Given the COVID-19 global pandemic and our necessary responses to it, we are in a world none of us have ever experienced before. This has brought all of us uncertainty and distress. It has also created a great sense of loss for our campus community and Isenberg family. I share your disappointment, and that of faculty and staff—we were all anticipating warm and sunny days on campus, and all the events that make spring special at UMass Amherst and Isenberg. I personally enjoyed walking through the Innovation Hub this year, talking with many of you while you studied, staffed informational tables, or caught a bite at the Carney Café. You are sorely missed.
I especially acknowledge the disappointment of those completing their studies, whose final semester at Isenberg has been impacted by this unprecedented situation. As you know, commencement and commencement-related events have been postponed. As Chancellor Subbaswamy shared, we are working on alternative plans to honor graduates.
Despite all this, we can take strength from the fact that, as a community, we live a spirit of innovation and perseverance. This spirit and the Isenberg drive bring out the best in us and it will help us through these challenges. I’ve witnessed this already over the past week—everyone has been working tirelessly to reimagine your curricula, deliver remote learning, and offer student services. I’m sure you have questions which we may not yet be able to answer. Please be patient. If you haven’t heard from your instructors yet, you will very soon! They are all looking forward to reconnecting with you.
During these coming weeks, I ask that we continue to support one another. Please take care of yourself and your loved ones, and please continue to practice social distancing—researchers are finding that young adults are not safe from complications of COVID-19, and of course your avoidance of the coronavirus also protects members of your community who are elderly or vulnerable because of pre-existing conditions. We all look forward to a time when life returns to normal.