Communicating with Students at Virus-Sensitive Universities: A Template for Administrators

Dear ______:

When Spring Break is over, don’t even think about coming back here.  We’re serious.  Under no circumstances should you set foot on this campus.  We’ve put rattlesnakes in the residence halls.   Let’s face it, COVID-19 has won Round One. 

Please be aware that during your absence you will continue to be charged for three meals a day on your meal plan.  This is because our contract with the union that represents the food-service workers requires them to be paid in full even if there are no students to serve, and no meals to prepare.  Sorry, but if you recall, many of you marched in support of this demand two years ago when we were negotiating with the union.  Indeed, some of you threw dinner rolls and unopened jars of pasta sauce at the school’s President when he addressed this issue at the all-college meeting on the campus quad.

If you’re an international student and have returned to your home country, God help you, because we have absolutely no idea when we might see you again.  Perhaps never.  But that’s not an excuse for falling behind in your tuition payments.  Please have your parents contact us ASAP.  Don’t make our collection agents come looking for you.  These agents can be awfully “prickly,” to put it mildly, and are not constrained by the U.S. Criminal Code when working overseas. 

If you’ve checked out any books from the library, please……Ha-ha, just kidding!  Nobody has checked out a book from our library since 2002. 

The April 25th Spring Concert featuring Red, an Ed Sheeran cover band, and opening act Simone (Kendrick Lamar’s second cousin) has been cancelled.  Tickets are not refundable, but can be used to purchase items from discontinued campus clothing lines at the bookstore.

We will make a good-faith attempt to provide you with online resources to finish all of your courses this semester, but keep in mind that our IT department is a one-man operation, and Todd hasn’t been the same since ingesting two plutonium-laced M&Ms at the Burning Man festival last summer.  Whatever you do, avoid sending him any email messages using ALL CAPS.

Please don’t complain to us about in-person classes being suspended for the rest of the term.  Our records indicate that most of you skip class about 70% of the time, and some of you don’t even know where your classes are held, so turn off the crocodile-tears faucet. 

Several professors have kindly provided us with final exams for your courses.  You have until May 10th to complete them online:

Contemporary Literature (Dr. Johnson):  Read Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, and then re-read it from back to front.  Does it make more sense the second time?  Explain your answer, and compare the book’s themes with those found in The Bridges of Madison County.

Remedial Algebra (Dr. Wheybourne-Twilley):  Assume x = 6.  Solve for x.  Show your work.

Introductory Sociology (Dr. Spawn):  Given that senior citizens are highly vulnerable to the coronavirus, can COVID-19 be held morally and/or legally accountable for being ageist?  Make sure to cite your sources.

Sociology Honors Seminar (Dr. Spawn):  Deconstruct society.  Then rebuild it, using only women.

Accounting 122 (Professor Korbst):  Pick any dollar amount less than $500.  Type it 250 times, using a different font each time.  Don’t copy your classmate’s amount.

Electoral Politics (Dr. Florf):  Would SNL’s Kate McKinnon have fared better than Elizabeth Warren in the Democratic primaries?  Support your argument with three examples from Meryl Streep’s film career.

The Spring 2020 graduation ceremony will be held on May 16th, unless it isn’t.  We’ll keep you updated on Twitter.  A lot depends on how successful we are in finding the Registrar, who was last seen purchasing a keg of Johnnie Walker Red in a local liquor store on March 5th.  If you encounter Ms. Tobin, please ask her to call us.   

We realize that these are difficult times for all of us.  Our first priority is the safety of our students, even the ones with low GPAs.  Toward that end, we will be sending each of you a container of hand sanitizer and a month’s supply of Purell-treated condoms or diaphragms.  Enjoy the rest of the semester, but be careful out there.  Your tuition matters!