SPRING 2021 PLAN:
With the Fall semester well underway, the College has announced the Spring calendar and plans. See our announcement on the Spring calendar. The College is prepared to welcome community members back to campus for the Spring semester with current safety precautions still in place and in accordance with current guidance from the State of New York. For questions and other communications related to the coming academic year and campus reopening, email COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org. Safety policies and protocols can be found here.
Messages to the Community
MESSAGES TO THE MANHATTANVILLE COMMUNITY
This page provides links to community-wide messages that have been sent to students, staff and faculty regarding campus operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We anticipate quarantining between 20 and 30 individuals to reduce risk to the community based on the contact tracing from these three most recent confirmed cases. Those asked to quarantine have not tested positive for COVID-19. However, since individuals in quarantine had contact with one or more of the active cases, the number of cases may increase upon additional testing. Also, given that the new positive cases are student-athletes, the Athletic Department is temporarily suspending athletic practices and activities until the current round of surveillance tests is complete and the College can evaluate the results.
Hello Manhattanville Community:
As we approach the midpoint of the Fall semester and look toward the Thanksgiving holiday, I wanted to tell you how very grateful I am for the dedication and hard work shown by our students, staff, and faculty since the campus reopened, adhering to safety guidelines and offering support to one another.
As you know, due to the ongoing pandemic, our academic calendar looks slightly different this year. Students will leave for Thanksgiving break and return after the new year. We expect to begin instruction for the Spring semester on Monday, February 1. Classes will begin remotely for two weeks with the first day of in-person instruction planned for Monday, February 15. There will be no Spring Break. In lieu of Spring Break, we will have two “Valiant Days” (dates TBD) with no classes when students will be encouraged to get out and enjoy the outdoors.
To help our community plan for the Spring semester, our current schedule is as follows:
Early move-in for students from states on the New York State Travel Advisory: Sunday, January 31
First day of remote classes: Monday, February 1
Residential students move-in: Saturday, February 13 and Sunday, February 14
First day of in-class instruction: Monday, February 15
Last day of classes/finals: Friday, May 14
Move in Information for athletes will vary by sport and will be published by the Department of Athletics and Recreation prior to the end of the fall semester. All residential students will be tested for COVID-19 upon arriving on campus and random surveillance testing will occur throughout the semester.
We are preparing for a Spring semester that will be similar to Fall, with in-person, hybrid and hy-flex class options. Students will be able to see the format of each class prior to registration. We want to assure you that when we return to campus in the spring we will continue to follow all the safety protocols we developed with New York State and CDC guidance. These include social distancing, face coverings, testing, contact tracing, symptom monitoring and reporting, and for the residence halls – isolation and quarantine practices as necessary. A complete outline of our protocols is available at mville.edu.
We will continue to keep everyone informed about any changes to the calendar or other details that might impact our community this year, which could include new directives or limitations from the State of New York.
Again, I would like to thank everyone for their flexibility and fortitude. While enhanced safety measures have changed certain aspects of campus life, Manhattanville remains committed to its mission to educate students to be ethical and socially responsible leaders in a global community.
Stay safe, wash your hands, wear a mask, and have a wonderful weekend.
Dear residential student,
We share the goal and responsibility of keeping our community healthy and thus far, we all have done a great job. All College-administered COVID-19 diagnostic tests to this point have come back negative. However, it is possible to have COVID-19 without symptoms. As such, the potential for asymptomatic spread within the residence halls poses a significant risk and impacts our ability to keep the halls open. Therefore, out of an abundance of caution, Student Health and Counseling (SHAC) will facilitate regular testing of the residential population. This technique is called “surveillance testing.” Surveillance testing allows us to make determinations about the presence of COVID-19 spreading within our community and to take immediate action and potentially stop the spread of the virus to others. Surveillance testing of residential students will begin as early as next week and we expect it will continue for as long as COVID-19 poses a risk to our campus. Please carefully read the information below for important details about the surveillance testing process.
Why We Are Testing:
We are testing as a precautionary measure to determine whether there might be unknown cases of COVID-19 among residential students. This will assist us as we move forward in an effort to:
- Keep the residence halls open through Thanksgiving break as planned.
- Determine common spaces that may be able to be opened with continued low infection rates.
- Add socially distanced events and activities.
Here’s how it will work:
- A percentage of students from each residential area on campus will be selected to participate using random selection. This means that it is possible that you are chosen once, more than once, or never chosen at all to be tested.
- Residential students who have been randomly selected will be notified through their Manhattanville email marked with high importance and the subject line “SURVEILLANCE TESTING- COVID-19.” These students will be notified onFridays. The email will include a link to an online scheduler, and students will be instructed to choose an available appointment time. If the available appointment times do not work for you, please contact us and we will do our best to accommodate your schedule (within reason; i.e., typically within 24 hours of the time offered). We encourage you to reply to the email as quickly as possible to increase your chances that a convenient time will be available.
- If you are under 18 and have been chosen for testing, please let us know prior to the date of testing (call 914-323-5245 or email email@example.com) so we can provide you with a consent form. This will need to be signed by your parent/guardian.
- Testing will occur on Wednesdays and will take place outside of Spellman Hall, weather permitting. In the case we are not able to be outside, testing will take place in Spellman Lounge.
- We understand that students might not want to participate in the surveillance testing program. Surveillance testing relies on student participation and is not optional; it is required in order to continue residing in the residence halls. There are a few exceptions: if you are currently in quarantine or isolation, or if you have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 90 days of your selection. Students who refuse to be tested will be given the alternative option to quarantine on or off campus for 14 days.
On your testing day:
- Please bring a copy of the front and back of your insurance card. If you cannot bring a copy of the card, please make sure you have the physical card or a picture of both sides of it.
- The testing appointment should take no more than 30 minutes.
- After you have been tested, you will be provided with your results or instructions on how to access your results, as well as any other pertinent information.
We very much appreciate your cooperation with our efforts to keep Manhattanville College as safe as possible during this pandemic. While we understand that implementing this process may be viewed as an inconvenience by some, this is an essential step as part of the larger plan in an effort to keep the residence halls open this semester.
Thank you for doing your part,
Melissa Boston, PsyD
Associate Dean of Student Health and Counseling
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
Welcome back to Manhattanville College!
To those of you I saw crisscrossing our beautiful lawn on the Quad on Monday when we were out on the Castle terrace celebrating the White Coat Ceremony for our new Nursing students: it was good to see Valiants back in action! To those of you who cannot join us in person this fall: an equally hearty Virtual Welcome! Despite the geographic and physical distances forced on all of us, one way or another by the pandemic, Valiants know how to forge community with each other, and for each other, amidst the most trying circumstances. We have survived, for almost two hundred years, through previous pandemics and wars and financial challenges, and we have always emerged stronger, with new ideas, new commitments and new programs. Whether face to face (though masked and with appropriate social distancing) or online: Manhattanville College faculty, administration and staff are here for the students. To all of us, each fall term is always like an entirely new beginning, and we are excited to have our students back. Welcome to your college!
Last year at this time, I was thrilled to share with you the news about the opening of our Center for Design Thinking, news about enhancements to the Berman Center lobby and plans for a thorough renovation of the Brownson Student Lounge. We had also made some improvements to our laundry facilities, based on what we had heard from students.
Well, after going through a fairly lengthy and rather bureaucratic permit process with the Town of Harrison, we did complete our renovations on the Brownson Lounge (and expanded it a little in the process) – but now all that beautiful new furniture is stacked in a corner somewhere because we had to redo Brownson Lounge again, to create a small, socially-distanced space for commuter students to go in-between classes. We have also created spaces for commuter students in the Berman lobby and the Center for Design Thinking (in addition to existing spaces in the library).
Over the summer and going into the current academic year, Manhattanville College spent half a million dollars on retrofitting classrooms, Plexiglas protection, signage in all heavily traveled areas of the campus, automatic sliding doors in Dammann and Tenney, the front door of Spellman as well as the Center for Design Thinking (we are still working on Brownson and Founders), safety equipment, refrigerators and air conditioning units for students living in the residence halls, new faucet handles, touchless water fountains, as well as huge amounts of additional cleaning supplies that we placed in strategically important parts of the campus. We have also increased outside air flow in rooms with heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
We have also significantly increased our capital spend in the information technology (IT) area to ensure that we have the appropriate software and tech support needed to enable those students and faculty who need to connect remotely for health reasons or who have elected to stay remote for this semester to participate. We purchased hot spots and a limited supply of laptops to help students who needed to connect remotely for health reasons but did not have the technology required to access our online teaching platforms.
We have run a large number of workshops over the summer to prepare our faculty to unlock and optimize the technological potential of our amphibious learning environment so as to provide an exciting, interactive and accessible teaching experience for all our students, whether they are online or physically on campus. Faculty will continue working with staff to incorporate even more tools and techniques throughout the term to further enhance the learning experience.
While we decided, along with other Skyline institutions, to cancel athletic competitions for this fall out of an abundance of caution for our student athletes, our Athletics Department, coaches, strength trainers, and graduate assistants will be on hand to work with students on individual training programs and to provide scrimmages that will enable our Valiant athletes to further hone their skills in preparation for Spring 2021 when we hope that we can not only run spring competitions but also fall sports competitions that have been rescheduled for spring.
While the fall may look a bit different for our campus, there is no shortage of campus events or opportunities to get involved. Various offices throughout the College have collaborated to provide virtual events and activities each week such as Sunday Bingo, Thursday Trivia, and live performances, intramurals, and gaming activities on Fridays and Saturdays. These programs are in addition to the continued service opportunities, leadership development workshops, and of course our clubs and organizations. You can find out more about all of these various events by visiting The ‘Ville online or by downloading the app onto your phone. You can also learn more by visiting the involvement fair on Wednesday, September 9, from 1 - 3 p.m.
Our new Manhattanville School of Nursing and Health Sciences is up and running with a total of 72 students enrolled in our inaugural class (some already started earlier in the summer!). This Monday we had the traditional White Coat Ceremony for new students along with the official ribbon-cutting.
As if a life-threatening global pandemic were not enough of a challenge for the nation, we also have to find a way, working together, not against each other, to confront the continuing and equally life-threatening violence committed by part of our population against Blacks and African Americans, LatinX and other minorities, with the continuum of racism stretching from thoughtless offensive remarks to daily discrimination in stores and shopping malls and finally to brutal killings and shootings of African Americans, violence against Black Lives Matter demonstrators, the arson attack on a Chabad Center for Jewish Life at the University of Delaware, or the killing of a man demonstrating in favor of the President’s agenda, whatever our opinion of that agenda may be. Looting of businesses or violence against innocent bystanders, whether on the left or the right, is never justified or justifiable under any circumstances.
Working with the Black Student Union, the Student Government Association, Black alumni, as well as faculty, staff and a special task force of our Board of Trustees, my administration has developed a twelve-step plan to combat both intentional and unintentional racism on our campus and increase intercultural communication, to rethink our curriculum, map out a plan for hiring more Black and LatinX faculty members, open lines of communication with the Harrison Police Department and work with all members of the Manhattanville community towards a better understanding of intercultural concerns perspectives. You can read the plan here.
I am grateful to Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Cindy L. Porter for taking on the role of Interim Chief Diversity Officer in addition to her other duties. Likewise, I hope and expect that our Center for Diversity and Inclusion will play a pivotal role in that effort and would encourage all of you to go to their web site and take advantage of its rich array of (virtual) offerings this semester.
Finally, I want to thank all of you, students, parents, faculty and staff for your trust in Manhattanville College during these challenging times. With your help, we can get through this pandemic, as Manhattanville has already emerged successfully from so many crises in its nearly 200-year history. I would like to thank especially our students for their discipline in adhering to our campus safety plan. Recognizing the mental stress some of these constraints may cause, we have hired an additional counselor for students who need help coping with the anxieties caused by the pandemic and, following a suggestion from our Black Student Union, we are also in the process of hiring an additional counselor who can address the double anguish experienced by our Black and African American students. So I would strongly encourage you to seek help, medical or psychological, whenever you might need it.
I would also like to extend an invitation to all of you. If, given the constraints all of us are working under, you have ideas for how my office, or the Provost’s Office, or Student Affairs can help you with additional academic, co-curricular or extracurricular programs or initiatives to create the most interactive and engaging environment possible under the circumstances, I invite you to share them with us. I have virtual open office hours every Thursday from 3 - 4 p.m. You can come by and share ideas or concerns you might have, but please also feel free to just drop by to tell me a little about yourself and how you are doing. If the Thursday office hours do not work for you, please contact Ms. Deborah Fallone, Executive Assistant to the President, and she will find another time for us to talk.
I wish you all a successful academic year. I know the extraordinary resilience of Manhattanville students and the Manhattanville community. There is not a doubt in my mind that we will prevail.
Michael E. Geisler, President
Dear Manhattanville Community:
I hope you are all finding some moments to rest and reflect despite all of the uncertainty of the world this summer. As I write to you, cases of COVID-19 have continued to rise in many parts of the United States and public health guidance is evolving. At the same time, our own community has been coming together around shared goals and values. Examples of this include Manhattanville’s inclusion in the amicus brief filed in the federal court to support the ability of our international students to stay in the United States this fall, and President Geisler’s recent Letter “Black Lives Matter at Manhattanville.” In both cases the institution has come together to support students as they are feeling vulnerable, finding empathy and working to meet the needs of our community. We will continue to grow together as we move to complete the multiple steps that President Geisler’s letter outlined for us.
Despite the current uncertainty, there is value in being specific, and to that end, I would like to thank many of you for your thoughtful questions and patience as we develop the details for the return to campus this fall. There has been an extended and continuing flurry of planning and implementation over the past several months, and the specifics continue to evolve in response to changing guidance locally and nationally. Seeing how the virus has continued to spread has pushed us as to plan for an academic experience that can be as flexible and nimble as possible.
When we shifted to online learning in the spring, your professors made that pivot with less than a week to prepare. Most of you were not expecting to take online classes. And everyone was living in a world where quarantining, mask wearing, and staying home had not been part of our daily vocabularies. At Manhattanville, we temporarily shifted policies to meet the needs of students during this time of crisis and we provided support to students who contacted us with concerns.
As the spring semester came to a close, we surveyed you about your experiences. We learned from many of you that you found the use of so many different platforms for course delivery confusing. We also heard that students generally preferred classes that had some synchronous class meeting time, where students could interact with one another as well as with their professor. The information you shared with us has informed how we will be proceeding this fall.
We are ready to share with students and families some more specific information on course delivery and classroom expectations to help prepare you for the fall semester. We are all excited to get back to campus and a sense of normalcy, however I want to prepare you for how being on campus this fall will be very different from past semesters, due to the continuing threat of the pandemic, and the uncertainties surrounding our national and state guidance.
Faculty are preparing for multiple modes of instruction to provide high-quality instruction that will allow us to respond fluidly to the pandemic:
- Since May, our faculty have been participating in professional development workshops through our Center for Teaching, Learning and Scholarship to be better prepared for the fall. Instructors will be prepared to teach students in person and remotely. This will allow students to return to the classroom in person or online, making equitable, quality learning available for all. For students participating remotely with a substantial time zone difference, your instructors will work with you on asynchronous options.
- For students who prefer to take their courses fully online, we ask that you complete this survey, which will help the faculty to prepare to best meet your needs. Please complete this survey by Monday 7/26 if possible. Student Survey for Fall 2020 classes. If you have questions about the survey, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Some instructors with COVID-19 risk concerns will teach fully online. In that case, the instructor will contact students with details about how the class will be structured.
- We are working to maximize the number of classrooms that can accommodate the entire class with social distancing. Some classes will be taught on an A/B rotation model to accommodate social distancing: half the students will meet together with the instructor in the classroom while the other half will learn virtually, switching for the next class meeting. We are working out how to determine which students will be in class at which times. Please make sure to check your Manhattanville email for communication from the faculty and more information as we approach the start of the semester.
- This flexibility in format will allow for students and/or faculty who are quarantining or sick to continue learning. We require all members of our community to quarantine or isolate should they come into contact with the virus, as this will help to keep our community safer, and we are therefore designing all classes to be flexible, so students in quarantine can switch to an online format without losing anything in the transition.
The classroom environment will be different when you return to campus, and changes will require everyone to understand how important our collective actions are for the safety of the community. Below are some changes you can expect in your classrooms:
- All classrooms will have a minimum of six feet distance between students.
- Every student will have assigned seating and must not change seats during class. This is to minimize the need to quarantine and expedite contact tracing.
- Only students wearing masks will be allowed to participate in person in classes. Faculty and students are expected to wear masks during class.
- There will be no eating or drinking in classrooms.
- Classrooms will be professionally cleaned on a regular basis. In addition, as students enter the classroom they will have access to a peroxide-based wipe that they can use to wipe down their seating area before sitting down.
- For classes with higher levels of interactivity, like music, dance, theater, and science, faculty are creating learning and performing environments that reduce risk, following the best guidance available from their professional organizations and health care experts.
- This fall, we will use videoconferencing to engage students both in and out of the classroom. All students will need a videoconference-capable device (e.g., laptop with camera, tablet, or smart phone) and some type of headphones or earbuds that include a microphone for classes. This solution will allow both in-person and remote students to actively and equally participate in class with their faculty and—importantly—with each other. If you foresee having a technological barrier for this type of classroom engagement, please email email@example.com with the subject “Technology Barrier Fall 2020.”
Academic Support Services
Academic support services will continue to remain available:
- Academic Advisors are and will remain available. If you have questions about advising, please email your advisor or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and an advisor will contact you. Advisors are currently doing their advising sessions remotely, and your advisor can inform you of their availability for fall.
- The Center for Student Accommodations is currently available virtually. If you have questions about accommodations or need assistance, please contact Alyssa Campo-Carman (Alyssa.CampoCarman@mville.edu), Gabby Velazquez (Gabriella.Velazquez@mville.edu), or Joseph Gaines (Joseph.Gaines@mville.edu).
- The Librarywill be open on a reduced schedule in the fall. Furniture will be arranged to keep students at least six feet apart when studying. Students are encouraged to use their own laptop on the free wireless network which allows for printing. Shared spaces and restrooms will be cleaned more frequently. Online databases, containing e-books and articles, are available 24/7 from the Library home page. Librarians offer online chat and research consultation appointments.
- The Academic Resource Center and Writing Center will both be offering tutoring assistance virtually. Please reach out to Prof. Brower (Carleigh.email@example.com) for more information about the Writing Center, and Prof. Graham (Nicholas.firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information about the Academic Resource Center/tutoring for subjects other than writing.
Office Hours: Faculty will be holding their office hours virtually. Please email the faculty member for more information about when they are available. Faculty will be including information about their office hours in the syllabus for each course.
These adjustments to course delivery and to physical classroom spaces to allow for social distancing should provide us with the flexibility necessary to complete the fall 2020 semester without the need to shift our regular policies. Students should be prepared for a return to the regular A-F grading system this fall.
For your reference, the academic calendar can be found on the Registrar’s page here:
https://www.mville.edu/academics/academic-services/office-registrar/academic-calendars. Please note that classes begin on August 31. We will have instruction on Labor Day and we will not have a fall break in October. Classes will shift to remote instruction beginning on November 30, with no in person class meetings after Thanksgiving. The last day of remote classes/finals is December 11.
While what I have outlined is specific to the academic plans in particular, I trust it provides you with confidence in the detailed and complete approach we are taking to planning the fall 2020 semester. Here is detailed information about our campus Policy of Masks and Face Coveringsas well as our campus Cleaning and Disinfection Policy.
We anticipate that our plans will continue to evolve, shifting to meet health guidance from New York State. While this uncertainty can feel unnerving, we have shown that our community is resilient and can adapt quickly. We can support one another throughout the fall semester, rising together to meet what comes.
Please contact email@example.com with any questions.
Wishing you a healthy and safe week,
To Our Newest Valiants:
Although I haven’t met you yet, I already know a lot about you.
I know that you are resilient. I know this because you’ve persevered in the face of unfathomable challenges.
And you are taking your next step forward and setting your sights on better, successful days ahead.
All of us at Manhattanville College want you to know that we are here to welcome you and to support you in all of your endeavors. I also want to assure you that your health and safety are our highest priority, and we are taking extensive measures to make campus safe for you and your classmates while also providing an exciting and rewarding college experience for you.
Our faculty, administrators, and staff are very busy preparing to reopen our beautiful campus safely. Manhattanville College will begin instruction for the fall semester as scheduled on August 31. Our plan is to be on campus, in person, to the extent allowed by the state. The last day of in-person instruction will be November 24. Students will complete their finals remotely after Thanksgiving and return to campus for the spring semester on January 21. We know that time on campus with faculty, staff, and fellow students is invaluable so there will be additional opportunities for face-to-face meeting and instruction during September, October, and November, whether they are one-on-one or in small groups, that can be scheduled outside of regular classroom hours.
We are reimagining class schedules, spaces, and instructional delivery methods. Many classes will be available in a hybrid format, allowing for simultaneous in-person and remote instruction as an added option so that students can receive the same quality education even if attending class is not possible due to illness or other restrictions. Our class sizes have always been small by design – to provide a supportive environment in which personal attention fosters deep engagement and dialogue between students and professors. And small class sizes will now serve us well in the effort to safely distance in the classroom.
Innovative spaces on campus include five new state-of-the-art classrooms in our new Center for Design Thinking which also houses the “Fab Lab” that allows students to make prototypes of products with resources including 3D printers and a laser cutter.
Our reopening plans are being developed based on guidance from the CDC and contingent upon approval by the Governor of New York State for in-person classes for the fall semester. A complete outline of our plans to reopen will be available (and continually updated) at mville.edu. We are evaluating safety measures, including social distancing, face coverings, testing, contact tracing, symptom monitoring and reporting, and for the residence halls – isolation and quarantine practices if necessary. Plans include increased cleaning and disinfecting of common areas, providing cleaning supplies for shared rest rooms, and plexiglass screens in offices where social distancing is not possible. Daily self-assessments of health may be required. Our Student Health and Counseling Center is exploring potential partnerships with health care providers with the goal of offering on-campus testing of students and employees.
We stand behind our mission. And we will deliver on it this fall.
We understand the unique challenges that you face as you enter college during these uncertain times. To help you foster a connection to your new campus community, a group of faculty members has created a 2-credit course, free of charge, to be offered this summer to incoming students, beginning July 6. The course will address the impact of COVID-19 on society and will offer an opportunity to talk about how disorienting and daunting this time is for graduating high school seniors. The faculty believe that this experience will invite you to feel part of our engaged, compassionate, and curious community well before your arrival on campus.
Until then, we wish you a safe and healthy summer and look forward to meeting you in person! And now is a good time to introduce you to our inspirational motto here at Manhattanville College: “To a valiant heart, nothing is impossible!”
Michael E. Geisler, President
Dear Manhattanville Community,
During these past few months, we all have been faced with a barrage of seemingly insurmountable challenges, unlike anything most of us have experienced in our lifetimes. And I have been amazed—though not surprised—to have witnessed myriad examples of ingenuity, fortitude, and compassion demonstrated by our students, faculty, staff, and essential workers. They truly have been a credit to the College and a testament to the tight-knit community we all treasure.
Some examples of faculty and students’ creativity and perseverance: Associate Professor of Biology and Department Chair Chris Pappas, PhD, created a video for students demonstrating how to effectively wear a mask to protect against the coronavirus; Student Health and Counseling staff sent a Zoom message offering comfort and telehealth resources to students; dance and theatre students posted performances online, some of which were featured on BroadwayWorld.com; Manhattanville’s Earth Week team took its planned campus events marking the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and created a fantastic “Virtual Earth Week Celebration” online, which was featured on NBC; doctoral students defended their dissertations in “Zoom rooms” with their families; and the new School of Nursing and Health Sciences remains on schedule to welcome its first class of students next week.
At the same time that we are planning a proper send-off for our 2020 graduates at a future date, we are extending a joyful welcome to our incoming first-year students who will comprise the Class of 2024! We are all looking forward to meeting them in person and on campus, along with all returning Valiant students, faculty, and staff. While considering many possible contingencies and constructing many hypothetical scenarios that would allow a timely return to campus, my Cabinet’s first priority remains the safety and well-being of our entire community.
I know that until we can all meet, teach, learn, play, and laugh again on our beautiful campus, things will continue to feel a bit uncertain. But I am not only hopeful, I am thoroughly convinced that Manhattanville will carry on with its educational mission and will be ready to resume in-person instruction, athletics, and other campus events and activities as soon as it is safe and as New York State permits. I would like to take a moment to thank Chief Compliance Officer Seann Kalagher and the rest of the emergency management team for their tireless efforts in laying a foundation for our return.
Look for regular updates from me regarding the state of the College and our plans for reopening. For general campus updates, please continue to check Manhattanville’s COVID-19 website, which was recently updated to make information easy to find. It also has added features, including a new page called “Valiant Pride” that showcases the creativity of the Manhattanville community in the face of adversity.
I look forward to welcoming both new and continuing students to our beautiful campus this fall, along with our dedicated faculty and staff. Now, more than ever, I am proud to be a Valiant!
Michael E. Geisler, Ph.D.
Dear Manhattanville Staff:
I hope this letter finds you and your families safe and healthy.
During the past few weeks we’ve had to adjust to a new way of life and work – while delivering the critical parts of our mission and continuing to serve our students. I want to thank all of you for your hard work and resilience in the face of extreme personal and professional challenges.
Thanks to a number of decisions we have made over the past ten years, the most recent examples being the introduction of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences and the Center for Design Thinking, Manhattanville is well positioned for the future.
But our successes in adapting to a rapidly evolving environment do not prevent unprecedented hurdles. Manhattanville, like so many colleges and universities, is facing significant financial challenges. The cash reserves tied to our endowment that the College draws upon to help fund operating expenses and student financial aid awards, have contracted along with the financial markets; at the same time, we are refunding a portion of room and board to assist our students’ families with their own growing financial burdens. We are also preparing for the possibility of an extended online learning period and that comes with added expenses for technology and training.
In addition, we don’t know how long current stay-at-home orders will last, nor can we precisely predict what the short- and long-term financial effects of all of this will be. In the coming academic year, we may experience decreased enrollment and fewer students living on campus. With all of these unknowns, we must prepare for several different scenarios, including ones with substantial budget shortfalls, and we must plan to take responsible steps so that Manhattanville remains a strong institution, ready to face the future. All the steps we have taken to this point have been implemented while avoiding furloughs, salary cuts and reduction in Manhattanville work force.
I am working with the consolidated Advisory Budget Committee (ABC) to come up with viable solutions to help mitigate our existing and potential financial challenges. The committee is made up of representatives from staff, faculty, and administration. We need to plan for a budget shortfall of 15% or more. This projection assumes overall college enrollment will likely be down at least 10%. Though we can achieve savings of about $2,000,000 by cutting deeply into operations across the college, we may have to consider either temporary salary reductions and/or furloughs for administration, faculty, and staff to make up more of the possible deficit. We will do everything possible to avoid this and a reduction in force.
I have already committed 10% of my salary, beginning now, to set the tone for the spirit in which we must work to remain a strong community of Valiants. To be clear, all of these efforts, both this year and in the coming years, may not completely mitigate a budget shortfall. We are also exploring options for loans and grants to help us get through the immediate crisis.
I believe it is beneficial to talk through this situation as openly as possible. There will be pain. I can only promise that it will be shared, and we will try to do everything we can to limit the impact on employees’ salaries and lives. My expectation is that all of these efforts will allow us to move forward with renewed strength after next year.
Our shared goal is to preserve the institution for the current generation and for those joining us in the future. We all have to work together to create viable efficiency while preserving our tight knit and intimate community of learners.
With our sudden shift to remote learning and services, some of the lessons we are learning this term will serve us well in creating this future. We may see some long-term changes to campus life as a result of this pandemic, including fewer residential students and hybrid course delivery. These changes will have an impact on our work lives, as we bend to meet the new, diverse needs of students. However, our mission will remain the same, and we will remain strong as we implement modifications during the new normal this virus will leave behind.
I am enormously gratified and continually impressed by the incredible effort you all have made to reinvent your work and student interactions and the collaborative spirit that drives your work. I invite you all to participate in a Q&A with me on Tuesday, April 28, as part of Staff Assembly from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. It will be a forum not only to have your questions answered but to voice your ideas of how we might move forward in addressing the challenges that lie ahead. The meeting will take place via videoconference through Microsoft Teams.
We are in this together. We will get through this together. To the Valiant of heart, nothing is impossible!
Michael Geisler, President
In forty years as a faculty member and then as an administrator at four very different institutions, I have never experienced anything remotely resembling the current crisis, and I am sure that goes for all of you as well.
However, I am writing to you now not to provide more bad news or issue more dire warnings and directives but for one simple purpose: to stop for a moment to take a deep breath and celebrate what this incredible community has so far achieved under the most taxing circumstances.
With practically no time to prepare, we have transitioned an entire semester’s worth of our curriculum online, we have kept our community as safe as any institution can under these difficult circumstances, we have managed to continue paying salaries and benefits, we have made the right decisions (right in hindsight) at the right moments, painful though some of them were, and most importantly, we have supported our students and we have supported each other.
This - is Valiant Pride!
You should all take a moment, amidst the relentless onslaught of catastrophic news to realize what a momentous accomplishment this has been for all of us. Not for any one of us, or for any particular constituency, but for all of us, faculty, staff, and students. I have not heard from any students or parents that crossing over to online teaching has been a disaster; on the contrary, I have seen all the wonderful moments and experiences you have shared with each other and with me.
We all realize that online teaching cannot replace the give-and-take and communal learning experience of face-to-face instruction, but it seems that we have discovered some unexpected joys amid the hardship. We miss the physical companionship of meeting each other in Benziger and having a cup of coffee or watching a movie with our students or watching one of our Valiant athletic teams compete. And yet we have been more successful than I expected in moving a surprising amount of our sense of community and close interaction online. But perhaps I should not have been surprised: this was, after all, one of the reasons why I “flunked retirement” and decided to come to Manhattanville instead.
So this is a time to say “Thank You” to all of you, on behalf of the institution, on behalf of our students, on behalf of our alumnae and alumni, and on behalf of future generations, for working together and for working so hard to keep this community going, not just hanging by our fingernails, but with energy, creativity, sacrifices, and a relentless belief in the future of this institution. And, above all, with a sense of humor and empathy for each other. It is in times like these, that the true mettle of this faculty and staff shines through, as it has these past weeks.
I had originally intended to give specific “Thank You” shout-outs to a number of faculty and staff who have been particularly helpful and supportive in this transition. I had to abandon that idea because the list of specific names has now become so long that this communication would tax your patience. So I will just pick one name for now, and he shall stand for all the others, for faculty, staff and administration: With imperturbable patience, good will, endless energy and unflappable good manners, Bancha Srikacha, our Instructional Technologist, has stepped forward when we needed him most. He has done so on his own initiative, without a directive from me, like one of my favorite characters from American literature, Jurgis, in Upton Sinclair’s classic The Jungle who, whenever things got even tougher for his family than they had already been before, simply said “I will work harder!” Like Upton Sinclair’s fictional character, Bancha Srikacha, in his quiet, unassuming way, simply moved up his game, saying quietly and reassuringly, “I will work harder.” Thank you to Bancha for setting such a great example for all of us, and thank you to all of you who have followed his example!
So tonight, I would like each and every one of you, if you can, to pick up a cup of your favorite beverage and to toast yourselves for doing such a great job under such difficult circumstances. And as you do so, please know that, at exactly 8:00 p.m. tonight, my family and I will raise a glass of wine to toast all of you, to celebrate you, to thank you and to wish you well. If you have the time and are so inclined, please feel free to do the same wherever you are at 8:00 p.m. tonight. We would love to enjoy your company, even if it has to be virtual for now.
As I have quoted our motto so often before, it applies even more so now: “À coeur vaillant rien d'impossible” – “To a valiant heart, nothing is impossible.”
I am proud to be serving this community!
Thank you and stay healthy!
Michael Geisler, President
Dear Manhattanville Undergraduates,
We appreciate your understanding and flexibility as we implement changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to share information regarding financial adjustments that may help alleviate some of the uncertainty our students and their families are facing at this time.
All full-time undergraduate students will receive a fall semester credit in the amount of $350.00 for a portion of fees paid for the 2020 spring semester. Residential students who have left campus housing this semester and had paid for both room and board will receive an additional Fall semester credit in the amount of $1,500.00 for a total of $1,850.
Graduating seniors who do not have an outstanding balance will receive a refund check by the end of May. Checks for graduating seniors will be mailed to the address those students have on file with the College. The College will only be able to provide checks for graduating seniors.
Students are not required to submit a request to receive the credits. The credits will be automatically applied to student accounts for the Fall semester.
We are Here to Support You
These are unprecedented times in which we find ourselves and due to the financial hardship that this has caused for many of you and your families, the College has also decided to raise the threshold of outstanding balances with which students can enroll for classes and participate in the room selection process to $2,000. This is a temporary change for Fall 2020 enrollment only.
As always, if you are having trouble keeping up with your payments, Student Accounts will be happy to work with you. Please contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
This is an unusually challenging time and we could not be prouder of the resiliency of the Manhattanville community. We hope these adjustments will provide additional flexibility to students and their families in the coming days.
Please visit our COVID-19 site regularly, as it is updated with new information and is home to important FAQs, resources and guidance. You can also connect with our COVID-19 resource center at COVIDemail@example.com. In addition, you can virtually access health and counseling services by emailing SHAC@mville.edu or calling 914-323-5155 for an appointment.
As you know, the housing room selection process has begun for residential students and registration for Summer and Fall classes is open. We look forward to brighter times ahead and seeing you all back on campus in the Fall!
Cindy Porter, Vice President for Student Affairs
Jean Hall, Interim Vice President for Finance
Dear Students of Manhattanville College:
The past four weeks have turned our entire world upside down. A great deal of the reality that most of us have taken for granted crumbled under the onslaught of a virion that is 125 nanometers in size (or 16 million times smaller than a .5mm pencil tip), and in 3 short months has brought the entire world’s population to its knees.
Add to this the sense of isolation from your friends and classmates that many of you are experiencing right now (even the best online or social media environment cannot quite make up for the laughter and personal satisfaction of face-to-face interaction) and I can only imagine what this period of anxiety must mean for so many of you. I myself miss saying hello to many of you while walking around campus, or seeing you at Benziger, or attending some of our wonderful theatre, music, and dance productions or athletic competitions, all of which always make me so proud to be a Valiant!
As I am sure many of you know from personal experience, families and businesses everywhere have been hit hard. Not surprisingly, this also applies to Manhattanville College.
Thanks to a number of decisions we have made over the past ten years, with the most recent examples being the introduction of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences and the Center for Design Thinking, Manhattanville is well positioned for the future.
However, there is one significant short-term hurdle we must overcome. Due to the recent downturn in the financial markets the cash reserves tied to our endowment, that the College depends on in part for operating expenses and student financial aid awards, have been somewhat depleted.
Nevertheless, we understand that many of you and your families are also experiencing financial challenges, so the College will provide a credit towards next year’s bill for a portion of expenses incurred by students this year. Graduating seniors who do not have an outstanding balance will receive a cash refund. Look for a letter today from Vice President of Student Affairs Cindy Porter and Interim Vice President of Finance Jean Hall with details.
The College hopes to receive some modest assistance from the federal government that may offset a small fraction of the financial burden incurred by the College. Unfortunately, the sum earmarked by the federal government to support students at educational institutions is less than 25% of what the higher education community had requested to meet the most urgent needs. This modest sum, if it arrives, comes with an understanding that colleges should set aside 50% of this federal subsidy to assist students directly. You should know that Manhattanville College has committed to allocate more than 75% of the anticipated amount of the federal funds for student assistance.
It is also expected that faculty, staff and administration will need to make some temporary sacrifices to offset these costs and ensure a stable future for the College. I have started working on this with an Advisory Budget Committee consisting of members of our faculty, our staff, and our administration. To set the right tone, I have decided to reduce my salary by 10%, effective immediately.
In all of these calculations, my Cabinet, our Board of Trustees and I have been guided by the need to preserve Manhattanville as an institution. We want to make sure that your Manhattanville degrees will still be worth your investment not just five years from now, but twenty years from now and thirty years from now.
With all of us putting our shoulders to the wheel, as Valiants have done so successfully through similar crises in the past, Manhattanville will emerge on the other side of this unprecedented human and economic global crisis as an even stronger institution that will graduate students equipped with the critical skills needed most in the economy of the future.
Michael Geisler, President
Notice to Manhattanville Community,
In response to the growing number of cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) worldwide, Manhattanville College continues to closely monitor reports from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and is working with local and state health officials to keep our campus well-informed.
Given the international COVID-19 situation, we recommend members of our community exercise caution with regard to travel plans over spring break, especially to or through areas included in CDC travel alerts. Since the College’s update on Friday, February 28, the CDC has revised its travel guidance related to COVID-19. CDC guidance, as of March 4, is as follows:
- China — Level 3, Avoid nonessential travel
- South Korea — Level 3, Avoid nonessential travel
- Iran — Level 3, Avoid nonessential travel
- Italy — Level 3, Avoid nonessential travel
- Japan — Level 2, Practice enhanced precautions
- Hong Kong — Level 1, Practice usual precautions
Destinations with risk of community spread currently include Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. The CDC also recommends travelers reconsider cruise ship travel into or within Asia. Visit the CDC’s website for up-to-date information and travel guidance.
Countries may be elevated to the CDC’s Level 2 or 3 travel advisories with little warning. Students, faculty, and staff should be aware that their return to the United States, or to campus, maybe interrupted by quickly evolving federal or state restrictions. Faculty, staff, or students who travel to the countries listed above, as well as other countries that may be added to the CDC travel guidance, could be required by the College to self-quarantine prior to returning to campus. In the event this occurs, the College will work with individual students and/or employees to plan accordingly.
Effective immediately, we are instituting the following policies regarding all international travel, whether academic or for business purposes:
- No student, faculty, or staff will be required to participate in international travel.
- The College is canceling any immediate college-sponsored travel to countries the CDC has designated as Level 3. If a country reaches Level 3 while students, faculty, or staff are visiting, they must notify Student Health and Counseling before they return to the Manhattanville campus. Pursuant to CDC and NYS Department of Health guidelines, those returning from a Level 3 affected area must observe a 14-day home isolation prior to returning to the Manhattanville campus. We will do everything possible to ensure that you stay up-to-date with your studies or responsibilities via remote access.
- We will continue to evaluate future College-sponsored trips and make determinations as conditions change.
All community members returning from international travel who exhibit signs of illness, such as fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, should immediately contact their Health Service Provider and note their travel history in detail; students should contact Student Health Services at (914) 323-5245.
The CDC is asking all individuals to do their part in response to this emerging public threat.
Please follow the stated guidelines below to help keep yourselves, as well as the community, safe and healthy.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning product.
Residential students who reconsider their travel plans and opt to stay on campus over break may do so by visiting http://mville.edu/myhousing, clicking the menu button, and selecting “Applications & Forms”.
We understand that this situation can be frightening, given the evolving information and the daily media coverage, but please be advised that we are closely following guidance set forth by the CDC and the Westchester County Department of Health. One of the challenges associated with the coronavirus situation is that information can change rapidly. We will continue to provide updates to the campus community as more information emerges. Our priority is the health and safety of our college community.
- NYSDOH COVID-19 Hotline 1-888-364-3065
Dear Manhattanville Community:
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and government mandates that prohibit large groups from gathering, Manhattanville College is forced to cancel all spring events and we will not be able to hold our 2020 Commencement as scheduled. We recognize how important Commencement exercises are to our community and are actively exploring options regarding Commencement and finding suitable ways of celebrating the accomplishments of our graduating students, both undergraduate and graduate, with our community.
Students who have purchased regalia may keep it or return it for a refund if it is unopened. This is a very challenging time and we appreciate your understanding as we work to protect the health of the campus community. We look forward to honoring our graduates in some form in the future and celebrating their hard work and achievements. Please look for additional communications in the coming weeks regarding this situation.
As a reminder, check https://www.mville.edu/covid-19-planning-information for additional messages related to campus activities including bookstore hours, dining updates and SHAC services. Any questions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael E. Geisler, President
Louise Feroe, Provost
To the Manhattanville Community,
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to grow and new advisories emerge from public health officials and local, county, state governments, we need to adjust our plans for curricular delivery in accordance with the Governor’s directive that all New York State for-profit and nonprofit institutions are to move their businesses completely online wherever this is possible in order to provide a maximum of safety and a minimum of infection risk for all our populations, students, faculty, and staff.
Therefore, as of today, all spring semester classes at Manhattanville will be taught remotely. In the interest of providing the safest possible learning environment, remote instruction will remain in effect and we will not resume in-person classes for the remainder of the semester.
Students and faculty should remain in frequent communication to ensure effective distance learning and to be aware of follow-up announcements as the semester progresses.
Students who choose to leave campus housing should take with them all the supplies they need for their classwork, including laptops, textbooks, notebooks, and course material. We have asked the faculty to make online options to their students for texts if they are unable to retrieve their course material.
Internships and student teaching will continue as planned unless the internship sites close or become unsafe. Students will earn credit for credit-bearing internships that were completed through March 6, if they are unable to complete the regular hours initially agreed upon.
We are monitoring the situation, and adjusting our plans and policies, as this evolves. Please check email and the website for additional updates throughout the week. You can read about all of our policies and actions at https://www.mville.edu/covid-19-planning-information.
As a reminder, if you have been exposed to coronavirus, or if you are feeling unwell, please notify SHAC at (914) 323-5245.
We know this is a hard time for everyone. We are grateful to all in our College community who are working so hard to keep us safe and healthy. As we go through this together, we encourage you to take care of yourselves and let us know if there is any assistance you need. We will continue to update you with new information as it becomes available. To a Valiant heart, nothing is impossible!
Michael Geisler, President
Louise Feroe, Provost
Important notice to students, faculty, and staff regarding move to online instruction
To the Manhattanville Community:
Effective Thursday, March 12, Manhattanville will suspend in-person instruction and move all classes to remote learning through March 29.
We want to make clear that we have no reported cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) on our campus or in the college community. We are acting out of an abundance of caution in order to encourage the social distancing that authorities believe will be crucial to stopping the spread of COVID-19. This is a precautionary measure, not a reactive one. Our goal is to do everything we can to keep everyone in our community healthy.
The following new policies and protocols will be in effect through March 29. There will be further updates as the situation evolves, and a decision will be made and announced no later than March 25 whether to resume on-campus instruction and events on March 30. Please monitor your e-mail regularly for follow-up communications.
- All classes will continue remotely. To keep students on track to meet their educational requirements, it is imperative that instruction continue. Faculty teaching courses that cannot be moved online (i.e. certain lab classes, performing arts, and fine arts) should discuss with department chairs and school Deans for guidance.
- Students and faculty should remain in frequent communication to ensure effective distance learning.
- If students choose to leave campus housing, they should take with them all the supplies they need for their classwork, including laptops, textbooks, notebooks, and course material.
- Internships and student teaching will continue as planned unless the internship sites close or become unsafe.
- Residence halls will remain open. Students will not be permitted to sign in guests to their residence halls or other facilities in the period through March 29. This includes both daytime and overnight guests.
- Athletic competitions will continue but will be closed to spectators, intramural events are canceled. The fitness center will be closed.
- Dining services will remain open; some food options may be limited. Adjustments to dining services will be communicated and posted online.
- The library will be closed.
- The Valiant bus service will be suspended during this period.
- All campus events will be canceled, postponed, or changed to virtual events through March 29.
- Students should practice social distancing (staying 6 feet apart if possible) and avoid large gatherings and close contact with others.
- Students without access to computers may request access to a computer lab through IT.
- College operations will continue with reduced staffing during this period, especially those that support students, faculty, and staff. Staff should speak with supervisors to determine scheduling needs.
- Students who live and work on campus may continue to work as needed but should be in touch with their supervisors for up-to-date scheduling information.
- The College will be closed to outside visitors, such as those coming for tours and events.
- In-person meetings should be replaced with conference calls or video conferences.
- Effective immediately, there will be no international business travel and no nonessential business travel. Essential travel should be reviewed by unit directors, such as deans and vice presidents.
- Regarding personal travel, we ask that members of our community avoid travel to a foreign country designated as Risk Level 3 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and avoid U.S. regions that the CDC has designated high risk.
- If you do travel to a high-risk region, either internationally or domestically, you must notify Student Health and Counseling (SHAC) at 914-323-5245. You will be asked to observe the 14-day quarantine recommended by the New York State Department of Health or provide documentation from a health care provider that you are authorized to return to school or work.
We believe that taking preventive measures is the best way to mitigate the risk of an outbreak on campus. As the situation evolves, we will continue to update the community. You can find all of our announcements and policies regarding the coronavirus situation on theManhattanville web site.
The health and well-being of our community is our first priority. Please continue to take the recommended precautions. Wash your hands frequently. Avoid touching your face. If you’re not feeling well, stay home. And if you’re concerned about your health, please contact a health care provider immediately. Students who are not feeling well or are experiencing anxiety related to this situation should contact SHAC at 914-323-5245.
If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out. Students can contact Student Affairs staff. Faculty and staff should contact their department chairs, deans, and supervisors.
Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we work together to keep the Manhattanville community safe and healthy.
Michael E. Geisler, Ph.D.