I’m Michael McRobbie, president of Indiana University. I’m speaking to you from my home where Laurie and I have been working but physically distancing as I’m sure all of you are.
Today, we embark upon the final weeks of our spring semester, changed in ways almost unimaginable a few months ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has dramatically disrupted the lives of our students, their families, and our faculty and staff.
By now, you are well aware of the steps IU has taken to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. These decisions were made with the advice of medical and public health experts and with the singular goal of protecting the health and safety of the IU community. This continues to be our absolute top priority at a time when we are in a critical phase of our battle with the pandemic.
This is a momentous week at IU, as we move nearly all instruction on all our campuses to virtual learning for the remainder of the semester. To our more than 100,000 students across the state, we know everything may not go smoothly as we make this massive and unprecedented transition. But I greatly appreciate your patience and understanding as your professors and IU staff work as hard as they can to deliver the best possible virtual instruction.
To our soon-to-be-graduates and their families, the postponement of our beloved Spring Commencement ceremonies is especially heartbreaking to me -- and to all of us. It is personally my very favorite time of the year, and I could not have imagined that members of our Bicentennial class would have had to surrender this special moment in May. But it is a moment that is only being delayed. We eagerly look forward to being able to invite all of our new graduates to participate in an IU commencement ceremony as soon as this is possible.
I remain grateful to our faculty and staff for their hard work, flexibility and positive spirit as they work to ensure that you continue your academic progress, to safeguard our campuses and, in some cases, to combat COVID-19 itself.
And I thank you for doing your part to help stop the spread of COVID-19. We are all in this together, so let us continue to take every precaution to practice physical distancing at all times. Stay home unless it is essential to be out. Do not put others at risk. And take care of your own health and the health of those around you -- both mental and physical.
As IU president and as a parent, I greatly look forward to the day when we get back to business-as-usual, but I know we are likely to feel the effects of this crisis for some time.
To this end, please continue to visit IU’s coronavirus website every day for updates on how this situation continues to impact all of us. This website is the best way to stay informed as the situation concerning the pandemic continues to develop and for answers to your questions. Not all the answers may be available immediately, but people are working extremely hard to get them as quickly as possible.
Finally, I am deeply grateful to each of you for all you have done to navigate the numerous disruptions caused by this pandemic. I am constantly hearing moving and inspiring stories about how members of the IU community are selflessly stepping up to help one another.
For over 200 years, Indiana University, its students, faculty, and staff have overcome many trying times including periods of war, disease, social unrest, economic calamity and many other challenges. Those times were also difficult and trying, yet our predecessors prevailed.
Now is such a time for the current IU community -- students, faculty, staff and alumni -- to rise to this grave new challenge together. I am sure we will emerge from it even better than before.
Thank you all -- for your patience, your understanding, and your perseverance.