up on her website.
    • You will also receive information from our Dean of the O’Grady Library and Learning Resources, Amy Stewart-Mailhiot, regarding library hours, support, and the Center for Student success plans for advising, tutoring, and writing support.
    • I also know that Dr. Aaron Coby, Associate Dean of CAS, recently sent other materials out to support registration and advising. Please look closely at these when you have an opportunity. Close and thoughtful advising is going to be crucial to student retention and ensuring that students return in the fall.
    • Our usual cycle of committee meetings will still be held if/when there is business to be done. This can be determined by the meeting chair/membership. We should still meet if the campus is open and provide a way for those who need to be at home to call in or virtually join via Zoom.

    Other items of note:

    • According to the Faculty Handbook, letters of agreement for teaching are due to you on March 15th. I am sorry but between my EA, Stephanie Borders, having a death in her family and what has been occurring with the COVID-19 adjustments, we have not been able to attend to the details needed with these to be ready by Monday. I am notifying you now that we will get these done as soon as possible, but it will likely be the end of next week instead of the beginning. I appreciate your understanding and patience.
    • Those of you who are budget managers will also soon hear from our Vice President of Finance and Operations (our CFO), Ms. Sarah Saavedra, that we are freezing budgets immediately except for expenditures dedicated to on-line learning efforts and expenditures needed for minimum operation costs. All expenditures will need to be reported to your dean who will get permission for those expenditures from Ms. Saavedra.
    • All non-essential travel should be canceled. If a you have a business/development trip planned and need reimbursement for your flight ticket – the airlines will likely provide a credit to be used later in your name. If you would like to be reimbursed, we need to track these credits so that that ticket can be used for faculty development next year (the finance team will be working on a way for the college/school EAs to provide needed information to her team).
    • As you will continue to note, we are canceling several upcoming gatherings including:
      • 3/17 Study Abroad Fair
      • 3/19 STEM Workshops Graduation – Boys & Girls Club
      • 3/28 Benedictine Scholars Day (moving this to an online format)
      • 3/29 Phi Kappa Phi – Spring Initiation
      • 4/28 Scholars Day
    • We have not made a decision to date regarding: Baccalaureate Mass/Graduation in May or the Associate of Benedictine Colleges and Universities (ABCU) Conference in June. We will keep monitoring the situation and let you know soon. We are reviewing all of our options and know that this is particularly difficult for our senior students.

    I cannot express my gratitude strongly enough to all of you. I have been so touched by everyone pulling together and working with me to provide the best teaching environment for our students. I am particularly appreciative of the leadership of our Faculty President, Dr. Irina Gendelman! I am so proud to be a member of this community and to support all of you. We are known for providing outstanding teaching – I believe that you will be committed to doing this in the best ways possible through a new modality that most of us did not anticipate using for every class when we came to Saint Martin’s. I appreciate you.

    Sincerely,
    Kate Boyle, Ph.D.
    Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs

  • March 13, 2020 to all campus: President's plans for moving instruction online through end of semester

    Dear Saint Martin’s community,

    First, I want to express my deepest gratitude for your understanding, patience and cooperation as we all navigate through these unprecedented times.

    As you may have heard, Governor Inslee has announced that he is asking all colleges across the state to move to online or distance learning starting next week in an effort to further mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus.

    This does not change the plan that we shared with you yesterday, which is in accordance to guidance and directives from public health and elected officials. However, with the Governor’s most recent directive, we have decided that rather than wait to evaluate the situation we will teach out the remainder of spring semester online.

    Starting Monday, March 16 and through the end of the semester, May 7, Saint Martin’s University will do the following:

    • Move to teaching all classes online
    • Keep residence halls open – anyone who was returning from Spring Break is welcome to do so or anyone who stayed during Spring Break can remain
    • Keep O’Grady Library, St. Gertrude’s Café, Charneski Rec Center, TUB, DEC, Veterans Center open, with the recommendation that we all maintain appropriate social distancing
    • Keep lab spaces available and accessible to students and faculty, while again maintaining appropriate social distancing

    While there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our campus community at the time of this writing, we are committed to supporting all public health efforts – regional, state, national and global – to slow the spread of the virus and promote social distancing.

    Although we had hoped to return to face-to-face teaching this semester, we believe this is in the best interest of our students’ and community’s health and safety. Our definition of community and strong faculty-student engagement will be challenged, but also hopefully strengthened by this experience.

    We will be sharing more information soon as we determine other ways we can mitigate the spread of the virus on campus. This includes assessing and limiting campus events and access to campus from outside groups, reviewing university-related travel for faculty or staff, and supporting remote working for staff age 60 or older or staff with compromised immune systems who are at higher risk. We will also be reviewing different options for us to celebrate Commencement. Please check this website regularly for updates.

    In the meantime, if you have any questions, we have set up the following points of contact:

    As I mentioned in my message yesterday, this is uncharted territory for all of us. As a Catholic, Benedictine university, let us work together and continually look to our values of community, listening and respect for others in the face of this global pandemic. 

    Sincerely,
    Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D
    President

  • March 12, 2020 to international students: Important information for F-1 or J-1 status international students regarding SEVP

    Dear International Students,

    We hope you have been enjoying the spring break whether it was traveling, reading a good book, gathering with friends, or just remaining on the SMU campus.

    As you may have already learned, Saint Martin’s University will begin teaching spring 2020 classes online starting Monday, March 16th.

    If you are an F-1 or J-1 status international student, please do not be concerned about classes now being offered online. The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), a part of the United States Department of Homeland Security, is focused on ensuring that nonimmigrant students (that is you) are able to continue to make normal progress in a full course of study as required by federal regulations. SEVP intends to be flexible with temporary adaptations.

    As with many other universities, Saint Martin’s decision to offer online classes is a temporary adaptation that is accepted by SEVP and you will remain in compliance. Although our hope is to return to face-to-face teaching, we understand that the current situation is ever-changing. We will re-evaluate whether to extend online classes around late March or early April.

    It is VERY important that you do not return back to your home country at this time. Even though courses are being offered online, it is temporary decision and classes could resume face-to-face in the future. If you were to return back home there is a high probability U.S. Immigration would not allow you to return to the United States to resume face-to-face classes later in the spring semester. Of course, we cannot keep you from departing the United States, but we want you to be fully aware of the consequences if you intend to do so.

    During this time of online classes, the university offices will remain open and staff will be working normal hours, providing services, etc. Students can remain living on campus and food service at the café will continue unless other steps need to be taken at which time we will inform you. I want to reassure you the university and particularly the Office of International Programs and Development (OIPD) are here to answer any questions you may have about the steps we have taken to lessen the spread of COVID-19.  Your continued health and safety are very important to all.

    As always, if you have any questions please feel free to contact the Office of International Programs and Development. We will do our best to keep you informed of decisions and any steps you need to take to make sure you are following U.S. immigration policy, but also remain safe. 

    Regards,
    Roger Douglas, Ed.D.
    Associate Dean
    Office of International Programs and Development

  • March 12, 2020 to all campus: Community message regarding decision to move spring classes online starting March 16

    Dear Saint Martin’s community,

    After reviewing new information on how the state, the counties, regional colleges and the Archdiocese of Seattle are responding to the COVID-19 Corona outbreak, and after listening to the concerns of many members of our community – including students and families, staff and faculty, board and abbey leadership – we have decided to change the decision shared out yesterday and will move to teaching all classes online starting Monday, March 16. 

    We are moving to online classes as we feel this is in the best interest of our students’ and community’s health and safety. This has been a difficult decision as we know many choose Saint Martin’s because they value learning face-to-face in the classroom and our strong faculty-student engagement.

    Although our hope is to return to face-to-face teaching, we understand that the current situation is ever-changing. We will re-evaluate whether to extend online classes around late March or early April.

    While classes will be online, we will keep campus open. Students who have been here for Spring Break or who wish to return to campus can do so.

    We will be sharing more information soon. We will continue to examine other ways we can mitigate the spread of the virus on campus, including enhancing campus cleaning, assessing and limiting campus events and access to campus from outside groups, reviewing university-related travel for faculty or staff, and supporting remote working for staff age 60 or older or staff with compromised immune systems who are at higher risk.

    In the meantime, if you have any questions, we have set up the following points of contact:

    This is uncharted territory for all of us. We are asking our entire Saint Martin's family to work together over the next few weeks. As a Catholic Benedictine university, let us continually look to our values of community, listening and respect for others in the face of this current challenge. 

    Sincerely,
    Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D
    President

  • March 11, 2020 to all campus: Community announcement to keep campus open and resume classes March 16

    Dear Saint Martin’s community:

    This morning, Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee held a live press conference where he gave an update on the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak in our state and shared new directives and recommendations for three counties: specifically, King, Snohomish and Pierce Counties. In the last week, we have seen the colleges in those counties, public and private, having to make the difficult decision to suspend face-to-face classes and move to on-line instruction.

    This outbreak is continuing to affect more and more of our state. This afternoon, the Thurston County Public Health and Social Services announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 Coronavirus in Thurston County. They are working to identify and contact everyone who may have come into contact with the confirmed case, and that the investigation is ongoing. We will share any updates on impacts to students, faculty and staff as we learn more on our webpage.

    Although this first case raises considerable concern in our community, currently, there have been no recommendations from health authorities to suspend classes. With that guidance in mind, Saint Martin’s University will keep campus open and resume classes for Spring Semester this coming Monday, March 16.

    Please know that we do not make this decision lightly. We are monitoring the situation daily, and our decision may change.

    In the meantime, we are in direct communication with Thurston County Public Health and following updates from both Washington State DOH and the CDC. I am also talking with the presidents at The Evergreen State College and SPSCC, as our three campuses and the county continue to assess the constantly evolving situation.

    With the risk to our students, faculty, staff and abbey community increasing, we are taking key steps to mitigate the spread of the illness. We are also still moving forward with our emergency preparedness plans.

    • Our campus response team will continue to convene after we come back from Spring Break. The team has been meeting frequently and regularly during break to share information, update planning, and coordinate resources in response to the virus.
    • We will be looking at upcoming events being held on campus in the next few weeks. We will work with our clubs and organizations to evaluate larger events that they are hosting, and limiting any on-campus meetings to smaller groups.
    • Benedictine Scholars Day on March 28 will be changed to an online format only. For more information about this, contact admissions@stmartin.edu.
    • Faculty and staff are preparing contingency plans should we need to move to teaching or working remotely.
    • We are researching and implementing online tools to help with various student support services, including advising and tutoring as well as counseling, in the event we need to move to a closed campus or online classes.

    This is one of the most challenging times for our community, state and country. Our students’ and community’s health remains our priority. We recognize the Coronavirus situation may cause great concern and anxiety for members of our community. We encourage anyone who might need support to reach out to university resources, including the Office of Campus Ministry, the Counseling and Wellness Center, and the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

    In the event that our campus may be closed due to the spread of the virus, we will send out notifications immediately to our community. Again, we would look to Thurston County Public Health, Washington State DOH or the CDC for guidelines on whether to close campus and/or whether or to what extent we would need to restrict access to campus. Please note: The Office of Housing and Residence Life is already drafting plans on how to accommodate residential students during a potential closure. We will not displace any students who are from out of area or out of country who cannot return home.

    Our responsibility is to help mitigate the spread of the virus while maintaining our educational mission. We have posted information regarding symptoms for COVID-19 as well links to resource pages on our website. Below are three important reminders:

    • If you are exhibiting symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath, contact your regular doctor first. DO NOT go to the emergency room or the Student Health Center. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs. For additional info:
      • Contact the Thurston County Health department at 360-867-2500 (during business hours) or 1-800-986-9050 (after business hours)
      • The Washington State DOH has also established a call center to address questions from the public; call 1-800-525-0127 and press #. 
      • Kaiser Permanente also has a 24-hour consulting nurse service at 1-800-297-6877
      • Do not go to the Saint Martin's Student Health Center; instead, call first at 360-412-6160. 
    • Students and employees who are sick should stay home and not go to work or school. Social distancing is key to preventing the spread of the virus. If you have specific questions, including questions about missing classes or work, or other questions regarding campus resources, we have set up the following points of contact:
    • As a Catholic, Benedictine university, Saint Martin's is an inclusive and global community. Times like this call for an extra measure of understanding and awareness. Remember the risk for the Coronavirus is not connected to race, ethnicity or nationality. Sharing accurate information, and new information as it emerges, can prevent misinformation from spreading.

    Again, we will continue to evaluate the situation on a daily basis and update you as needed. Please be aware that we are working in a rapidly changing environment, and we may need to amend our policies on short notice.

    Sincerely,
    Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D.
    President

  • March 6, 2020 to all campus: President's response to frequently asked questions regarding University's response to COVID-19

    Dear Saint Martin’s community:

    As of this morning, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) reported 79 confirmed cases of COVID-19 Coronavirus in our state, including 11 deaths (1 in Snohomish County and 10 in King County). According to our Thurston County Health Department, there are no confirmed cases in Thurston County and the risk to the general public here remains low. 

    How is the University responding to the evolving situation? Our campus response team, which includes representatives from Public Safety, Health Center, Facilities, Residence Life, Academics, International Programs, Abbey, Bon Appetit, Event Services, Finance, ITS, HR and Communications, continues to meet frequently and regularly to share information, update planning, and coordinate resources in response to the virus. We are working with offices and departments across campus to increase cleaning protocols and install additional hand sanitizer stations. Thermometers have been ordered for our residential students. We have ordered additional supplies for Facilities and Health Center. Staff and faculty are creating contingency plans for working or teaching remotely. We have also chosen to cancel the Saint Martin’s Ambassadors Abroad programs in South Korea, Japan, Vietnam and China, as well as the summer study abroad trips to Italy and Spain. The campus response team will continue to meet during Spring Break and will update our webpage: www.stmartin.edu/coronavirus, with any new information for our community.

    When would we decide to close campus? While the risk to the general public in our area remains low, we continue to monitor reports and stay in close contact with government officials, educational partners abroad and colleagues at other institutions in Washington State. We will look to Thurston County Public Health, Washington State DOH or the CDC for guidelines on whether to close campus and/or whether or to what extent we would need to restrict access to campus. 

    What would happen if we decide to close campus? In the event that our campus may be closed due to the spread of the virus, we have asked faculty and instructors to draft plans on how to keep classes going remotely. They started to share plans this week and we will continue to share plans with students over the next few weeks. The Office of Housing and Residence Life is also drafting plans on how to accommodate residential students during a potential closure. We will not displace any students who are from out of area or out of country who cannot return home. Again, we would to Thurston County Public HealthWashington State DOH or the CDC for guidelines on whether to close campus and/or whether or to what extent we would need to restrict access to campus. 

    The priority remains community mitigation: what can our community do to slow the spread of the virus? Below are some key things to remember:

    What are the Coronavirus symptoms? Human coronaviruses most commonly spread through the air by coughing and sneezing; close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands; and touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands. Remember, symptoms of Coronavirus include:

    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath 

    If you are exhibiting the above symptoms, contact your regular doctor first. DO NOT go to the emergency room or the Health Center. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs. For additional info, contact the Thurston County Health department at 360-867-2500 (during business hours) or 1-800-986-9050 (after business hours). The Washington State DOH has also established a call center to address questions from the public; call 1-800-525-0127 and press #. Do not go to the Saint Martin's Student Health Center; instead, call first at 360-412-6160. The Office of International Programs and Development has also sent out additional helpful information to international students in case they do not have a local health provider.

    How can you protect yourself from the virus? There are steps you can take to reduce your risk of getting and spreading any viral respiratory infections: 

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash immediately;
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth;
    • Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick or has a fever and cough (e.g., no handshaking);
    • Do not share drink containers, utensils or other personal use items;
    • If you have a fever, cough and/or shortness of breath, seek medical care. 
    • Per Governor Inslee’s recommendation: Students and employees who are sick should stay home and not go to school or work. Social distancing is key to mitigating the spread of the virus.

    Are you traveling for Spring Break? Our Spring Break is next week, March 9-13. The outbreak of the virus may have potential impacts for anyone who may be planning to travel during the next few weeks. Below are some resources that may be helpful for any students, staff or faculty who plan to travel:

    If you are a student who needs to stay on campus during any part Spring Break, please fill out the Spring Break Housing Form or contact Housing and Residence Life at housing@stmartin.edu.

    Do you have additional questions? If you have specific questions, including questions about missing classes or work, or other questions regarding campus resources, we have set up the following points of contact:

    Again, thank you for taking the above precautions and keeping yourself informed. We will continue to update you if the situation changes during and after next week.

    We hope you all have an enjoyable, safe and healthy Spring Break.

    Sincerely,
    Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D.
    President

  • March 3, 2020 to all campus: President's message regarding University closely monitoring COVID-19 information

    Dear Saint Martin’s community:

    As of this morning, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) reported 23 confirmed cases of COVID-19 Coronavirus in our state, including 6 deaths (1 in Snohomish County and 5 in King County). According to our Thurston County Health Department, there are no confirmed cases in Thurston County and the risk to the general public is low. 

    We will continue to monitor reports and stay in close contact with government officials, educational partners abroad and colleagues at other institutions. The priority is community mitigation: what can communities do to slow the spread of the virus?

    Here at Saint Martin's, we have established a campus response team with representatives from Public Safety, Health Center, Facilities, Residence Life, Academics, International Programs, Abbey, Bon Appetit, Event Services, Finance, ITS, HR and Communications. The team meets daily to share information, update planning, and coordinate resources in response to the virus.  We have also set up the following webpage with information for our community:

    www.stmartin.edu/coronavirus

    Attached are fact sheets for your reference from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Washington State Department of Health (DOH). Below are some key things to remember:

    What are the Coronavirus symptoms? Human coronaviruses most commonly spread through the air by coughing and sneezing; close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands; and touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands. Remember, symptoms of Coronavirus include:

    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath 

    If you are exhibiting the above symptoms, contact your regular doctor first. Do not go to the emergency room. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs. For additional info, contact the Thurston County Health department at 360-867-2500 (during business hours) or 1-800-986-9050 (after business hours). The Washington State DOH has also established a call center to address questions from the public; call 1-800-525-0127 and press #. You can also call the Saint Martin's Student Health Center at 360-412-6160.

    How can you protect yourself from the virus? There are steps you can take to reduce your risk of getting and spreading any viral respiratory infections: 

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash immediately;
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth;
    • Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick or has a fever and cough (e.g., no handshaking);
    • Do not share drink containers, utensils or other personal use items;
    • If you have a fever, cough and/or shortness of breath, seek medical care. If you are sick, stay home and do not go to work or school.

    Are you traveling for Spring Break? Our Spring Break is next week, March 9-13. The outbreak of the virus may have potential impacts for anyone who may be planning to travel domestically and internationally during the next few weeks. The CDC has issued new travel advisories regarding the Coronavirus. Below are some resources that may be helpful for any students, staff or faculty who plan to travel:

    If you are a student who needs to stay on campus during Spring Break, please fill out the Spring Break Housing Form or contact Housing and Residence Life at housing@stmartin.edu.

    What are our plans in case we need to close campus? In preparation in the event that our campus may be closed due to the spread of the virus, we have asked faculty and instructors to draft plans on how to keep classes going. Faculty and instructors are sharing these plans with students during classes this week. We will continue to share plans over the next few weeks. 

    Lastly, I want to reiterate that Saint Martin's University is an inclusive and global community. With the continuously evolving Coronavirus situation and general concern increasing, times like this call for an extra measure of understanding and awareness. Also, the risk for the Coronavirus is not connected to race, ethnicity or nationality. Sharing accurate information, and new information as it emerges, can prevent misinformation from spreading. 

    Do you have additional questions? If you have specific questions, including questions about missing classes or work, or other questions regarding campus resources, we have set up the following points of contact:

    Again, thank you for taking the above precautions and keeping yourself informed. As the first half of spring semester comes to a close, we hope you all have an enjoyable, safe and healthy Spring Break.

    Sincerely,
    Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D.
    President

  • February 28, 2020 to all campus: President's announcement addressing reports of COVID-19 in Washington

    Dear Saint Martin's community:

    According to our Thurston County Health Department, the risk to the general public is low and we have no evidence that the virus is spreading in our state. Nonetheless, we will continue to monitor reports and stay in close contact with government officials, educational partners abroad and colleagues at other institutions. Below are resource pages for our county and state:

    What are the symptoms? Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through the air by coughing and sneezing; close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands; and touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands. Symptoms of Coronavirus may include:

    • Runny nose
    • Headache
    • Cough
    • Sore throat
    • Fever
    • A general feeling of being unwell

    If you are exhibiting the above symptoms, call the Thurston County Health department at 360-867-2500 (during business hours) or 1-800-986-9050 (after business hours).

    How can you protect yourself from the virus? There are steps you can take to reduce your risk of getting and spreading any viral respiratory infections: 

    • Frequently clean hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
    • Cough or sneeze into a flexed elbow or tissue. Throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands;
    • Do not share drink containers, utensils or other personal use items;
    • Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick or has a fever and cough;
    • Do not travel if you are sick. Stay home and do not go to work or school. If you have a fever, cough and/or difficulty breathing, seek medical care.

    Are you traveling for Spring Break? Our Spring Break is March 9-13. The outbreak of the virus may have potential impacts for anyone who may be planning to travel domestically and internationally during the next few weeks. Coronavirus is now confirmed in more than 40 countries and territories around the world, with the bulk of these cases concentrated in China. There are a number of countries where the spread of the virus has increased significantly during the past week, including South Korea, Japan, Italy, Iran, Singapore and Hong Kong. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued new travel advisories regarding the Coronavirus. Below are some resources that may be helpful for any students, staff or faculty who plan to travel:

    If you are a student and need to stay on campus during Spring Break, please fill out the Spring Break Housing Form or contact Housing and Residence Life at housing@stmartin.edu.

    What are our plans in case we need to close campus? As a response to the potential spread of the Coronavirus in the U.S., the director of the Centers for Disease Control has encouraged all schools to be prepared to move face-to-face teaching online in case campuses need to be closed. We have asked faculty and instructors to draft plans on how to keep classes going during a potential closure. Faculty and instructors will be sharing these plans with students during classes held next week, March 2-6, the last week before Spring Break.

    Lastly, Saint Martin's an inclusive and global university, and times like this call for an extra measure of understanding and awareness. Also, the risk for the Coronavirus is not connected to race, ethnicity or nationality. Sharing accurate information, and new information as it emerges, can prevent misinformation from spreading. We will be building web page to keep our community up-to-date about the outbreak and on what Saint Martin's is doing in response. We will share out that web link next week.

    Thank you for taking the above precautions and keeping yourself informed. As the first half of spring semester comes to a close, we hope you all have an enjoyable, safe and healthy Spring Break.

    Sincerely,
    Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D.
    President