Dear Salem College Community,
As we draw this momentous week to a close, I hope that you are taking care of yourself and those around you. These are challenging times.
As was the case last summer and during the fall semester, the leadership of Salem Academy and College has very carefully and thoughtfully reflected on our circumstances as we continue to face a global pandemic. More recently, we have looked to specific local, regional, and national circumstances to evaluate whether residential students should return to campus next spring. After extensive discussion and deliberation, we have decided that the answers are not the same for our College and Academy students. Salem College students will continue remote learning for the spring. Salem Academy day students will return to campus while Academy boarding students will continue remote learning. Differences between the Academy and the College make it evident that while we are one Salem, separate approaches to our future are appropriate for the Academy and the College this spring.
The current rise and projected upward trend of the COVID-19 pandemic in the coming months is the backdrop against which we made our decision. We decided that Salem Academy day students could return to campus because of the small number of students involved, and because I have confidence in our ability to maintain high standards of health-related safety within the confined spaces where they attend classes. Our focus on the health of our students, staff, and faculty means that we cannot open any residence halls of the College or the Academy. The safety and wellbeing of our students, faculty, and staff is always of utmost importance in our decision-making process, and it was with great sadness that I came to the conclusion that the majority of our students should not return to our beautiful campus at this time.
We will postpone decisions regarding College Commencement, Academy Graduation, and other events for several months to ensure that we make those decisions with as much forethought (and information) as possible. As we move forward, we will do everything we can to sustain and grow our community—including following the Academy’s lead in designing a mix of ways to bring us together should the spring bring better pandemic-related news.
I realize that sharing the news with you about next semester during a week that already is filled with emotion and anxiety for many is not ideal in terms of timing. However, I had to share the news with you this week to allow the College’s registration process to take place.
To submit questions please go to salem.edu/readystrongquestions. Questions will be compiled and will be addressed in a meeting open to all Salem College students on Tuesday, November 10 at 5:30 p.m. in a community forum setting. A Zoom link for this meeting will be sent to you on Monday. A panel of campus administrative faculty and staff will join me to answer pertinent questions submitted to the website as well as questions you wish to ask in person in the community forum. If you have more immediate concerns, please email email@example.com.
I made the decision to continue remote learning with a heavy heart, and I know it is difficult for you to hear this news. There is truly nothing that the faculty and staff of Salem Academy and College and I would like to see more than a bustling campus filled with students. Our deep desire to see you in person, however, is outweighed by our love for you and our significant concern for the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff.
As we have done for nearly 250 years, the Salem community will persevere even under the most difficult circumstances. Perseverance—along with tremendous respect for the well-being of each other—is part of the fabric that makes Salem the place that we hold so dear. I very much look forward to seeing you in person as soon as possible. In the meantime, please remain safe and stay Salem Strong!