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Message to Campus on the First Day of Classes

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

As classes begin today, I want to extend my very best wishes to each of you for a successful semester. Thanks to you, Clark is back in session despite the challenges of COVID-19. Students and faculty who have chosen to return to the classroom in person are working together as never before. Others — any student or faculty member who could not and did not wish to return to campus — will work together in virtual classrooms, making progress towards degrees through remote instruction that faculty have worked hard this summer to ensure is engaging and effective.

It is humbling to consider how getting Clark to today has required tireless, selfless, intense focus from everyone around us. This effort has given our community the opportunity to be together at a critical time — when there is so much of importance and consequence to discuss, debate, and learn more about from each other. I could not be more grateful or proud of what, together, the Clark community has accomplished to this point and I hope you share that pride.

Let us go forward with the same effort. Let us keep doing our best for each other, including living up to the Clark Commitment and adhering to the regular testing, mask-wearing, physical-distancing, and good hygiene and health practices that we all know will be essential to keeping the Clark community and our neighbors in Main South healthy this fall.

I know some in our community remain apprehensive about resuming in-person instruction, and I respect and understand their concerns. Should health indicators warrant a change in direction, we will remain prepared to act swiftly and decisively to revert to an all-remote model. But we are hopeful that, with everyone’s diligent efforts, Clark can complete the semester uninterrupted.

While the work of our university — teaching and learning, research and scholarship, the search for meaning and understanding — has not changed, how we do that work now, in Worcester or online, is ever more important to helping our students prepare for and make sense of the world in which we live.

Have a great first week!


David B. Fithian