Latest Updates from DMU - Divine Mercy University
COVID-19 UPDATES

DMU Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response  Learn more

All Updates:
04/03/2020 – IMPORTANT: University Information
03/30/2020 – IMPORTANT: DMU response to Virginia Stay at Home Mandate
03/27/2020 – DMU Spring Classes Update
03/21/2020 – Modified Campus Hours
03/20/2020 – DMU Commencement Postponed
03/19/2020 – DMU COVID-19 Campus Update
03/12/2020 – DMU COVID-19 Action Plan

IMPORTANT University Information –  Friday, April 3rd

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

As we finish another week of the coronavirus pandemic and get ready for Holy Week next week, I want to assure you and your loved ones that God loves you and has not forgotten about you.  Life in this world is always a mystery, one which we see in the most dramatic way in the passion, death and resurrection of Christ. In the midst of mystery and suffering, I invite you to never forget that Easter Sunday always follows Good Friday.  Grace and new life are always on the other side of every cross. It’s a promise from God sealed with the blood of His only Son.

I would like to thank everyone for their adherence to the new restrictions established by the Governor of Virginia to stay home and report to business only for essential business functions.  This is a challenging time for everyone and the fluidity of the situation requires added effort to accomplish our responsibilities whether it is teaching, counseling, studying, attending classes or performing the important duties to keep the University functioning.  We will get through this!

The executive committee met this morning to review the current situation and make decisions about temporary changes to the University’s essential functions in keeping with regulatory requirements.  To that end, I would like to provide you all with the following information:

  • PsyD Summer classes will be offered online.  After considering the survey sent last week to PsyD students, having faculty input, and given that the Governor of Virginia has declared that no gatherings of more than 10 persons can be held at any time until June 10, I believe this is the most prudent course and will allow the entire community to plan accordingly.   Should conditions and the regulatory situation change, there could be a possibility to reopen the clinic before then, but that determination cannot be made at this time. Dean Hollman will be sending an email to all PsyD students with details regarding this shift to online delivery.

  • SOC May and July residencies will also be online.  For similar reasons, we will not be hosting the residencies scheduled for May and July on campus.  Rather, they will be done in online format. Dean Payne will have additional information for all students regarding this shift.

I would also like to take this opportunity to continue to encourage all faculty and staff to adhere to the guidelines for telework that have been previously communicated.  No one should be working on campus without the approval of his or her supervisor. If you need to come to the building and you do not currently have authorization which schedules onsite work for essential functions, you will need to follow the procedures listed below (please see the document attached for complete details):

  • Supervisor authorization:  please request approval from your supervisor for any visit to campus.  Those that are on campus for essential functions will be reviewing and sharing important mail, watering plants and caring for the building.  Special requests for materials will also be considered.

  • Notify Operations: Please email Helen Truppo to notify her of your plan to visit campus copying your supervisor on the email.

  • Email Operations:  On the day of your visit, email Helen Truppo when you arrive and when you depart. Keeping an accurate headcount of those on campus is essential in case of emergency.

  • Avoid restricted areas:  We have modified our Security and Cleaning services in light of this situation.  Therefore, certain areas of the building, predominantly on the second floor, will be off limits.  Signs have been posted on all areas that are being restricted. Please adhere to these restrictions.

  • Security questions:  If you have any questions or are having difficulty entering the building, please contact Helen Truppo.

  • Floor Captains:  Rigg Mohler and Laura Tucker have been included as ad hoc Floor Captains during this situation.  Please reach out to them directly if you have any concerns while on campus. I encourage you to review the DMU Safety and Emergency Procedures Manual to ensure that you follow approved procedures during any emergency situation.

Thank you all for your hard work and positive attitude during this unexpected and trying situation.  I have been remembering you and your loved ones during my daily Masses and will continue to do so. By placing our trust in God, we can persevere with consolation and hope.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Fr. Charles Sikorsky, LC, JD, JCL
President
Divine Mercy University

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IMPORTANT: DMU Response to Virginia Stay at Home Mandate – Monday, March 30th

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

I pray that you are all adjusting to the very trying situation we are all attempting to navigate.  You and your families are in my daily prayers and thoughts. This has been and will continue to be a very fluid state of affairs and your health and safety remain our primary concern.  With God’s help, we will get through this and we will get through this together.

Virginia Governor, Ralph Northam, has instituted Executive Order Number Fifty-Five, Temporary Stay at Home Order Due to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), whereby all individuals in Virginia shall remain in their place of residence, except as provided by this Order and Executive Order 53.  These rules will go into effect this evening at 8:00pm. Maryland Governor, Larry Hogan, also issued additional directives which also go into effect this evening.

A change to online classes for the Summer Semester is under serious consideration by the executive team.  We are receiving student feedback through the survey shared with students late last week. These responses, in conjunction with an evaluation of the current and projected situation, as provided by local, state and federal agencies, will be considered when making this decision.

For the time being, the following changes are effective tonight at 8:00pm:

  • Until further notice, the DMU campus will no longer be accessible to students.  All classes will continue to be conducted online. The virtual library hours are unchanged.  Any library requests should be completed using existing online services.
  • Faculty and staff should telework as much as possible, and only come to campus under the direction and with the approval of their supervisor.  Please limit non-essential time on campus and coordinate with your Dean or your supervisor to ensure that you have the resources to be productive while telecommuting.  Under no circumstances should anyone be on campus if they are sick, are displaying any symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed in the last fourteen days to someone that has contracted COVID-19.

It is important that we work together over this next phase of the crisis to support each other and provide the best experience for all. Through the intercession of Mary and Joseph, I pray for the continued prosperity of each of you and your families and in our work.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Fr. Charles Sikorsky, LC, JD, JCL
President
Divine Mercy University

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DMU Spring Classes to Remain Online for the Remainder of the Semester – Friday, March 27th

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

We have all been blessed this day by the extraordinary Urbi et Orbi blessing bestowed upon us by the Holy Father, Pope Francis.  In his message, he reminds us that “God turns everything to our good”. Working, studying and teaching from home can provide us with an opportunity to recognize what is truly important and what is merely chaff –  “a time to choose what matters and what passes away, a time to separate what is necessary from what is not”. I encourage all of us to take some time to ponder on the meaning of this and rededicate ourselves to loving and serving others in whatever form that might currently take.

As I have shared with you previously, the DMU executive team has been meeting regularly to evaluate the COVID-19 situation and consider prudent and reasonable responses.  The team has evaluated the impact on students, faculty and staff for this significant change and has considered the current recommendations of local, state, federal and regulatory agencies.  Many states have declared stay-at-home mandates and the CDC has made recommendations limiting gatherings of more than 10 people for the foreseeable future.

Based on this, all Spring PsyD classes will remain online for the remainder of the semester.  We are also seriously considering whether summer classes will also be conducted online and want to make this decision in a timely manner.  Students will be receiving a survey within the next several days so that you can provide us with your perspective on this important matter and on your current experience.  Your feedback is very important to us so I encourage you to take a few moments to complete the survey.

I want to thank all of you for your dedication and positive spirit.  I am edified by the example you all share for each other and ourmission.  Be assured of my prayers.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Fr. Charles Sikorsky, LC, JD, JCL
President
Divine Mercy University

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Modified Campus Hours – Saturday, March 21st

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

The University has taken steps over the last several weeks to keep our entire community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.  This includes the transition to online PsyD classes, providing temporary telework arrangements for faculty and staff, sharing CDC recommendations to protect yourself and others from contracting COVID-19 as well as implementing enhanced protocols for social distancing.  In an effort to respond to this evolving situation, the executive team has implemented temporary campus building hours for all students, faculty and staff.

Beginning this Monday, March 23, the DMU campus building will be accessible to the University community from 8:00am to 6:00pm.  You will have access to the building during these hours using your key fob or student ID.  Please be aware of the following:

  • A security officer will be onsite from 10:00am to 6:00pm.
  • It is important that everyone follows the security officer’s instructions.  When the security officer asks you to leave the building at 6:00pm, please do so.  If any instructions are ignored, the security officer has been advised to notify University leadership.  Failure to follow instructions will be considered a breach of University policy and our professional code of conduct.
  • The IPS Center is closed for at least next week. Only IPS Center staff has authorization to use the Center space.  Therapy sessions should not be scheduled to be conducted in the IPS Center.
  • Please adhere to the CDC guideline to limit the number of people in any space to 10.  Meeting rooms and classrooms have specific occupancy limitations as indicated on the door of each room.  Please follow posted occupancy guidelines.
  • The Library will be open during the new campus building hours.
  • If you have any questions regarding the new schedule of building hours, please reach out to your academic advisor or supervisor.

I want to thank all of you for hard work and positive attitude during this situation.  You have exemplified our University spirit and I look forward to the time when we can, once again, celebrate our collective successes together as family.

You remain in my prayers.

Sincerely,

Fr. Charles Sikorsky, LC, JD, JCL
President
Divine Mercy University

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DMU Commencement Postponed – Friday, March 20

Dear students, faculty and staff,

I pray that you and your families are safe and healthy during these challenging times.  As we continue to monitor the situation with COVID-19, our executive team has met to review and consider a conscientious response to recent developments, specifically plans for our Commencement scheduled for May 9.

We recognize the meaning that Commencement holds for our students and families, and it is with deep regret that graduation events have been postponed. We are working to make plans to celebrate graduation at a later date in a way that will properly recognize and honor our graduates’ achievements. We know how disappointing this is to our students and their families. Please know that we share this disappointment. We will do everything we can to make this milestone event a special celebration when it is rescheduled and will communicate plans as soon as possible.

Please keep in mind that this applies only to the graduation ceremony and does not change the degree conferral date, which is at the end of each semester in which all degree requirements are completed.  We recognize that, due to the current situation, some students may need flexibility and additional time to complete the required clinical hours to meet the graduation requirements for some degree programs as a result of closure of clinical training sites. If you were scheduled to graduate this Spring and you have questions regarding your degree conferral, please contact the Registrar directly at registrar@divinemercy.edu.

Please be assured of my continued prayers for you, your family and the great commitment you have undertaken to serve those in need in our communities.

Sincerely,

Fr. Charles Sikorsky, LC, JD, JCL
President
Divine Mercy University

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DMU COVID-19 Campus Update – Thursday, March 19

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

I pray that you and your families are safe and healthy during these challenging times.  As we continue to monitor the situation with COVID-19, our Executive Team has met to discuss, plan and execute specific policies, procedures and initiatives to address the needs of our entire University community.  To that end, please be aware that we are implementing the following modifications to campus operations to promote the recommended guidelines of federal, state, local and regulatory agencies regarding social distancing:

  • Campus Hours: The campus will be closed on Saturdays effective this week. The campus will continue to be accessible to students, faculty and staff during regularly scheduled WEEKDAY hours. We will continue to evaluate campus hours based on current health conditions and local, state, federal and regulatory agency guidelines and recommendations. We highly recommend that all students, faculty and staff prepare for the potential of a shut-down of campus.  Make sure that you have a space prepared in your home that is conducive to classes and/or work (adequate privacy and quiet).  Also, communicate boundaries regarding that space with those that live with you. A transition to telework can be challenging.  Preparing ahead of time will make a big difference.

  • Campus library hours:  Beginning this week, physical access to the campus library will no longer be available on Saturdays.  We are continuing to evaluate the hours of operations for the physical library and our ability to maintain a safe and healthy environment on campus.  While the physical library is not available on Saturdays, services and support are available using the communication channels established on the Library website for accessing librarians, materials, and services to support your academic needs

  • Library Access:  Students have continuous 24/7 access to course and library materials as well as library and other learning support  through remote library access. The physical Library hours are posted on the Library website.  Reference services are available via email at librarian@divinemercy.edu,  by telephone at 703-416-1441 x119, or chat service 24  hours a day, 7 days a week. (Click the hyperlink to participate in Chat Reference).

  • Campus services and support offices:  Temporary telecommuting policies are in place for staff.  While the campus remains open on weekdays, access to some services and support offices may be shifted from campus.  If you need access to services and support, please email the office for assistance.

  • Telework for staff: To protect the health and safety of the staff,  temporary guidelines for teleworking have been established by the Executive Team and those guidelines have been communicated to supervisors this week.  Questions regarding the policies and procedures for staff to telework should be addressed directly with your supervisor.

  • Meeting room usage: Maximum capacity signs have been posted on all classrooms, study, and conference rooms based on recommended social distancing.  Please respect the guidance provided on these signs when using these rooms.

Please also note that program specific academic procedures and guidelines will be communicated by your Academic Dean.  For faculty and staff, human resources related information will be communicated through your supervisor. We are working to limit the number of emails each person receives while still ensuring that everyone has all the information needed to be successful and safe.

I encourage you to continue to follow the recommendations and guidelines provided on the DMU Coronavirus website that links to the CDC website.  It is important that we protect ourselves and others through our actions and attitudes.  We, as a community, can lead the way in our charitable and faithful response to the current situation. You all remain in my prayers.

Thank you and God bless you,

Fr. Charles Sikorsky, LC, JD, JCL
President
Divine Mercy University

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DMU COVID-19 Action Plan – Thursday, March 12

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

The University continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 outbreak and its implications for the University. We would encourage everyone to remain vigilant, following the CDC guidelines to reduce the transmission of the disease including proper personal hygiene. The CDC website provides the most reliable and up-to-date information and is updated daily by 4:00pm.

The University’s Executive Committee has established a Preparedness and Response Sub-Committee to address the COVID-19 situation. This committee has been tasked with:

  • Monitoring the situation, including but not limited to:
    • CDC and State Health Department recommendations
    • Monitoring illness and absenteeism on campus
    • Possible virus clusters in our local area
  • Developing and implementing response plans for possible emergency situations.
  • Effectively communicating with the University community as well as local, state and regulatory agency officials.

Based on the Sub-Committee’s evaluation of the current situation and taking into consideration recent local, state, federal and regulatory agency recommendations, we are implementing the following temporary policies and procedures to reduce the risk of transmission of the disease on campus and keep our university community safe:

  • All PsyD classes will transition to online instruction beginning on Monday, March 16 through April 13 (Easter Monday). At this time, we plan to return to regular on-campus classes beginning April 14. This plan will be monitored based on how the situation develops. Dr. Hollman, Academic Dean of the IPS, will address specific program related logistics in a separate email.
  • Library and campus hours will remain the same. We will monitor usage of the Library to determine if hours need to be adjusted based on use.
  • We are instituting liberal leave to work from home for staff with health concerns, illness, school aged children or those that are caring for family members. Please reach out directly to your supervisor for guidance.
  • All University sponsored travel will be suspended from March 16 through April 13. If you have planned business travel during this time, please contact your supervisor to make alternate plans.
  • Large events on campus are postponed from March 16 through April 13. This includes the events with Dr. Enright on campus and the Newman Lecture at CUA. These events will be rescheduled based on speaker availability.
  • We strongly advise all students, faculty and staff to reconsider non-essential personal travel. Documented cases of COVID-19 are growing rapidly both domestically and internationally. You may face a higher risk of infection, significant delays returning, and/or the requirement to self quarantine upon your return, all of which could significantly impact your professional and personal obligations at great individual expense. All campus community members should be aware that if you travel, you may be required to self quarantine for 14 days depending on where you’re traveling to and from, even if you do not exhibit symptoms.
  • If a student, faculty or staff member arrives on campus exhibiting signs of illness, they will be isolated and asked to leave campus immediately.
  • Graduation events are still planned. We will continue to evaluate the situation before making a final decision. We encourage all students to use good discretion when making travel plans for the events (purchase refundable airline tickets and purchase travel insurance).

Please be aware of the steps we have taken on campus to help keep our community safe:

  • DMU’s cleaning contractor is currently cleaning and disinfecting surfaces daily with a cleaning agent confirmed to kill COVID-19.
  • The cleaning contractor has the ability to “deep clean” the campus if necessary and is on-call to provide this service.
  • Personal hygiene items are available throughout the campus.

It is our hope that the measures being implemented both on campus and within local communities will limit the impact of the virus. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and communicate with the University community as needed. If you have questions or concerns I encourage you to communicate with your advisor or supervisor so that they can address any concerns you may have.

Finally, I invite everyone to join me in prayer each day for all those suffering and impacted by this cruel virus throughout the world. May our merciful Lord come to our aid during this trial and remind us that neither moral nor physical evil have the last word in His eternal plan. Please be assured of my prayers for you and your loved ones as we navigate this situation together.

Sincerely yours,

Fr. Charles Sikorsky, LC, JD, JCL
President
Divine Mercy University

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