April 30, 2020 - Plans for Fall Semester From the President and Provost

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Dear Rockhurst Faculty and Staff Companions, 

As many of our city, county and state governments are beginning to reopen businesses and to announce plans for resuming activities, we want to update you on our plans for the University for fall and for returning to work.
Because of the importance we place on “cura personalis” or “care for the whole person,” manifested in student services we provide beyond academic learning, we are planning a traditional start to the fall 2020 semester. Our strong preference is to complete two full semesters of on-campus instruction in the 2020-21 school year and we are actively planning for additional protocols with the health and safety of our community in mind.

These include:

  • Social distancing guidelines, enhanced cleaning and sterilization of facilities, and potential limits on classroom sizes. 
  • If it becomes necessary, we are considering alternatives, including adjusting the start date of the semester in order for two full semesters of on-campus instruction to occur. We’d prefer this option over starting the semester at the usual time using remote instruction.
  • Only if it becomes necessary and unavoidable will we consider a semester, or partial semester, of remote, online learning. This is our last, and least preferable, option. We will think creatively about how to minimize the use of this option.
  • Exploring protocols to promote a safe environment in our residential and dining facilities.

Rockhurst University’s crisis management team, which includes the senior leadership team, continues to closely monitor federal and state guidelines while engaging in additional contingency planning. Our goal is to make decisions based on thorough, accurate information in a timely manner, and with the health and safety of our faculty, staff and students top of mind.

We realize that this situation will continue to evolve and we will be flexible to changing needs and keep you informed of our plans and processes. We will provide greater detail in the coming days and weeks as our plans progress. This includes a plan for returning staff members to work and providing broader access to campus. Because our physical plant staff will require lead time to prepare the campus for return and because we realize many must make arrangements for childcare or other situations, we plan to provide advance notice of the schedule for reopening of administrative offices.

We deeply appreciate the dedication you have shown in the face of great challenges to ensure that our students continue to receive an incomparable Jesuit education and that they are experiencing the individual care and concern for which Rockhurst is known.


Thomas B. Curran, S.J.

Douglas N. Dunham, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs