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COVID-19 Updates

JST classes will be conducted remotely for the fall 2020 semester.

The following pages will be updated as new information is released.

 

JST Berkeley Campus COVID-19 Updates

JST classes are to be delivered remotely for the fall 2020 semester.

Considering that the opportunity for face-to-face meetings will continue to be severely curtailed, we have decided to deliver our coursework and community events remotely for the fall 2020 semester. This decision was made so that our students can continue (or begin) their studies without significant interruption. While all of our classes will be delivered remotely, we will try to augment remote coursework, when safe and permissible, with in-person encounters and ministry experiences.

Click here to read the full statement regarding this decision from Interim Dean Benders.

Resources through SCU

JST students who are experiencing food insecurity because of the shelter-in-place order may request assistance with the SCU Bronco Pantry. Please indicate that you are from JST.

JST students who are experiencing financial need as a result of COVID-19, please see the SCU Financial Aid page for information on the SCU Emergency Fund and submit the request at this link.

Resources in the Community

Food Assistance:

Alameda County Community Food Bank

Guide to Food Resources in Alameda County

- Food Helpline (for anyone residing in Alameda County, no verification required) for information on food pantries and hot food services near you
- CalFresh (formerly food stamps, for US citizens, legal permanent residents, refugees)
- Meals on Wheels (for seniors who are homebound)
- Senior Brown Bag (for low income seniors over 60 years of age)

United Way Bay Area
Call 2-1-1 to speak with a local trained specialist who can connect you to services providing food, shelter, childcare, legal assistance, and more.

Other Forms of Assistance

Alameda County Rapid Response Resources
This document lists websites and information on essential help during this time. It indicates relaxation of government and business rules regarding wait times, scheduled payments and other forms of assistance, including:
- Apply for CalFresh (formerly food stamps)
- EBMUD and PG&E moratoriums on service disconnection and bill reduction
- Rules for state disability and unemployment insurance for reasons of COVID-19
- Extension of state and federal tax filing deadlines
- AC Transit and BART changes in policy
- Cellular service hardship policies

California Department of Public Health

Center for Disease Control

Dear JST Community,


It seems like a hundred years since yesterday! I pray you are all still safe and sound. I'm trying not to send too many messages, but this is important. I'll be brief.

Classes: All classes will continue online/remotely through the end of this academic year, as decided by the President's Office.

JST Apartments: Residents in JST Housing will be allowed to remain in their apartments until the end of their leases. This is our best information now. I apologize for the confusing text some residents received yesterday from the University administration, which applied only to dormitory residents on the main campus.

Graduation: No word yet on how JST's graduation will be handled in May. We ask for your patience.

We know this is a difficult and stressful time for our community, just as it is everywhere. Everyone seems to be feeling a deep sense of loss and uncertainty that escalates daily. The best medicine may be to reach out and care for others around you. Here is a note from Maya Ackerman, SCU Engineering Professor, with her thoughts on what we can do:

I've been worried about the impact of the coronavirus on the lives of many, from both a health and financial standpoint. So, I did some research and ended up putting together a short article on what individuals can do to help others.

With prayers and hope in these turbulent times,

Alison

 

Dear JST Community,

I truly hope you are well in these uncharted times. Today, Alameda County and the City of Berkeley issued a 'shelter in place' order, effective tonight at midnight through April 7, 2020. Here's what that means for JST.

Classes: Faculty and students will continue to hold classes remotely through April 13, 2020. There is no change. From faculty members' reports, things seem to be going very well. We're having an all faculty meeting on Wednesday to share our experiences and make sure there are no difficulties. Spring Reading Week will be March 23-27, as planned. We will move all advising meetings to online or telephone. Thank you to Mey Saechao and other academic staff who are supporting online Zoom meetings and technology. And a big thank you to our great faculty who are so profoundly committed to student learning and support in these days.

Academic Building: The academic building at 1735 LeRoy is now closed and will remain so at least through April 7. The building alarm will be set. Only essential facilities staff will be allowed to enter the building. My deepest gratitude to Tanisha Sparks, Director for Finance and Administration, for all the hours she has spent communicating with the main campus about building security and our community's health.

JST Residences: The 'shelter in place' orders apply to all JST apartment residents. Tanisha will be in regular contact with you to be sure you are safe and secure.

Daily Liturgies: Unfortunately, we will no longer be able to offer daily liturgy in JST's Gesu Chapel. Many thanks to Paul Kircher and Marty Connell, SJ for working together planning to keep our worship together as consistent as possible. Watch for more from Paul about alternatives.

JST's 50th Anniversary: With regret, we will have to postpone our 50th Anniversary celebration set for Saturday, April 25. We will also cancel the April 28 interfaith prayer service at the Tuesday evening community supper. Once we determine the new dates in the fall, we will be sure to inform you. We look forward to sharing the memories of JST's past 50 (or 51) years with all of you.

GTU (from Interim President Uriah Kim):
Following the order to “shelter in place,” the Library building will be closed starting tomorrow until at least April 7th and all GTU staff must work remotely. Here is the following announcement:

  • As of 5pm on March 16, 2020, and continuing through April 7, 2020, all in-person services are suspended, and the building is closed.
  • Remote services will continue on M-F, 10am-5pm.
  • Access to all virtual services will continue. Learn more by viewing this online webinar.
  • Ask-a-librarian: Chat available via the library webpage, email library@gtu.edu or zoom by appointment.
  • Guide for distance students
  • Guide to remote resources

I've been conferring daily with the JST Deans Cabinet members (Drew Roberts, Paul Kircher, Tanisha Sparks, Dianna Gallagher and Ed Stewart), who are wise and committed to our community's well being. Some decisions and policies are not yet finalized. We will continue to give you as much information as we can  -  as events unfold.   Please also watch your email for communications from the SCU senior administration, especially from President O'Brien and his staff.   

May God be with us in these turbulent times.  Let us take good care of each other.  And let us keep those who are sick and those who minister to them in our prayers.

Alison

 

Dear JST Community,


I realize that this week has been very overwhelming and that we have many uncertainties as we move forward. On top of trying to figure out everything here, many of you have have concerns over family members, school closings or communities where you serve. It is a difficult time indeed. In the midst of all of this, I wanted to say thank you for your creativity, graciousness, and patience as we tread in unknown waters. It heartening to be at a place with such amazing people!


Here are the plans for JST's school operations and buildings for the next few weeks.

Most importantly, we will continue with our semester as normally as possible. However, the University leadership has asked us to limit the number of people on campus. Therefore, all employees who can work remotely are asked to do so starting Monday March 16, 2020. Supervisors will set up Temporary Remote Work Agreements for the students and staff who report to them. These need to be in place before remote work begins. Staff members should consult with their supervisors about specific reasons for coming to campus.

We will have 1-2 staff members on campus during the days to handle essential matters and be available for unexpected matters. The outside doors will be locked but not alarmed. You will need your key card for access.

Courses are already offered online. Faculty members are encouraged to work from home and to limit their trips to campus. All student-faculty meetings should take place virtually: by phone or zoom.

Here is some additional information.

  • Front desk phone number: 510-549-5000.

  • Laptops and electronic file access:
    • Staff and faculty should take their laptops home for working on school matters. People who need to borrow a laptop should contact Jasmine (x5000).
    • Please make arrangements to access your electronic files away from the office - especially those that are not already on Google drive.
    • VPN - On the SCU website for COVID-19, there are instructions for how to install VPN on your laptop. This will give you remote access to the ‘Everyone Drive’ and your personal drive.
    • You can also download a Google app to receive your desktop items. Drew Roberts will offer a Google Drop session at noon on March 13 to demonstrate. Bring your laptop.
    • Borrow a thumb drive from Mey to transport files.
    • Upload all desktop files to Google now.

  • Mail, packages and phones:
    • The front desk will be staffed. Mail and incoming calls will be handled by the staff who are present in the building.
    • Mail can be forwarded, saved, or scanned to save you a trip to campus. Tanisha will share a process for that in the coming days.
    • Do not have Amazon or other personal packages delivered to JST. This will only add to our burden and delay your access.
    • Your voicemail messages can be delivered to you through email. Instructions for setting this up are here: https://www.scu.edu/technology/get-connected/phones/

  • Residents in JST's apartment buildings will find most things continuing as usual. Tanisha will communicate with residents about health and safety protocols during this time.

  • Tips for working remotely - https://www.scu.edu/is/technology-for-working-remotely/ 


Please anticipate that we will return to normal operations on April 13, 2020 according to President O'Brien's directive.

In the days ahead, we need to be mindful of protecting ourselves and others in the community. I’m grateful to all of you for your patience and forbearance as the university and our school sort through our next steps. Special thanks to the members of the Deans Cabinet (Drew Roberts, Tanisha Sparks, Paul Kircher, Dianna Gallagher, and Ed Stewart) for their planning and advice.

I’ll be sending regular updates as we know more details and can plan to restart business as usual. Please don't hesitate to ask if you need clarification or support.


Wishing everyone peace and health,

Alison

 

Dear JST Community,


Many of you have been asking questions about what JST and SCU are doing about protecting our community from COVID-19. Information has been coming in quickly, sometimes just partial information. I want to assure you that the JST staff has been carefully monitoring information and decisions.


This email compiles information from all JST areas to let you know where things stand now, and how you can keep track of updates.


Notices for EVERYONE in the community:

  • SCU and JST remain open with business being conducted as normally as possible.

  • President O’Brien announced at about 5:00 pm: “As of Tuesday, March 10th, SCU (and JST) will suspend face-to-face meetings of classes and move to a virtual format until Monday, April 13th.” Please see his message in your inbox and also watch for further updates from SCU offices or JST offices.

  • JST will follow the President's directive - our classes will be held virtually through Easter, with face to face meetings now scheduled to resume on April 13.

  • JST Liturgies will continue at the regularly scheduled times:
    • Monday - Friday: 8 a.m.
    • Tuesday - Friday: 5:15 p.m.
    • Saturday: 8:30 a.m.

  • JST Tuesday Evening Soup Suppers and presentations are canceled for March 10 and 17. We anticipate starting up again after spring break, but please watch for notices.

  • We are monitoring JST residential population for any signs of exposure. We have no concerns so far. If we were to identify such a case, we would confer with SCU’s Student Health experts, as well as other community health offices, to provide protection for our residents.

  • JST’s public spaces are being disinfected daily.

  • If you personally have concerns about attending an in-person meeting, I ask you to contact the meeting planner to make alternate arrangements to protect your health.


For Students:

  • President O’Brien’s announcement directs students to return to their homes. We are not certain yet what this means for JST students, particularly our international students. Please watch for further information tomorrow.

  • We are waiting for instructions from the Provost's office about student workers and whether they should report to work.

  • All GTU classes are offered remotely. If you have questions about the virtual classes at another GTU school, please contact the registrar or dean of that school.


For Faculty and Staff:

  • According to President O’Brien’s announcement, John Ottoboni, SCU Chief Operation Officer will provide faculty and staff additional information about their work scheduled and locations.

  • The Faculty Meeting and Academic Council meeting on March 11 will proceed as scheduled.

  • We will provide support for faculty members to shift their courses online. The GTU and SCU offer plenty of resources to help with this and many of the faculty are well prepared for Zoom or other synchronous online platforms.


Communications Updates:

I will send JST specific updates via email as often as they are available. These will be dated and timestamped and added to our COVID-19 Updates page on our website.

As we continue in the next few weeks, please take care of yourselves and your loved ones. Use sensible precautions about contact with others to avoid spreading COVID-19.


We’re grateful for all you do for JST!

Alison