May 13, 2020

Message from President Yam Regarding Fall Semester Plans

The following message from Dr. Yam was sent to the Notre Dame of Maryland University community on Saturday, May 9, 2020.

This message comes at a time when some governors have begun loosening their stay-at-home restrictions created from the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, Maryland officials are looking ahead to the possibility of doing the same. Notre Dame of Maryland University has a strong future ahead and I would like to share news with you about our campus plans at this time.

The University is planning to hold in-person classes with socially distance measures in the Fall. All of our plans will follow all local, state and federal restrictions and health guidelines to ensure the safety of our community. Due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 virus, we are moving forward with effective and supported scenarios for learning, living and engagement. These plans include various classroom, laboratory and housing configurations as well as accommodations for dining and student activities.

We are aware that our goal for the return to in-person learning for the fall is contingent on the uncertainty that COVID-19 presents. As we have pivoted this semester, we may need to pivot again. Alternative and contingency scenarios will also be included in the University’s plans and response.

As you all know, in February, NDMU’s COVID-19 Taskforce began meeting. It was made up of members representing all facets of campus to respond and prepare for the initial onslaught of COVID-19 in the U.S. and most importantly, when it hit the East Coast. The group was effective in maintaining community safety, keeping the campus informed and pivotal in the full transition to all-remote learning and living.

As mentioned in Community Conversations, it is prudent for us to develop more specific plans within certain areas of the University and we have moved into a new phase of planning and the initial taskforce has now expanded. This expansion includes specialized COVID-19 task forces focused on initiating and supporting existing efforts or plans within NDMU’s response. These areas include:

  • Academics
  • Student Life/Athletics
  • Public Safety/HR/Facilities/Auxiliary Services

Chairs and members of these task forces have been named and we are grateful for the efforts of our faculty and staff. They are charged with the creation and compilation of area-specific plans. Budget planning continues to be done in the Strategic Planning and Budget Committee. Institutional Technology and University Communications will each serve as a support and resource for these groups and the Cabinet is serving as the steering committee for the work groups. We are aware of the importance of communication during these times and are committed to its consistency and transparency.

Please know, Notre Dame of Maryland University, inspired by our SSND charism, moves forward during these times guided by a value-based and pragmatic decision making process. The University remains Mission-focused and is committed to:

  •  The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff
  •  High-quality learning and living experiences
  •  Our students’ degree completion and success
  • Planning that is and will continue to be student-centered
  • Planning that is ready, flexible and innovative 
  • Transparent communication
  • As we move forward during this global pandemic, I am confident that the University will continue to respond to challenges, as it has for the last 125 years, in a caring, equitable and triumphant manner.

Please remain updated on the latest COVID-19 NDMU news.

Thank you again for your flexibility, dedication to our students and maintaining a focus on moving forward. Please stay safe.

Sincerely,

Marylou Yam