March 16, 2020 10:45 a.m.
As we navigate through the unprecedented and numerous challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, I plan to keep you informed of the many actions we need to implement over the coming weeks.
First and foremost, I hope you and your family are doing well given these trying circumstances. Everyone is under significant stress due this rapidly evolving situation and the uncertainty it brings.
I know you have more questions than we have answers at this time. We are working diligently to develop thoughtful solutions that not only address the health and well-being of our community, but facilitate the university's academic mission.
While we work to identify our next steps and evaluate recommendations, some of the actions we have taken include:
- Extended spring break by a week to March 22, 2020.
- While we cannot eliminate all possible exposure to the virus, we can take steps to help slow down exposure through social distancing practices and other recommended measures. The university took a major step in this direction with quarantine guidance as well as travel and event suspensions. Through these actions, we hope to maintain the health and safety of our community. More guidance will be forthcoming as we develop workable solutions that address the vast needs of employees and students.
- At this time, classes will resume on March 23, 2020. While face-to-face teaching will be suspended, we will deliver classroom instruction using a number of remote delivery methods. With the university's distance learning expertise and robust resources and services, we can rapidly convert the majority of classes, as well as provide 24/7 support to faculty and students. For those classes not suited for online instruction, we are evaluating alternate, remote teaching methods and accommodations. Be assured, we want to do what is best for our students’ continued academic success.
- As we open registration for summer and fall semesters, advising remains available to new and current students at regular posted hours. The SAM Center will open on March 16, but walk-in hours are suspended until the end of the semester. All students who have advising appointments should keep their appointment times; advisors will contact you via email to provide remote options. If students do not have an advising appointment, it can be made through the advising center. While the format in which advising takes place will change to meet circumstances, the quality of these services will be retained. At this time, we expect both summer and fall classes to be provided in the formats listed in our course schedule.
I know you have many more questions and concerns. Like you, we are also experiencing a level of frustration and anxiety over answers that are not immediately available.
Today, we are all greatly impacted by uncertainty. With that in mind, I encourage students to reach out to the counseling center and employees to utilize resources available through your health plan should feelings become overwhelming.
Finally, we are a strong, caring community. Let us lean on that strength with the understanding that everyone has a role to play in helping one another through these turbulent times. Thank you for your patience and ongoing support.
Information is changing rapidly, please check our COVID-19 website often for updates.
Stay safe and be well.
Dana G. Hoyt, President