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Message about Coronavirus prevention and preparation

To our campus community,

Please check this page regularly for updates regarding how Holy Names University is addressing the challenges presented by COVID-19.

Be well and take care.

March 27: Support the HNU Emergency Response Fund

Dear Friend,

As a member of the Holy Names University community, you and your loved ones remain in my thoughts and prayers for health and safety during this global public health crisis. Today marks two weeks of sheltering in place and distance learning for HNU students, faculty, and staff, and I am grateful for many things.

I’m grateful for our faculty, who are embracing online instruction and are going to incredible lengths to help students successfully manage this transition. I’m grateful for our staff, who are working tirelessly to keep the University functioning and are caring daily for the small cadre of students with nowhere else to go who are still living on campus; for our library and IT staff who have provided additional computers and technology support for remote learning. I’m grateful for our students, who remain committed to their education and are persevering despite the sudden onslaught of new challenges. I’m grateful for the Holy Names Sisters, whose core values of hospitality, service, and love continue to guide all that we do. And I’m grateful that as of today, there still are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the HNU community.

Many of you have asked how you can help HNU during this crisis. Thank you for your generous and kind offers. I’d like to share one extremely important step you can take right now: give what you can to the HNU Emergency Response Fund.

Though they are healthy and safe, our students are facing unexpected financial pressures because of the virus. Many, already from under-resourced backgrounds, have lost wages from jobs they can no longer work—jobs that may have enabled them to afford a Holy Names education. Others have returned home to family members who are ill or unemployed, or households without access to Wi-Fi or the technology to support distance learning. Your gift to the Emergency Response Fund will help HNU students to continue their education, enabling them to finish what they started. Every dollar you give will go directly to those who need it most. To learn more, please contact Mary Boivin-McGhee, Vice President for University Advancement, at

Thank you for remembering our students at this challenging time. The Sisters’ core values truly are exemplified in you. We are eternally grateful for your support, and we look forward to sharing more of our stories with you. Please stay safe and well.

Michael Groener,

March 25: Help keep our campus safe

Dear HNU Students, Faculty and Staff,

I have a request as we all shelter in place and carry on our educational mission remotely.

​All members of the HNU Community must each do our part to flatten the curve of Coronavirus spread. Sheltering in place and social distancing not only help protect you from contracting the virus, more importantly, these precautions protect others that you might unknowingly infect. All of California is under the Governor’s shelter-in-place order that led to our closing the campus.

Anyone who visits campus might be bringing COVID-19 with them, exposing others. Those who must be on campus – students who cannot leave and essential staff providing services, either to the student residents or to keep IT and other campus infrastructure operating during our closure – all deserve our respect and consideration.

I am grateful that our continued collaborative work together, albeit virtually from our respective shelters, is allowing the education of our students to continue through the end of this spring semester. Thank you all, for doing your jobs so well, at a safe distance. For your continued safety as well as the safety of those authorized to be on campus, please do not visit. Front gate staff are maintaining a list of those community members authorized to be on campus and will turn away anyone not on the list.

If there is something you absolutely must have or retrieve from campus to continue working effectively remotely, let your division Vice President know and appropriate arrangements can be made for you to get what you need.

Thank you for your continued cooperation keeping our entire HNU Community safe by practicing social distancing and sheltering in place as long as it will be necessary to do so.

Mike Groener
Holy Names University

March 23: President’s Video Message to the HNU Community

Dear HNU Family,

As many of us are working together at a distance, I wanted to share some words of gratitude with you via video today.

Our community has stepped up in countless ways to support one another during this public health crisis. I know we will continue to share our passion for learning and for serving one another as it takes its course.

I have endless confidence in us. And I look forward to staying in touch.

Gratefully, Mike Groener

March 20: President’s Letter to HNU Alumni and Friends

Dear Friend of HNU,

As we continue navigating the impact of novel coronavirus on each of our lives, I hope this message finds you and your loved ones safe and well. I write to share with you the actions we at Holy Names University (HNU) are taking to protect our campus community and to ensure that our students are safe, supported, and able to successfully complete the spring semester. Fortunately, HNU has no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at this time.

The HNU community is incredibly resilient, and thanks to the generous support of our alumni and other partners, we were much more prepared for this unprecedented situation than we would have been a short time ago. For the past year, we have been implementing a Digital Learning Initiative that included upgrades to the campus’s IT infrastructure and a migration of several key courses and degrees to an online format. Days before we were ordered to shelter in place, we decided to proactively transition all classes to an online format to reduce any risk of transmission in our campus community. Because of our early work through the Digital Learning Initiative, we were able to move quickly. We provided faculty with additional training from technology coaching staff; identified students who needed laptops and/or access to the internet; and provided other technical support to faculty and students to facilitate the transition to distance learning.

In response to the six Bay area county shelter-in-place order issued on Monday, faculty were asked to remain at home and continue teaching remotely, all staff who can work from home were asked to do so, and students were encouraged to seek alternate accommodations off-campus where they might be more comfortable. Recognizing that not all students have other options, we remain committed to keeping the dorms open and essential services available for those who need them. Less than 100 students remain in the dormitories along with student life staff.

To reduce exposure risks, students and staff are following CDC guidelines of social distancing, the dining hall is providing grab-and-go meals, housekeeping has increased efforts to sanitize campus buildings that remain in use, access to campus has been restricted to campus residents and essential staff for the duration of the shelter-in-place order, and all campus events have been canceled or postponed. This includes our May 2020 commencement ceremonies, which we are committed to holding once it is safe to do so. Fortunately, student support services (advising, tutoring, HNU’s Career Center, campus ministry, and counseling services) continue and are available to all students remotely. We are in touch with all students through multiple channels to ensure their physical and mental well-being, as well as their academic success.

In the coming weeks, we will share more of how HNU is responding to this global public health crisis and taking action to care for our community. I am deeply grateful to each member of our faculty, staff, and student body for their patience, flexibility, and dedication, and I am thankful to you for keeping HNU close in your heart. I pray tonight for your health, for the health of our community, and for our world. We will get through this together.


Michael Groener,

March 19: HNU will postpone May 2020 commencement

May 2020 Commencement has been postponed

Dear HNU Campus Community,

As you well know, the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted our everyday lives and required us to take unprecedented measures to keep our communities safe. The duration of this public health crisis is still unclear, and the CDC recommended this week that group events be limited to no more than ten people.

In an effort to ensure that no member of the HNU family is in jeopardy of being exposed to the COVID-19 virus, we have decided to postpone our commencement ceremonies on May 8 and 9. While this decision was hard to make, we are clear that now is the time to take all possible precautions. We will continue to monitor the situation and will notify you once we have confirmed an alternate ceremony date.

Students graduating in May 2020

You will be receiving a follow-up email from Casey LaBarbera with further details about logistics. Please know that we are committed to celebrating your great achievements as soon as we are able.

If you have any questions, please contact Casey LaBarbera.

Wishing you all good health,

The Commencement Committee

March 19: Message to students graduating in May

This is a special follow-up message to HNU students preparing to graduate in May 2020.

As you know, our world has been rocked by the coronavirus pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now recommends that group events be limited to no more than ten people. In an effort to ensure that no member of the HNU family is in jeopardy of being exposed to COVID-19, we have decided to postpone the May 8 and 9 graduation ceremonies.

We know that this news is disappointing to you because you have worked so hard to celebrate this well-earned achievement with your families and friends. However, we do plan to provide a ceremony for you once it is possible. As soon as we have a date set, we will let you know. There will be ample advance notice so that you and your families can prepare, arrange travel, etc.

All students who have been charged a graduation fee on their account will receive a credit to their HNU account ($200 for MA, BA, BS, and $50 for certificate or credential).

We expect to hear from Herff Jones sometime this week about the status of the academic attire that has been ordered and will share an update once we have one.

Thank you for your understanding and patience as we all live through these difficult times. Be assured of our support and know that you are remembered very specially in our prayers as you complete these last classes in preparation for graduating.

Congratulations on nearing the completion of your degree. We are proud of you and your accomplishments and look forward to counting you among our many HNU alumni.

Stay healthy and safe!

March 17: Campus Resources During Shelter-in-Place Order

Visit this resource page as a guide as HNU follows Alameda County and the State of California’s shelter-in-place order. It will be updated as needed.

March 16: Message to the HNU Community

Dear HNU community members,

In light of today’s shelter-in-place announcement for the entire Bay Area, I am writing with an update for students, staff, faculty, and your families. HNU will fully comply with this order as we understand it applies to institutions like ours. You will find additional information specific to faculty, students, and staff below.

Classes will take place online through Spring semester
Classes will be held remotely through the end of the Spring 2020 term. This is an extension of our original plan to update our community on April 3. We have not yet made a decision regarding commencement ceremonies in May.

“Shelter in place” defined
The “shelter-in-place” order applies to all Bay Area residents. It bans all non-essential gatherings and directs everyone to stay inside their homes and away from others as much as possible until April 7. Exceptions include trips to seek food and essential medical care and checking on those who need assistance. The shelter in place mandate also applies to HNU and all those who currently reside on the campus. View Announcement from the Alameda County Office of Public Health.

  • Guidelines for students
    While the residence halls remain open, the shelter-in-place order will require any students who choose to remain on campus to limit their interactions with others, and off-campus travel will be restricted. We ask you to consider off-campus options should you be more comfortable with accommodations outside of the residence halls.If you plan to leave campus
    The shelter-in-place mandate also applies to HNU and all those who currently reside on the campus. Please look for communications from Residence Life staff to inform them of your plans.If you plan to stay on campus
    At this time, the CDC continues to recommend maintaining six feet of distance between you and others and no group gatherings of more than 10 people. Is it of critical importance that we all follow these guidelines on campus and could literally be a matter of life and death to someone who may be vulnerable to COVID-19.To reduce exposure risks, there is no self-service in the dining halls. We will be offering grab and go meals only with limited menu options. Further information about campus life during the shelter-in-place order will be forthcoming.If you’ve tested positive or suspect you’ve been exposed to the COVID-19 virus, contact VP of Student Affairs Laura Lyndon at immediately.
  • Guidelines for staff
    If your job can be done remotely we encourage you to work from home. If you are unsure, please work with your supervisor directly to determine what is feasible.If your job is mission-critical and on-campus, we urge you to follow social distancing guidelines at all times and we offer our sincere gratitude for your commitment to the wellbeing of our community. Please work directly with your supervisor and area vice president to confirm your accommodations.If you’ve tested positive or suspect you’ve been exposed to the COVID-19 virus contact VP of Finance and Administration Rob Kinnard at immediately.
  • Guidelines for faculty
    We ask that faculty not come to campus during this shelter-in-place order and continue to teach remotely. The Provost and your School Dean will be in further communication with you regarding specific directions for remote instruction.If you’ve tested positive or suspect you’ve been exposed to the COVID-19 virus contact Provost and VP of Academic Affairs Sheila Smith McKoy at immediately.

We recognize that this is an unprecedented and incredibly challenging time. We will continue to work with every member of our campus to protect ourselves and continue to provide a Holy Names education.


Mike Groener

March 12: Message to the HNU Community

Dear HNU Community,

I am writing to update you with the latest information available from Holy Names University (HNU) regarding the actions we are taking to help protect the health and well-being of our campus community.  Fortunately, HNU does not have a confirmed case of COVID-19 at this time.

In consultation today with campus leadership and the Faculty Senate, we have decided that classes will be held remotely beginning Monday, March 16, 2020, until at least Friday, April 3, 2020. In some cases, next Monday’s and/or next Tuesday’s courses may be canceled to allow faculty to transition from face-to-face classes. Faculty members will be in communication with students directly if a cancellation is necessary. A follow-up message concerning future plans for instruction will be sent to the campus community on Friday, April 3.

All courses will continue to be held at their regularly scheduled time, and students will be receiving information in their HNU email accounts directly from their faculty members about remote access. We will follow up shortly with all students via an online survey to ensure they have the technological resources necessary to access these courses. Students in the School of Nursing and the School of Education will also receive an important update from their deans this week.

While instruction will be offered remotely, the university is not closing. The HNU campus will remain open at this time to accommodate students who choose to stay in the residence halls. Those students who continue to reside on campus will have access to dining services and other student support services (e.g. advising, student accounts, counseling, etc.). We will also ensure that all these student services are available for students to access remotely. Information about accessing those services will be communicated from those individual departments.

For faculty:
Your school Dean will be in touch with you regarding plans to migrate your courses online. We are sensitive to the needs of our faculty who teach in diverse disciplines and may require accommodations to appropriately migrate a course online. The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) will be in touch with you tomorrow and Friday to ensure you have the essential support to teach remotely. IT staff will also be in touch and will provide you with adequate resources to successfully facilitate your courses through an online platform.

For staff:
Your area Vice President will give you guidance regarding further action to support this rapidly changing situation. Please plan to continue to report to work and contact your direct supervisor if you require additional accommodations during this period. As a reminder, we ask that you exercise extreme caution by staying home if you experience any signs of illness or do not feel well.

The campus is currently following the California Department of Public Health Guidelines for Colleges and Universities to determine appropriate action regarding a potential campus closure, as well as monitoring guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the United States Department of Education. We are currently compiling and regularly updating a FAQ page on our website that is designed to answer any additional questions you may have regarding this situation.

I want to take this moment to thank the students, the faculty, and the staff for their understanding during this time of uncertainty. I am appreciative of the work you have done, and the flexibility they are all exhibiting. I pray tonight for the health of both our community and the greater world at large.

Michael Groener

March 11: Message to the HNU Community

Further information about emergency preparedness at HNU

As of today, March 11, 2020, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 involving students, faculty, or staff at Holy Names University.

Emergency Preparedness:
If you are a member of the HNU campus community and you suspect that you have had direct contact with someone who has COVID-19, please follow the self-isolation instructions, seek medical assistance, and notify your supervisor. We take the health of each member of our community seriously and want to make sure everyone is taking the necessary precautions and following appropriate guidance.

Further Campus Updates:
HNU’s response team is closely monitoring any risks to our campus community, following CDC guidelines for colleges and universities regarding prevention and response to virus exposure. Any campus closures will be announced through our emergency alert program, Send Word Now, as well as our public website.

Event Postponements:
Out of an abundance of caution and in keeping with guidance about large group gatherings, Holy Names is postponing the following events:

  • Hip Hop Book Club – originally scheduled on March 11
  • Presidential Inauguration – originally scheduled on March 20
  • Social Justice Forum – originally scheduled on March 20

We will provide updates about these events after the COVID-19 outbreak has been contained.

Please find guidelines regarding prevention and travel below.

COVID-19 Campus FAQs

Check this page often for updates from leadership regarding life in the HNU community during Alameda County’s shelter-in-place orders.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay at home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Individuals with chronic health issues and/or individuals experiencing severe symptoms should be evaluated by a medical professional.
  • Get vaccinated every year.
  • Teleconference in lieu of meeting in person if available.
  • Wear personal protective equipment, such as gloves and goggles, if touching or working with bloodborne pathogens.
  • Follow updates from the CDC, the World Health Organization (WHO), and other local health agencies regarding taking additional precautions.

It is critical that if you become aware of an exposure to COVID-19 that you not only seek medical attention but that you notify Human Resources immediately so that we can take appropriate steps to assist you and to ensure the health of the community.


The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of State regularly update their websites regarding travel and Covid-19.

  • If you have recently traveled outside the United States, please follow the recommended or required quarantine guidance from the CDC.
  • If you had plans to travel outside the United States please be certain you are following CDC and State Department guidance and be certain to notify Human Resources if you are staff or faculty or Student Affairs if you are a student. We can assist you in following appropriate guidance upon your potential return to campus.
  • Please note that CDC guidance is being updated rapidly and may at some point extend to domestic travel so please visit the website regularly and follow any necessary guidance
More information

You may access up-to-date information about Covid-19 through the following national, state, and international agencies: