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Member Presidents: Review ACCU's three-part webinar series,
"Living with COVID-19: Challenges to Reopening Well"

Responses to Coronavirus

 

Hear ACCU President Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, CM talk about the lasting effect of COVID-19 on Catholic campuses, on the Campus Min podcast.

 

As we all pull together to weather the coronavirus outbreak, ACCU has been working closely (virtually) with other higher education associations to educate legislators regarding the pandemic's toll on Catholic colleges and universities. ACCU member presidents are receiving regular updates on government relations work and how relief efforts may benefit our sector. In addition, we are offering this resource page in an effort to support the Catholic higher education community. Here, you will find information about what member colleges and universities are doing to respond to the pandemic, suggested sources of spiritual nourishment, and links to other sites providing more information.

While our buildings may be closed, the Catholic Church is not — it's been deployed into the field.
Be sure to use the hashtag #CatholicCares in social media!

 

In brief, we suggest:

— Stay connected. ACCU is hosting periodic virtual meetings for member campus administrators so that they may share concerns and stay connected to one another.

  • Our first convening drew an unprecedented number of mission leaders, who discussed ways to maintain community, food insecurity issues, and more. Read the resource document.
  • Senior student affairs officers have held three events, the first of which shared insights on supporting students and staff, budget issues, and more. Read the resource document.
  • Information about recent conversations appears to the right.

— Stay informed. The items listed below highlight how Catholic higher education is working through the pandemic. We hope this information provides examples of how our sector is responding to students, employees, and the broader community. Please email us if have a question about campus operations that you would like to ask of your peers.

— Keep learning. Now might be a good time to catch up on professional learning resources. Check out the presentations from the recent 2020 ACCU Annual Meeting, as well as the association’s online newsletter and its other publications. Note that the following titles are available as free PDFs through the online store:

  • Ministering to All: Building a Spiritual Home for Hispanic/Latinx Students
  • Points of Distinction: The Catholic College and University President
  • Fair Trade and Catholic Higher Education
  • Catholic Higher Education and Catholic Social Teaching: A Vision Statement
Virtual Meetings
  • Exploring Options for Commencement Activity:

Read notes from a conversation among campus officials related to spring commencements, and a related PowerPoint from Villanova University

  • Exploring Student Health During the COVID-19 Crisis:
    View the webinar here; you must enter the password Telehealth

Also: Global Dimensions of the Coronavirus Crisis: Responsibility and Solidarity, Policies and Priorities

Georgetown University hosted this online dialogue, with remarks from Cardinal Peter Turkson, who is leading the Church's response to COVID-19; David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World; and Haydee Diaz, program director in Uganda for CRS.

 

Activities by ACCU Members

Assisting Healthcare

Saint Louis University first-year medical students are offering emergency child care for medical faculty who are needed on the front line to fight COVID-19.

Edgewood College has donated medical supplies to local healthcare workers.

The Catholic University of America is offering royalty-free patented research to help develop a coronavirus vaccine.

The University of Notre Dame has donated personal protective equipment to assist the local county's coronavirus response. The university has also addressed the mental and emotional toll suffered by healthcare workers on the front lines of treating COVID-19.

3D printers at Loyola University Maryland are creating face shields for local healthcare professionals.

Barry University is graduating nurse anesthetists early so that they can help fight the global pandemic.

St. Thomas Aquinas College in New York donated personal protective equipment to the Jacob Javits Center for redistribution to local hospitals.

A company with ties to Marquette University is helping hospitals meet the demand for clean isolation rooms and ICUs.

First responders, healthcare workers, and other displaced persons around Fairfield, CT, can find shelter at Sacred Heart University.

In early April, Gwynedd Mercy University’s Respiratory Care Program donated ventilators and a host of PPE -- masks, shields, gowns, ventilator filters, and more -- to assist efforts at local hospitals.

 

Maintaining Campus Connections

The University of St. Michael’s College has launched InsightOut, a blog dedicated to a university perspective on the coronavirus.

The Center for the Common Good at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota has helped create guidelines and ways for St. Thomas community members to remain engaged.

 

Campus Ministry

Benedictine College in Kansas has launched the "Memorare Army Pandemic Prayer Campaign."

At the University of Dayton, Campus Ministry is fostering connections with students and others in a variety of ways, including daily noon prayer through Zoom. More people are joining each day.

Students, faculty, and staff at Seton Hill University are posting online reflections in weekly "Mission Moments."

Dominican University has launched Caritas Now, a comprehensive online resource providing information about virtual pastoral care opportunities with Mission and Ministry staff; virtual worship opportunities at Chicago area churches, synagogues, and mosques; and a guide to national interfaith resources. In addition, twice weekly Zoom lunches feature guest appearances by the university's Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters, as well as regular video messages from the Sisters.

Caldwell University Campus Ministry has started "CU Faith Fridays," an initiative that allows students to share how they are living their faith during the pandemic.

Campus ministers from several colleges, including Dominican University and DePaul University, are featured in this article: "Campus ministers creating sense of community for students during pandemic."

 

Student Affairs

Ohio Dominican University has established a Student Emergency Fund to help support its students who have been impacted financially by the COVID-19. The university has also produced a series of videos that addresses a range of physical and mental health concerns that individuals may experience during the coronavirus crisis.

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Spiritual Resources

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception live-streams Mass every Sunday at noon, Eastern time.

The University of Mary offers an online Holy Week Retreat

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops response to coronavirus

The Catholic Campus Ministry Association COVID-19 resource page

Five Tips for Finding God Amidst the Coronavirus Crisis, a blog written by Patrick R. Manning, assistant professor of pastoral theology, Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology, Seton Hall University

COVID-19 resources from the Catholic Apostolate Center

Coronavirus prayer, from America magazine

Mary Walks Beside You: Strength for Living in Fragile Times, an online spiritual retreat

Pope Francis’s Prayer to Mary during coronavirus pandemic

Prayers during the coronavirus pandemic

10 guidelines for pastoral care during the coronavirus outbreak

The Jesuits of Canada offer Building Community Online: A Guide to Spiritual Conversation Using Technology

Managing Coronavirus Anxiety, a video presentation from Saint Luke Institute

 

Government & Other Resources

The U.S. Department of Education has created a comprehensive webpage providing information about coronavirus for education leaders and stakeholders. ED is regularly updating this page as more information becomes available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies.

The Department has also posted regulatory guidance related to COVID-19 for postsecondary education

The American College Health Association has created a page of resources, including information about upcoming webinars, specifically for campuses.

The American Council on Education hosts a page of higher education-related resources.

The World Health Organization offers guidance, statistics, and a "mythbusters" section.

The International Federation of Catholic Universities has collected a number of relevant resources related to COVID-19. Look under News.

University World News has published a number of stories examining the effects of the pandemic on higher education around the world.

 

Seton-Hall

Loyola University Maryland created a web page addressing the mental health effects of coronavirus.

Resident Assistants at Carlow University are using their creativity to provide comfort during the pandemic.

In an effort to provide assistance to its students during this time of hardship, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College will be paying all student workers for wages they would have earned for the month of April 2020.

Assumption College is establishing a $3 million fund to provide additional financial aid for students whose families are facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of loss of employment, furloughs, reduction in hours, and other factors. 

Francis Campbell, vice chancellor of The University of Notre Dame Australia, posted a video message, announcing the creation of a new Student Hardship Emergency Fund, as well as new academic programs driven in part by the pandemic.

Distance has not deterred the Marquette University Counseling Center, which is offering 24-hour telephone services, as well as resources for students such as managing stress, coping with social distance, and looking after themselves and others.

 

Campus Operations

The University of Dayton is offering virtual campus visits to prospective high school students and transfer students.

In Florida, Barry University is also offering virtual campus tours.

 

Commencements

On May 15, Villanova University President Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, conferred degrees on graduates via a live-streamed event. When it is safe to gather, Villanova will honor its graduates in person. See also the PowerPoint presentation on Villanova's commencement, under Virtual Meetings, above.

Walsh University created a video presentation, including a virtual rendition of its alma mater by the Walsh Chamber Singers, commencement addresses, and well wishes to graduates.

Molloy College will hold a virtual graduation ceremony on May 18, when President Drew Bogner will give his final commencement address at Molloy after 20 years of service.

A Santa Clara University senior writes about moving from grief to gratitude as graduation day nears.

Xavier University's online Jesuit Resource offers Graduation Resources, featuring quotes, prayers, and links to work and service opportunities.

On the day and time that its graduates would have processed for spring commencement, Ohio Dominican University launched a website to celebrate and recognize the Class of 2020.

Newman University posted its virtual commencement for spring 2020 graduates to YouTube. The commencement speaker’s closing remarks are particularly moving. 

The virtual commencement ceremony at Saint Xavier University included honors for outstanding student leaders, organizations, and achievements in service and extracurricular involvement. Graduates were also greeted by several celebrity cameos.

 

Supporting the Local Community

Professors at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois, in cooperation with the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce, have prepared a fact sheet to explain the recently enacted CARES Act, enabling local bankers to help customers acquire their share of support.

The Catholic University of America's Ciocca Center for Principled Entrepreneurship has committed to offering one-on-one coaching, virtual workshops, virtual happy hours and more to help small business owners in Washington, DC navigate through the crisis.

Among other efforts at Marquette University, its 707 Hub has been collaborating with partners throughout Milwaukee to offer several programs that are assisting small businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Saint Leo University is offering free enrichment courses to help the community during the coronavirus pandemic. Faculty members representing a variety of degree programs will teach 10 self-paced courses on an array of topics ranging from budget baking and backyard birding to quarantine spirituality for the family.

The University of St. Thomas has formed a partnership with the local Houston Food Bank to help fill the pantries of students, faculty, staff, and neighbors experiencing food insecurities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Supporting Online Learning

Sacred Heart University’s Alumni Association is hosting weekly online discussions for parents, educators, and administrators about successfully homeschooling children during this time of self-isolation. The dean of SHU’s Isabelle Farrington College of Education moderates the talks with education professionals every Thursday at 11 a.m. on alumni’s Facebook page. 

A professor from The Catholic University of America offers 7 tips for taking on-the-ground courses online.

A blog from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College includes a three-part series showing how the institution pivoted into online learning with ease due to its over 40 years in distance education..

An expert from Seton Hall University provides seven tips for parents homeschooling children with autism during the pandemic.

St. Norbert College launched a free online tutoring initiative for K-12 students around the country.

Our Lady of the Lake University education majors are helping Independent School Districts in San Antonio, Texas. with remote learning, providing support to students, teachers, and parents.

Caldwell University’s Center for Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis has developed a new telehealth program to meet the needs of learners with autism during the pandemic.

Providence University in Taiwan is providing online courses for students who cannot enter the country due to travel restrictions and for those under mandatory home isolation. A full-scale distant learning option is also on reserve.

The University of St. Thomas in Houston is offering free tuition to students in three new online associate degree programs.

 
General

Saint Xavier University's core values of compassion, service, respect, and hospitality are illustrated through its dedicated faculty, staff, and students, who are working in multiple ways to meet the needs of the community during this unprecedented time.

When Georgetown University closed its campus to prevent the spread of the coronavirus among students and staff, university administration contacted Aramark and Bon Appetit, the food service contractors that staff the campus cafeterias and restaurants, to ensure that their employees were paid through the scheduled end of the semester.

On March 26, Georgetown University's Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life hosted the online dialogue, "Catholic Social Thought and the Coronavirus Crisis." View the archived presentation online.

An Occupational Therapy student at Seton Hall University is drawing attention to the need to help the elderly navigate online activities in the midst of social distancing.

A graduate student at Georgian Court University goes "from homeless to hopeful" and finds light during the pandemic.

As people continue to follow social distancing guidelines by working from home, students in the Catholic University of America School of Architecture and Planning have been studying how their homes are affecting their emotions and cognitive abilities.

Manhattan College has launched the "Jaspers on a Mission" campaign, which highlights the efforts of faculty, staff, administrators, students, and alumni who continue to bring to life the Lasallian Catholic mission of the college in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

News Articles Featuring ACCU Members

How these colleges are marketing to admitted students during COVID-19 (University Business, March 24, 2020)

Catholic universities, and a high school, donate medical supplies to hospitals (National Catholic Reporter, March 26)

Ritual, Rhythm, Community: Everything Higher Ed Does Best, the Coronavirus Attacks (Chronicle of Higher Education, March 27; subscriber-only content)

How not to get overwhelmed by the pandemic (Religion News Service, March 30)

White Ribbons: 'I Will Never Forget You' (Catholic News Agency, March 31)

Marymount professor creates reusable face shields for hospital workers (WTOP, April 2)

Commentary: Private Colleges Deserve Fair Share of Relief Package (Rivard Report, April 3)

With students gone, U-Mary embraces a new mission: a field hospital for coronavirus patients (Bismarck Tribune, April 9)

For some colleges, missing the fall semester may be just the tip of the iceberg (CNN, April 15)

Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. Redux: All Educational Institutions Should Include Instilling “Serving Others” in Their Mission (Forbes, April 16)

'On Eagle's Wings' composer pens new song inspired by life during COVID-19 (KARE-TV, April 21)

The Church in Action (Chicago Catholic, April 22)

Catholic universities extend hand to Catholic hospitals, health care staff during pandemic (Catholic Health World, April 27)

Will college campuses open in the fall? If they do, expect changes: ‘All of this is uncharted waters’ (Chicago Tribune, April 28, 2020)

President of St. Francis College in Brooklyn, Miguel Martinez-Saenz, talks about the effect of the pandemic on immigrant students (see segment 3) (WABC-TV, May 3)

Assumption University to emerge amid formidable challenges to higher education (University Business, May 1).

Catholic college graduations: No pomp, but a lot of circumstance this year (Catholic News Service, May 14)