Community Message from President Retelle

MLR community message

July 2, 2020

Dear AMC Community,

I write with several important updates on Anna Maria College’s plans to welcome new and returning students and repopulate our campus for the fall semester. In the weeks since our academics moved entirely to virtual learning, we have been working diligently to develop a plan to restart the on-campus experience in a way that prioritizes the safety of our students, faculty and staff and preserves the academic integrity of our programs.

 

Our fall plan accounts for a range of scenarios and aligns with guidance provided by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other federal, state and municipal authorities. Throughout the planning process we received valuable insight from the Board of Trustees and our faculty experts in emergency management, first response, healthcare and mental health. We appreciate the feedback given by all our stakeholders, especially that provided by our students and families. Nothing about this is easy, but we are listening.

 

I’m pleased to announce that Anna Maria College will resume classroom instruction on Monday, August 24, 2020. Classes will continue until the Thanksgiving break when on-campus instruction and residence will end. In general, this may vary by program, students will complete their comprehensive or final exams before they leave for Thanksgiving break and participate in planned remotely scheduled coursework through December 4th. The academic calendars for eight-week fall term online graduate/DCE students remain unchanged. On-campus instruction and residence will again resume in February 2021 for the spring semester.

 

As we plan for a repopulated campus this fall, we are instituting several modifications in order to create a healthy campus environment. The following outlines key facets of the fall semester plans. We are preparing subsequent communications that will expand on these elements:

Residence Life
· Move-in for the fall semester will take place August 20-23, 2020 to allow for social distancing protocols. The Office of Residence Life will notify students of housing assignments, specific move-in dates and times, and provide additional information in the coming weeks.
· All students will be required to agree to a new code of conduct to account for the new health and safety protocols.
· Room occupancy will be limited to two students. For student athlete housing, the conferences are still determining fall sports so there will be more to follow. The Office of Residence Life will reach out to students with further details.
· Dining services will offer more “grab and go” options and will stagger eating times and locations. Our food service provider will adhere to public health protocols.
· No outside guests will be permitted on campus.

 

Health and Safety
· There will be new signage posted across campus to stress public health guidelines and college policies.
· The wearing of face coverings by faculty, staff and students is mandatory until further notice. Students must wear face coverings whenever they are outside of their residence hall rooms.
· Mandatory COVID-19 testing will take place twice each week until further notice. Anna Maria College along with other private higher education institutions in Massachusetts will work with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard as our testing partner.
· Students testing positive or those showing symptoms of COVID-19 will follow public health guidelines to quarantine in place and/or quarantine at home when possible. We will designate appropriate space on campus for isolation and quarantine for students unable to return home.
· The College will implement contact tracing protocols that may require additional modifications such as schedule changes and more cohort housing.
· We will deploy a smartphone app to help our campus monitor and report on COVID-19.
· We have brought on additional cleaning staff to ensure that our campus will be cleaned regularly. High traffic and high touch areas will be a priority, including all restrooms, entry/exit doors, and common areas.
· There will be sanitizer stations conveniently located across the campus.

 

Academics
· Classes will include a blend of in-class, online instruction, and virtual participation and assignments. More specifics will be forthcoming by academic department leaders.
· We will modify our academic calendar so that fall traditional undergraduate students will participate in on-campus instruction until the Thanksgiving Day break. Residence halls will then close and students will return home and participate in planned remotely scheduled coursework through December 4th. Billing will be adjusted for the abbreviated on-campus schedule to compensate resident students. A more complete revised academic calendar will be shared in the coming weeks.
· There are no changes to academic calendars for eight-week fall term online graduate/DCE students.
· All classrooms and assembly spaces will be reconfigured to account for social distancing.
· Classrooms will have cleansing wipes available and be thoroughly cleaned daily.

 

Athletics
· Anna Maria College leadership have been working closely with the Athletic Department to plan for the fall. Athletics at Anna Maria is seen as a vital part of our educational offerings. There are still many challenges moving forward, and guidance on how to best navigate the COVID-19 health issues associated with athletics is still evolving. Anna Maria College will continue to work to allow our student-athletes to practice and compete without compromising the safety of our student-athletes and campus community.
· We are making plans for our athletic facilities, gym, and fitness center to be open. Proper social distancing and health and safety protocols will be strictly enforced.
· GNAC and ECFC presidents, athletic directors, athletic trainers, and medical personnel continue to work diligently to establish the safest possible conditions for student-athletes to practice and compete in the coming academic year. The GNAC and ECFC continue to review many options as information unfolds including guidance from the NCAA.
· Despite the fluidity of current information, we are still preparing for student-athlete early arrival. Currently, the plan is to begin the process of move in the week of August 17th. More details about the move in process and athletics will be sent in the coming weeks.
· The decisions involving the start of winter intercollegiate athletic practices and competitions during the Winter 2020/2021 season will be made at an appropriate time and will be informed by an evaluation of the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in conjunction with the GNAC, NCAA and the College.

 

I am sure that many students may have questions about how these modifications may impact student life, coursework, activities and athletics. This is the first of a series of communications framing of our fall plan. Expect to receive additional information soon, including updates from respective departments. We are committed to doing everything we can to make the fall semester safe and productive.

 

I look forward to seeing you in August. Until then, best wishes for a safe and healthy summer.

 

Sincerely,

Mary Lou Retelle
President

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Community Message from President Retelle

MLR community message

June 19, 2020

Dear Members of the Anna Maria College Community:

As Anna Maria College begins the celebration of our 75th anniversary, we can look at the determination of the Sisters of St. Anne and all those along the way who supported the College’s mission, as examples of the spirit of innovation and commitment that has led to Anna Maria’s success. No greater time in our history has this collaborative effort been more evident than the recent challenge presented by COVID-19 and our dedication in serving our students with the best educational experience possible.

Since March 2020, the shift from on-ground to remote learning was unprecedented and allowed our students to continue their semester and finish the year as intended, but not without hardship. The work continues now that the spring semester is over and we plan for repopulating for the fall with the focus on delivering the educational promise all students were given when they enrolled. This involves quality academic, social, leadership, and athletic components that are all a part of the fabric of the Anna Maria education. Beginning this fall, classes will be delivered in multiple ways including face-to face, hybrid and online instruction – keeping the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, staff and administrators at the center of decisions. We will be advised by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the state of Massachusetts, local public health officials, and higher education organizations that offer sound research and best practices for serving our students.

The uncertainty that we all face in these most difficult times does not deter us from our mission and our values that are, frankly, needed now more than ever. Facing unprecedented times makes us more determined to continue delivering the education that has always been our hallmark – serving students who serve others. It is imperative we do not lose our momentum in producing the graduates who will make the difference in our society dealing with the very issues that plague us today – whether they be natural or social challenges –while in keeping with the founding principles of the Sisters of St. Anne.

Anna Maria College will begin the fall 2020 semester on campus in August under the conditions established by CDC, the state of Massachusetts and local public health officials. The issues of testing, precautions such as facemasks and enhanced cleaning of residence halls and campus facilities, and social distancing are being planned for the return of all students, faculty, staff and administrators. The courses are being designed through a hybrid approach, combining face-to-face instruction with online methods for adaptability of small class sizes and with the understanding that as we continue monitoring the pandemic, some may not be able to attend classes in person and will still be able to join the class remotely. It is the intent to complete the fall semester prior to Thanksgiving to mitigate further outbreaks of the pandemic and disruption of the semester as we experienced this spring.

Specific details and updates will be communicated throughout the summer as we continue to complete the necessary work to ensure our students a safe and secure return to campus in August. Town Hall meetings, written communication, and the College’s website will be used throughout the summer to keep everyone informed of this ever-changing situation.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I wish you continued good health and thank you for your support and interest in making Anna Maria College “Something Greater”!

 

Sincerely,

Mary Lou Retelle
President

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From the President - April 8th Update

April 8, 2020 - Update from the President

Dear Anna Maria Alumni,

As a valued member of our community, I write today to let you know, that in these unprecedented times, the mission and the values of Anna Maria are alive and well. Whether it be through your own personal efforts to assist those in need, through your fellow alumni who have answered the bell in responding in so many ways to those affected by COVID-19, our faculty and staff who rolled up their sleeves and did what needed to be done to assist our students to complete their semester remotely and, lastly, our students who were understanding of the unusual circumstances and generous of spirit to assist their fellow students who needed help. This crisis has only heightened what we know to be the action necessary to support those around us – what we found as students and friends to be the core of the Anna Maria experience.

 

So many have reached out to offer assistance through ideas, philanthropic support and counsel to me and others who are navigating in waters never before experienced. Your show of support is not surprising given the nature of our alumni, but never more appreciated. Thank you for caring so much for the students who had their semester turned upside down, especially the seniors who will not be able to experience that last semester of deepened friendships and memories.

 

The speed in which our faculty converted their teaching modes to online vehicles was remarkable and our current students are engaged in completing their semester curriculum without compromising their path to degree completion. Those who typically spent their days advising, tutoring, counseling and sharing events with our students have developed programs that answer these needs and Zoom has now become our best mode of outreach for face to face contact!

 

We have supported our local community with supplies to facilities who needed them and have offered the campus to MEMA for any future use to house front line responders or victims of the COVID-19 pandemic. Outreach from nursing, social work, music, emergency responders and education departments to assist in serving others has been ongoing and will continue as we work through this national crisis.

 

Our students have been resilient by sharing their remote experiences with each other through social media and were exemplary in their response to leaving campus and adapting to a new teaching style. Needless to say, the seniors were very happy to hear that we will conduct Commencement on campus this year on August 22nd. You are invited to attend this special day for it will be one that I am sure will live in their memories even more than the original one planned for May. 

 

In short, your alma mater is truly amazing and you should be proud of the positive response, energy and kindness that has been exhibited at this difficult time. I am proud to serve as president of such an institution and thank you for your continued support of this wonderful College. You can stand tall knowing how well Anna Maria is serving and succeeding.

 

Sincerely,
Mary Lou Retelle
President of Anna Maria College

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From the President - March 27th Update

March 27, 2020 - Update from the President

Good afternoon AMC Students-

Please see the below message from President Retelle. 

 

Sincerely,
Mary Lou Retelle
President of Anna Maria College

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From the President - March 23rd Update

March 21, 2020 - Update on COVID-19

Colleagues - 

As the senior management team continues to work together, and with the announcement today from Gov. Baker regarding the closing of physical workplaces beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, March 24th at noon, through Tuesday, April 7th at noon, for organizations that do not provide COVID-19 Essential Services, President Retelle and AICUM offer the following message regarding exempt status from the Governors message:  Educators and staff supporting public and private emergency childcare programs, residential schools for students with disabilities, K-12 schools, colleges and universities for purposes of facilitating distance learning, provision of school meals, or performing other essential student support functions, if operating under rules for social distancing.  

 

The preparation for Anna Maria College to continue supporting its students remotely has been tremendous and each and every employee is to be applauded for the hard work accomplished.

 

I continue to strongly encourage all faculty and staff to work from home. Please consult with your supervisor on plans for working remotely and assuring that realistic expectations are met to complete the work necessary to serve our students as best we can under the circumstances. If you need to report to campus, you are welcome to do so by contacting Security at 508-494-9010 (office) for office access when needed.

 

You have received information from Human Resources earlier this morning regarding employee benefits ensuring that you understand we support you one-hundred percent! I want to assure you that the College will do everything to make sure that you are not worried about your status or compensation in the weeks ahead. 

 

Thank you for all you are doing to help during this difficult time. I am always available to you for any questions or concerns, so please call me at any time.

Sincerely,
Mary Lou Retelle
President of Anna Maria College

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From the President - March 21th Update

March 21, 2020 - Update on COVID-19

Dear Anna Maria Students and Parents,

On behalf of the faculty and staff at the College, I am writing to make sure you are updated on the latest news from campus and to check in on how you are doing during these difficult days. Little did we all know when we left for spring break that so many changes would happen, not just here at Anna Maria, but around the world. You are being asked to change your learning environment and, for some of you, your living situation since many of you had to move off campus. All of the activities that you were looking forward to for the rest of the semester cannot be held. And for all of this, I am truly sorry.

 

I have been on many calls with our Board of Trustees, other college presidents and government officials to make sure that we are making the best decisions on your behalf as a student at Anna Maria College. Every college is different and there is a lot of competing information out there.  Please be advised that many of our decisions are being informed by the federal and state officials as efforts are being taken to control COVID-19. In the meantime, the College will continue to provide timely updates on matters that affect you and your family. 

 

A few things I want you to know before you begin your classes on Monday:
While the delivery of your classes is not what you’re used to, the faculty have been working very hard to make sure that the quality of your courses is as strong remotely as in person. The same educational outcomes will be expected so that there will be no question of your earned credits and your continued path to completing your degree. During this transition to online learning, the IT department has been working non-stop to ensure you have access to your coursework, your faculty, and the resources necessary for your success. If you have technical difficulties, please email them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Your faculty will also be available to help you with any course difficulties and will still have office hours posted for any discussions outside of the class – you will just have to see them remotely! 

 

The Student Life staff is also working hard in planning online activities that will help you stay in touch with each other. I realize it isn’t Spring Weekend, a baseball softball or lacrosse game, a terrific fashion show, a drama production, or your art or music presentation, but I hope that you will participate and enjoy since we are all limited in what we can do and where we can go.

 

The refunds for room and board are being calculated and we are just waiting for some additional information from the government, both state and federal, to make sure we are being accurate in our determinations. In the meantime, you will be receiving a message from the business office at Anna Maria to sign up for E-Refund which will allow for direct deposit to your preferred bank account.Please pay attention to this notice and follow the instructions. You should expect this message sometime next week.

 

And last, but not least:
For those graduating this year – the Anna Maria College 2020 Commencement will be held on August 22, 2020 on our beautiful campus. We hope that by then that COVID-19 will not disrupt our plans. A Mass of Celebration will begin the day followed by the commencement ceremony with all of the pomp and circumstance that you deserve and expect. The Board of Trustees will host a Congratulatory Social after for your family and friends to celebrate the day together. This is an exciting day for you and we will make sure it is a day you will remember.

 

As you begin your classes on Monday, stay focused, connected and healthy. I know this is not easy, but we are here for you and miss you very much. Please feel free to reach out to me atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

Sincerely,
Mary Lou Retelle
President of Anna Maria College

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From the President - March 20th Update

March 20, 2020 - Update on COVID-19

Dear Members of the Anna Maria Community,

As mentioned in Tuesday’s email, senior management continues to work closely with all involved in the COVID-19 virus and its impact to the public. Everyone on campus has been working hard to ensure that we are prepared to operate remotely and each hour brings another decision to make in order to meet the ever changing complexity of this crisis.

 

The preparation for Anna Maria College has been excellent and you are all to be commended for your patience and hard work as we sorted through the necessary steps to meet the challenges for the remainder of the semester.

 

I encourage all faculty and staff who wish to work from home to do so. Please consult with your supervisor on plans for working remotely and assuring that realistic expectations are met to complete the work necessary to serve our students as best we can under the circumstances. If you prefer to report to campus, you are welcome to do so unless otherwise advised.

 

You will be receiving more information from Human Resources on employee benefits that we continue to support one hundred percent! I want to assure you that the College will do everything to make sure that you are not worried about your status or compensation in the weeks or, hopefully not, months ahead. 

 

Thank you for all you are doing to help during this difficult time. I am always available to you for any questions or concerns, so please call me at any time.

 

Sincerely,
Mary Lou Retelle
President of Anna Maria College

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From the President - March 17th Update

March 17, 2020 - Update on COVID-19

Dear Members of the Anna Maria Community,

 

I would like to begin by expressing my sincere thanks for your patience during this unprecedented time. Senior management at Anna Maria has been working closely with the Department of Public Health, medical experts, guidelines issued by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and adhering to instructions from government on both the state and federal levels. Based on the best available information from the public health community, we are at a pivotal moment with respect to both the spread of the COVID-19 virus and our ability as a college to take proactive, rather than reactive, steps.

 

In this letter, I will update you on the following topics:
· Online learning for the remainder of the academic year
· Cancellation of all campus events through the end of the semester
· Financial considerations for reimbursements
· Guidelines for working remotely for faculty and staff

I had hoped that we could complete the semester in our regular classes and in-person community, but for reasons that are increasingly apparent, I am very sorry to say that this course of action is no longer possible. This is why I have made the difficult decision to finish out the spring semester with remote instruction.

 

Beginning Monday, March 23rd, all classroom instruction will be moved online. The faculty have been hard at work to ensure that the transition from classroom to online learning is as seamless as possible. I ask the students to please check your email regularly for updates from your professors as there will be many updates relative to technology support, advising and registration. All offices within Student Life will be available remotely throughout the semester, including the Student Success Center, the Counseling Center, and the Career Center. Also, the Student Life Office will be sending out messages encouraging students to stay connected with all of these services and to participate in online activities.

 

To the students, I fully understand your deep disappointment at having your academic and social experience here on the Anna Maria campus end so abruptly. The guest lectures, drama productions, concerts, athletic games, and student-led events that are a highlight of the spring will be missed by many; however, there was no choice but to cancel all campus events through the end of the semester. The College will evaluate the situation as it relates to all Commencement activities as decisions associated with COVID-19 are made. Safeguarding the health and safety of the entire Anna Maria community is top priority.

 

With regard to reimbursement to students for room and/or board, the College is developing a process to address refunds. I ask that you allow time to finalize the work involved and if you have any questions, please reach out to the Student Account Office at 508.849.3394 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

To faculty and staff, while the students will be attending classes online, it is important to note that Anna Maria College remains open as there is much work to do. We find ourselves in a situation that is, quite literally, beyond our control. I understand that the solutions we are offering place extra demands on all members of our community. However, I am confident that we will resolve the issues we face together.

 

There are many circumstances that have or will continue to present themselves for the employees and that will inform personal decisions for minimizing risk of exposure. Please consult your supervisor if you wish to explore flexible work options.

 

In closing, I want to recognize and thank the members of this wonderful community for their seriousness of purpose, generosity of spirit, and commitment to addressing this time of great challenge. I appreciate your hard work and solidarity as we address the current complexities.

 

Sincerely,
Mary Lou Retelle
President of Anna Maria College

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From the President - March 12th Update

March 12, 2020 - Update on COVID-19

Anna Maria College continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 public health crisis. Although there are currently no recorded COVID-19 virus cases on our campus, the safety of our campus community is our top priority. Accordingly, the College will extend the spring break currently underway through Sunday, March 22, 2020. The extension of the break through March 22 will also allow the College to prepare for remote instruction, should that become necessary. No campus events will take place and students should not return to campus during this time with the exception of resident students needing to pick up necessary items for an additional week away; those students must contact Residence Life to schedule a time to pick up their belongings.

 

The campus will otherwise remain open and all faculty and staff should continue their regular work schedules the week of March 16-20.

 

Athletic Director Joe Brady is in touch with his coaches, fellow athletic directors, and the Conference to determine next steps for our athletic teams. We will update you when we know more from his discussions.

 

To be clear, this public health crisis is a very fluid situation. On Tuesday, March 10, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency in the Commonwealth and advised businesses, institutions and residents to follow the guidance of the CDC and the Department of Public Health and take mitigation steps where possible to help slow the spread of the disease, including avoiding large group gatherings. The College already had provided guidance about avoiding travel to high risk areas, accessing campus health services, and maintaining proper hygiene. However, the emergency declaration confirms the seriousness of the situation.

 

These are not easy decisions and I recognize this is very disruptive to the college experience. However, our top priority is the safety of everyone on our campus. We are committed to working to ensure that coursework will progress unimpeded.

 

I want to acknowledge the hard work and care shown by our faculty, staff, administrators and Trustees in making this difficult decision. Because this is an evolving situation, please continue checking the COVID-19 information on www.annamaria.edu for further guidance and stay alert to ongoing updates from the College.

 

Signed,

 

President Mary Lou Retelle

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