March 20, 2020
Dear Reed seniors, family members, and faculty,
In this time of uncertainty and rapid change, many of us at the college have had to make multiple decisions with widespread implications in a very short period of time. However, we have delayed making a decision on how to handle important senior traditions and ceremonies. We have done so for two reasons: 1) Our resources were focused this past week on actions to safeguard the health of students and our community; and 2) We want to be careful that we don’t make rash decisions that impact this critically important rite of passage for seniors and their families.
As most of you know, Oregon Governor Kate Brown has banned gatherings of 25 people or more within the state to control the spread of the coronavirus. With the information we have now, we don’t know when these guidelines and mandates will be lifted. This impacts how we can move forward.
We know that these are not merely events. For seniors, they are important symbols of achievement and community that have supplied motivation and hope during the most challenging moments of senior year and years prior. We want to honor this in our decisions and solutions.
Our amazing Renn Fayre Czars took great care and concern and made the incredibly difficult decision to cancel the annual celebration of our seniors. I know that this is sad news for the entire student body, and I acknowledge that it will be a particular disappointment for seniors.
We want you to know that we care and are working hard to devise the best plan we can under the circumstances. Please help us by contributing your thoughts and ideas. Ideas for commencement, for instance, include the following:
- Hold the ceremony virtually in May 2020.
- Postpone Commencement 2020 until May 2021; combine it with the Commencement 2021 ceremony.
- Postpone Commencement 2020 until June 2021 and celebrate the class of 2020 during Reed Reunions—at which, traditionally, the most recent graduating class celebrates their one-year reunion.
These ideas hold advantages and disadvantages; however, our plans will be created in the Reed way, with constructive discussion and input from all.
Next Tuesday we will discuss many of these items at our COVID-19 task force meeting, so we would appreciate receiving your feedback by Tuesday, March 24, at 9 a.m.
We know that many of you need to make travel arrangements for commencement, and we commit to announcing a decision by the end of next week, on March 27, about whether the traditional commencement ceremony in May will be postponed or altered in any way.
I am confident that together we will arrive at a plan that will allow us to collectively celebrate our 2020 Reed graduates. In the meantime, if you have any other questions related to how to manage your senior spring semester in light of the college’s COVID-19 response, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will make sure your questions are addressed.
With hope and best wishes,