March 11, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues,

As President Garvey mentioned in his email today, with the spread of the virus in the United States, including in the District of Columbia and the broader DMV area, the University administration has decided new actions are necessary to continue to ensure the health and safety of The Catholic University of America community.

This message is to convey to you our next steps to continue educating our students.  But to begin with, I want to thank you all for your dedication to this university and all that we do.  It is in times like this that we see the best of each other as we come together as one community.

The following measures are being implemented immediately:

All University classes will be cancelled on Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17
  • During these two days, all faculty and staff will be working to transition all courses currently offered this spring semester to an online delivery system.
  • On March 16 and March 17, my office, the Center for Teaching Excellence, and Technology Services will be offering a number of resource-sharing and training sessions to assist faculty members in transitioning your courses from traditional on-campus to online delivery. Further details on these sessions are forthcoming.
All classes will move to online instruction for the period from Wednesday, March 18 through Saturday, March 28.
  • Courses will not be cancelled.
Our campus will remain open and operational during this time
  • Students can return to their residence halls, but courses will not be held in University classrooms through March 28.
  • All on-campus dining services and student support services will continue to be offered as usual.
  • Mullen Library will remain open, but may be subject to reduced hours of operation and services. Electronic services and web delivery of journal articles should not be affected.

The decision about instructional modalities for Monday, March 30 through Wednesday, April 8 (the last day before the Easter break) will be made no later than Wednesday, March 25. However, you must anticipate offering blended courses (with students participating in-person and online) for the remainder of the semester.

As these steps are implemented, I ask that you do the following:

  • Contact each of the students in your course(s) through Blackboard by the end of the business day (5:00 p.m.) on Monday, March 16. In this communication, provide your students with more information about what your specific plans are for the online instruction period of Wednesday, March 18 through Saturday, March 28.
  • Contact the students again by the end of the business day (5:00 p.m.) on Tuesday, March 17 with your finalized plans after our meetings with the faculty, as well as any updates to your previous email message through Blackboard.
  • Communicate to your dean your specific plans for your course(s). An easy way to do this is to use this form:

To assist you in the implementation of our online instruction plan, I want to share with you the following information:

  • Please attend the faculty training and discussion sessions on March 16 or 17.
  • An instructional continuity website ( has been prepared that provides you with a number of resources and suggestions.
  • Online classes can be successful using both asynchronous and synchronous instruction.
    • Asynchronous instruction is when you post a variety of items on Blackboard and expect students to respond at different times with no expectation that they will be participating at the same time.
    • Synchronous instruction is when the instructor and students are all participating at the same time, but from different locations. It could be in the form of audiovisual (e.g., videoconferencing), or written (e.g., online chat) communication.
    • If you elect to provide synchronous instruction in order to maintain class interaction, it must be done during the regularly scheduled class period. 
    • We recommend you use Google Meet for synchronous classes.
  • Your first point of contact for questions is always your department chair, your school dean, or his/her designee. Your chair or dean will be able to guide you in how your academic unit is implementing the continuity plan on file.
  • If you need additional assistance, or if your chair, school dean, or his/her designee is unavailable, you can contact the University’s instructional continuity team by email at

COVID-19 has already affected the life of our University, but I am confident that we will emerge from this crisis a stronger and even closer community. I am also extremely grateful for your continued patience, understanding, flexibility and, most importantly, your commitment to our students and their well-being as we address the many challenges COVID-19 brings.

Finally, I ask that you keep those affected by COVID-19 and our University in your thoughts and prayers.

In gratitude,