USF remains open as an essential business under Stay-At-Home Order

March 23, 2020

USF COVID-19 Update

University of Saint Francis President Sister M. Elise Kriss sent a letter to students, faculty and staff to explain USF’s operation under Gov. Eric J. Holcomb’s Stay-At-Home Order, which he explained in an address Monday.

Here is her letter:

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

I’m sure you are aware that Governor, Eric J. Holcomb issued a Stay-At-Home Order for the State of Indiana to help combat the spread of COVID-19. I would like to explain what that means for the University of Saint Francis. First of all, institutions of higher education are considered essential businesses as noted in the Stay-At-Home Order. USF has its educational and other essential functions that must continue.

As Gov. Holcomb explained today, the order begins at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, March 24, and continues until at least 11:59 p.m. Monday, April 6. During this time, essential businesses can remain open. According to the Governor’s order, universities remain open for purposes of facilitating distance learning, performing critical research or performing essential functions, provided that social distancing of six feet per person is maintained to the greatest extent possible. In addition to providing support for our students and faculty so they can complete the semester using an online learning format, there are other student support services, financial aid services, business office resources, technology needs, human resource services, admissions and other essential functions that must continue.

For the past couple weeks, vice presidents and supervisors have been working with each employee to determine the best work modality, whether on campus or remotely, to keep our essential operations functioning while enforcing the appropriate social distancing practices. We will continue to follow that plan so we can accomplish the necessary work of the university. As the situation changes and develops, we will keep you updated.

Once again, I ask for your patience and continued support. Please contact your area VP if you have questions or concerns. All USF vice presidents are among those who will be working from their offices on campus.

The state has issued a document of Frequently Asked Questions about the Governor’s order, and this document includes a link to the full order: This information will also be available on the USF web site.

USF will continue to follow all necessary precautions to support the staff who are working on campus. Individuals should, of course, take the personal precautions explained and encouraged by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These precautions can help stop the spread of the virus.

You can always access updated information on USF’s response to COVID-19 at

As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic requires many daily adjustments. Look for further updates and communications as we continue to adjust to what is being required of all members of our campus community.

Please join me, and all the sisters, in praying for everyone affected by this pandemic. Let’s pray in a special way for those who continue to go above and beyond the call of duty to be of service to others.

Peace and God’s continued blessing of health and safety at this time.

Sister Elise

Sister M. Elise Kriss, OSF
University of Saint Francis