A timeline of how COVID-19 affected Mills students, faculty and staff members, and alumnae in the first half of 2020. Click here for thoughts from the graduating Class of 2020, good wishes to the Class of 2020 from Mills alumnae, and alumnae tales and poetry from quarantine.
Two days after San Francisco Mayor London Breed declares a pre-emptive state of emergency, President Elizabeth L. Hillman sends her first email to the Mills community about the coronavirus. In it, she asks recipients to monitor their health, follow proper hygiene, and contact the Vera Whole Health Center if experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. President Hillman also says that the College is monitoring upcoming study-abroad trips, boosting housekeeping and hand-sanitizing stations in high-traffic areas, and setting aside areas in residence halls if they’re needed for quarantine. An Incident Response Team is formed to respond to the situation.
In her third email, President Hillman reports that remote learning options are being evaluated if needed in case in-person classes are no longer permitted to help stem the spread of the virus.
An initial announcement goes out that large classes will go online through March 29, and small classes with 30 students or fewer will continue to meet in person until after spring break (March 23–27). In addition, medium- and high-risk events are cancelled throughout campus.
The announcement broadens: all classes for the remainder of the semester will go online starting Tuesday, March 17, with classes cancelled on Friday, March 13 and Monday, March 16, so professors can prepare for remote learning. Everyone who lives on campus can continue to do so, though some choose to move out for the remainder of the school year.
“It’s an irony that to protect against COVID-19, we must isolate ourselves and cease doing many of the things we love most. Our community’s kindness, diligence, and faith will see us through.“President Elizabeth L. Hillman, in her weekly Inside and Out message
An email appeal to support the Student Hardship Fund, intended to help students with unexpected transportation and Internet connectivity costs related to the pandemic, is sent to alumnae. More than 400 students apply for $300 grants.
130The number of students at the Tea Shop for dinner. Bon Appétit, the company that provides dining services at Mills, moved operations exclusively to the Tea Shop soon after Mills shifted to remote learning, and also began stocking groceries so students wouldn’t have to venture off campus.
Seven weeks into his Fulbright trip to Brazil to study Candomblé music, Robert Lopez, MFA ’13, is recalled to the United States. “What I want more than anything is to go back to Brazil and finish this project,” he tells KQED.
Testing for COVID-19 is made available on campus. As of press time, no one had tested positive.
On the program Women’s Magazine on KPFA, Barbara Lee Distinguished Professor of Women’s Leadership Margo Okazawa-Rey speaks to four current and former students at Brown University about how the coronavirus is affecting vulnerable populations, including people with disabilities and those who are incarcerated.
Admissions extends first-year enrollment deadline for the 2020–21 school year until June 1.
#MillsConnected launches across all Mills social media networks, illustrating how the campus community is maintaining ties despite the physical distance imposed by the pandemic. As just a few examples, Director of Spiritual and Religious Life Dara Olandt begins holding online spaces for community members seeking emotional support, and athletic coaches join with the Division of Student Life to reach out to students who need help with academics. Search for the hashtag on Twitter and Instagram to see more examples.
Kjersti Aagaard ’91, a professor of maternal fetal medicine and obstetrics and gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital, weighs in on the effects of COVID-19 on pregnancy on PBS NewsHour.
Professor of Education Priya Shimpi Driscoll speaks with Forbes about the educational use of YouTube for kids during quarantine (spoiler alert: with parental guidance, it’s OK).
Southern California NPR station KCRW runs a piece on Sheila Young ’02, who manages a mobile COVID-19 testing station at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in South Los Angeles.
“Teaching and learning at Mills look very different today. Like the #ResilientFaculty teaching across the nation and world, Mills faculty and staff have risen to the unimaginable challenge of taking an entire college online.”Provost Chinyere Oparah, in an email to faculty and staff
The Mills Policy Forum begins publishing the final projects of master’s of public policy (MPP) candidates, who would normally present their findings during public in-person sessions at the Lokey School.
A New York Times piece showcases the work of Assistant Professor of Practice of Public Policy Sharon Cornu and Tucker Brofft, MBA/MPP ’19, at St. Mary’s Center in downtown Oakland. Cornu is the executive director of the shelter, and with a team including Brofft, is putting tremendous effort into ensuring the unsheltered populations that use St. Mary’s stay safe from COVID-19.
Professor of Practice Victor Talmadge contributes a video of himself performing as Iago from Othello for the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse’s “Virtual Playhouse” project. Talmadge appeared at the playhouse several years ago in Red.
134Approx. number of students still living on campus (97 in traditional housing; 68 in independent living). Throughout sheltering in place, the Division of Student Life coordinates activities such as virtual scavenger hunts and Netflix watch parties to keep them connected.
“Faculty members have been telling us that they’re impatient to get back into the classroom with their students!”Associate Provost Maggie Hunter
$1,139,000The amount Mills receives from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, half of which becomes available for student financial relief.
“We are asking questions we’ve never had to ask before.”Dean of Students Chicora Martin, in a virtual town hall for faculty and staff