Dear Lawrentians, 

Thank you for your overwhelming reaction to my note sent last Wednesday. Your ingenuity, support and advice are helping us transition to distance learning and to do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19. You have also shown your generosity, care, and support for our students in immediate and tangible ways. Our student food pantryreports significant increased support from many of you and we have also seen wonderful contributions to the Supporting Our Students Emergency Fund.

These have been turbulent times for all of us. Yesterday, I sent a message to our students, faculty, and staff about the way in which recent changes will impact our lives as we prepare for Spring Term. I also took a moment to record a short video to share my thoughts with the campus community as we adjust to this new normal. 

To read my full message to campus, please visit our COVID-19 News site, where you can stay up to date on everything the University is doing to address the pandemic.

As you can imagine, this has been a challenging few weeks for all of us, as I know it has for you. Guidance on how to address the spread of COVID-19 changes daily, sometimes hourly. Yesterday morning, at the direction of Governor Tony Evers, Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary Designee Andrea Palm issued a safer at home order effective today.  

We are focused on ensuring continuity of Lawrence’s operations and functions so that we may continue to deliver on our educational mission. Shared Governance continues to operate: Faculty committees are actively addressing policy issues from instruction to curriculum; LUCC leadership is working to adjust its meeting processes and will continue to represent students.  And we are engaged in ongoing counsel with the Board of Trustees. Core functions in all operational divisions continue and a COVID-19 management team meets daily to handle Lawrence’s response to this situation. 

As we work to adhere to our new statewide guidance and prepare for Spring Term, I want to take a moment to remind us all that our bonds as Lawrentians will endure. Community is a hallmark of the Lawrence experience. I mourn the loss of the vibrancy of the Spring Term. While it will be different, we must find ways of sustaining our social connection.  In these difficult times, we must work to sustain connections via social media, electronic gatherings, and other virtual means. 

Social connection is more important now than ever.  In that spirit, we promise to update our social media accounts to give you a sense of what’s happening at Lawrence. We hope that you will share your experiences with us as well. Please feel free to contact me or other Lawrence colleagues via email or telephone to offer suggestions and ideas or just to hang out. These connections will make us stronger as a community and as individuals.  

I have faith we will weather this crisis together as we have before. Homer, David, and I look forward to having our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents back on campus soon. 

Be well and make choices that keep others well,

Mark

Mark Burstein
President, Lawrence University