I know that these last six months have been full of unknowns. You’ve been thrown curveball after curveball, and many of you have been shaken to your core. None of you deserve the disruption dealt to you due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please know that while I don’t know every one of your circumstances, I empathize with you. Some of you finished up a senior year of high school without a prom, senior trip, or graduation ceremony. Returning IUP students had their spring 2020 semester
abruptly disrupted at spring break. Others, such as our own senior class of 2020, had their internships and college commencement ceremony postponed, only to be disappointed when we made the tough decision to move it to a virtual platform. We know
that choices like this aren’t popular, and that they are very upsetting. And although the actions we take do not reflect what any of us want, our decisions are rooted in what we believe will be best for your health and safety, and the health and
safety of our employees and community.
It feels like an understatement to say that this week has been one of change. Just as you were adjusting to the information set out in our fall 2020 plan announced on July 15, new concerns and information about the virus in our state and community forced
us to rethink our plans – which is why you opened your email on August 5 to receive the plans for a Fall Rebalance. While much of the safety and health information is the same (wearing masks and social distancing), there is brand new information
about course delivery for you to process. It’s a lot of change all at once, but necessary to rebalance our commitment to health and safety with our commitment to your educational success and progress.
We heard your shock, anger and disappointment, and we take your feelings very seriously. I understand that some of you are upset about the decision to rebalance the look of the fall semester, while others are relieved that the decision was made. Unfortunately,
IUP, not unlike the rest of the country, has had to adapt to the unpredictable and ever-changing circumstances in which we find ourselves. So, while some of you may not be returning to class in-person, please know that my colleagues and I are here
for you, and hope that you will continue to communicate with us – the good, the bad, and the ugly. We are here. We are listening. In the case that you need help from our professional counselors, please reach out to the Counseling Center.
Many people in the IUP family have gone above and beyond over these past several months, but I’d like to send a particular quick shout out to all of the members of SGA and GSA for their hard work over the summer. These students have often put their plans
on hold for you – to answer questions, convey information, and to work to make your fall semester as fruitful as possible. Thank you. I also want to say thank you to all of the students who have been open and welcoming to their advice and programming.
While the fall rebalance was put into place to lessen the density of folks on campus, there are many campus resources – services, programs, facilities and opportunities – that are available to you to help your fall 2020 semester be enjoyable and successful.
We need your continued help and support to make these programs, activities, and facilities available to you, now and for the future. We have received many inquiries about changes in fees for the fall semester. The
Student Co-op reduced the Student Activity Fee by 17% beginning this academic year and more information can be found here.
While we refunded a number of fees in the spring semester, we have made the decision not to restructure fees for the fall semester because services, programs and events will continue, technology needs are greater than ever, and facilities will be
open and available to you. We know that this will not be a popular decision, but please know that without your support of these fees, as we all eventually return to campus, university services and facilities will not be available at the level you
need and deserve now and in the future.
People who know me know that I am the perpetual optimist. I genuinely believe that is just a temporary interruption to the way of life at IUP that we love and miss. I eagerly look forward to the day when we can all gather together in the Oak Grove, shoulder
to shoulder, not a socially distant six feet apart. I am confident that while these times have been difficult for all of us, and not what anyone wanted, we will be stronger because we made it through these challenges together, as a Crimson Hawk community.
If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. Be safe and take care of yourself and each other – which means wear a mask, practice social distancing, stay away from large gatherings, and wash your hands. We will get through this together!
Dr. Tom SegarVice President, Student Affairs