March 25, 2020
Dear Members of the Knox Community,
I want to share an email we just sent to students regarding the College's latest plans for spring term.
As you can imagine, this was a difficult decision to make, but the best one to protect our students, faculty, and staff.
Once again, I am so proud of how tirelessly you have all worked to make this transition as seamless as possible for our students. It is an honor to serve among people who are so committed to our students and to the importance of a liberal arts education.
Dear Senior Class,
I wanted you to be the first to know, because the Class of 2020 will be the most affected group of students: Knox has made the difficult but unavoidable decision to deliver the entirety of spring term remotely.
At the end of winter term, we didn’t know that half of U.S. states, including Illinois, would adopt stay-at-home orders that would make travel so difficult or that large gatherings would be prohibited. We very much hoped that the last half of your final term at Knox could have been on campus.
This is not the news you wanted to hear, and it is absolutely not the choice we wanted to make, but safeguarding your health and well-being is of paramount importance—which means keeping students off campus through at least the end of May. Nearly all faculty and staff are working remotely as well.
I know you will have many questions and concerns related to this decision, but I want to cover at least a few of the most pressing as best as we are able at the moment.
We understand how hard you have worked and the many sacrifices your families have made so that you could celebrate Commencement together. We still hope to be able to hold Commencement on Sunday, June 7, as planned, but as quickly as the public health situation is evolving right now, we cannot make any guarantees.
We know that the College will find some way to celebrate your achievements on that day, even if it is not possible to bring you, your families, and friends together on campus to celebrate until later in the summer. Right now, all we can do is promise that we will make a decision about postponing and rescheduling the ceremony as early as possible so that you and your families have adequate time to make travel plans, and, as soon as we do, you will be the first to know.
SENIORS (AND OTHER STUDENTS) STILL ON CAMPUS
If you received permission to stay on campus, you will be able to stay on campus for the duration of spring term. Knox will continue to provide access to campus dining, health and counseling services, and maintenance and security support as needed.
We have just begun working through the myriad logistical details involved in helping you retrieve, store, or ship belongings that you may have left in campus housing at the end of winter term. Because of the State of Illinois’s ongoing stay-at-home order and to protect the safety and health of those students who remain on campus, we ask you not to come to campus to collect your belongings at the present time . But we are committed to working with you to reunite you with your belongings. More information will be coming in the next few weeks.
CAREER DEVELOPMENT AND OTHER CAMPUS RESOURCES
Though the campus is physically closed, all campus offices, including the Bastian Family Center for Career Success, are finding creative ways to continue supporting students remotely. Check your email for announcements of upcoming remote events, tutoring sessions, and other innovative programs delivered right to your phone or computer..
I know I speak for all the faculty and staff when I say that we miss you. I am so proud of the way that you and the rest of the Knox community continue to look out for each other and to make the best of challenging circumstances. I believe that what you’ve learned at Knox so far has prepared you to adapt to the profound challenges sweeping across the globe right now, and that this experience, too, will become an important part of your education as you leave Knox and put your considerable talents to work in your communities.
Please share any questions or comments that you may have. We will do our best to provide answers as they become available.
Stay in touch with us, take care and stay healthy.
TERESA L. AMOTT