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March 23 Covid-19 Community Update

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Dear D’Youville Community,

I am reaching out to campus in this time of uncertainty as we adjust to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The response of our D’Youville Community to this global crisis has been nothing short of superhuman. We have come together in remarkable ways, and it has been very comforting and inspirational to witness. I want to recognize the herculean efforts made by all of our faculty, staff, and administrators that transitioned classes, labs, and clinical requirements online with near immediacy, while also managing operations and responding to rapidly changing conditions.

Our students equally deserve unconditional accolades for their ability to seamlessly adjust to the new way of living and learning that has transpired. I am confident that their flexibility and willingness to adapt will prove invaluable as they enter into a dynamic and swiftly changing world. In contrast, it is recognized that this situation has been a source of deep disappointment, particularly among our seniors, our athletic teams, and for students preparing capstone projects and scholarly research presentations. It is natural to feel loss and sadness for the disappointed expectations of what this semester could have been. In recognition of this, I am compelled to reaffirm D’Youville’s commitment to celebrate student success. When the time is right and our campus is once again permitted host dynamic gatherings, we will hold a joyous celebration to recognize the accomplishments of our Spring graduates, student scholars, and student athletes.

Despite much disruption, we continue putting our best selves forward to maintain connectedness via digitally distributed teams and creatively transcend social distances. Many members of our campus community, including the Mission Office and Student Engagement Office, have found novel ways to bond, stay positive, and remain unified. Whether it be virtual pastoral care and the “Daily Doses of Encouragement,” or online student engagement activities that span Motivational Mondays through Mindful Sundays. We are persisting to serve our extraordinary students, which I proudly recognize as being the next generation of healthcare providers and socially conscious community leaders.

We also continue to provide experience and impact our surroundings, especially for those most in need. D’Youville is doubling down on its purposeful work of building and training a larger healthcare workforce by offering more of our health programs online while also building new offerings in the weeks and months ahead. For example, we are rolling out a Regional Opportunity Initiative (ROI) that will partner D’Youville with rural hospitals to help them build a talent pipeline of Advance Practice Providers by delivering affordable tuition and flexible schedules. In addition, our new Healthcare Hub is designed to increase the number of healthcare professionals available to work in our local community, a provisional service that could not be timelier given our current circumstances.

As we know, the needs of our community will be massive during this crisis. In response, D’Youville is working diligently to identify many fronts where we can be most helpful. We are lending our parking lots to the National Guard and donating personal protective equipment to hospitals. We are also supporting students throughout the education pipeline, whether it be enabling K-12 students in the Buffalo Public Schools with free online tutoring as they adapt new digital learning environments, or the ways we are fast-tracking graduation for our high-needs healthcare professions in order to expedite them into the workforce to help flatten the curve. Our mission to serve has never been more critical.

During this time, I worry about my own children who are serving on the frontlines of healthcare, passionately caring for the sick in New York City. As I worry about them, I share similar emotions for all of you, your families, and beloved friends. The unprecedented interference COVID-19 has imposed upon humanity is truly frightening. However, knowing how much we support each other encourages me to believe that when this crisis ends, we will be more compassionate and connected as people. I am very appreciative of the all work that has been accomplished, and I have never been prouder to serve as your president.

Good wishes and good health.

Lorrie Clemo