Jacquie Moloney, Chancellor
I wanted to provide you with an update on Commencement, as well as on campus operations, especially in light of the new order issued today by Gov. Baker regarding the closure of non-essential businesses throughout the state.
A few minutes ago, I informed our 2020 graduates that our May Commencement exercises will be postponed as UMass Lowell joins a growing number of universities who will reschedule these celebrations.
As I said to them, while this is a heartbreaking decision, the current COVID-19 guidance and restrictions that have wisely been put in place by public health organizations at the state and federal levels to halt the spread of the virus eliminate the possibility of any large gathering.
There is no part of academic life I find more inspirational or more energizing than seeing our graduates walk across the stage at the Tsongas Center. We will reschedule Commencement ceremonies for our 2020 graduates as soon we’re able and I know you join me in looking forward to celebrating their academic success at that time.
Gov. Baker’s Order
The governor’s order is consistent with the steps UMass Lowell announced on Friday to dramatically reduce the number of people on campus. It includes an exemption for college and universities “for purposes of facilitating distance learning, [the] provision of school meals, or performing other essential student support functions, if operating under rules for social distancing.”
While a small number of employees continue to perform essential on-campus duties to support our students, online learning operations, minimal research maintenance, campus construction and safety and security, every other employee should work from home.
Except for residence halls, access to campus buildings for students remaining on campus has been temporarily suspended. And as we announced on Friday, building access for faculty and staff will end at 10 p.m. Monday, March 23. Employees will need to call UMass Lowell Police Dispatch at 978-934-2398 for needed access after that time, and then to retrieve essential forgotten items only.
As we move forward together, please continue to support each other. If you are having technical troubles, continue to reach out to your colleagues, your peers or reach out remotely to the IT help desk for assistance. While it’s important we continue our social distancing efforts, find ways to be social from that distance.
Managers and supervisors, your flexibility, communication skills and humanity are critically important tools to keep every member of the UMass Lowell family engaged and moving forward.
We will get through this. And as I said to our 2020 graduates, when we are able to hold their Commencement exercises, it may well bring with it the loudest cheer this campus has ever experienced.