March 26, 2020
Dear Members of the University Community,
Our University motto is God Is Our Light. This gives us great comfort in the midst of great uncertainty.
Pope Francis reminded us last Sunday in his Angelus address, however, that it is not enough to receive the light. "One must become light," he said.
The phrase "become light" is striking because it puts the focus on the transformational process (becoming light), and not the end result (being light). We often say that as Christians we are Christ’s light in the world. Pope Francis wisely slows us down. He reminds us that we aren’t there yet. There’s still work to do.
We want to propose “Become Light” as a motto for the coming months. We have done some heavy lifting in the past few days as a University community. We have in many respects successfully moved our entire educational program online, a capability that we had discussed the need to develop for years. We should be proud of ourselves, and of each other.
But we are only at the beginning of a long process of transformation. We have a lot of issues to address, and problems we need to resolve. And a virus to contend with. The University we will be a year from now will be very different from the University we knew just a month ago. We must have patience, we must maintain our hope, and we must work hard.
It’s important to remember that this crisis isn’t something that is happening only at this University, or even in this nation. This is a global crisis that affects every person on earth. While we are all isolated in our homes in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus, we are connected more than ever in our common vulnerability to a disease we don’t know enough about.
We would like to echo Pope Francis again. He said a few days ago: “In these days of trial, as humanity trembles at the threat of the [coronavirus] pandemic, I would propose that all Christians join their voices together to heaven.”
We invite all of you to join the Holy Father on Friday at 1 p.m. EDT as he leads us in prayer for an end to the coronavirus pandemic.
The ceremony will consist of Scripture readings, prayers of supplication, and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. It will conclude with Pope Francis giving the Urbi et Orbi blessing. The blessing “to the City (of Rome) and to the World” is normally only given on Christmas and Easter, thus underlying the significance of this gesture by the Holy Father.
The blessing carries with it the possibility of gaining a plenary indulgence for all those who listen to it live through the various forms of communication. See below for how to watch the broadcast, or visit the Campus Ministry Facebook page for more information.
As we navigate this crisis together as a community, let us remember that we are not alone. We have God as our light. We have each other. Please, if you need anything, contact us. We are here for you.
Fr. Jude DeAngelo, O.F.M. Cap.
Check your local listings
Other ways to watch Catholic TV
March 25, 2020
Earlier this evening, the District government issued a reminder that the Mayor’s emergency order closing non-essential businesses takes effect tonight. The mayor’s order encourages continued operation of businesses like universities. Catholic University continues to conduct critical research, offer our education online, and operate the business services that support these activities.
Many of our employees already are working successfully from home and should continue to do so. Others whose jobs could also be accomplished remotely are further encouraged to work from home and can apply on the web at the C-WFH page. Employees whose job functions require them to work on campus should report to work as normal. Anyone with questions about where to perform their duties should contact their supervisors directly.
Your health and safety remain our highest priorities. We should all anticipate that the situation will remain fluid for some time. Please check the Catholic University website frequently for current information about the status of University operations, campus buildings, grounds, and activities. Thanks to all for your flexibility and cooperation during this health emergency.
March 18, 2020
Dear Members of the University Community,
The past few weeks have brought sudden and marked changes in all our lives. COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has spread so quickly that we have had to make daily changes in the way we as a university respond. Our first priority has been the health of all members of our community.
This is the reason we moved quickly in early March to discontinue our study abroad programs. It is also the reason why we extended Spring Break by two days, and implemented online instruction for the remainder of March. As the pandemic worsened we closed our residence halls, called off all athletic games and practices, and cancelled or postponed many in-person events, conferences, performances, and meetings. This week we began to give broad permissions to many of our staff to work from home.
While the health of our community is our top priority, the education of our students is the very reason we exist as a university. Closing down most aspects of campus life for the remainder of the semester is a decision we wanted to take only if absolutely necessary.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have now recommended that no gatherings of 50 or more people take place for the next eight weeks. It is clear that we will not be able to resume in-person instruction this semester.
Classes will continue to be taught online through the end of the term, and our residence halls will remain closed.
The most immediate issues we are addressing include the process for moving out of the dorms, and how and when to account for unused room and board. We are working on those issues, and we offer the most current information below.
I know this is a disappointment, particularly for our graduating seniors who were looking forward to their last spring on campus, but it is best for the safety of all. I am sure that Catholic University will navigate the crisis as well as humanly possible, and we will do it together as a community. The thing that has struck me most forcefully over the past few weeks has been, not the progress of the virus, but the courage, creativity, energy, and compassion with which our staff and faculty, students and parents, have responded.
There are still many questions we need to answer, particularly for our students and parents. Before addressing those, allow me to offer three thoughts about how we might best proceed over the next few months.
Solidarity. As a community, we need to care for each other. As educators we must ensure that our students are healthy and safe, and that they finish their courses this semester with the best possible instruction. As an employer, we must attend to the personal and economic well being of our faculty and staff and their families. Working together, we can find solutions to all our problems.
Flexibility. In working to resolve the many issues we need to address, we will do our best to thrive in a virtual environment that enables us to continue to educate our students at a high level of competence and rigor. I encourage everyone — faculty, staff, and students — to be creative and flexible in working with this technology. There are no problems we can’t solve; but there will be new calls upon our creativity.
Opportunity. This crisis, like every other, will eventually come to an end. We need to begin now to think about what comes next. I suggest we all be on the lookout for opportunities to learn new skills and put them to use. Instead of focusing on what we are missing or lacking, let’s turn our attention to the work of innovation. We should make the most of this opportunity to assess how we do business as a University so that we are stronger than ever when this crisis is over.
Below you will find the latest information available. More details will follow in the next few days. Please consult our dedicated coronavirus resource page for regularly updated FAQs on academics, student life, and University operations.
My wish for all of you is to be safe and healthy. And thank you all for everything you do, and have been doing, to keep Catholic University running. I have never been more proud to be part of this community.
Commencement: We have not yet made a decision to postpone Commencement, which is scheduled for May 16. The CDC guidance suggests avoiding large groups through the beginning of May. We are holding out a little longer in the hope of following our original plan, and also beginning to discuss alternative celebrations for our new graduates.
University Housing: We want to thank the students who quickly made alternative plans following Spring Break when we decided not to reopen the residence halls. Most students have returned home, but we recognize some took their belongings while others did not.
For the very few students who have remained on campus, we will continue to provide meals and housing, but we urge students who can return to their permanent homes to do so as soon as practical. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with updates to your plans or with any questions.
We are determining a process to reimburse families for the unused portions of University room and board. As soon as we can put a plan in place, we will communicate it to students and parents.
For those who left belongings behind in their residence halls, we are keeping your rooms locked. We are working on a process to allow students to safely retrieve belongings. We will be in touch when a process is established.
Campus Buildings: Several campus buildings will be closed until further notice, except for some University staff who work in these areas. These include the Pryzbyla Center and the DuFour Center.
Library access will be granted to faculty and graduate students by appointment. Students will maintain access to the extensive online library resources. Technology and bookstore resources are available online.
Some academic buildings remain accessible because of laboratory or research work.
Facilities staff continues touch-point cleaning. All classroom, conference room, and office doors will be marked with a placard when they have been cleaned. Anyone who uses a room that is marked with a "clean" placard, should remove it so that custodial staff know to clean the space.
Department of Public Safety: Effective March 20, 2020, the operating hours for the DPS Customer Service Center (CSC) will be 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday; and closed Saturday and Sunday.
Business Continuity: Supervisors are encouraged to allow employees to work from home when duties permit or to create rotating on-campus work schedules. Employees and supervisors should work with their supervisors and HR to address questions related to their workplace safety and peace of mind. See Working from Home for information about technology support and information about the process and guidance on, submitting the request form. For more information, see the Human Resources FAQ.
Those working from home should visit the Technology Services Working from Home website for technology support.
To request to work from home, employees should read the guidelines, discuss them with their supervisor, and then submit the request form.
Many will still be needed to work on campus at times to ensure essential functions are completed. Please review social distancing guidelines.
Events: University-sponsored events have been canceled, postponed, or moved online until further notice. Student organization leadership can contact email@example.com for assistance.
Questions and More Information
Updates are being posted throughout the day on our COVID-19 website.
For urgent questions:
Faculty should first contact their chair or dean, then the firstname.lastname@example.org.
Staff should contact their supervisors or email@example.com..
Students and parents should continue to email the firstname.lastname@example.org office with questions and concerns. The staff will work with colleagues across campus to continue to provide support. Their support is also available in the event of a personal, medical, or family emergency, so do not hesitate to keep in communication with them.
March 19, 2020
Dear Members of the University Community,
I want to thank everyone for your continued messages of prayer and concern as I awaited the results of my COVID-19 test. Today I received word that my test result is positive. Jeanne will be tested today.
According to CDC protocol, I am to continue my quarantine that began on March 13. I am in close contact with our family doctor and the D.C. Department of Health, who are advising me on next steps. I no longer have any symptoms, but I could still be carrying the virus. They will advise me on when I may end my self-isolation in accord with the latest CDC guidelines.
I have notified people with whom I was in contact recently, and will do so again. The general guidelines are that if you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, then you are to self-quarantine for 14 days since your last contact.
CDC does not recommend testing or special management for those who have been exposed to people who have been exposed to the virus, i.e., “contacts of contacts.” Such contact is not considered to be exposure to the virus. If that is your case, and you do not have symptoms, you may continue your ordinary activities in accord with the broad guidance on minimizing exposure.
If you have symptoms of the virus (fever over 100.4, coughing, shortness of breath) please call your healthcare provider immediately. If you do not have a doctor, and are enrolled in a UnitedHealthcare plan with Catholic University, please call 866-695-8622, or contact HealthAdvocate. They will be able to assist you with finding an available doctor.
This news may be concerning to many on campus. We have been taking every precaution to stop the spread of COVID-19 in its tracks, including moving all classes online, shutting down our residence halls for the semester, cancelling all athletics games and practices, and giving broad permissions for employees to work from home.
For more information on how we are responding to this unprecedented national health crisis, visit our dedicated coronavirus website.
March 17, 2020
I want to thank everyone for their messages of prayer and concern over the weekend. I announced on Friday that I had been tested for COVID-19. The testing is taking longer than expected. When I know the results, I will make sure to inform the community.
According to CDC protocol, I am to maintain a quarantine. I am in close contact with our family doctor, and I no longer have any flu-like symptoms.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to escalate, everyone’s first obligation is to take care of his or her own health. If you have experienced symptoms of the COVID-19 virus (fever over 100.4, coughing, shortness of breath) please call your healthcare provider immediately.
For more information on how we are responding to this unprecedented national health crisis, visit our dedicated coronavirus website.
March 13, 2020
In the two days since I last wrote, governments and institutions have continued to respond to the spread of COVID-19. Nearly 30 countries have been elevated to CDC Level 3; all area governments have imposed states of emergency; and many school systems have closed. We have continued to emphasize a coordinated, caring University response.
Everyone’s first obligation is to take care of your own health. If you have experienced symptoms of the COVID-19 virus (fever over 100.4, coughing, shortness of breath) please call your healthcare provider immediately, particularly if you have traveled internationally in recent weeks. I returned from a short trip to the UK on University business on Tuesday, March 9. I had a cough (no fever) Thursday, and saw a doctor first thing this morning. My test for the flu was negative, so I was tested for COVID-19 and will know the result by Monday. In the meantime, I am self-isolating in accordance with the CDC protocols.
As previously announced, courses will be taught online starting on Wednesday, March 18, until at least Monday, March 30.
Earlier today, students and parents were notified that residence halls will be closed following spring break. We recognize this is a significant disruption for our students, and it was a decision we made reluctantly. But we feel it is in the best interests of the larger community to further limit personal interactions on campus.
Residence halls will reopen the weekend before we resume in-person classes (currently planned for Monday, March 30). We will reassess and confirm this plan by March 25.
We are open and operating, even though our students will be educated online for a period of time. I recognize that this pandemic affects our faculty and staff as well, and I have been impressed by your creativity and teamwork to keep the University running. All of us are concerned about the health of our families and colleagues. The closing of local schools leaves many of us needing to find ways to care for children who are home from school.
In order to keep the University operating, while maintaining the health and wellness of our faculty and staff, the University has adopted a temporary work from home program that will be in effect for the remainder of this emergency.
Employees whose jobs can be accomplished remotely and who wish to self-isolate or need to stay home to care for themselves or a family member can request permission from their supervisors to work from home by filling out the C-WFH Application. Employees with questions should contact the Office of Human Resources. Additional guidance will be provided to supervisors on how to manage their teams and schedules.
The Human Resources website offers additional information for employees, such as how to obtain early prescription refills and use unearned sick leave. The University’s health plan is covering all co-payments for COVID-19 testing and for diagnosis of flu-like symptoms during the emergency.
Student employees should not report to work until the residence halls reopen. Students who are receiving Federal Work Study will be contacted about their support arrangements.
As stated previously, anyone returning from a CDC Level 3 country should follow 14-day self-isolation guidelines upon their return.
Faculty and staff who traveled abroad over spring break should check this list and ensure that if they are coming from a Level 3-designated country, they self-isolate for 14 days. Additionally, we are asking that they obtain clearance from a healthcare provider stating that they are not ill and have been monitored for symptoms. That clearance should be submitted to the Office of Global Strategies.
I realize that these changes have financial impacts on students and their families who have invested in room and board on campus. We will communicate further on this topic in the coming weeks as the situation evolves.
We will continue to post updates and resources on these topics and more on our dedicated COVID-19 response webpage.
I pray that everyone in our community — from our students and staff to their families across the country and around the globe — stays safe and healthy in the coming weeks. Thank you again for your flexibility and understanding as we work together to respond to COVID-19.
March 11, 2020
Dear Members of the University Community,
Like so many of you, I’ve been closely following news of COVID-19. It’s been a challenge to keep up with all the developments, but I want to assure you that the University is monitoring them closely. We have a working group that meets daily to assess our preparedness and to coordinate plans. Our first priority is the welfare of our community, while we ensure that Catholic University carries out its essential mission and conducts business responsibly.
We have decided to move our classes online until at least Monday, March 30. Classes are cancelled on March 16 and 17 to allow faculty to test and perfect our system. This will require some adjustment for all involved, but I am confident in the dedication of our faculty, our technical capacity, and our students’ flexibility and desire to learn. Our campus will remain open and operational during this time. Because news about the virus changes rapidly, we will reassess our status no later than March 25 and confirm or adjust the date on which we plan to resume classes on campus.
Students who traveled home for spring break are not required to return to campus until regular, in-person classes resume. Students are welcome to return to the residence halls should they wish, however, and dining services will continue.
When students return to campus they should be sure to bring over-the-counter medicines — especially those that might be hard to acquire — and a personal thermometer.
Students and parents can contact the Office of the Dean of Students with any questions.
Faculty will receive guidance from the Provost later this week regarding online instruction and the professional development sessions to be held for all faculty on March 16 and 17.
The University remains open, and employees are expected to report to campus. Staff with specific questions or extenuating circumstances should contact their supervisors or the Office of Human Resources. Faculty and staff will receive guidance on enhanced support for working from home as needs arise.
We want to take a moment to let you know the steps we are taking to help keep our community safe and healthy.
If you have visited an area over spring break that has confirmed cases of COVID-19 and you may have been exposed to someone who tested positive, it is highly recommended that you remain home and self-monitor for 14 days after your exposure. Further, any student, faculty, or staff member who has recently traveled to a CDC Level 3 Travel Health Notice country may not return to campus until 14 days after they return to the United States.
All University-sponsored international travel by faculty, staff, and students is suspended until further notice. For more information, see this letter.
Visit our COVID-19 response webpage for more information, resources on the virus, and safety tips.
All of us here at Catholic University are united in our desire to deliver the best possible education to our students in a time of uncertainty. Thank you for your flexibility and understanding while we work through this process, and thanks to so many who have contributed ideas and energy to help us to address this challenge together.
March 5, 2020
March 3, 2020
President John Garvey sent a letter to the University community on March 3 to outline the measures the University has taken to address the worldwide health threat of the novel coronavirus, which includes suspending all study abroad programs. Read the letter on the President's website
March 2, 2020
Local and regional public health officials continue to indicate there is no reason to believe anyone in the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area — including at Catholic University — is at immediate risk from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)
At the same time, the latest advisory from the American College Health Association says there is still “no basis” for colleges and universities in the area to change their normal course of business regarding housing, campus events, and “other circumstances under which large groups of people will be gathering.”
Still, fortune favors the prepared, and while it monitors the COVID-19 situation worldwide and immediately recalls all Education Abroad students from international study sites out of an abundance of caution, the University remains committed to sharing resources that all members of the community can use to better understand and prepare for this public health emergency:
With the approach of spring break on campus (March 9-16), the University is taking the additional step of cancelling all University-affiliated spring break trips out of the country. At this time, domestic travel during spring break for traditional service trips and athletic competitions may continue, although participants are reminded that the status of COVID-19 globally is very dynamic and conditions are likely to change rapidly.
All CatholicU students also are strongly urged to be conscientious in planning their spring break travel and avoid areas currently experiencing a coronavirus outbreak or recording a high incidence of interaction with areas assessed as high risk. Currently, the CDC and U.S. State Department strongly recommend against personal travel to China, South Korea, Italy, and Japan.
March 2, 2020
The Catholic University of America’s Rome Center has closed for the semester. CatholicU joins dozens of colleges and universities across the country that are returning their students to the United States in response to outbreaks of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Italy and other areas around the world.
An increase in the spread of COVID-19 in Italy caused the Centers for Disease Control and U.S. State Department to raise the travel advisory for Italy to Warning Level 3. Working in close consultation with its program partners in Rome, the University believes the best course of action to ensure the safety of students currently in Rome is to take this difficult but necessary step.
At this time, other University Education Abroad programs are not impacted. However, the COVID-19 situation worldwide remains dynamic and conditions may change at any time. The University continues to work with international partners, public health officials, and parents, staying up-to-the-minute on the latest advisories regarding other areas abroad where CatholicU students are residing.
Current students attending the Rome Center are being encouraged to follow the advice of global health officials and forego any planned spring break travel and return to their homes in the U.S. or home countries as soon as possible, but no later than Sunday, March 8, when the Rome Center will close for the remainder of the semester. The University will reimburse students for the cost of their travel and is coordinating with families to keep them informed, provide guidance and support as needed.
Following the University’s annual spring break March 9-16, current Rome Center students will complete their courses through distance education. The responsible faculty will be contacting students directly with additional details and next steps. The University is committed to the academic continuity of the student experience, and — while this is a significant disruption — will do everything it can to ensure this semester’s Rome Center students complete their classes.
Although not necessary for completion of their coursework, students who wish to return to Catholic University's D.C. campus this semester will be given the opportunity after at least 14 days have elapsed from the time of their return to their homes in the U.S. or home countries. Those students will need to obtain a letter of clearance from their healthcare provider and send it to Catholic University Health Services prior to their return for assessment and clearance.
Also, recognizing the unexpected — and, to those involved, certainly disappointing — end of this semester’s program in Rome, the University has determined to waive the program fee for any current student who wishes to return to Rome during a subsequent semester.
Feb. 28, 2020
The University continues to monitor the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and provides this update to encourage you to be conscientious regarding spring break travel plans. The global situation is dynamic, with sudden changes in both Italy and South Korea over the past few days. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released important information and guidance at a Spring Break Travel Website.
In light of the outbreak, the CDC is currently recommending all travelers avoid nonessential travel to China and South Korea, and is urging enhanced precautions in both Italy and Japan.
Be advised that the status of your international travel destination may change without warning, especially regarding countries recording high interactions with locations severely impacted by COVID-19. As such, if you are planning an international trip, be mindful of potential disruption to your reentry to the United States and your ability to successfully complete the semester.
The following general resources may be helpful, including:
The CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) website with FAQ's, situation updates, and travel information
U.S. Department of State Information regarding travel advisories
The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program ( STEP ) to facilitate contact with local U.S. Embassies.
Locally, Student Health Services is in direct communication with the District of Columbia Department of Health and other officials, sharing information and resources. As of today, there are no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in our region.
As with most illnesses, strong preventative public health measures will help to diminish the impact of the virus. Your best defense in preventing any illness is following these recommendations:
Feb. 18, 2020
As the University continues to monitor the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, we are writing to encourage you to be smart regarding spring break travel plans. The Centers for Disease Control has released a Spring Break Travel Website.
In light of the outbreak, the CDC is currently recommending all travelers avoid nonessential travel to China. The State Department has issued a Level 4 travel advisory to China, which asks travelers not to go to China. There have been confirmed cases of coronavirus outside of China, including cases in the United States. All of the current cases have had some link to the outbreak in China. As a point of reference, Johns Hopkins University created a global map of coronavirus cases website.
The State Department provides information regarding travel advisories. These advisories include both health and safety concerns.
Student Health Services is in direct communication with the District of Columbia Department of Health and other officials sharing information and resources. As of Monday, Feb. 17, 2020, there are no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in our region. The CDC continues to consider the immediate health risk to the American public to be low at this time.
As with most illnesses, strong preventative public health measures help to diminish the impact of the virus. Your best defense in preventing any illness is following these recommendations:
Jan. 29, 2020
The University’s Emergency Management Plan provides for an Incident Management Team (IMT). The IMT convened to monitor the news regarding the Novel Coronavirus. The Incident Management Team consists of Student Health Services, Department of Public Safety, and Environmental Health and Safety.
The IMT has reviewed the University population and other factors related to this infection. We have not identified any risk to the campus community at this time. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as needed.
For more information regarding the Novel Coronavirus, please refer to the Centers for Disease Control at the following link: CDC Novel Coronavirus.
The following measures are recommended to help maintain good health.