Let me begin by saying how much I miss all of you. Thankfully, the successful launch of our virtual campus is shifting us from our daily regimen of “social distancing” to a more manageable concept of “physical distancing.” Our brick and mortar buildings may be closed, but our school, our mission, and our relationships are very much alive and powerful as ever. No doubt, we are being challenged today in ways we never imagined even a month ago. I, however, am incredibly confident that we will navigate whatever lies ahead and support one another during this time of uncertainty. We are Hopkins, 360 years strong.
To do all we can to maintain the health and safety of our Hopkins students, staff, and faculty, and to support the public health response of our community to this health crisis, Hopkins will be moving to remote learning for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester. Please know that this decision was not made lightly. It is a result of ongoing consultation with a group of Hopkins Trustees who are involved in the pandemic response at the state and local level. It is my hope that making this decision now, as many of our peer schools have done, will enable all of us to focus our energy on how to make the best of our current situation, and how to adapt our plans accordingly.
I am grateful for our faculty and staff, who have worked tirelessly to prepare for the transition to our virtual campus and its successful launch last week. I encourage all of you to join me in thanking them. I commend them for their innovation, and I applaud our students for their ability to adapt.
Candidly, we, along with every other school across the country, are steering through uncharted territory. In the coming days and weeks, issues may arise as teachers and students adapt to new methods of teaching and learning, but we will address them with flexibility and fairness. If your student is struggling with aspects of remote learning, it's important that they let teachers and advisers know as soon as possible. I promise that we will figure this out together.
In a time when students must distance themselves physically from each other, it's more important than ever that they keep in touch with their school community in other ways. Hopkins is providing ways for students to do just that — from meeting with peers and staff for virtual academic support, to exercise classes on Instagram
, to participating in our #HopAtHome challenge
. We're looking for additional opportunities to host virtual events and activities, and when those plans are developed, we'll share that information.
I know this decision sets off a series of questions such as teaching and learning expectations in this new environment, grading of school work, and retrieval of personal belongings from campus, just to name a few. There is also the question of how we plan to handle commencement. Please know that celebrating our seniors is at the forefront of my mind, and we'll find a way to honor the Class of 2020, even if that celebration takes a different form or happens at a different time. In short, we do not have all the answers yet, but our administrative team, department chairs, and head advisers are working hard to consider our options and figure out the best way to move forward. We will be in touch within the next week to outline our decisions related to our grading policy for this term, end-of-year events, and other relevant topics. These updates, along with the most up-to-date information regarding Hopkins and its response to the pandemic, can be found on our resource page at www.hopkins.edu/coronavirus-covid-19
. I sincerely thank you for your patience and understanding during this rapidly evolving situation.
We often point to the words above Baldwin Hall that read "for the breeding up of hopeful youths,” connoting both the promise and the expectation of future good. In the weeks ahead we must remain hopeful for our youths. While the world we knew a month ago may be distant, I believe a new, more empathetic and kinder world is emerging. Yes, we are being kept apart physically right now, but communities all over the world have been coming together through incredible acts of kindness and solidarity, and we will as well. I also believe we still have a bumpy road ahead of us in the short term, but I'm excited for the future good we can create together.
Head of School