Thursday, May 28, 2020
A letter from President Dell'Omo and Dean Bidle
Dear Rider Community,
We are writing to update you on Rider’s planning for the fall semester and the progress of the Fall 2020 Planning Task Force.
Our greatest wish is to welcome students and the entire community back to campus in September, but while the conditions of this public health crisis persist, such as the current and anticipated capacities for testing, contact tracing and treatment, we all know that even under the best circumstances, the fall semester is going to look different than normal.
Since forming earlier this month to help inform a comprehensive plan for the fall semester, the task force has worked urgently and carefully to carry out its duty. It is nearing the completion of its first set of recommendations to ensure that, come fall, Rider will be prepared to provide the highest level of academic instruction while also protecting the health and safety of our campus community.
At the top of the task force’s many considerations is determining what form academic instruction will take. Along with several working groups, the task force is studying multiple scenarios, including options to operate fully in-person, fully through remote instruction and hybrid models that combine those two forms.
Another top priority of the task force is to make a recommendation on potential changes to the academic calendar. These shifts could include starting and ending the semester early, suspending Thanksgiving break or moving fully to remote instruction following Thanksgiving break.
Using their creativity and relying on their informed experience and knowledge, the individuals in these groups are ensuring Rider will be prepared to respond dynamically to changing circumstances — not only in the coming months but once the semester begins.
None of these scenarios are straightforward, and none come without interconnected complications. However, the agile response demonstrated by our campus community last semester bolsters our confidence in our ability to embrace change and fulfill our duty as educators and students without sacrificing our values, our ideals or our spirit.
We have seen encouraging signs in efforts to contain the coronavirus’s effect on society, as well the progress to re-open the economy in New Jersey and elsewhere. Even with such promising news and its implications for a brighter future than what we're currently living through, the uncertainty of this moment is present in all of our lives right now. The circumstances are far from ideal.
One thing that the present uncertainty has not changed is the value of a Rider education — a value that has endured for 155 years since our founding. We are committed to assuring this tradition of excellence will continue through this challenging moment in time, and long into the future.
We will share more information as soon as it is available. Until then, we wish you and your family good health.
Gregory G. Dell’Omo, Ph.D.
Kelly Bidle, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Chair, Fall 2020 Planning Task Force