Our Community’s Reopening Plan

Update (7/21/20): our community’s reopening plan has been updated based on new data. Read the current plan.

Dear CDSP Community,

On Monday, June 29, the Board of Trustees of CDSP approved a Fall reopening of the school’s residential program, which will follow a hybrid model. We are very happy about the approval of this plan. We have worked hard to prepare for the safest on-campus conditions possible, and to create a residential experience which is satisfying, even enlightening, under constraints posed by current conditions.  This itself will be part of the context of learning theologically as we face together the limitations during this public health phenomenon that the world is going through.

This hybrid residential model will allow for the teaching of all classes both in-person and remotely, most with both synchronous and asynchronous options. This provides flexibility for our residential students who do not feel comfortable attending in-person classes because of the pandemic. This model also addresses the changes in the occupancy rate of each classroom, which will be substantially limited due to physical distancing requirements. This hybrid model also allows us to pivot quickly to an all-remote learning format should a new shelter-in-place order be instituted.  All students living in residence will be in safe housing: either Nichols, Easton Hall (newly outfitted), or Gibbs.

Within the good news there are also important conditions about which all of us must be aware. Safety and reduction of risk to all in our community is the central focus of this hybrid plan and all our reopening work. There will be strict protocols and guidelines that all must adhere to if we are to remain a safe in-residence community. We will not be asking any student, faculty, or staff member to participate in on-campus activities if they are uncomfortable doing so due to COVID-19.

I want to alert you to the fact that the on-campus experience for residential students, faculty, and staff will be very different from prior semesters. We will wear masks at all times when on campus, abide by  appropriate physical distancing, accept a smaller number of students in each classroom, and eliminate all shared community meals and community Eucharist. All of these will change how this residential program will be experienced. Plans are being made to create new small-group gatherings for the classroom and for formation.  We will learn about community life through constraints. 

Over the next two weeks there will be multiple communications detailing the substantive changes we will be making to institute a hybrid residential program this Fall semester. I ask that you pay close attention to each one of these communications. Some of them will be from:

  • the Academic Dean regarding fall courses at the GTU;
  • the Registrar regarding registration procedures;
  • the Director of housing regarding housing assignments;
  • the Financial Aid Office notifying students of scholarships and stipends (by July 15th, for students who have submitted applications);
  • the President and Dean’s office setting forth new protocols, expectations, and policies and procedures for the return to campus;
  • the Dean of Students and the Academic Dean scheduling a Q&A with all residential students.

I recognize that for many of you who are residential students, Berkeley is your home while you are attending CDSP. This has been one of our primary concerns as we sought to find a way to create a safe residential experience this coming semester. I am hopeful that the conditions we are developing for safe residential life will continue to offer a meaningful context for your education and formation for ministry and I look forward to seeing you in the fall. 

Faithfully yours,

The Very Rev. W. Mark Richardson, Ph.D., President and Dean