Communication to Students
July 16, 2020
As the month of July edges toward August and the surreal summer of 2020 cycles into fall, I wanted to take a moment to write to you, briefly, about not only the ways Stony Brook has been preparing to reopen campus, but also about how our decisions have been directly impacted by you. We have been listening to you—to your fears, hopes, suggestions, and feedback—throughout the summer and know that for students in Fall 2020, flexibility, academic rigor, and safety are paramount.
By offering on-line, in-person, and hybrid options for learning, Stony Brook hopes to rise to the challenge that this global pandemic has posed by allowing students to make the decisions that best serve them as individual learners and participants in the SBU community. As you’ll see in the video below, we have redesigned our classroom spaces to allow for students and faculty to easily follow social distancing guidelines without sacrificing the opportunity to learn and teach in person. We have re-imagined our community spaces and fortified our dining facilities to control for congestion and spread while still enabling students to enjoy the convenience of university food services. We have instituted daily health screenings via an app to allow for each community member to screen and self-monitor at their ease. From adjusted and re-engineered work spaces and a face covering mandate, to new residence hall policies and quarantine guidelines, we have reimagined our fall semester plans so that we may continue to bring forward all of the talent and dynamism contained within our university community—while prioritizing health and safety throughout campus.
As President of Stony Brook, I am very aware that we could not have weathered the past few months and planned as meticulously for Fall 2020 without you—our Stony Brook students. I am also very aware that we must all continue to understand the importance of adaptability, creativity, and understanding as we take our next steps as a university.
Philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah once wrote in an essay on global ethics that “Cultures are made of continuities and changes, and the identity of a society can survive through these changes.” In Fall 2020, there will be continuities and there will be changes. But I know that Stony Brook will continue to be the dynamic, accessible, rigorous, empathetic university that it has been for so many years.
I look forward to seeing you, working with you, getting to know you, and learning from you this semester.
Maurie McInnis, PhD