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D-term Progress; Campus Operations Updates

Note: This is dated information and may not reflect the current policies in place on campus. Please refer to We Are WPI for the latest information.

March 31, 2020

Today marks the end of the first week of D-Term and the first week of remote working for most of us. I’m so proud of each of you for doing your part to make this not only possible, but successful. And special thanks to those with designated emergency personnel status who are still working on the physical campus in these stressful times. Our transition has been largely smooth, with only a few bumps along the way, as we all adjust to balancing the needs of our families with learning and working in new ways. That success is entirely because of the commitment of this community. Thank you.

These are certainly unprecedented times—and WPI’s student-centered, problem-solving DNA is more evident now than ever before. We have moved online with true WPI intensity—in just the first three days of D-Term, we held over 2,600 Zoom meetings totaling 1.1 million minutes!

While I know that on occasion our home technology has presented challenges, I am pleased to report that the campus systems are holding up very well. Thanks to everyone—from faculty, to IT, to all our student support teams—for your contributions to getting us to this point.

On to the business at hand … I want to provide a few updates:

  • In line with state and federal guidelines, our current remote working directive will remain in place until further notice. Eventually we will all be able to return to our beautiful campus, and the CERT is working on plans for doing so when the time is right. When that time comes, we will be sure to provide ample notice of the transition so that you can make any necessary plans or preparations. For now, please continue work from where you are.
  • With the COVID-19 situation still active and unpredictable, we have made the responsible but very difficult decision to postpone Commencement to a future date still to be determined. Over the next two weeks we will gather feedback from graduating students and, based on their input, we will make new plans to honor our graduates. For those who can join, we will hold an in-person Commencement ceremony for the Great Class of 2020 when it is safe to do so. Once we have consulted with our students, we will share more details on our plans.
  • Since it is so important that we maintain our connection to each other during these unprecedented times, we will host our second virtual Town Hall on Wednesday, April 8, at 3pm, via Zoom and streaming on YouTube. The last Town Hall had nearly 700 participants across both platforms, and I hope you will join us again as we share updates and answer your questions. We will send a reminder as the date approaches, but if you’d like to mark your calendar now, here are the links to both Zoom (which will again have the Q&A feature) and to YouTube:

Please continue to check our Coronavirus website for the latest updates and FAQs. If you have a question that’s not answered, the site shares an email address you can use. And if you are struggling and need help, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Employee Assistance Program.

I have seen this community rise to meet our current challenge in so many different ways during these trying few weeks. My confidence remains high, bolstered by all of you—we will get through this together. Thank you so much for all you do for WPI.

Stay safe and healthy,