Caring for Engineering Students During COVID Uncertainty

Engineering Parents and Families:

These are unprecedented times. I realize the uncertainties of the COVID-19 virus and its impact on our students are creating many questions and concerns for you. For all of us, navigating through the options as our community grapples with this situation is challenging on many levels.

Above all, we at the College of Engineering strive to put the health, safety and well-being of our community first. This requires great flexibility, compassion and patience. However, please be certain we are here to support your student’s needs.

You received a message from the University late last week. In it, President Mark S. Schlissel reinforced the importance of students moving back to their permanent residence as soon as possible, if it is an option for them to do so. I do understand that some students will need to remain on campus for various reasons, and we will work diligently to ensure their safety and well-being. However, for those who can return to their permanent residence, we strongly urge them to do so, and we hope you will support us in sharing this message.

Please consult with your student about their choice and encourage them to complete the University’s survey to indicate their status.

Following the lead of the University, we have also decided to cancel the College of Engineering Graduation scheduled for 2 May, 2020. Large gatherings are not currently safe, and we want to provide as much notice as possible about the change for those who are actively making arrangements. I want to acknowledge and appreciate the thousands of students who have worked diligently for years, and know that I share your disappointment. We will look for ways to celebrate 2020 graduates in the future.

As your students begin their coursework remotely, please help them make the transition. Online learning is a very different experience, and your student may struggle to make the adjustment – particularly in the midst of the uncertainty and confusion that is bound to be present in the first week. This resource is available to help them transition to an online learning environment. Above all, patience and diligence will be required.

The University is committed to providing ongoing updates and a comprehensive FAQ page to assist students and families in gathering as much information as possible. Please check this website regularly. In addition, the College has created our COVID-19 resources site, which will provide information for our community.

We are aware that students may be experiencing a broad range of emotions right now, including fear, disappointment, and frustration. If you have a student in need, please do not hesitate to reach out to our team. Some key resources to highlight at this time include:

In the coming days and weeks, I want you to know that I and the rest of the College leadership remain committed to supporting your students, and protecting the health, safety and well-being of our community. I look forward to the day when we can return to the classrooms and to our commitment to in-person instruction and experiential learning. Until then, we will lead with our values to support each other through these difficult times. Transparency, collegiality, leadership, daring and, as always, fulfilling our mission to serve the common good.

Be well,
Dean Gallimore