fbpx

Coronavirus Updates

Christendom College wants students to return to campus in the fall so that our vibrant Catholic educational apostolate and community can again thrive in the way it is intended to. With this desire in mind, and considering the Governor of Virginia’s plan to reopen the Commonwealth, we are happy to provide you with the following information:

  • Fall 2020Christendom College will resume its on-campus, residential operations in the Fall of 2020 according to our normal academic schedule. New students will come to campus on August 21, returning students will join us on August 22, and classes will begin on August 25. We are working hard even now to ensure that we are prepared to the extent possible to protect the College community’s health while preserving the nature of our educational experience. The College Administration has been exploring this topic at great length. To supplement its work, we will be creating a Task Force to help us further prepare for contingencies that may arise both before the semester begins and during the academic year. This Task Force will include administrators and faculty, and will seek expert medical opinions and the best approaches from other small educational institutions. While no segment of society can guarantee that there will be no cases of the Coronavirus in the days ahead, we are a small residential school, with the ability to put in place reasonable protocols, partner with healthcare professionals, sanitize prudently, and increase awareness of helpful practices to reduce the likelihood of infection and its spread. We are committed to this approach and will share more about what we are doing as the new semester approaches.
  • Commencement Exercises – We are excited to announce that we will hold our Commencement Exercises for the Class of 2020 on Sunday, August 9.  While seniors will have technically graduated by May 30 (after grades are recorded) and can access transcripts as needed at that time, we couldn’t imagine them losing the opportunity to come together as a class to celebrate their remarkable achievement. More information will be forthcoming to graduates and their families.  Patrick Madrid is confirmed that he can attend as our Commencement speaker on this date. Given the current timeline for reopening Virginia, this date is safely beyond the Governor’s restrictions on gatherings of this kind. Returning students are scheduled to come to campus for early training and various camps at this time, so this new date also makes good sense given the College schedule. All Commencement events will be held on this single day. Unfortunately, circumstances require that we limit attendance to graduating students, parents, faculty, and staff.
  • Enrollment and Financial Assistance – As of this email, our indicators for fall enrollment look very good. We expect to have a good size freshman class and solid overall enrollment. Because some toll from the COVID-19 response is still unclear, we appeal to any family that is seeing impacts from this situation that may affect your ability to attend Christendom in the fall to reach out to Mr. Tom McFadden, our Vice President of Enrollment, as soon as possible. We are working with donors to provide assistance to impacted families where possible. We are eager for every interested freshmen and returning student to join us in the fall and will do all we can to assist you if needed.
Information for Fall 2020

Christendom College will resume its on-campus, residential operations in the Fall of 2020 according to our normal academic schedule. New students will come to campus on August 21, returning students will join us on August 22, and classes will begin on August 25. We are working hard even now to ensure that we are prepared to the extent possible to protect the College community’s health while preserving the nature of our educational experience. The College Administration has been exploring this topic at great length. To supplement its work, we will be creating a Task Force to help us further prepare for contingencies that may arise both before the semester begins and during the academic year. This Task Force will include administrators and faculty, and will seek expert medical opinions and the best approaches from other small educational institutions. While no segment of society can guarantee that there will be no cases of the Coronavirus in the days ahead, we are a small residential school, with the ability to put in place reasonable protocols, partner with healthcare professionals, sanitize prudently, and increase awareness of helpful practices to reduce the likelihood of infection and its spread. We are committed to this approach and will share more about what we are doing as the new semester approaches.

Commencement Information

 We are excited to announce that we will hold our Commencement Exercises for the Class of 2020 on Sunday, August 9.  While seniors will have technically graduated by May 30 (after grades are recorded) and can access transcripts as needed at that time, we couldn’t imagine them losing the opportunity to come together as a class to celebrate their remarkable achievement. More information will be forthcoming to graduates and their families.  Patrick Madrid is confirmed that he can attend as our Commencement speaker on this date. Given the current timeline for reopening Virginia, this date is safely beyond the Governor’s restrictions on gatherings of this kind. Returning students are scheduled to come to campus for early training and various camps at this time, so this new date also makes good sense given the College schedule. All Commencement events will be held on this single day. Unfortunately, circumstances require that we limit attendance to graduating students, parents, faculty, and staff.

Academic Information for Students

To access your classes, go to the Library’s Class Pages site, which you should all be familiar with already. All online material will be hosted through this site. You will need a two-stage login to make full use of this module: to access the Class Pages, you’ll be required to login to the library’s site using your Christendom ID; to access many of the materials on the page, you’ll need to sign in to Office 365 using your Office 365 account. On the class pages you will find links to streamable lectures, assignments and quizzes, and all required course materials: we’re aware, of course, that many of your will have left your textbooks on campus – so each reading will be posted online. If you have difficulty accessing this site, please contact doug@christendom.edu or stephen.pilon@christendom.edu.

Your professors will be in contact with you (possibly via email, possibly via Class Pages) regarding revised expectations for their courses. Expect that your courses’ assignment and grading structures will have changed; it will be your responsibility to keep up with the new requirements.

This system will work only if students hold themselves to high levels of academic integrity. In particular, we ask that you:

  • Commit to academic honesty. Online instruction will inevitably offer more opportunities to cheat than in-person classes. Please, for good of your soul and the common good, resist this temptation. Ordinary penalties for plagiarism and cheating will remain in force.
  • Recognize that all course materials presented online remain the academic property of the those who produced it; in the case of lectures and slide shows, your professors. Do not copy or distribute these materials; if you do download some materials, delete them when the semester is over.

All lectures for all courses will be recorded and uploaded to the Class Pages website. You are required to keep up with the lectures, but can do so at a time convenient for you.

Some professors may choose, as an added enhancement, to offer a lecture live-streamed. Mr. Janaro is currently working out a schedule for such classes to ensure that a) livestreaming classes do not overlap with each other and b) the livestreaming lectures take place at times that are accessible to students across US time zones. If your professor chooses to do this, it’s because he is willing and able to take on extra work and navigate more technical difficulties for you; it would be courteous of you to login at the appropriate time if you are able to do so. If you do this, you may even be able to ask questions during the lecture, just as you would in class.

You would not, however, be required stream the lecture live. Professors who choose to livestream recognize that some students may not be able to stream the course live. Because of this, they will also record the livestreamed lecture and upload it to Class Pages.

Other notes for the beginning of online coursework:

  • You will need you College ID number to access Class Pages, WorldCat, and Online Resources
  • To get help with setting up Office 365 accounts, email support@christendom.edu
  • If you have books or other library materials out (including Interlibrary Loan), please hold on to them for now.
    • We are not expecting them to be returned until you return
    • No fines will be charges
    • We have tried to turn off overdue notices, but it is not always that simple. If you get notices, please ignore for now
  • The Class Pages main page (https://library.christendom.edu/classpages) will be a main source for all kinds of information
    • We are working to set up a Chat feature for you to ask questions, including some FAQs to the most frequently asked questions as they arise
    • Please check this page when you have questions – they may be answered already
    • If you have a question, it can be asked on Class Pages – just look for the Ask Us box (coming soon)
  • You will find schedule adjustments in  every course. The loss of this week, if nothing else, will demand it. Please log on to Class Pages on Monday morning to see what your new schedule will be (if you log on now, you’re likely to find no page – or a page under construction).
  • You’re likely to find that due dates for papers, etc. have changed significantly. From what I have seen, it’s likely that a number of your professors will have materials due in the last week of class: though we ordinarily try to avoid this, the time crunch this term makes it unavoidable. Procrastination – in paper writing, course readings, and listening to lectures – will be a natural temptation. It will be very important for you to resist this temptation in the coming weeks. The online course schedule may allow you to put things off – but if you put everything off, you’ll be in a bad way in the last week or so of the semester.
  • Finally, as always, you’ll want to keep up communication with your professors regarding assignments, course information, etc.

Remember that our Academic Success Coaches will be available for assistance via the Internet.  They can be contacted at maribeth.kelly@christendom.edu or maura.eckels@christendom.edu .

Thank you for your patience as we navigate this difficult time together. It’s inevitable that issues will pop up – but we are convinced we can overcome them with patience, charity, and clear communication. If you have any questions or concerns about this new instructional system or any obstacles you encounter in using it, please contact Academic Dean Ben Reinhard at ben.reinhard@christendom.edu. Stay safe and healthy. Pray for us, as we’re praying for you.

Residential Information for Students

Room and Board Refunds

The College will be refunding the prorated amount of room and board fees to you for the portion of the semester you have been away. Most of these fees are used early in the semester to meet contractual, maintenance, and staffing responsibilities. As a result, the College will be working hard to cover the cost of the refund through strategic cost savings and reductions in other parts of our overall budget. Refund details are as follows:

  • Period and Amount of Refund – The College will refund room and board fees to students, covering the period of March 15, 2020 to the end of the semester. This refund includes the extra week of Spring Break since this extra week was not already on the College calendar. The amount of the refund will be reduced by any outstanding amounts owed by the student for the semester. If there are no reductions for amounts owed, the full refund will be $1,549 for Room and $1,244 for Board ($2,793 total).
  • Refund FormHere is the form to assist you in selecting how the College should handle your refund. It will also be mailed to you along with a statement of your Spring semester student account activity. Please return this form by email or U.S. mail no later than April 30. With this form you can:
    1. Request a check be sent to the address indicated, less any amounts owed for the semester;
    2. Apply some or all of any credit balance toward the Fall 2020 semester as a way to help you and the College plan ahead for next semester (all Seniors will receive a check for any refund amount for which they are eligible unless they choose option “c”); or
    3. Apply some or all of any credit balance as a charitable donation to the College if circumstances allow you to do so (please see request below).
  • Timing of Refund Checks – For those requesting a check rather than a credit, the Business Office will process refunds as soon as possible and no later than May 15 for those who return forms by April 30.
  • Possible Charitable Contribution – The College will undoubtedly experience some short-term challenges resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic. It is also possible that prospective and returning students will find attending or returning in the Fall to be more challenging based on economic impacts. For those families in a position to do so, I humbly ask that you consider donating some or all of your room and board refund, if you can, to support Christendom’s student financial aid for the Fall. Such a donation may be tax deductible and would greatly benefit students who may experience a wide range of personal circumstances. We certainly understand that many of you will not be in a position to make a donation of this kind in these uncertain times, but we are grateful for any family that can consider such a gift.

Please feel free to reach out to Bonnie Williams (bwilliams@christendom.edu) in the Billing Office with any questions regarding the refunds. We are working in many ways to ensure that we remain good stewards of the resources with which the College has been blessed. Our able Staff and Faculty are working hard to reduce costs and expenses while planning for all possible contingencies as this pandemic continues to unfold. The College is blessed to be in a sound financial position, able to consider today’s challenges with calm and to plan prudently for the future. We do not approach this moment with fear, but holy trust. God has never failed Christendom College when we have given Him our faith and hope. Most importantly, we are also blessed by wonderful and faith-filled students, parents, and benefactors who have made our educational apostolate possible for more than 40 years. Thank you for your continued trust in us as we face this challenge together.

Residence Hall Move Out

We have developed a plan for Move Out, but we want to stress that this plan is dependent on the progression of the virus and the government mandates that may be put in place in the future. The plan for Move Out described below may need to be adjusted as the situation develops, and we will communicate with you if anything changes.

If you cannot come to campus—please email residencelife@christendom.edu to tell us that you cannot come to campus. Include your name, hall, and room number and whether you would like us to store your belongings on campus until you return in the fall or ship your belongings to you at a particular address. Please note: Shipping is only an option for students who are graduating or not returning to campus in the fall. Shipments will be made near the end of May once other students have moved out of the halls.

If you can come to campus—our priority for Move Out is your safety and the safety of our entire community. To ensure the safest process possible, we have scheduled a ten-day stretch of Move Out days that will allow a limited number of students to enter the halls at a given time, reducing the risk of exposure.

The link to sign up for Move Out will be sent to your Christendom email address.

Move Out will last from Friday, May 15th through Sunday, May 24th. Each floor/wing/house will have three slots open in the morning and three in the afternoon per day for residents to move out. This limited number of slots per morning/afternoon shift will allow us to practice recommended social distancing. You are only allowed to sign up for one slot (morning or afternoon).

Please note:

  • If your travel is flexible, please sign up for a time slot later in the Move Out period or wait to sign up. This will give students who have difficult traveling circumstances time to sign up for a slot that best suits their situation. If you live within 2-3 hours’ drive of the College, please sign up for a morning slot so other who live farther away can drive during the morning and move out in the afternoon.
  • Students traveling to campus for Move Out will not be able to stay overnight in the halls. We do not have the means to safely host you in the halls at this time. If you need to stay overnight, you must find your own off-campus accommodations. Similarly, we cannot provide shuttles or airport transportation.
  • We will send you further instructions once you select a date and time, but please plan on making your Move Out as brief as possible. We know it will be difficult to be on campus for only a short time, but the focus has to be on quickly retrieving your belongings.
  • If you can only collect some of your things, please pack up what you cannot take home and we will store the rest on campus for you.
  • A student can only bring one additional person, if necessary, to assist with their Move Out.

Thank you again for your patience and good spirits during this time and as we put this new process into place.

Christ the King Chapel Information

On March 16, Bishop Burbidge announced via a video message that until further notice, all public celebrations of the Mass are canceled throughout the Diocese. As a result, no public Masses will be offered in Christendom’s Chapel of Christ the King until further notice. Bishop Burbidge has asked pastors to keep churches open to the public, so that those who choose to pray, are welcome to do so in the presence of our Eucharistic Lord, while keeping a safe distance from one another and not exceeding the 10-person limit. With public celebrations of the Sunday Mass canceled, the faithful are encouraged to devote time to prayer, observe Mass on television or the internet, and pray the Rosary along with other devotions. The Diocese co-sponsors a televised Sunday Mass with the Archdiocese of Washington. It takes place at the Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington and is available at 10:30am on Sundays on two local TV stations as well as online. Go to ArlingtonDiocese.org/TVMass for more information or to view the Mass.

Confession will still be available in the Chapel from 11-11:30 am, Monday-Saturday.

Information for Faculty and Staff

Governor Northam ordered Virginia residents to shelter in place, going out of their homes only for limited purposes. In this order, he stated:

Institutions of higher education shall cease all in-person classes and instruction, and cancel all gatherings of more than ten individuals. For purposes of facilitating remote learning, performing critical research, or performing essential functions, institutions of higher education may continue to operate, provided that social distancing requirements are maintained.

Some practical notes concerning the implications for us of the Governor’s order and the College’s decision to keep the residential aspects of our program closed for the semester:

  • Remote Work – The language of the Governor’s Executive Order does not change the College’s current mode of operation.  However, the College wants to remain sensitive to any employee’s preference to work from home in this circumstance if the nature of the position is conducive to it. Some of you are already working from home.  Please reach out to your supervisor if you are still working on campus and now prefer to work remotely. Decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.  As indicated before, if you are sick, immunocompromised, caring for a sick family member, or having difficulty with childcare options please explore remote work options with your supervisor at this time.
  • Personnel in Student Support Positions – Department heads will be working with employees in departments that are primarily focused on supporting students on campus to determine the best course of action at this time. Some employees will be asked to take on tasks outside of their job description (or continue doing so) to support essential College functions.  Recent legislation provides a greater array of options to provide financial security for employees whose positions have been impacted by restrictions while continuing benefits coverage for those who are enrolled. The Business Office will be working with Department heads to reach out to employees in this category to walk through next steps.
  • Access to Campus – Faculty and Staff may continue to access buildings on campus as they currently do, while practicing social distancing. We ask that you avoid congregating in indoor common areas for extended periods and in groups of more than 10 at any time. There are no new restrictions on Faculty concerning use of their individual offices for work or recording of classes.  Current policies concerning other buildings on campus remain unchanged from the last communication.
  • A number of College buildings will be closed altogether or closed to the public.  The gymnasium will be closed.  The St. Lawrence Commons will only be open to kitchen staff and professors who may utilize classroom space for their online instruction. The Chapel will remain open, but no public Masses will be celebrated there until the Diocese informs us of a change. The Library will be open to Faculty and Staff who have a reason to use the facilities for online instruction and related support. The Student Center will be closed to all but the staff who office there.
  • Employees should not incur expenses beyond those that are absolutely necessary at this time as part of an overall effort to reduce, to the extent possible, the economic impacts to the College of the pandemic.  We are blessed to be in sound financial health and do not need to take dramatic steps in terms of our personnel or programs at this time.

For those who need space to record lectures, rooms will be available to schedule for 30-minute slots, up to 90-minutes max per class (see list of rooms below). There is no practical limit on booking back-to-back sessions, but please keep in mind that others may need the spaces as well.

The address for booking the rooms is: https://library.christendom.edu/online-booking

To book a room, pick the day, then click on the start time for the room from the grid. Below the grid you will see an option to pick an end time. Then hit Submit and fill out the form. Please include the Course Code (e.g., ENGL 102) so that we can keep track of what is where. Also, please state whether it is synchronous or not.

For now we have hours available from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm. We will modify the hours as needed as we move forward.

Rooms Available:

  • Library
    • Classrooms I-VII
    • Study Rooms II-IV
    • Senior Study
    • Rare Book Room
  • St Lawrence
    • Classrooms II-IV

There will be many additional issues to consider in the days ahead.  We will continue to regularly communicate with you during this situation. Thank you for all you do and will be doing during this difficult time. May all the things we are experiencing now be brought to God’s great glory, and may we seek new ways to lift one another up in prayer and charity.

Official College Statements

May 13, 2020

Dear Christendom Faculty, Staff, Students, and Families,

Pax Christi!  Know that my prayers are with each of you on this great feast of Our Lady of Fatima. Christendom College has long been entrusted to Our Lady of Fatima as our patroness. How often we have seen her powerful intercession through difficult moments in the life of the College! We continue to look to her during this time of hardship for so many in our country and world.

We find ourselves coming to the end of a very strange and, in many ways, difficult academic year. My heart goes out to each of you, especially our seniors and Rome students, for the challenges that were unexpectedly placed in your lives. At the same time, I am profoundly grateful for the tremendous faith and abandonment to God’s will that I have seen from you in so many ways. I have been truly inspired by the efforts of our tremendous faculty to deliver high quality instruction in less-than-ideal circumstances. The work of students to remain positive and engaged despite finding yourselves vying for internet bandwidth and quiet spaces to study has been a gift. I am comforted by the extraordinary work of our staff in supporting online instruction while doing all that can be done to maintain the financial health of the College. We have remained united in prayer and are strengthened by the awareness that this trial, in God’s providence, shall eventually pass.

One thing is certain – we want students to return to campus in the fall so that our vibrant Catholic educational apostolate and community can again thrive in the way it is intended to. With this desire in mind, and considering the Governor of Virginia’s plan to reopen the Commonwealth, I am very happy to provide you with the following information:

  • Fall 2020Christendom College will resume its on-campus, residential operations in the Fall of 2020 according to our normal academic schedule. New students will come to campus on August 21, returning students will join us on August 22, and classes will begin on August 25. We are working hard even now to ensure that we are prepared to the extent possible to protect the College community’s health while preserving the nature of our educational experience. The College Administration has been exploring this topic at great length. To supplement its work, I will be creating a Task Force to help us further prepare for contingencies that may arise both before the semester begins and during the academic year. This Task Force will include administrators and faculty, and will seek expert medical opinions and the best approaches from other small educational institutions. While no segment of society can guarantee that there will be no cases of the Coronavirus in the days ahead, we are a small residential school, with the ability to put in place reasonable protocols, partner with healthcare professionals, sanitize prudently, and increase awareness of helpful practices to reduce the likelihood of infection and its spread. We are committed to this approach and will share more about what we are doing as the new semester approaches.
  • Commencement Exercises – We are excited to announce that we will hold our Commencement Exercises for the Class of 2020 on Sunday, August 9.  While seniors will have technically graduated by May 30 (after grades are recorded) and can access transcripts as needed at that time, we couldn’t imagine them losing the opportunity to come together as a class to celebrate their remarkable achievement. More information will be forthcoming to graduates and their families.  Patrick Madrid is confirmed that he can attend as our Commencement speaker on this date. Given the current timeline for reopening Virginia, this date is safely beyond the Governor’s restrictions on gatherings of this kind. Returning students are scheduled to come to campus for early training and various camps at this time, so this new date also makes good sense given the College schedule. All Commencement events will be held on this single day. Unfortunately, circumstances require that we limit attendance to graduating students, parents, faculty, and staff.
  • Enrollment and Financial Assistance – As of this email, our indicators for fall enrollment look very good. We expect to have a good size freshman class and solid overall enrollment. Because some toll from the COVID-19 response is still unclear, I appeal to any family that is seeing impacts from this situation that may affect your ability to attend Christendom in the fall to reach out to Mr. Tom McFadden, our Vice President of Enrollment, as soon as possible. We are working with donors to provide assistance to impacted families where possible. We are eager for every interested freshmen and returning student to join us in the fall and will do all we can to assist you if needed.

As we move forward together, it is important to remember that our Catholic liberal arts education is more than just the information that is imparted. We explore the deepest truths within a thriving Catholic community. We ponder the proper mode of human knowing through study, but also from example. We place the life-giving channels of our faith in the very center of our day, relying on the sacramental life of the Church to deepen our experience of God even as we deepen our academic understanding of His handiwork. One deep blessing from our time apart is a growing appreciation—for all of us—of how important the in-person, on-campus experience is for a school such as ours.

Our beloved founder, Dr. Warren Carroll, had a tremendous devotion to Mary in her apparition to the three small children in Portugal, even attributing his recovery from an early stroke to the presence of the Pilgrim Virgin statue in his hospital room. Mother Mary urged us to rely on the Rosary as a weapon against evil and as a refuge in which we can deepen our love of Jesus Christ. She made the powerful statement that He “wishes to establish devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world. I promise salvation to those who embrace it; and these souls will be beloved of God like flowers arranged by me to adorn His throne.” The consecrations to the Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart that we make regularly at the College reflect our trust in Our Lady’s promises. Let us turn to her now as we return to campus in the days ahead.

I look forward to seeing you very soon. Count on my continued prayers for you and your families as we move forward in trust and peace.

In Cordibus Jesu et Mariae,

Dr. Timothy O’Donnell

March 30, 2020

“With God, the more one seems to lose the more one gains. The more He strikes off of what is natural, the more He gives of what is supernatural. He is loved at first for His gifts, but when these are no longer perceptible He is at last loved for Himself. It is by the apparent withdrawal of these sensible gifts that He prepares the way for that great gift which is the most precious and the most extensive of all, since it embraces all others.” – Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Dear Christendom College Students, Parents, Faculty and Staff:

Pax Christi!  Know that you remain in my prayers at this extremely difficult time in our country and world. We pray intensely for those who have lost their lives, those in harm’s way, and all of the amazing everyday heroes who are providing medical care, ensuring that families have the food and supplies they require and helping neighbors in need. We continue to pray for the end of this pandemic as soon as possible as we struggle through this season of deep penance which has us crying out to God for the light of the Resurrection. I was deeply moved to see our Holy Father, alone and seeming somewhat frail, interceding for us in the Piazza of St. Peter’s Basilica last week, delivering his special Urbi et Orbi message. Pope Francis was surrounded by symbols of God’s power and fidelity, the ancient icon of Mary Salus Populi Romani from the Basilica of St. Mary Major, and the miraculous crucifix kept in the church of San Marcello which helped to eradicate the great plague in Rome in 1522. He reminded us of the Apostles’ frantic words to Jesus as He slept in the boat which was rocked and buffeted by an intense storm – “Teacher, do you not care if we perish?” Jesus’ response is apt for us today, too – “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” Our faith remains firm in Jesus Christ, and it leads us to a calm surrender and the peace of knowing that the Master is always with us, even now.

I write primarily to update you regarding the College’s response to the Covid-19 virus. President Trump just announced an extension of social distancing guidelines until April 30.  Today, Virginia’s governor, Ralph Northam, announced a “stay at home” order for Virginia, which, at this time, extends through June 10.  The order explicitly requires institutions of higher learning to cease any in-person classes and cancel all gatherings of more than 10 individuals.  Given these developments, and for the safety and well-being of our Christendom Community, Christendom College will extend “online-only” instruction and keep the residential aspects of its programs closed for the remainder of the semester.

This step is an extremely painful one, especially when thinking of our Senior Class.  Even now, our goal is to continue to provide as strong a sense of support and community for students, faculty, and staff as possible. We provide the following information related to our decision to offer only online instruction through the end of the semester:

  1. Commencement ExercisesCommencement Exercises are postponed, and will be held on campus for our Senior Class and their families at a date yet to be determined, hopefully in late Spring or early summer.  We will communicate more information as soon as possible regarding a new date, as circumstances permit.
  2. Refunds of Room and BoardThe College will communicate by April 6 (as originally planned) about its refund policy for room and board costs and any related steps that students and their families may need to take, if any.
  3. Student Life Concerns and Access to Belongings:  Miss Amanda Graf will communicate to students on April 6 about access to belongings and available storage options at the College.

In this moment it feels as if so much of what we rely upon is being stripped away. Certain longings of our heart – material, familial, sacramental – are being denied to us one by one in most parts of the country. Some of us have already lost loved ones to this virus or experienced the intense pain of not being able to attend the funeral of a family member due to restrictions.  Many of us probably began on Ash Wednesday making an earnest prayer that God would grant us a “good Lent.” Perhaps what we are experiencing now is not what we bargained for.  But now is the right time to reflect on Jean-Pierre de Caussade’s words from the opening of this letter.  The more we seem to be losing and the emptier we become of false reliance on the things to which we may have become too attached, the more space Jesus is making for Himself. He emptied Himself completely on the Cross and now asks us to do as He did. The opportunity to deepen our love of Christ, especially in this moment of crisis, is especially great. This is a powerful test of our trust and ability to rely exclusively on the One whose sacrifice for our sake shook the heavens and the earth as He conquered death itself.  But if we do trust in Him, He will not disappoint us.

Please continue to pray with me the prayer below as we journey toward Easter, entrusting all of our intentions to Jesus Christ through the intercession of Our Blessed Mother.

Sincerely in the Heart of Christ,

Dr. Timothy O’Donnell

______

Prayer to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

O Most Blessed Mother, heart of love, heart of mercy, ever listening, caring, consoling, hear our prayer.

As your children, we implore your intercession with Jesus your Son.

Receive with understanding and compassion the petitions we place before you today, especially for protection and healing for all peoples, entrusting to you our College community, parishes, priests, religious, Bishops, families, healthcare workers, and each one of us.

We are comforted in knowing your heart is ever open to those who ask for your prayer.

We trust to your gentle care and intercession, those whom we love and who are sick or lonely or hurting.

Help all of us, Holy Mother, to bear our burdens in this life until we may share eternal life and peace with God forever.

Amen.

March 17, 2020

“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that in due time he may exalt you. Cast all your worries upon him for he cares for you.  Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world.” – 1 Peter 5:6-10

Dear Christendom College Students, Parents, Faculty and Staff:

Pax Christi!  In the passage above, St. Peter calls us to courage and holy trust, urging us, especially at a time such as this, to resist temptations to despair, anger, or uncharity. In a moment like this one—where we are unable even to receive Our Eucharistic Lord in some places—we can be tempted to doubt God’s goodness and mercy.  But our faith is mightier than this moment, our hope rooted in something more than the difficulties of the day.  Jesus Christ remains with us always.

Having taken stock of the situation in our nation and with holy trust in God’s providence, I write today to inform you that Christendom College has decided to move to online instruction for students beginning next Monday, March 23.  This step is taken with the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff in mind, along with that of the elderly and immunocompromised among us.

We sincerely pray that students would be able to return as early as April 14, during Easter week, and that a celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection might coincide with a joyous reuniting of our Christendom Community. Given the latest restrictions, however, and the spread of the COVID-19 virus, this possibility is beginning to appear less and less likely. We will inform the community by April 6 about the feasibility of students returning to campus after Easter.  Even if students are able to return to campus during the semester, all should plan on continuing online teaching so as to ensure that students do not need to adjust a third time to changing modes of instruction in already stressful circumstances.

This prudential judgment has been extremely difficult to make but is necessary given a number of factors, including the new recommendations of President Trump, the state of emergency declared by Virginia’s governor, and the recent recommendations of the Center for Disease Control. In addition, we have also been informed by our bishop that all Masses in the Diocese of Arlington have been cancelled until further notice.  Our Chaplains must also abide by this directive and have cancelled all Masses in the Chapel of Christ the King. We all bear responsibility for prudent restrictions at this time.

Christendom College has decided to take the following steps to ensure the health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff, especially the most vulnerable members of our community:

  1. Online Instruction to Begin March 23Academic Dean Ben Reinhard will communicate with students today, March 17, about logistics for accessing class material and communicating with professors. All online course material will be hosted on the Library’s familiar Class Pages website.
  2. Student Life Concerns and Access to Belongings: Access to campus to retrieve belongings will be restricted.  Miss Amanda Graf will communicate to students today, March 17, about this issue as well as a range of Student Life concerns and can be reached via email with individual questions.
  3. On Campus Building Closure: On campus buildings like the gymnasium, commons and library will be closed to the public, and available only to faculty and staff who have a need to utilize them.
  4. Current On-Campus Precautions:  All key areas of campus will receive a “deep clean” this week, we will continue to regularly disinfect “touch points” (e.g. doorknobs, faucet handles, etc.), and will do our best to ensure that the hand sanitizer stations in campus buildings are always resupplied.

I am deeply saddened that our students cannot receive their full residential educational experience during this time. Yet God’s ways are not our ways, and in this challenging time we should deepen our prayer, asking for insight in how we can best act for his greater glory even now. So often throughout history, Christian witness in times of trial moved others to embrace the faith. Our faith and peace of soul is surely meant to be a shining light needed by a weary and broken world. What a powerful message God can convey through us if we let Him, showing others our faith in a life after this earthly existence, and our hope in Our Savior who bears our suffering and sin to make possible our eternal happiness

I would like to share with you the prayer that we are reciting at my parish that seems particularly appropriate now. I ask that you join me in praying it every day, entrusting all of our intentions to Jesus Christ through the intercession of Our Blessed Mother.

Sincerely in the Heart of Christ,

Dr. Timothy O’Donnell

______

Prayer to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

O Most Blessed Mother, heart of love, heart of mercy, ever listening, caring, consoling, hear our prayer.

As your children, we implore your intercession with Jesus your Son.

Receive with understanding and compassion the petitions we place before you today, especially for protection and healing for all peoples, entrusting to you our parish, families, healthcare workers, and each one of us.

We are comforted in knowing your heart is ever open to those who ask for your prayer.

We trust to your gentle care and intercession, those whom we love and who are sick or lonely or hurting.

Help all of us, Holy Mother, to bear our burdens in this life until we may share eternal life and peace with God forever.

Amen.

March 12, 2020

Dear Christendom College Students, Parents, Faculty and Staff:

Pax Christi! You are all in my prayers as we continue along our Holy Season of Lent.

Since I last communicated with you, circumstances in the United States concerning the COVID-19 virus have changed rapidly. We have been carefully monitoring the situation in Warren County, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the country at large. Dramatic steps are being taken in many places to limit the spread of COVID-19 in all sectors.  In some places, the governors of states have urged educational institutions to suspend in-person instruction and move to online formats.  We have already done this for our Rome Semester, and are grateful that we did not delay in bringing our students home.  There are confirmed cases in Virginia now, but no serious threat in or around the college at this time.

Given the rapid nature of developments concerning COVID-19, the college has decided to take the following steps to ensure the health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff, especially the most vulnerable members of our community:

  1. Extension of Spring Break:  Spring Break will be extended through Friday, March 20. We ask that students make appropriate arrangements so as not to return to campus as originally planned.  We know that this extension of Spring Break may cause some difficulties for you in making flight adjustments and other accommodations. Please be in touch with Amanda Graf (amanda.graf@christendom.edu) in Student Life if significant hardships result from this.
  2. Monitoring of Circumstances and Preparation for Online Instruction: During the extended Spring Break period, the college will continue to monitor changing circumstances.
    1. If the situation with the virus appears to stabilize and prudence allows us to resume on-campus classes with the short delay, we will do so on Monday, March 23.
    2. If, however, the situation in Virginia worsens significantly or government officials advise educational institutions to suspend in-person instruction, the college will move to an online format for class instruction. During this extended Spring Break period, professors will be preparing the tools to be able to offer online instruction to all students should we determine it is necessary. In the event of a move to online instruction, we hope this will be temporary and to be able to resume regular on-campus classes by Easter. Faculty will make instructional materials and readings available online, and students should not return to campus during this interim period to retrieve their books or other school materials.
  3. Time of Decision Concerning Suspension of In-Person Instruction:  The college will communicate its decision about whether students will return to campus for classes following the extended break or move to online instruction no later than Wednesday, March 18.
  4. Current On Campus Precautions:  On campus, we will continue to take precautions to ensure buildings and facilities are as clean as possible. This includes having our house keeping staff increase the number of times they disinfect “touch points” (e.g. doorknobs, faucet handles, etc.), and ensuring that the hand sanitizer stations in campus buildings are always resupplied. We also remain in contact with key health officials to ensure we are in the best possible position should students be asked to return in the near future.

I understand that our college experience is meant to be residential and that our relational formation and community life are essential to our program.  No online instruction can adequately be a substitute for the classroom instruction and the shared life in the faith that make our college what it is.  It is with a heavy heart that we consider extending the online instruction already in place for our Rome students to the student body at large, especially for our graduating seniors in their last semester. Yet we must still be prudent in this moment of difficulty for the world.

I ask that you join me in prayer for the situation worldwide.  We must pray for calmness, charity, and care for the affected, as well as an end to the outbreak.  The Holy Father’s prayer for these intentions can be found below.  We will be praying this prayer together at the college for the foreseeable future and hope you will do so as well.

We find ourselves in a difficult moment, and I understand that it is not easy to keep anxiety and anger at bay.  Our hope is in Jesus Christ, and He will not abandon us. Now is the time to be prudent and seek to live out our Christian call.  Whatever the future holds, as Catholic Christians we should look for the opportunity to assist the most vulnerable in our communities at this time. Fitting for Lent, we should also redouble our prayers and consider all we decide to do through the lens of charity.  As we prepare our hearts for the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Our Lord, let us remain where His Blessed Mother is, standing by Him at His darkest hour, bearing all things with steadfast fidelity and trust in the hope and new life that springs forth from the dead wood of the Cross.

Sincerely in the Heart of Christ,

Dr. Timothy O’Donnell

______

Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary for Protection

O Mary, you shine continuously on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick.
At the foot of the Cross you participated in Jesus’ pain,
with steadfast faith.
You, Salvation of the Roman People, know what we need.
We are certain that you will provide, so that,
as you did at Cana of Galilee,
joy and feasting might return after this moment of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform ourselves to the Father’s will
and to do what Jesus tells us:
He who took our sufferings upon Himself, and bore our sorrows to bring us,
through the Cross, to the joy of the Resurrection. Amen.
We seek refuge under your protection, O Holy Mother of God.
Do not despise our pleas – we who are put to the test – and deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.

March 9: Update to Christendom Students, Parents, Faculty and Staff

The following update regarding the coronavirus was issued to Christendom students, parents, faculty and staff from College President Dr. Timothy O’Donnell:

Dear Christendom College Students, Parents, Faculty and Staff:

Pax Christi! I pray that all is well with you and that you are enjoying Spring Break.

Naturally, with the COVID-19 virus growing in intensity in the United States and around the world, many of you have questions about returning to campus, as well as the College’s current plans and those that may be put into effect should the risk in the area around the College rise.

  1. Semester Schedule: At this time, the College is planning to resume classes as planned on March 16. We are closely monitoring the situation in Warren County, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and in the country at large. Should circumstances change such that a delay to resuming the semester makes sense we will be in contact with you as soon possible with any modification to the College schedule.
  2. Current Precautions on Campus: On campus we are taking precautions to ensure the residence halls and other buildings and facilities are as clean as possible. This includes having our house keeping staff increase the number of times they disinfect “touch points” (e.g. doorknobs, faucet handles, etc.), ensuring that the hand sanitizer stations in campus buildings are always resupplied, and reminding the campus community about important hygienic practices such as frequently and thoroughly washing hands.
  3. Immunocompromised Students: We are asking parents of students whose immune systems are compromised to reach out to the College at this time. COVID-19 does not appear to be a significant risk to otherwise healthy individuals, but those who are immunocompromised are at greater risk. As with any other accommodation concern, the College feels that working through a clear plan for students in the higher risk category, on a case-by-case basis, is prudent.  It may be that an immunocompromised student ought not return to campus at this time, and in such a case the College will put into place measures to ensure that coursework can continue remotely in an appropriate fashion. Please reach out to Dr. Ben Reinhard (ben.reinhard@christendom.edu) with questions or concerns.
  4. Possible Adjustments to the College Schedule: The College will be in regular communication about any changing circumstances during the semester and you should feel free to reach out to us at any time about concerns or questions. If a change in circumstances warrants the College delaying classes for a period, or, in a worst-case scenario, ending residential aspects of the program, the College will notify you as soon as possible and assist students in making arrangements to return home. Accommodations to ensure completion of coursework will be instituted at such a time, and appropriate adjustments to applicable costs and fees will be initiated. We hope this step will not be necessary, but we will be prepared should it be required.
  5. Plans Should a Student Become Infected: We are in communication with the Virginia Department of Health and the CDC and are prepared to take their direction should there be a confirmed case of the virus on campus.

While this is a time of some uncertainty, we ask that everyone approach the challenge of navigating it with prudence, calm and prayer. As a College we will do everything we can to ensure a safe environment on campus and to take appropriate steps to maintain safety when needed.

Sincerely in the Heart of Christ,

Dr. O’Donnell

February 29: Update to Semester in Rome Parents

The following update regarding the coronavirus was issued to parents of participants of the college’s Semester in Rome on February 29 from Vice President of Student Affairs Amanda Graf:

Dear Christendom Parents,

As we mentioned in our previous communication, we are watching the situation in Italy concerning the Coronavirus very closely.  The U.S. State Department has just advanced their travel advisory for all of Italy to Level 3 based in part on the CDC’s increased Level 3 warning that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Italy. Given the likely increased restrictions both here and abroad that will result from this decision (in Italy and countries receiving travelers from Italy) as well as the complexities that will result in Rome itself for our program, I am very sorry to inform you that we have decided to end our semester in Rome. This decision was not made lightly, and it breaks our hearts that the students will not be able to experience the entire Rome semester. Ultimately it is our care and concern for the students that motivates us to make this decision. There are now more than 800 known cases of coronavirus in Italy. Several other American campuses are ending their Rome programs and more will surely do so given the increased warning level. We have decided it is prudent to end the program before travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines are put in place.

While our students themselves may not be at a high risk for infection or physical harm, the safety and quality of life concerns are too great to risk the variables that would come should the city in fact experience a viral outbreak. Limited access to food, healthcare, and other city services would greatly and negatively affect their experience as well as inhibit staff from providing the level of care that we insist upon. Current mandatory government restrictions on group tours and outings are already limiting our ability to conduct our normal program. Finally, we have seen in other instances during this outbreak that countries can make sudden decisions about quarantines and limiting travel. We feel it is important to limit the possibility that our students could be detained in other countries or put into mandatory quarantine.

The program in Rome will close on Friday, March 6, and staff in Rome will assist students with making travel arrangements. The College will reimburse students up to $500 for the cost of a new flight or to cover the change fee if they are able to transfer their original return flight to this coming week. Students cannot return to the Front Royal campus at this time, but may be able to do so later in the semester after sufficient time in the U.S. Students who independently choose to stay in Rome will be responsible for arranging their own accommodations.

Room and board for the days the students were not in Rome will be pro-rated and credited to your student’s account at the College. Additionally, $1,000 of the Rome fee will also be refunded to the students as a credit to their account. We are making arrangements for faculty members to teach classes via correspondence. We will be contacting students with more information about these courses in the coming days. Students will be able to receive all of the credits for the courses in which they are currently enrolled, ensuring their on-time graduation.

Again, we are truly saddened by the circumstances facing Italy right now and the impact they are having on the Rome semester, but we are confident that this is the right decision for the health and safety of our students and staff. Please be assured of our prayers for your student, your family, and all participating in the Rome semester.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have.

God bless,

Amanda Graf

February 24: Update to Semester in Rome Participants & Parents

The following update regarding the coronavirus was issued to participants of the college’s Semester in Rome and their parents on February 24 from Vice President of Student Affairs Amanda Graf:

Dear Christendom Parents,

As I’m sure you are aware, there has been an outbreak of the Coronavirus in northern Italy. We are closely monitoring the situation and looking to officials from the US Embassy and AACUPI, the Association of American Colleges and Universities in Italy, for prudential advice about keeping our students safe and healthy.

As of now we have taken significant measures to ensure our students’ safety.

This is a volatile situation, but the College is ready to respond to any changes or an increase in the number of cases. We have established criteria for deciding if or when we would need to end the semester in Rome. There are contingency plans in place to continue to educate the students if we do need to end the semester in Rome.

We will update you as the situation progresses. We also recommend using the U.S. Embassy in Italy’s website for receiving official information.

God bless,

Amanda Graf

January 30: Update to Campus Community

The following update regarding the coronavirus was issued to the Christendom community on Jan. 30 from Vice President of Student Affairs Amanda Graf:

Dear Students,

You may have heard of the Coronavirus, a respiratory virus that has been spreading in China. While there have been some cases outside of China, there are only 5 confirmed cases in the U.S., none of which are in our area. We have been in contact with the CDC and the Virginia Health Department to make sure we’re up to date on the spread of the virus. Based on their information, we do not have any concerns about exposure to the Coronavirus here, but we can minimize the spread of illness by all taking some basic but essential precautions:

  1. Wash your hands. Hand washing for at least 20 seconds is one of the best ways to stop the spread of germs.
  2. Don’t share anything that could be infected. Limit eating or drinking after others, especially sharing water bottles during practice.
  3. Cover your mouth. It’s a rule we all learned as kids, but if you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and don’t shake hands with others.
  4. If you have symptoms (fever, aches, persistent cough, congestion) go see the Nurse right away. You can also call her (540-268-0699) and leave a voicemail, which she will respond to promptly.

Thank you for being mindful about keeping our campus healthy!

God bless,

Amanda Graf

Christendom College admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.