March 20, 2020

March 20, 2020 COVID-19 Update

Presidential message

Dear Creighton Community,

I am announcing today that Creighton University will be shifting to exclusively online course delivery for the remainder of the spring semester in response to the global coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. There will be no in-person classes.

In addition, I recently shared with a heavy heart to our May graduates that the University will not be hosting spring commencement and related ceremonies May 14-16. We are looking at other, creative ways to significantly recognize and celebrate our graduates, and will share that information as soon as it is available.

Student employees, Federal Work Study students, and graduate assistants should not report to work. Mindful of the additional stress this disruption may place on them, we will compensate these students for their scheduled hours for this upcoming pay period.

We appreciate the work that these students do on behalf of Creighton University, and I encourage them to stay safe. Affected students can read those messages below.

Our Residential Life and Housing staff members have been working tirelessly with the students in our residence halls, helping them with their plans to return home, and dramatically reducing the population living in our on-campus housing.

I am grateful for the response of our students. Thanks to their efforts, we are now housing only those students with specific, special circumstances. Except for those remaining students, the residence halls will effectively close Monday, March 23.

Students’ personal belongings will remain secure in their rooms. Students and families who wish to collect their items will be able to schedule a time via the Housing Portal to return to campus beginning Friday, March 27. Here is the link for more information.

For those students who have vacated the residence halls, we will be providing a prorated room-and-board credit to your student account. We will also be offering a blanket $250 credit for University fees to the accounts of undergraduate and law students. For more detailed information on these credits, exceptions, and how to initiate the process, please visit our website.

For those wishing to support our students who are facing unexpected expenses due to the coronavirus, please consider giving to the COVID-19 Emergency Student Assistance Fund; students needing assistance can apply here. Students are also reminded that the Creighton Cupboard is open and providing complete meals for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students who identify as food insecure.

These decisions reflect a thoughtful response to more stringent guidelines and recommendations from local, state, and national government leaders and public health officials aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus.

Locally, the Douglas County Health Department on Wednesday issued a public health order prohibiting all public gatherings with more than 10 people through April 30, after a second case of “community spread” was confirmed.

In consultation with Creighton’s Critical Incident Response Team, which has been thoroughly engaged in this issue and meeting twice daily, and other campus leaders, I determined these next steps were necessary and prudent to protect the health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff.

I know this is a concerning time, filled with great uncertainty and change.

Cura personalis, or care of the individual person, is one of our deeply held Jesuit values at Creighton, and our faculty and staff are working diligently to ensure that same personalized care is present in our online instruction and virtual services.

To that end, and for the benefit of our entire Creighton community, we have already established a webpage highlighting virtual engagement opportunities. I also will host a virtual “Candlelight” experience this Sunday at 9 p.m. (Central); this will be an opportunity for community prayer, reflection, and interaction.

I am urging that all faculty and staff expedite preparations to work remotely, and that supervisors and department chairs work expediently to facilitate these remote arrangements.

I am also asking our school, college, and division leaders to identify mission-critical personnel who, because of their roles, need to report to campus. Those recommendations will be reviewed and approved by me, Provost Tom Murray, PhD, and Executive Vice President Jan Madsen.

For more information on working remotely, visit the IT Resource page. If you have any questions, please contact the myIT Service Desk at servicedesk [at] creighton [dot] edu or 402.280.1111.

Out of concern for the well-being of our campus community, all employees who are sick must stay home. If you have visible symptoms, your supervisor may ask you to go home.

While these quickly evolving, historic developments have been difficult and unsettling – perhaps even shaking us to our very core – I am impressed by and am deeply grateful for the ways we continue to be a community, to stay Creighton.

Thank you for your commitment to our University. Let us continue to pray together and support one another with hope, courage, and love.

Sincerely,

Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD
Creighton University President