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Randolph College to move to online learning for the remainder of the semester and postpone Commencement

The following message was sent to students and families on March 19 about the College’s decision to move to online learning for the remainder of the semester and the postponement of Commencement.


Dear Students and Families,

This is not the email I wanted to write to you this week—or any week for that matter. When we announced our decision just a few days ago to move classes online temporarily, it was our sincere hope that we would be able to bring everyone back together on campus before the end of the academic year. But as this week has unfolded, it has become increasingly clear that the COVID-19 virus is not going to be abated rapidly enough for this to happen.

I am not exaggerating when I tell you that we are heartbroken to announce that we will transition to online learning for the remainder of the semester. In addition, we will be adhering to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) about large gatherings and postponing Commencement. I will also be informing our alumnae and alumni today that we are cancelling this year’s Reunion.

I understand this is not the decision you wish to hear. I am especially sad for our seniors, who will undoubtedly feel a real sense of loss over the coming weeks. In fact, all of our students, whether you be athletes, artists, performers, researchers, etc., are being asked to sacrifice in response to this pandemic. Our faculty are being asked to change the way they teach, to learn new methods, and to adapt classes built upon face-to-face interaction—all within a very short period of time. Our staff, too, are feeling the negative effects of these changes. And even when we know we are doing the right thing to keep our community healthy and safe, we can’t help feeling angry and sad at how this has uprooted all of our worlds.

I wish we could wait longer to make the decision, but, given the circumstances, it seems prudent to provide as much advance notice as possible. For those of you who have already returned to campus, I apologize that you may have to make another trip to get the remainder of your things. This situation has changed daily—sometimes hourly—and we are working hard to make the best possible decisions with the knowledge we have at that particular moment. Be assured, we will work with all of you in the coming weeks to assist you and your families.

I realize you and your families will have questions. While we do not yet have all of the answers, we will be communicating frequently in the coming weeks with updates. We are also working to come up with creative ways we can celebrate our 2020 graduates. Within the next few days, we will be sending you more information about refunds, as well as about arrangements for picking up the remainder of your things from campus. As soon as we have determined how we will celebrate Commencement, we will communicate that to you as well. Our updates and many other resources can be located on our webpage.

I encourage you to reach out to one another with support and kind words in the days and weeks ahead. Try to keep your sense of humor and offer grace to others and yourself when we inevitably experience hiccups in our online transition. Breathe, and take care of yourself mentally and physically.

This temporary reality that we are all facing has upended the world in a way that I have never seen before. Our campus is too quiet, and we miss all of you already. But I remain comforted by the knowledge that our community is strong. We are creative and resourceful, and we are resilient. We will emerge from these unbelievable times stronger and better versions of ourselves

Stay healthy. Stay safe. And stay strong.


Brad Bateman

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