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In a message to the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) community today, President Meghan Hughes provided some thoughts on plans for commencement, summer sessions, and returning to the campus this fall.


Dear CCRI community,

As we finish the last week of spring classes and look ahead to the completion of our spring term, I write to thank you. What each one of you has undertaken in order to keep our college open is remarkable, and I am most grateful for your hard work and abiding commitment to our mission and our students.

I write with the hope that you and your families are managing through this difficult time and to share some important college updates regarding commencement, Summer Session II, and returning to campus this Fall.

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In March, our college had less than two weeks to prepare for a transition to remote teaching and learning. We were required to act quickly, with ingenuity and flexibility, and to maintain our focus on the mission of the college.

I am deeply grateful to our faculty who worked tirelessly to adapt their courses, to our staff for shifting the delivery of student services, and to college operations for pivoting its approach to its daily work. Your collective success in surmounting the challenges presented by the pandemic is simply extraordinary.

I know there have been challenges. This pandemic has required we teach, learn, and work in ways we never anticipated, and it has proven what we have always known about our students – they are resilient, hardworking, and committed to their education. When faced with obstacles, they work with you to overcome them. I am incredibly proud of how everyone has persevered through the many challenges COVID-19 has presented.  

Commencement

I know our graduates, their families, and our entire college community are disappointed that we had to cancel our traditional commencement celebration. Every day since we announced that decision, we have worked to come up with a way to recognize our graduates’ accomplishments. Today, I am pleased to share that we will hold a virtual commencement on May 29. Soon, our graduates will receive a special package in the mail in which we will share the details of what to expect. While a virtual commencement cannot replace coming together under one roof with our families and friends to celebrate, we will make sure it is meaningful and memorable. We also invite all of this year’s graduates to join us at our 2021 commencement next May so we can recognize their achievement.

Summer Session

After reviewing the state reopening plans announced this week by the Governor and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), we have made the decision to deliver all of our summer courses online, and therefore both Summer Session I and II will be held remotely. Our experience this spring has taught us a great deal, and I am confident our summer sessions will deliver strong learning outcomes that will allow our students to stay on their academic path to a degree.

Fall 2020 Semester

From our Promenade Street beginning more than fifty years ago, CCRI was founded a college with a physical place where students come to learn. The physical spaces that define our college campuses – our classrooms, labs, libraries, theaters, dining and common spaces – have been central to how our students learn and how we build community. It is these places that have sparked so much growth and connection, and therefore we are focused on safely reopening our doors and returning to our campuses. The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff is our top priority and this priority will guide our reopening planning and implementation.

Based on the information we have about COVID-19 today, our intent is to return this fall to in-person teaching and learning in some capacity while maintaining a strong offering of online courses. We know this fall semester will be quite different from previous years, and our commitment to supporting our employees and students remains steadfast.

Together with every college in Rhode Island, we are working in close partnership with RIDOH to develop a strategic, measured health and safety plan to implement requirements for protective face coverings, strict social distancing, and increased cleaning protocols. In addition, we will engage faculty, staff, and student groups to help us shape how we offer our academic courses and all college operations in order to maintain the health and safety of our community. We will continue to share our plans as they are developed, and we ask for your patience and understanding as we work to implement a phased reopening of our college campuses.

I look forward to the time when we can welcome everyone back to campus. Until then, please stay safe and be well.

Very sincerely yours,
Meghan Hughes

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