In order to help reduce the risk and spread of the COVID-19 virus, and to support our community’s common good, the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University campus communities—of which the Collegeville Institute is a part—suspended on-campus classes and all events as of 5 p.m., Friday, March 13. Students other than international students are being asked to return home.
In keeping with that decision and in light of the steady spread of the virus in Minnesota, the Collegeville Institute has suspended its short-term Resident Scholars program for the remainder of the spring semester. For current Resident Scholars, we will not be holding in-person Tuesday seminars, or holding Friday evening gatherings.
As you know, the Collegeville Institute is a place of face-to-face meeting, peer group interaction, and embodied conversation. We take this step to do our part in protecting the health of Collegeville Institute residents, as well as the health of those in our regional community and beyond. We encourage you all to practice the measures currently considered the most effective means of preventing the spread of the virus—social distancing and refraining from participating in large public gatherings. We understand that these practices seem antithetical to a faith that calls us to be in communion with one another—to be a gathered people. As Bill McKibben has said, in this epidemic, “We can’t lay on hands, we can only wash them.” (For McKibben’s full, and excellent, piece click here.) But in times like these practicing social distancing (not social isolation) can be an act in congruence with neighborly love.
At this point, we are moving forward with our summer programming as planned, although we have instructed our travel agent not to begin booking flights for summer writing programs until the first of May. We will continue to monitor developments and make decisions based on the most current information and expert recommendations, and we will keep you apprised of these decisions.
If you have been accepted into a summer program at the Collegeville Institute are making choices about travel that may impact your ability to participate, please let us know.