Last updated June 1, 2020
Dear St. Mary’s University community,
To provide you with important, reliable and timely updates about the new coronavirus, COVID-19, St. Mary’s University has created this emergency updates webpage as the primary source of information for the University community. This webpage will be updated daily as new information becomes available.
- The City of San Antonio has declared a public health emergency. Bexar County has declared a state of local disaster. St. Mary’s has issued a requirement for wearing a face covering when on campus in public spaces or areas that involve close proximity with others.
- St. Mary’s University, including the School of Law, has moved all classes online through the Summer semester.
- The St. Mary’s University campus is open, but all events on campus through the end of July are canceled. Campus offices will need to be ready to provide both in-person and remote services on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020. In the coming weeks, as offices slowly begin to reopen with in-person services, we will be working with departmental heads to implement proper protocols and begin to bring staff back to campus as soon as local City and County officials lift stay-home orders.
- Summer student study abroad programs are canceled.
- The Spring 2020 commencement ceremonies, Baccalaureate Mass and the Rattler Ring Ceremony were canceled. University and School of Law graduates were celebrated in two virtual ceremonies. Students are welcome to walk in December or May 2021.
- The University is implementing an interim Pass/No Pass (P/NP) grading policy unique to this Spring semester that will be in place alongside the grading policy currently identified in course syllabi. See the March 30 update below and visit this Grading FAQ for more information.
- We are adjusting the Fall 2020 schedule to begin and end earlier to allow for the best possibility of an uninterrupted semester. Undergraduate and graduate classes begin on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020, and end before Thanksgiving on Friday, Nov. 20. The last day of finals will be Wednesday, Nov. 25. School of Law classes begin on Wednesday, Aug. 12 (first-year students), and Monday, Aug. 17 (second- and third-year students), and end, including final exams, before Thanksgiving, the week of Nov. 23. There will be no fall semester break to minimize travel and provide extra class time.
- For additional information, visit the Student Information and Frequently Asked Questions tab below.
- University Ministry invites the campus community to gather in prayer at home. Masses will continue to be livestreamed from the University Ministry Facebook page at 11 a.m. on Sundays through July from Assumption Chapel.
- For both recent undergraduate alumni returning for a graduate program, and incoming undergraduate students who want to start with a Summer 2020 course, St. Mary’s University will temporarily discount tuition rates by 50%.
- St. Mary’s has made ACT or SAT testing requirements optional for incoming freshmen.
- St. Mary’s University has temporarily made the GRE and GMAT graduate school entry exams optional for most graduate programs.
- Join St. Mary’s efforts to assist students who have an immediate need with a gift to the Student Emergency Fund. Donate through Rattlers Helping Rattlers campaign.
Beginning the week of March 23, all St. Mary’s University classes, including the School of Law, resumed in a fully online format for the remainder of the spring semester.
No Late Payment Fees and Hold Threshold Raised:
The University will not assess late payment fees for past due payments for the Spring semester from March 15 through May 15, 2020. The registration hold threshold has been raised to accommodate students. Business Office staff are also available to discuss any concerns regarding your student account status. Please contact them at 210-436-3731 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance with questions on balances, payment due dates and holds.
Department Scholarships Deadline Extended and FAFSA Changes for Undergraduate Students:
The University extended the date for submitting applications for Departmental Scholarships to Monday, April 20, 2020. Students’ financial circumstances may have changed from the tax year used to complete the FAFSA for receiving state and federal aid. Financial Assistance Counselors are helping students process such changes. To see how this might affect you, please refer to www.stmarytx.edu/admission/financial-aid/.
Housing and Meal Plan Refunds:
- Housing: Students who moved out of their residence hall room received a prorated credit to their student account for the Spring 2020 semester. The prorated amount will be for the remaining 45 days of room charges, as of March 23, 2020. This amount varied based on the residence hall in which you lived. The reimbursement amount you received was also impacted by you and/or your family’s contribution to your housing charges. This means that any student who had institutional scholarships or other grants/programs to pay for housing will see an adjustment to those scholarships, grants or programs. The final credit you received will be the remaining amount after any unpaid bills or charges on your student account.
- Meal Plans: Students received a prorated credit for any unused amount of their Rattler 5 or Rattler 7 meal plan, which is six weeks. Any unused dining dollars was also refunded. Commuter meal plans received a student account credit for unused swipes and dining dollars.
Registration for Maymester, Summer and Fall Classes
- Registration for Fall and Summer (including Maymester) will be handled via online registration access. Students should check their email for up to date information. The schedule for online registration access can be found on Gateway. Questions regarding registration can be emailed to email@example.com or by calling 210-431-6789.
- PIN for Registration: Academic advising has been moved online for the remainder of the semester. Students must be advised before receiving their registration pin. Current students should review their St. Mary’s email for more information on Priority Advising and Registration. The Office of Academic Advising will email readmitted students instructions for online advising and registration. Questions regarding academic advising can be emailed to Academic.Advising@stmarytx.edu.
- Rattler Success Center: Peer tutoring and coaching are available through St. Mary’s Zoom platform. Students can access the tutoring and coaching schedule and make appointments by navigating to our Rattler Success Center page on Gateway where RSC online guidelines are available as well as the tutor and coaches Zoom meeting ID numbers and links. PLTL is no longer available because labs for these courses were canceled. However, tutor leaders will be available to answer questions online through Zoom. Writing Center appointments are also available online. We recommend making appointments through Zoom as soon as possible on Gateway. Writing Tutors will also be available to assist with editing through email. Students can email their papers to firstname.lastname@example.org and a tutor will return the paper with notes within 24 hours.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the University closing?
The University continues to operate and to deliver educational services. St. Mary’s University, including the School of Law, has moved all classes online until the end of the summer semester. Online classes began on Monday, March 23.
Many campus services have updated hours and availability. That information is available in the March 19 update below.
Residence Hall and Room-and-Board Questions
Are the residence halls closing?
Residence halls closed on Monday, March 23. All students are expected to move out of the residence halls. For all other questions, contact the Office of Residence Life by calling 210-431-4312 or emailing email@example.com.
Has the University decided how to handle room and board or other reimbursements?
Students who moved out of their residence hall room received a prorated credit to their student account for the Spring 2020 semester. The prorated amount was for the remaining 45 days of room charges, as of March 23, 2020. This amount varied based on the residence hall the student lived in.
Students received a prorated credit for any unused amount of their Rattler 5 or Rattler 7 meal plan. Any unused dining dollars were also refunded. Commuter meal plans received credit for unused swipes and dining dollars.
What should international students do if they cannot return home?
A small number of international students who cannot return home will remain on campus, and we will continue to care for them. They will be permitted to stay through spring semester and into the summer semester in the event that this health emergency continues.
Can the University provide aid for student travel expenses or for students in need of emergency funding for food and rent?
We have resources in the Student Emergency Fund (see Student Emergency Fund Form) to assist students in financial need, including financial issues limiting their ability to return to their permanent address.
Campus Services Questions
Will food continue to be served on campus?
Food will continue to be served. The modified offerings are:
- The Diamondback Café – Daily, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., 6-8 p.m.
Will the libraries be open?
Beginning Saturday, March 21, Cotrell Learning Commons in Blume Library will remain open. Services from the Technical Support Center (including technology training) will be by appointment only from Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday-Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Support after 5 p.m. and on weekends will be handled remotely through video chat or by phone.
Blume Library will continue academic services, but areas other than the Cotrell Learning Commons will not be open to visitors. Similarly, the Sarita Kenedy East Law Library will close to visitors. Visit the Sarita Kenedy East Law Library webpage for additional information about services.
Can I still visit the gym?
Alumni Athletics & Convocation Center (including swimming pool and fitness center) has suspended operations and temporarily closed.
What other services have updated hours and availability?
Please visit the Emergency Notifications March 19 update for the complete list.
How do I register for classes?
Information about temporary online registrar services is available on Gateway.
Will the Barnes & Noble Bookstore still be open?
What technical resources are available to me to continue my studies online?
Resources for participating in online classes can be found on Gateway.
How will St. Mary’s handle courses that include labs or other typically in-class components?
Faculty will communicate directly with students so that students know how each course will proceed during the online instruction period. It is possible that some class activities, like labs, will be postponed or modified during the remote instruction period.
How will students find out information about class times for online courses?
The faculty will provide direction to the students in their courses.
Will professors have on-campus office hours?
The University discourages in-person meetings. The University encourages the use of email, phone and teleconferencing tools, like Zoom, as alternative meeting methods.
How do I address concerns about a professor’s lack of response via email or Canvas?
You may contact the professor’s Dean via email with your concern.
Will the schedule for finals change?
The academic calendar will continue as scheduled, including final exam days.
What should students do if they need tutoring?
The Rattler Success Center has posted guidelines for online tutoring and peer coaching on Gateway.
Are there plans for Maymester, summer or fall semesters to continue online?
Faculty will teach Maymester and Summer courses online. The University has not made changes to fall courses at this time.
Commencement and class ring questions
How will St. Mary’s handle its Spring Commencement ceremonies?
The Spring 2020 commencement ceremonies, Baccalaureate Mass and the Rattler Ring Ceremony are canceled. Students are welcome to walk in December or May 2021.
How will I collect my class ring?
Will Aramark employees work reduced hours?
The University continues to be in conversation with Aramark about its services.
Will campus support staff members and students employed as staff members work reduced hours?
We have implemented the Temporary Work From Home and Alternative Scheduling Policy. We are working through a variety of different work plans.
Should college work-study students continue their hours on campus?
No, college work-study students should not return to campus. They will continue to be paid.
School of Law Grading Policy
The School of Law, including J.D., M.Jur. and L.L.M. programs will adopt a mandatory High Pass, Pass or Fail grading system for the Spring 2020 semester only. This will not apply to the 1L LCAP class, for which all graded work is already complete.
Visit the Frequently Asked Questions document for more information on the School of Law’s grading policy.
School of Law Office of Career Strategy
The Office of Career Strategy is continuing to provide its full range of services to students, alumni and employers – virtually. For general questions or assistance, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Students and alumni wishing to make an advising appointment or schedule a mock interview can continue to use CORE to do so. Employers can post opportunities in the CORE job bank as well.
Sarita Kenedy East Law Library
The Sarita Kenedy East Law Library is closed until further notice. Law library staff will be working remotely to provide services to students and the faculty of the law school. Service hours are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
International Summer Law Programs
The School of Law’s two summer programs have been suspended for Summer 2020. These include the Institute on Chinese Law and Business in Beijing as well as the Institute on World Legal Problems in Innsbruck, Austria.
For Law Students
While members of our community typically experience illness and flu-like symptoms this time of year, COVID-19 can only develop if exposed to a COVID-19 carrier. If you are feeling unwell, take the normal recommended precautions. The symptoms associated with the novel coronavirus infection include a fever of 100.4 F (38 C) or higher, a dry cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure. At this time, only people who are seriously ill are candidates for COVID-19 testing.
Students should complete the St. Mary’s University COVID-19 Illness Student Self-Reporting Form if they have:
- Symptoms (fever of 100.4 F or higher, cough and/or shortness of breath), AND
- Have been in close contact with an individual that is confirmed positive for COVID-19; AND/OR
- Traveled to a high-risk location that has multiple community-transmitted confirmed cases
For additional questions, students can call the Student Health Center at 210-436-3506
If you are a member of the faculty and staff experiencing flu-like symptoms, stay at home and contact your health care provider.
Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for additional information about the coronavirus and influenza.
Everyone should follow the same general precautions recommended during flu seasons, avoid contact with people who are sick and stay home if you have a respiratory illness or a fever. The steps below are the current recommendations by the CDC and the Texas Department of State Health Services to help limit the spread of viruses including the flu and common cold.
- Get a flu shot. Flu vaccines are available to students at the Student Health Center. Call 210-436-3506 for an appointment or for more information.
- Wash your hands frequently using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Cover your cough or sneeze. Toss used tissues in a wastebasket and wash your hands afterward.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Limit handshaking.
- Wipe down exercise equipment, doorknobs, keyboards, telephone handles, etc., on a frequent basis throughout the day with disinfectant wipes or sprays.
Here are several resources available to community members year-round:
- As a reminder, St. Mary’s has resources to support the mental, emotional and physical well-being of our campus community. Please remember that St. Mary’s University offers multiple services and resources in support of the community during this time of need.
- The Student Counseling Center offers free, confidential counseling for all enrolled students. For the remainder of the semester, all in-person counseling and psychiatric sessions have been suspended. The Wellness Lab is closed. The Student Counseling Center is continuing services using Zoom or phone appointments to provide telehealth counseling and psychiatric sessions. Both Zoom and telephone sessions are HIPAA-compliant. A counselor on duty is also available 24 hours a day via phone at 210-825-3622. You can also read the Student Counseling Center’s top 11 tips for wellness during the transition to online education.
- University Ministry provides pastoral care, chaplaincy services, prayer support, faith formation, and referrals to campus and community resources.
- University employees may access support through the Human Resources Office and the University’s Employee Assistance Program. You can contact Human Resources at 210-436-3725 or our Employee Assistance Program at 1-888-238-6232.
- If you are concerned about a student, please contact the Office of the Dean of Students at email@example.com or call 210-436-3331.
- We have resources in the Student Emergency Fund (see Student Emergency Fund Form) to assist students who are unable to meet immediate, essential expenses because of temporary hardship related to an unexpected situation.
- For additional resources, including support for individuals experiencing food insecurity, please see our food assistance PDF or directly reach out to the San Antonio Food Bank and Catholic Charities of San Antonio.
- The School of Law’s Consumer Protection Clinic has information on mortgage relief and student loans. For additional assistance, visit the South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless (SARAH) or call the City’s Risk Mitigation Hotline at 210-207-5910.
Support and Resources
In order to minimize campus density, the University is implementing a temporary work from home and alternate scheduling program for eligible employees. The program will remain in effect until Monday, June 1.
- The Temporary Work From Home and Alternative Scheduling Policy requires a Temporary Telework Application and the approval of the individual’s supervising member on the Executive Council.
For additional questions about the Temporary Work From Home and Alternative Scheduling program, contact the office of Human Resources at firstname.lastname@example.org or 210-436-3725.
For additional tips on transitioning to working from home, the American Psychological Association has shared a variety of advice for newly remote workers.
What are the expectations for who should report to work in the current business status?
Well Employees: Faculty and staff who are well are expected to continue working unless they have been:
- exposed to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, in which case they are required to self-isolate and report through the Employee Self-Reporting Form.
- returning from a CDC Level 2 or 3 area of concern or other areas of international travel that may have exposed them to the virus
- instructed to refrain from working by a treating health care provider or public health officials
Any employee unable to work due to these circumstances or because of these circumstances is required to notify their immediate supervisor and to submit leave for the time taken. The institution will allow flexibility in utilizing the leave types (vacation, personal and sick days) to allow our employees the opportunity to make decisions in the interests of their personal health or family needs. Any questions related to leave should be directed to the Office of Human Resources. This policy is consistent with the University’s leave policy and remains in effect unless otherwise determined by institutional leadership.
In order to protect all members of the institution, the St. Mary’s Policy regarding Children on Campus is important to follow at this time.
Sick Employees: Faculty and staff who do not meet any of the criteria above but who are ill with high fever, or cold and flu symptoms should stay home and obtain further advice and documentation from their personal physician and communicate with their immediate supervisor.
Employees enrolled in BlueCross and BlueShield of Texas can access virtual doctor visits (PDF), which has been recommended by the CDC.
May 26, 2020, 1 p.m.
A message from Thomas Mengler, J.D., President:
Preparing for the Fall
St. Mary’s University will welcome students back to campus this fall. We will do so within the boundaries of government guidelines and with the health and safety of our campus community as a top priority.
Campus offices will need to be ready to provide both in-person and remote services on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020. In the coming weeks, as offices slowly begin to reopen with in-person services, we will be working with departmental heads to implement proper protocols and begin to bring staff back to campus as soon as local City and County officials lift stay-home orders.
Adjusting the Fall Semester: We are adjusting the fall schedule to begin and end earlier to allow for the best possibility of an uninterrupted semester. Undergraduate and graduate classes begin on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020, and end before Thanksgiving on Friday, Nov. 20. The last day of finals will be Wednesday, Nov. 25.
School of Law classes begin on Wednesday, Aug. 12 (first-year students), and Monday, Aug. 17 (second- and third-year students), and end, including final exams, before Thanksgiving, the week of Nov. 23.
There will be no fall semester break to minimize travel and provide extra class time.
Adapting and Flexing Courses: Classes will be held using a variety of teaching and learning styles that are adaptable and optimal for accommodating incidents of quarantine and illness, unique situational needs, as well as international students who are unable to travel to the United States.
Training Faculty: Faculty completion of the University’s Online Teaching Certification Program is key to supporting the flexible and dynamic buildout for all courses this fall. Academic Technology Services will provide training and consultation throughout the summer, as well as peer-to-peer learning opportunities for course development in preparation for the fall semester.
Engaging Student Activities: Student services will be available in person and remotely. We are developing plans for engaging students in co-curricular activities using new and innovative approaches while following social distancing guidelines. Large gatherings for events and activities will be modified or suspended during the fall semester.
Wearing Face Masks: Face masks will be a requirement on campus. We are adding multiple layers of protection to keep the campus safe, which includes implementing social distancing measures, providing proper cleaning and disinfecting, installing plexiglass shields in appropriate locations, and posting signage and reminders about social distancing, hand-washing, mask wearing.
Living on Campus: Residence halls will not be filled to maximum capacity. Appropriate COVID-19 contact tracing, testing, quarantine and isolation protocols will be enacted to minimize the potential for exposure to the virus, as well as enhanced cleaning of all spaces.
Out-of-town students will have priority for on-campus housing, but our goal is to accommodate everyone. The University advises staying on campus instead of an apartment and will refund room and board if applicable government mandates for closing the campus are issued.
Preparing Staff: St. Mary’s Trustee George B. Hernández Jr., President and CEO of the Bexar County Hospital District, University Health System, and local health officials from his organization are partnering with us and providing guidance to ensure we are prepared for the fall.
Developing Protocols: The University has formed three teams to develop protocols for the campus to guide our focus on maintaining the health and safety of our community and delivering quality learning opportunities. The three areas of focus are instructional delivery, student services and campus space management. More detailed information will be provided as we get closer to the fall semester.
The University and its faculty and staff are working tirelessly to ensure as smooth a fall semester as possible. In keeping with our mission, St. Mary’s will continue to provide the highest-level academic experience to our students amid these challenging times.
May 13, 2020, 9:30 a.m.
A message from Thomas Mengler, J.D., President:
Work-From-Home Program Continues through End of May
We continue to prepare for students to return to campus for the Fall 2020 semester. The University is working on drafting policies and implementing protective measures necessary for the health and safety of our campus community to support being fully operational by Aug. 1, 2020. In the meantime, starting June 1, 2020, instead of the week of May 18, we will gradually begin reopening offices and providing a blend of remote and in-person services.
Implementing proper social distancing may require some offices to continue alternating schedules for a longer period of time. Areas, such as Student Activities, will need to establish new plans for engaging students this fall. As we move forward with reopening the campus, departments and offices need to assess their areas and work with their supervising member on the Executive Council to establish necessary plans to become fully operational.
Dr. Bryan Alsip, Chief Medical Officer for the University Health System and member of the City of San Antonio’s COVID-19 Health Transition Team, has agreed to work with St. Mary’s on readiness plans for the fall semester. Trustee George Hernandez, alumnus and CEO of University Health System, introduced us to Dr. Alsip and is working closely with me as an adviser. The members of the Board of Trustees Finance Committee are meeting regularly to discuss plans and strategies to best ensure the University’s financial health on the other side of this pandemic.
While all these conversations continue, so are efforts to recruit and retain students. Many of our students are applying for and beginning to receive funds provided through the CARES Act. We hope the funds will help our students return next semester. The Admissions Team, as well as other faculty, staff and students, are working to connect personally with our 4,500 admitted freshmen students to encourage them to consider St. Mary’s University and submit their deposits. We believe local students will likely want to stay close to home, so we rolled out a new incentive – Rattler Hometown Advantage. The Hometown Advantage gives eligible Bexar County students $2,000 (per year) of additional support over and above any scholarships and financial aid they otherwise qualify to receive. The Rattler Hometown Advantage is made possible by a generous gift from our St. Mary’s University Alumni Association.
Thank you for all you are doing for St. Mary’s University.
April 30, 2020, 9 a.m.
A message from Thomas Mengler, J.D., President:
Preparing to Welcome Students Back to Campus for the Fall Semester
Let me briefly address the question on your minds: Will our students be able this coming fall to take classes in St. Mary’s classrooms on our beautiful campus and will our residence halls be open too?
We share the hopes and optimism of other colleges and universities in Texas. We, like many other universities in Texas, are planning to safely resume in-person teaching, learning and residential life for the fall semester.
Our planning team has begun its work. We do so with the understanding that resuming on-campus activities in the fall will depend on the continued decline of COVID-19 cases in Texas and in San Antonio. We are and will continue to be guided by government and public health officials.
It’s too early, therefore, to make decisions on how exactly we will safely manage teaching, living and other activities on our campus. But I want you to know that our timeline for making these decisions is the end of June – and we will communicate with you as soon as we know.
Let me assure you that our top priority will be the safety and wellness of our St. Mary’s community – students, faculty and staff.
Administrative Offices to Gradually Begin Reopening – The Week of May 18
Beginning Friday, May 1, Governor Abbott has ordered a gradual reopening of the State of Texas. St. Mary’s will comply by gradually returning to providing in-person services and operations.
However, immediately, the University will continue the work-from-home program and remote services through Friday, May 15, 2020. Beginning the week of May 18, administrative offices should be prepared to implement schedules to open offices with minimal staffing to accommodate walk-in traffic. Members of the Executive Council are working to identify the applicable offices, as well as with supervisors to ensure delivery of services in a safe and socially responsible manner.
The University will continue to enforce mitigation measures to safeguard against the virus, such as social distancing, wearing cloth face masks, providing hand sanitizer stations and limiting group gatherings. All events will remain canceled for May, June and July.
Additional measures still being addressed include the installation of plexiglass shields in some offices, the creation of protocols and policies for office, classroom and residence hall environments and schedules, isolation and sick leave protocols, food services, etc. Some of these measures will be shared as we begin our gradual reopening of offices.
Student Enrollment Incentives
Our efforts to recruit and enroll new students and retain current students continue. Overall, our fall enrollment numbers are trending favorably, but we know that can change quickly.
Many of our current and prospective students have been hit hard by the financial challenges brought by the pandemic. They may not have the resources to continue classes this summer and join us in the fall.
So many families are dealing with the economic realities of COVID-19, and we are grateful to the St. Mary’s University Alumni Association, which has stepped up with a gift of $620,000. This gift, as well as CARE Act funds from the federal government, will be used to recruit new students and retain current students who otherwise might not be able to attend St. Mary’s in the fall.
Other incentives for students include:
- New St. Mary’s Graduates Enrolling in St. Mary’s Graduate Programs
The graduate student discount for alumni who received a St. Mary’s bachelor’s degree in Fall 2019, Spring 2020 or Summer 2020 will cover 50% of tuition charges for a total of 15 credit hours completed in Summer 2020, Fall 2020 or Spring 2021. (This does not include a tuition discount for the St. Mary’s University School of Law programs, the Doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervision, or those pursuing an undergraduate, second or additional graduate degree.)
Not just for our graduates, but for others applying to St. Mary’s, the University has temporarily made the GRE and GMAT graduate school entry exams optional tests for most graduate programs.
- New Undergraduate Students – Freshmen and Transfers
St. Mary’s has also extended a special summer discount to new undergraduate students joining the University community this fall who have submitted their enrollment deposit by May 4. Those incoming undergraduate students can take advantage of expanded summer courses online at a 50% tuition discount.
Also, the University is offering an alternate, ACT and SAT test-optional pathway to complete applications to St. Mary’s for the Fall 2020 semester.
I am grateful for the countless ways in which faculty and staff have come together to support each other and provide a St. Mary’s experience to our current students. God bless you and your families.
April 20, 2020, 10:12 a.m.
A message from Thomas Mengler, J.D., President:
Last week, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg issued an addendum to the Stay Home, Work Safe order, which requires everyone to wear a cloth face covering over their nose and mouth when in public places where it is difficult to keep 6 feet away from other people.
As we continue to remain compliant with the City of San Antonio’s orders for implementing protective measures against COVID-19, St. Mary’s is issuing the same requirement for wearing a face covering when on campus in public spaces or areas that involve close proximity with others.
Also, summer events and activities on campus for June and July are canceled. We hope normal activities can resume in August. Still, the University will continue to comply with the City of San Antonio’s orders, which may include recommendations on event participants and crowd size limits.
I hope you are staying healthy and safe from the COVID-19 virus and that we continue to use caution and follow the Stay Home, Work Safe order. Again, thank you for all you are doing, whether you are working or teaching from home or on campus as an essential member of the University’s staff. Together, we will get through this.
April 8, 2020, 10:32 a.m.
A message from Janet Guadarrama, Executive Director, Office of Human Resources:
The St. Mary’s Temporary Work From Home and Alternative Scheduling Program for eligible employees will continue through April 30, 2020, to coincide with the extended Stay Home, Work Safe order issued by Bexar County.
The Temporary Work From Home and Alternative Scheduling Program has been implemented to minimize campus density. The University is open for business and services are available remotely to students and other members of the community.
As a reminder, the University will be closed on Good Friday, April 10, but open for business on Monday, April 13, and Friday, April 17. In place of the Fiesta Oyster Bake Friday holiday, employees will receive a paid day off to use before May 31, 2020.
- The Temporary Work From Home and Alternative Scheduling Policy requires a Temporary Telework Application and the approval of the individual’s supervising member on the Executive Council. If you have previously submitted your application, you do not need to resubmit.
For those working from home, you may be encountering new challenges to continuing your work routine while balancing family and other obligations. We appreciate all of your contributions. Your efforts have allowed us to keep the University open and services available to our students during this difficult time.
For additional tips on transitioning to working from home, the American Psychological Association has shared a variety of advice for newly remote workers.
For additional questions about the Temporary Work From Home and Alternative Scheduling Program, contact the Office of Human Resources at email@example.com or 210-436-3725.
Please continue to stay informed by regularly checking the St. Mary’s Emergency Notifications page and be mindful of efforts to stay home and follow social distancing measures to safeguard the health and safety of our community, and especially as we celebrate Easter this weekend.
March 31, 2020, 8:49 a.m.
A message from Aaron Hanna, Interim Vice President for Administration and Finance:
The Critical Incidents Response Team is continuing to address changes to University operations related to moving instruction online, moving students out of resident halls and implementing a telework program for employees. We understand you have many questions and I assure you our team is working to address matters in a thoughtful and timely manner. Here are some of the most recent updates for you to know.
- The University will extend the telework period to coincide with the current shelter-in-place orders issued by the City of San Antonio and Bexar County. The program will be further extended if our local governments issue longer restrictions.
- Students will have classes on Easter Monday (April 13) and Fiesta Oyster Bake Friday (April 17), while Good Friday (April 10) remains a holiday for the campus. As for Friday, April 17 (Fiesta Oyster Bake Friday), instead of a campus-wide holiday, students will have class, and faculty and staff will get an additional personal day to use anytime through the end of May. Please coordinate the use of your additional personal day with your immediate supervisor.
- University-sponsored events and events held on the St. Mary’s campus are canceled through May 31, 2020. Summer study-abroad activities and programs are canceled. Events scheduled for June and July will be evaluated within the next two to three weeks. Although planning and registrations for those events are underway, please be prepared to cancel or make alternative arrangements if COVID-19 restrictions continue.
- Graduating students have the option of participating in the December 2020 or May 2021 commencement exercises. The University is working to plan a virtual real-time program acknowledging May 2020 graduates that will include a prayer service and reading of the graduates’ names. Consideration is being given to having virtual events on the dates of the original ceremonies in May 2020.
- Priority registration for Maymester and Summer and Fall semesters begins this week. At this time, the University will not assess late payment fees for past-due payments for the Spring semester from March 15 through May 15, 2020. Also, the registration hold threshold has been raised to accommodate students as they prepare for Priority Registration, which began this week.
- The University extended the date for submitting applications for Departmental Scholarships to Monday, April 20, 2020.
- Students who moved out of their residence hall room will receive a prorated credit to their student account for the Spring 2020 semester. The prorated amount will be for the remaining 45 days of room charges, as of March 23, 2020. This amount will vary based on the residence hall the student lived in.
- Students will receive a prorated credit for any unused amount of their Rattler 5 or Rattler 7 meal plan. Any unused dining dollars will also be refunded. Commuter meal plans will receive credit for unused swipes and dining dollars.
It is difficult to know exactly how long University operations will be impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. We understand that this is a difficult time for all members of the University community and appreciate your patience and support of our students and each other.
March 30, 2020, 5:06 p.m.
A message from Aaron Tyler, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs:
Our St. Mary’s University community continues to show amazing resilience, resourcefulness and grace in response to this current global crisis. During this time of rapid transition in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, I want to share some important updates related to your academic journey this semester.
First, the University is implementing an interim Pass/No Pass (P/NP) grading policy unique to this Spring semester that will be in place alongside the grading policy currently identified in your course syllabi. Here are some of the important details of the policy that you need to be aware of as you discern this P/NP decision:
- All undergraduate University courses scheduled for completion in May 2020 are eligible at the end of the semester for Pass/No Pass consideration.
- Faculty will submit grades at the currently scheduled time at the end of the semester, using the grading scale identified in their syllabi.
- Once final grades are made available, students may choose the Pass/No Pass option for any course.
- Students who receive a grade of C or higher in a course can elect to accept the appointed grade (A, B, C) or receive a Pass, using the alternative P/NP grading format. Students have an opportunity to make this election for each course completed.
- Students who select the P/NP option at the end of the semester will do so through online instructions provided later in the semester.
- Courses graded with Pass/No Pass will not count toward a student’s GPA calculation. All decisions to elect the Pass/No Pass option are final and may not be changed once submitted.
- A grade of Pass will satisfy any subsequent course prerequisite of “C or better” in the course taken in Spring 2020.
- Students who are repeating a course in which they previously earned a letter grade may choose the Pass/No Pass option.
- Students who select an NP for an earned D or F for a course within their degree requirements must repeat that course.
- Students who are working toward professional certification/licensure or planning to pursue a graduate/professional degree should consult carefully with their academic advisers regarding possible implications or obstacles associated with selecting a P/NP option.
Please follow the link below to see additional information regarding the spring P/NP policy.
Second, because of the COVID-19 crisis, all courses are entirely online. The University added a second week to our scheduled spring break to give faculty and students the necessary time to prepare for a successful transition. To help recover some of this lost time in the classroom, we need to reclaim two days currently listed as student/faculty holidays: Monday, April 13 (Monday after Easter), and Friday, April 17 (Friday of St. Mary’s Fiesta Oyster Bake — now canceled). Both dates are now available for online classroom instruction and engagement.
Please find time to review the links below, as they give additional guidance on the P/NP policy, point you to important connections with Rattler Success, and offer helpful tips for getting the most out of this online learning experience. I also hope you will watch my video message below.
Again, I encourage you to reach out to your faculty, advisers, department chairs and deans as you have questions. We are here to support you and help ensure a strong finish to the semester. Thank you for all you are doing for one another, and as members of the St. Mary’s family, during this time of social distancing and distance learning.
March 26, 2020, 1:15 p.m.
In just a few weeks, graduating students will have achieved the milestone of earning a degree from St. Mary’s University. In all of today’s news and concerns, St. Mary’s University does not want graduating students to lose sight of that accomplishment.
As the leadership of St. Mary’s considers what is best for the health and safety of our university family, we have decided to cancel the May graduation ceremonies. We anticipate that this news will be disappointing for graduating students and their families, but the fluidity of the COVID-19 situation and our desire to give graduating students time to plan led us to make this decision now.
The health and safety of our community are paramount, but we don’t want to lose the opportunity to celebrate graduating students and their accomplishment. The leadership team is currently brainstorming creative ways to electronically celebrate the conclusion of your studies this May, and you will be invited to walk at a future commencement ceremony when your family can join in the celebration. Additional information regarding these options will be forthcoming.
March 24, 2020, 1:55 p.m.
The orders state that all individuals currently living within the City of San Antonio or Bexar County are ordered to shelter in their homes to prevent and slow down community spread of COVID-19. All persons may leave their residences only for essential activities, essential governmental functions or to operate essential businesses. Everyone is asked to continue to practice social distancing (at least 6 feet from others) when they are outside their homes.
During this time, the University will remain open and provide services that are important to the St. Mary’s educational experience for our students. However, campus buildings and offices will not be accessible to the general public. Students remaining on campus will have access to their residence hall and grab-and-go dining options, but all other services will be provided remotely.
The University asks that you continue delivering the same level of customer service to our campus community, but for now from your remote locations. Essential personnel will work with their supervisors to be on campus as needed to provide services in support of students, faculty and staff. If employees maintaining essential business operations do not feel comfortable coming to work for any reason, please consult your supervisor. If you are sick, please stay home and follow CDC guidance for what to do next. Any employee who has not completed a temporary telework form should do so immediately and submit it to their supervising members on the Executive Council for approval and then to the Office of Human Resources.
Critical business operations considered essential under the shelter-in-place order include: health services, food services (to-go only), emergency responders, public safety, mail services, technology support and financial services. St. Mary’s will comply with the order allowing for campus operations support of essential online education and critical infrastructure.
As a Catholic and Marianist University, St. Mary’s observes Good Friday, April 10, which is a holiday for faculty, staff and students. Also, students do not have classes on the Monday (April 13) following Easter Sunday.
In his message to faculty and staff, St. Mary’s University President Thomas Mengler, J.D., expressed his appreciation to everyone who is working to adapt to this rapidly changing situation.
“Together, let’s pray for the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff,” he said.
March 19, 2020, 11:02 a.m.
Beginning Saturday, March 21, many campus services will have updated hours and availability.
Please see the list of services below for additional information.
- The Diamondback Café – Daily, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., 6-8 p.m.
- Student Health Center – Visit the SHC webpage for hours
- Cotrell Learning Commons – Technical Support Center (including technology training) – By Appointment Only: Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday-Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Support after 5 p.m. and on weekends will be handled remotely through video chat or by phone.
Additional resources from the Technical Support Center:
Services available via email, phone, teleconference and/or online – Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Buildings will be closed to walk-ins.):
- Office of the Registrar
- Blume Library (excluding the Cotrell Learning Commons)
- Graduate Center for Excellence
- Sarita Kenedy East Law Library
- Student Counseling Center
- Rattler Success Center and the Office of Academic Advising
- Student Accessibility Services
- Office of Student Retention
- Office of Financial Aid
- Business Office
- STRIVE Career Center
- Barnes & Noble Bookstore
- Student Development – Virtual Student Engagement Activities
Suspended operations and temporarily closed facilities:
- In-person masses conducted by University Ministry
- Testing Services
- Alumni Athletics & Convocation Center (including swimming pool and fitness center)
- University Center – (conference rooms and dining areas only)
- Law Commons
- Périgueux Hall Swimming Pool
- Chick-fil-A and Chick-fil-A dining area
- The POD
- The Pub at St. Mary’s
- For access to locked buildings, please contact the University Police Department at 210-436-3330 to gain entry.
- The following campus entry gates from Marquette Street, Culebra Road, and entry into Parking Lot B from Camino Santa Maria, will temporarily close beginning the evening of Monday, March 23.
March 18, 2020, 9:35 a.m.
The St. Mary’s Response Team continues to meet to address and adapt to the rapidly changing COVID-19 crisis. University faculty are preparing for online course instruction, residence life staff are helping to relocate students and others are working to secure remote availability of student services. Here are some important dates and updates for students, faculty and staff.
- Online classes begin on Monday, March 23, 2020.
- Residence halls close at the end of the day, Monday, March 23. Resident students will receive an email from the Office of Residence Life later this morning with move-out procedures.
- Notifications about prorated refunds or credit of charges for room and board and commuter-students meal plans will be forthcoming.
In order to minimize campus density, the University is implementing a temporary work from home and alternate scheduling program for eligible employees. The program is effective immediately.
- The Temporary Work From Home and Alternative Scheduling Policy requires a Temporary Telework Application and the approval of the individual’s supervising member on the Executive Council.
The University is open and will continue to serve our students and deliver a quality educational experience this semester. We are working on compiling a list of campus services that will be available to students, such as technology assistance, tutoring, advising, and spiritual and mental health counseling. The University is working to provide as many services as possible, some remote and others, as needed in-person.
March 16, 2020, 11:52 a.m.
As of Monday, March 16, all University-paid and sponsored travel is canceled.
March 15, 2020, 3:00 p.m.
Out of an abundance of caution and due to changes in schedules related to the coronavirus, the Lone Star Conference announced today the cancellation of all competition for the remainder of the spring season — including all St. Mary’s University’s Rattler Athletics competitions.
The Lone Star Conference Council of Presidents reached the decision with the health, safety and wellness of student-athletes, coaches, administrators, athletic staffs and fans as the top priority.
The announcement aligns with the recent NCAA decision to cancel all spring championship events.
“I know the decision to end spring season competition is a great disappointment to all of our student-athletes and coaches, whose hard work and dedication to their sports and St. Mary’s is inspirational to so many, but we must first protect everyone’s health and well-being,” said St. Mary’s Director of Athletics Rob Coleman. “This is clearly an unprecedented moment for our University, conference and the country as we take steps to confront the spread of the coronavirus.”
All Rattler Athletics spring season practices are also canceled.
The NCAA voted to allow institutions to self-apply season-of-competition waivers for student-athletes whose 2019-2020 spring season was canceled, subject to certain criteria. More information regarding the process of gaining a waiver will be delivered to coaches and student-athletes in the coming weeks.
March 14, 2020, 11:38 a.m.
Students Returning to Campus:
Resident students have the option to remain on campus or to finish the semester from their permanent homes.
However, we ask students to determine whether their campus or permanent residence is more appropriate for them through the end of the semester.
Resident students who choose to remain living on campus, but who are not yet back on campus, are asked to delay your return to campus until Monday, March 23.
Resident students who choose to complete the semester from their permanent residence should contact their Hall Director to coordinate a move out day and time.
For all other questions, contact the Office of Residence Life by calling 210-431-4312 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University is working to determine all costs associated with moving to online instructions and available student support services, and housing during the rest of the semester. Look for more information in the coming weeks.
March 13, 2020, 6:07 p.m.
A message from President Tom Mengler to the St. Mary’s University community
As we face this challenging moment for St. Mary’s University — and for all our communities — I want to assure you that St. Mary’s leadership has been meeting continuously to achieve two objectives.
Those objectives are, first, to ensure the health and safety of St. Mary’s students, faculty, staff and visitors; and, second, to deliver a quality educational experience for our students this semester. With God’s abundant grace and our community’s collaborative spirit and energy, I am confident we can achieve these two objectives.
As we enter the weekend, I reiterate a few decisions we have previously communicated to you and inform you of others.
First, St. Mary’s University has extended spring break by one week for students, through the week of Monday, March 16. The campus remains open, and faculty and staff will continue campus operations.
Second, beginning the week of March 23, all St. Mary’s University classes will resume in a fully online format for the remainder of the spring semester. Please watch for additional updates next week.
Third, out of an abundance of caution and in keeping with the recommendations of government and health officials to limit crowd sizes and group gatherings, the University is in the process of canceling many campus events, including student activities and other academic events, planned on campus through April 30, 2020.
You may have heard that the San Antonio Fiesta Commission has postponed all Fiesta 2020 events until November. The Alumni Association has determined that rescheduling Fiesta Oyster Bake for that time would be impossible, and we look forward to this great event returning in April 2021.
Also canceled are the annual alumni weekend activities, including Alumni Oyster Bake, Law Weekend and Reunion, as well as the student activities that lead up to the Alumni Bake.
While it is a difficult decision to cancel events that promote our unique campus community, health and safety must be our priority. I appreciate the thought and care that the St. Mary’s University Alumni Association (which hosts Alumni Oyster Bake) put into making this difficult but appropriate decision.
Please check the University calendar as it is being updated continually with cancellations. Note that some University-hosted events that are scheduled for off-campus locations are also affected. In April, the University will re-evaluate the situation and determine the best and safest path forward for campus events through the end of the spring semester.
Finally, I believe the words of Mother Adele, founder of the Marianist Sisters, are important here: “Let us not be discouraged, for we can do everything with the help of the grace which will always be there if we are faithful.”
As faculty, staff and students work and pray together in the coming weeks, I hope we will remember that what binds us together is the strength of St. Mary’s community, a family spirit that leads each of us to grow stronger because of the loving support of others.
March 13, 2020, 4:54 p.m.
To address growing concerns about the new coronavirus, St. Mary’s University, the St. Mary’s University Alumni Association and the St. Mary’s University Law Alumni Association have canceled or postponed all St. Mary’s alumni events this spring, which include Homecoming Weekend, March 26 to March 28, and Law Weekend, March 27 and 28.
The Homecoming Weekend cancellation includes Homecoming Oyster Bake, also known as “Baby Bake,” scheduled for Saturday, March 28. Upcoming reunions are also canceled.
The University Alumni Association will reschedule the Distinguished Alumni Dinner, slated for Thursday, March 26, to a later date.
St. Mary’s has made these decisions in light of the Fiesta San Antonio Commission and the City of San Antonio’s postponement of all Fiesta 2020 events announced earlier today. Following that direction to help ensure the community’s health and safety, Fiesta Oyster Bake was among the events canceled in April. Fiesta Oyster Bake will resume on the St. Mary’s University campus on April 16 and 17, 2021.
“The St. Mary’s University mission calls us to make decisions and take action for the common good,” President Thomas Mengler, J.D., said. “With that guidance in mind, the University and its University and Law Alumni Associations today made the difficult decision to cancel or postpone spring alumni events, including the popular Homecoming Oyster Bake.”
“Each year, we look forward to welcoming our alumni and friends to campus to celebrate their accomplishments and enjoy top-notch entertainment,” Mengler continued. “This year, we will adapt our approach and seek out other ways to connect with our close-knit alumni community to strengthen those bonds.”
Other updates include the addition of the Employee Policy section available at the bottom of the page.
March 11, 2020, 3:20 p.m.
To help ensure the health and safety of our campus community, St. Mary’s University is extending spring break by one week for students. The campus remains open, and faculty and staff will continue campus operations.
St. Mary’s faculty, who uniformly deliver in-person instruction, will use the week of March 16 to prepare for the possibility of delivering effective online instruction. This time will also allow others to ensure the delivery of all University services in the safest way.
Students living on campus will receive further guidance from the Office of Residence Life. The Office of the Provost will communicate with faculty about preparations for alternative course delivery methods, including training opportunities. Check your St. Mary’s email for additional instructions.
Students will be excused from activities and student-work responsibilities during the extended break.
The St. Mary’s Critical Incidents Response Team has been meeting daily to monitor the rapidly evolving situation and identify necessary steps to safeguard our campus community.
Please keep in mind that all critical and important information and notifications will be posted on the St. Mary’s website, and distributed through the University’s email system and/or RAVE Alert System.
More information about COVID-19 is available at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. For the most up-to-date information about the virus in Texas, please visit the State Department of Health’s coronavirus webpage, which has information in English and Spanish.
Faculty and Staff
The Village at St. Mary’s
Leies Hall, Rooms 101-105
Student Health Center
Charles Francis Hall, First Floor
Student Counseling Center
Center for Life Directions
210-436-3135 (for appointments)
A counselor on duty is also available 24 hours a day via phone at 210-825-3622.
Dean of Students
More Travel Information
University-Sponsored Spring Break and Summer Trips
As of March 24, all summer student study abroad programs are canceled.
The University previously canceled international spring break trips as a step to safeguard the students, faculty and staff traveling and avoid the likely challenges associated with crossing international borders and being quarantined, especially at this time.
St. Mary’s has suspended University-sponsored or supported student, faculty and staff travel to countries with a CDC Level 2 or 3 Travel Warning.
The University will continue monitoring and assessing all University-sponsored travel, international and domestic.
University-Sponsored Essential Travel
As of Monday, March 16, all University-paid and sponsored travel is canceled.
St. Mary’s strongly discourages personal travel to countries with a CDC Level 2 or 3 Travel Warning. Due to the coronavirus, if you do travel internationally, the University has new travel requirements for all faculty, staff and students, beginning immediately and until further notice.
- All individuals visiting countries under CDC Levels 2 and 3 travel restrictions, upon leaving or returning, are required to undergo a 14-day self-isolation (off-campus) period before returning to campus and to self-report. Also, avoid interaction with other members of the campus community during the isolation period.
- During the 14 days of self-isolation, students should contact the Student Health Center by phone at 210-436-3506 for updated guidance and requirements before returning to school or work. Employees should self-report by calling the Office of Human Resources at 210-210-436-3725.
- All individuals traveling internationally, including to Mexico, are required to report your travel by filling out this brief online form.
- St. Mary’s University will not provide reentry assistance for any personal travel.
If you were on a cruise in the past 14 days:
- Monitor your health and limit interactions with others for 14 days after returning to the United States.
- If a case of COVID-19 was reported on your ship during the cruise, stay home during these 14 days and practice social distancing.
Personal International Travel
Important information includes:
- St. Mary’s discourages both domestic and international travel to locations with multiple community-transmitted confirmed cases.
- Know that if you leave the country, your trip may affect your ability to return to the United States and campus.
- Travelers should consider how their planned trips may affect their ability to return to the United States and campus. Consider purchasing trip cancellation insurance in case a last-minute change is needed.
- Travelers should allow for additional time for airport screening measures, which generally include temperature checks and questionnaires, and should follow directives from authorities.
- No one should travel while sick. Traveling while ill may result in additional screening measures, potential entry denial and quarantine. Anyone who is sick risks spreading germs and infection to others.