Dear Siena Community:

On Monday, Siena College’s extended spring recess will come to an end, and we will move into the next phase of an unforeseen condition necessitated by the health threat impacting the entire globe. To comply with updated state regulations and to protect the public health, all courses will be taught remotely until April 14 at the earliest, and employees will work from home unless identified by their supervisor as core staff needed to perform essential on-campus functions. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo mandated today that 100 percent of New York’s workforce must utilize, to the extent possible, telecommuting and work-from-home protocols. Most Siena employees are already working from home to comply with executive orders issued earlier in the week; our leadership made arrangements today to address essential operations, including servicing the needs of our few remaining students on campus. For those employees currently on campus, please take with you what you need to work remotely when departing campus today unless your supervisor has explicitly told you otherwise.  

The Siena Experience will go online – temporarily. Our campus will be almost completely empty. Who could have imagined such a development when we started this academic year? 

I want to acknowledge the entire Siena community for your flexibility, your hard work and your understanding as we transition to remote learning and remote work. A special thanks to the team in Information Technology Services, who have made this transition possible by holding workshops for faculty, securing the necessary technical upgrades, and providing assistance to students and staff.

I also want to give special recognition to faculty. Shifting to remote delivery requires a tremendous amount of work and they have spent many hours preparing for Monday’s transition. We can’t thank them enough for their dedication to supporting student learning. 

Siena’s website features a list of resources for working and studying remotely; our ITS department is also available to answer any technical questions. They can be reached at Updates on how Siena is addressing the coronavirus pandemic are posted to a webpage and are updated regularly. 

A special note to the Class of 2020: I know you were looking forward to beginning the last few weeks of college with friends who have always been at your side for the past four years. I understand the great disappointment you must be feeling right now. 

I hope this move to a virtual campus will be short-lived, and that we will welcome everyone back to our Loudonville campus before long. But – and I cannot stress this enough – the health and safety of our community and the general public is our priority. We will make all decisions about classes and campus life with that at top of mind, and with the guidance of state and federal authorities.

I would like to thank the Office of Franciscan Mission for the “You Are Not Alone” messages they have begun sharing. This sudden loss of campus life is saddening for all of us, and the news headlines about the spread of the coronavirus are unnerving to say the least. Having these words of support reminds us of what truly makes Siena a community, whether we are on campus or not. 

Our mission to provide our students with the Education for a Lifetime, and to promote the Franciscan traditions on which that education is based, will be carried with us wherever we study, teach or work. Our community will be a virtual one for the near future, but no less strong for that.

Our prayers go out to the Siena community that you and your families remain safe and healthy.  Please follow health protocols so we can protect each other, especially the most vulnerable in our society – the elderly and the sick who are the most susceptible. Together we will weather this storm with our ever-present resilience and competence.


Margaret Madden

Interim President