A Message to Parents | March 31, 2020

Dear Family Members,

I am sending below a message that went to your students yesterday afternoon.

We are so proud of the resilience and adaptability that students, faculty, and staff are demonstrating during this disquieting time. Your families will be experiencing a variety of unexpected arrangements. Some will be missing children who were unable to travel home, and who are therefore still with us on campus. Others will have children living on their own, hoping they take great care of themselves while they gain ever more independence. Many will have children back under their roofs, where it can be a delight and sometimes also an unexpected challenge to resume daily life with a young adult who has matured and changed while away.

We’ve all discovered that when there’s no road map, you have to chart your own course. I’m pleased to say that with typical F&M gumption, our version of online courses is as inventive, challenging, and supportive as in-person courses were before spring break. As one faculty member said to me in a (virtual) meeting recently, “I simply had to figure out how to communicate the same content and get to the same learning goals in a different way. It has actually been fun!”

I hope that your student might also find some fun in this move to online learning, along with the inevitable trials and tribulations. So many of them were raring to go as their professors held practice sessions with them last week, expressing their eagerness to get back to intellectual endeavor. This kind of mind-bending adjustment to new ways of working is tremendously good preparation for the real world, with all the disruptions our children’s generation will need to deal with and help overcome.

You can be sure that we are still supporting our students in myriad ways. In the message below, you’ll find links you can use to explore the many resources available to them. As I read recently in a corporate message about the virus, “Our doors are closed, but our hearts are open.” That is very much the case at the College, as everything from tutoring, to social events, to counseling, to changes to the grading system, are in place to allow your student to succeed. We also continue to update our COVID-19 website as new information becomes available.

With empathy and warm wishes,

Barbara K. Altmann



The message sent to students on March 30 can be read here.