Sent to current students, faculty and staff May 29, 2020

Dear students, faculty and staff,

The importance and height of the work ahead of us as a community of creatives and artists cannot be overstated. Our world has changed, and as I wrote to you on May 5, while so much in our world is challenging and unclear, the important role that creatives will play in the world tomorrow is certain.

That is why over the past several weeks, we—the faculty, staff and leadership of UArts—have worked together to plan for the 2020–2021 academic year in light of the continued impact of COVID-19.

At this time, our intention is to open this fall semester in-person and on-campus. Senior leaders together with our faculty and staff, are hard at work to determine the specifics of our plans, and more details of what to expect on campus will be shared soon.

Above all, we remain committed to the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff. We will continue to follow the directives and guidance for a safe reopening as set forward by local, state and federal governments, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As you know, the directives and guidance continue to evolve and change daily.

With regard to health and safety, I am pleased to share that we are not embarking on this work alone, but instead are engaging one of the most elite and preeminent healthcare providers in our city, Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health. By expanding our existing partnership with Jefferson, we will ensure that the health and safety protocols we enact for reopening UArts meet or exceed the social distancing standards recommended by the CDC and governing authorities, as well as surpass best practices for higher education institutions. UArts is continuing the partnership with Jefferson’s Department Family and Community Medicine to provide primary care services for our students, and we could not be more pleased to further expand its advisory role as we develop the health and safety reopening guidelines for the UArts community. Planning conversations began in March and continue among the senior staff of our respective institutions. Additional updates will be shared as they become available.

In closing, I would like to return to what I relayed in my message from May 5:

“In a post-pandemic world, I believe it is the creatives that will lead the critical work of defining and shaping life as we know it; that artists, performers, writers, designers and makers like you will challenge entrenched assumptions and conventions, seek and establish the meaning of chaos, loss and tragedy—of which the pandemic has delivered more than its share—and demonstrate the resilience of that trait which makes us human: creativity.”

I look forward to welcoming you back to campus in the fall. In the meantime, I ask that you continue to adhere to the social distancing and health practices the government requires of us. We will provide more details of our plans for the fall in late June.

Students, please also remember to share this email with your family.

With open hearts and creative minds, we will get through these challenging days together. And together, we will continue to advance human creativity.

With best wishes,

David Yager