By Irina Rusanova
With the rapid spread of COVID-19 there has also been an increase in cautionary activity at Saint Vincent. Multiple summer programs have been rescheduled or are likely to be cancelled. Among these programs are the Benedictine Leadership Studies trip to Rome, the Summer Theatre program, and the Faith and Reason Summer Program.
Earlier in the semester, the faculty-led Benedictine Leadership Studies trip to Rome that had been scheduled for spring break was cancelled shortly following the virus outbreak in Italy. Sara Hart, director of international education, explained that fortunately the other programs scheduled over spring break ran successfully.
Hart more recently revealed that the Ireland education program scheduled from late July through early August 2020 has been postponed to the summer of 2021.
“Our exchange partners and the third-party providers we work with canceled their summer programs a few weeks ago,” she said. “We waited to see if the situation would improve.”
The decision to postpone the program was finalized the week of April 6.
Theater at SVC has had a similar mixture of victories and setbacks. Greggory Brandt, producing artistic director for the Saint Vincent Summer Theatre, spoke about the pair of Players productions that he directed earlier this year.
“My shows have all been performed for this academic year (fall play and spring musical), but nothing has been determined yet for next year.”
He, along with other officials at SVC, made the decision to cancel the 2020 Summer Theatre season.
“It was determined that the safety of our patrons, actors, production team and guests is more important at this time,” he said.
As of Monday, April 6, no plans have been set for the theatre’s 2021 season.
Changes in program plans have brought about staff layoffs. Brandt said that, though he has not personally made any decisions regarding this matter, he has noticed multiple contracts break.
“A lot of current SVC staff were not renewed or were furloughed,” he observed. “It's a difficult time now and I'm sure some tough decisions had to be made.”
The Faith and Reason Summer Program is also in an uncertain state. Dr. Michael P. Krom, PhD, director of the program, revealed that a decision has not yet been made to run or cancel the religious program.
“I remember the CDC issuing a statement back in early March to the effect that Americans should expect significant disruptions to their daily lives, and that has certainly proven true,” he explained. “Further, the ‘back to normal’ dates keep getting pushed back, and so it's hard to make any concrete plans even as far out as late June.”
He continues to hope for improved circumstances.
“Assuming the ban on gatherings of 10 or more people and the shelter in place orders are lifted, and the campus is open again, we will be running Faith and Reason,” he said. “We don't have a firm date as to when we must decide if Faith and Reason will go forward, but everything is in place to run the program if the okay is given.”