Today I’d like to let you know more about steps that Adelphi University’s leadership and community are taking to ensure that we’re moving forward, addressing every challenge and continuing to work toward our University’s strategic goals.

Dear Colleagues,

It feels like an eternity since all of our day-to-day lives took an unprecedented turn.

As we monitored the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) throughout its early progression, we began urgently planning for the challenges that this global pandemic would pose to our University as it reached the United States. These sudden changes to our lives have been a shared challenge, and there is no doubt that the main driver of the anxiety felt by so many comes down to one word: uncertainty.

Today I’d like to let you know more about steps that Adelphi University’s leadership and community are taking to ensure that we’re moving forward, addressing every challenge and continuing to work toward our University’s strategic goals.

I hope that providing a review of the management of this global health crisis will give you confidence that, as a community, we are doing all we can to weather this challenge and emerge stronger on the other side. Confidence, after all, can be an antidote for uncertainty.

This email is lengthy—I hope you will review it in totality.

Adelphi University’s COVID-19 Leadership

Analyzing and acting on the wide-ranging challenges brought on by this pandemic—to Adelphi and all institutions of higher education—requires a well-prepared team.

  • Our University has, in place, an all-hazards emergency response plan. This robust framework for crisis management has been in effect since January 20, when we began monitoring the virus outbreak in China and planned for everyone’s return to campus for the spring semester.
  • Very quickly, by February 27, we escalated to a Level 2 Crisis response and began University-wide business continuity planning under the leadership of our Threat Assessment Team (TAT).
  • Facing what has quickly become a Level 3 Pandemic Crisis, on March 15, we escalated to a National Incident Management Emergency Response Structure with our Incident Management Team (IMT), inclusive of our Executive Emergency Management Team (EEMT). This structure allows us to implement emergency protocols and deploy resources quickly and nimbly.

We have always anchored our Emergency Response Structure in federal guidelines and best practices. We are well versed in this framework and employed it during winter storms, power outages, 9/11, and Superstorm Sandy.

Six Guiding Principles for Our Emergency Response and Recovery

Our Incident Management Emergency Response Structure starts with agreed-upon objectives. Concerning COVID-19, they are:

  1. To protect the health and safety of all students, faculty, staff and guests from COVID-19 by applying guidance from public health authorities and subject matter experts.
  2. To take measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
  3. To mitigate risks to the mission and operations of the University, including maintaining the quality of instruction and educational delivery and research, maintaining mission continuity, and continuing to provide services to our community virtually and strengthening our ability to manage any disruptions in University operations.
  4. To anticipate and subvert recruitment, retention and enrollment challenges that may stem from the inability to meet classes in person, travel restrictions, embassy/consular closures and fear.
  5. To plan for and mitigate significant financial challenges.
  6. To promote Adelphi’s values and ensure our community climate remains inclusive, welcoming and accessible to all.

Our Emergency Response Structure is divided into six areas: Academics, Operations, Student Affairs, Finance and Administration, Communications, and University Governance and Strategy. Each area is led by a key leader or section chief and reports to the emergency director or designee.

The Executive Emergency Management Team meets remotely every morning to decide immediate actions and plans for the future. Public Safety and our University Communications Team provide daily situational reports to all key leaders and section chiefs.

Timeline for Response and Recovery

Our response and recovery continue to unfold. We have been sprinting to maintain our mission and business continuity over the last two weeks, and are now in a fast-paced marathon.

The Governor announced this weekend that New York State on Pause would continue through April 15—all nonessential businesses will have to remain closed with employees working from home. This state executive order applies to Adelphi. Only our critical and essential personnel will report to campus through April 15.

Around April 15, state officials will reassess the COVID-19 situation and determine whether to extend NYS on Pause or allow employees to return to work.

Currently, approximately 2.5 percent of our workforce is present on the Garden City campus to ensure uninterrupted operations, safety and support for members of the Adelphi community. We still have 58 students on campus who were unable to travel home due to extenuating circumstances, and we’re committed to their continued safety and support. I sincerely appreciate all our employees who rise to meet this need, daily.

The Executive Emergency Management Team is planning recovery over multiple scenarios and timelines so that we are ready when further guidance becomes available.

Our COVID-19 Actions and Recovery Plans to Date

I thank all of you—our faculty and staff—for your rapid deployment of continuity plans and your virtual support of Adelphi’s mission.

I am also grateful for your messages that include some significant updates about your work and students, as well as fantastic photos of your home offices and your Zoom and Google Hangout meetings with each other and students. I love seeing your faces and miss them all.

Support For You. Our Office of Information Technology (IT), Office of Human Resources (HR) and our Faculty Center for Professional Excellence (FCPE) have worked hard to provide excellent resources to support you in working and teaching virtually and to support our students.

IT continues to provide essential equipment and access to any members of our community who are not technologically prepared for the semester-long transition.

Commencement. To protect the health and well-being of our community and to follow state guidelines, we canceled our May 2020 Commencement traditional celebrations.

  • Our Commencement Steering Committee, reachable at, is reviewing our community’s suggestions for alternate plans to ensure our 2020 graduates receive the recognition they deserve.
  • To cancel May’s Commencement was a heartbreaking decision for our graduating students and families. We did not make this decision lightly, but we chose to make it timely in order to answer the many questions about the status of Commencement and to allow adequate time for identifying and executing other options to celebrate our 2020 graduates.

Academics. We have addressed several areas to help provide flexibility for our students and to maintain our mission.

  • Late last week, we issued a new academic calendar with makeup days as well as new withdrawal deadlines and registration guidelines. You can find the revised academic calendar here.
  • On March 27, the Office of the Provost communicated our Spring 2020 pass/no credit grading options to assist undergraduate students dealing with possible disruptions to their course programs and grades. Thank you to our General Education Committee, Academic Standards, Academic Affairs and Senate Executive Leadership for the care that went into these decisions. Each graduate program is reviewing possible options for some flexibility and will communicate with students soon.
  • Later this morning, the Office of the Provost will communicate updated provisions that modify contractual language or policies in light of the circumstances; these have been developed in collaboration with the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and the Faculty Committee on Retention, Tenure and Promotion (FCRTP).

Finance and Administration. The Finance and Administration team is studying the financial and administrative impact of the pandemic on our University in academic years 2019–20 and 2020–21. Six working groups are focused on areas of recovery:

  • Financial impact analysis, including management of refunds and enrollment projections
  • Government and insurance recovery
  • Contract analysis and remediation for relationships impacted by the shift to virtual operations
  • Business process analysis, focused on supporting academic and administrative functions
  • Business continuity
  • Business resumption

We do anticipate declines in enrollments from both international and domestic students, brought on by the unexpected travel and financial challenges caused by COVID-19. We will delay our 2020–21 budget until we complete a full impact analysis.

Government Relations. As the current chair of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities in New York (CICU), I have partnered with CICU and the national organization (NAICU) to aggressively lobby our state and federal representatives for support of higher education as they consider aid packages related to COVID-19. My outreach to our local elected leaders implored them to ensure our needs remain a priority in their considerations.

  • We will recover some revenue by filing claims with insurance and by applying for state or federal funds.
  • As you may be wondering, we are working with our state lobbying team to advocate for permitted continuity of construction on our Ruth S. Harley University Center. We will continue to update you on its progress at

Student Affairs. The Division of Student Affairs continues supporting our 58 students who remain in our residence halls due to hardships and extenuating circumstances.

  • Essential personnel on campus to support these students include our Residential Life and Housing staff, Dining Services, Student Health Services, and our offices of Public Safety and Information Technology.
  • Many offices, including our Student Counseling Center and Center for Career and Professional Development, are offering virtual services to students to ensure their continued support through the spring semester.
  • I also know our Center for Student Involvement team is working on alternative plans for First-Year Orientation if we cannot gather in person.

Enrollment Management. The Enrollment Management Team is analyzing the pandemic’s impact on our projected enrollment for Summer and Fall 2020.

  • The team used their business continuity plans to pivot quickly to a virtual format for tours, admission events and Accepted Student Days.
  • Just the other day, I joined our accepted students and their families for a Zoom welcome chat! More than 395 students and their families joined us for the event. Many of you participated in some way to make it a success, hosting Zoom Rooms and private chats.
  • Mitigation strategy plans include online enrollment options through Adelphi University International (AUI) for our international students who may not be able to travel.
  • A summer working group led by Sal Petrilli has begun identifying possible new options for online summer learning, in case mandatory precautions remain in place for an extended period.

Some Highlights of How the Adelphi Family Is Helping to Date:

  • We postponed our plans for Giving Day 2020 and pivoted to raising funds for a Student Emergency Support Fund. Gifts are already coming in to support students in need. In total, our community has already contributed more than $50,000 to the fund. I was thrilled to see that our Women’s Giving Circle allocated $25,000 to it.
  • I am deeply grateful to our Student Government Association, which voted to donate funds to help supply students in need with loaned laptops during this prolonged period of remote learning.
  • On Friday, March 27, Adelphi delivered vans of supplies to the Javits Center, which is currently serving as a New York Temporary Hospital. Our delivery included gloves, masks, gowns, and more—from our College of Nursing and Public Health, our Chemistry, Environmental Studies, and Biology departments, and our Department of Public Safety.
  • We also donated gloves and hand sanitizer to the Garden City Police Department. It’s great that we were able to make these supplies available when and where they are most needed.

I continue to be inspired by you all and how our Adelphi family has come together and risen to make the best of these unusual times. Thank you all for staying connected with me throughout this time that we are apart.

Have confidence. We will get through this. And we will do it together.

I genuinely look forward to returning to our home away from home and, together, reflecting on and learning from all the things we are undertaking and accomplishing as one Adelphi.

We will continue to provide you with essential resources and the most current information about Adelphi’s status and decisions. Please keep watching your emails and our coronavirus website and FAQs at The site is updated multiple times a day.

Thank you, stay safe and be well.

All the best,

Christine M. Riordan, PhD

For further information, please contact:

Todd Wilson
Strategic Communications Director 
p – 516.237.8634
e –

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