Fall Semester 2020 Update

President Hamza Yusuf

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Salaam Alaykum. 

I pray this message reaches all of you in good health and spirits. These last few months, abnormal as they have been, ought to remind us of God's absolute power and our utter helplessness before His will. However disconcerting the developments seem, as believers, we must continuously express our immense gratitude for the bounties He's bestowed upon us and upon our fledgling organization. I am sincerely grateful to each of you for your hard work, perseverance, and patience through the rapid changes brought on by the pandemic. Many of us may yearn to return to the vibrant learning community at Zaytuna, but the recent surge in COVID-19 cases has compelled us to focus on the safety of our students, staff, and faculty, and to make a decision regarding the campus status of the College this fall. 

Dr. Omar Qureshi and I reviewed various scenarios for re-opening the College outlined in a detailed report developed by Zaytuna’s department leaders under his supervision. We then made recommendations that were discussed and approved by the Board of Trustees this past weekend.

Zaytuna's leadership has decided that instruction for the Fall 2020 semester will be conducted online for both the undergraduate and graduate programs. This decision aligns with the recent advisories from Alameda County officials, the guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and with similar decisions by our neighboring institutions including the Graduate Theological Union and the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology. 

We understand and empathize with the eagerness of many students to return to campus and enjoy the blessings of in-person instruction, but their safety and well-being is at the forefront of our concerns. We will do our best to optimize the online learning experience, maintain the College community, reduce stress, and increase faculty interaction with students. This will be a collective effort, and I am looking forward to working with all of you to ensure a smooth transition, God-willing.

Given the small number of students in the MA program, we will carefully monitor the local regulations and advisories. If the current restrictions are lifted prior to the end of July, then we'll assess the possibility of in-person instruction this fall. Further details about the fall online semester will be coming forth soon, God-willing, from our Provost, Dr. Qureshi, and the College's department leaders. May God keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy, and may He facilitate the best for this College, and may we all be among the grateful and the introspective. 

With prayers and thanks, 

Hamza Yusuf
President, Zaytuna College