UMD, UWS Extend Spring Break; Classes Moving Online When Students Return

Umd Uws Coronavirus

DULUTH, Minn. — The University of Minnesota Duluth and the University of Wisconsin-Superior have announced they are extending spring break and moving classes online when students return because of the growing concerns involving the COVID-19 strain of the coronavirus.  Below are the two official releases from each university.


UMD:

Dear students, faculty, and staff,

As the challenges presented by COVID-19 continue to change rapidly, the University of Minnesota’s top priority remains the health, safety, and well-being of our University community.

While there are no known cases of COVID-19 reported in our system, as a precautionary measure to mitigate the risk of exposure to our University community, we are implementing the following action steps consistent with many of our peer institutions across the country.

Students and Classes
We are suspending in-person instruction, including field experiences and clinicals, across our five campuses and are moving to online, or alternative, instruction. Students on the Morris and Crookston campuses will have in-person classes through this Friday, March 13.

As a result:  Spring break will be extended on the Duluth, Rochester, and Twin Cities campuses until Wednesday, March 18. Students will resume classes, through online or alternative instruction, on March 18.
Following this break, as well as spring break on the Crookston and Morris campuses, scheduled for next week (March 16-20), all students on all campuses will be taught virtually through at least Wednesday, April 1.

As we evaluate these measures on an ongoing basis, we will let you know as soon as possible if we extend the online-only instruction period.
For classes that cannot be taught online, the instructor will contact students with further information.

Students are encouraged to stay home and continue classes online. However, we recognize that for some students the safest, most secure place will be on one of our five campuses. At this time, residence halls, dining services, and other student services will continue. Should on-campus student services be reduced as a result of these changes, we will let you know.

Those returning to campus should follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Minnesota Department of Health advice on hygiene and prevention.

Campus Operations
Outside of these changes to course delivery, it is important to note that all University of Minnesota campuses will continue normal operations. All employees of the University should report for work as standard. Supervisors and human resource leads will work with employees to determine if telecommuting is necessary. Please contact your HR lead for more information.

I also want to provide some additional clarity to my message yesterday regarding systemwide travel restrictions that may be helpful to your planning.

All non-essential international and domestic travel by faculty, staff, and students for University purposes is prohibited, regardless of funding source. Please note that staff travel between campuses for essential operations is still permitted.

The restrictions cover travel occurring March 16 to April 30. Please note the proposed end date for restrictions. These restrictions will be re-evaluated on March 31.

At this time, the only restrictions on education abroad programs are for spring, May term, and summer programs in CDC Level 3 advisory countries. As of today, those include China, South Korea, Iran, and Italy.

For more information on international travel and education abroad programs, see the GPS Alliance’s COVID-19 information for travelers.
Due to COVID-19, we find ourselves responding to unique challenges that require innovative solutions. I recognize that our responsive actions, including those I’m announcing today, may raise questions for many of you. While we do not have all of the answers at this moment, please know that we are working around the clock to find answers and solutions.

You can continue to send questions to healthresponse@umn.edu and check for the most up-to-date information on the Safe Campus website.

Thank you for your continued patience and partnership through this difficult time. We are doing what we can to mitigate the spread of the virus. Remember to take care of yourself and, if needed, we have support available for staff and students, in-person or remotely.

Be healthy, safe, and well.

With warmest regards,

Joan Gabel


UWS:

Official message from University of Wisconsin-Superior Chancellor Renée Wachter to the campus community concerning COVID-19

We have all been hearing updates on the spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin, across the country and the globe from the news and from other reliable media sources. UW-Superior recently convened our Emergency Response Team and this team has been meeting regularly and planning. It’s important to reiterate that our campus is safe and that there are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our region. However, COVID-19 is spreading rapidly elsewhere.

We are acting out of an abundance of caution and taking proactive steps to better prepare in case our area becomes impacted. In addition, we are committed to ensuring that our students will successfully complete this semester and proceed on their graduation plans. We also want to take steps to slow the potential spread of this illness in our region. We learned within the last few hours that other UW institutions and institutions nationwide are taking similar precautions. As a result, the following decisions have been made:

·         All classes, events and programming on our campus will be held as scheduled through March 14.

·         We will extend our spring break by one week, which means spring break will now take place March 16-29. On-campus classes are now scheduled to resume in an alternate delivery mode Monday, March 30. As noted below, classes that are online will continue without any interruption.

·         If possible, students should arrange to be away from campus during this extended break, as well as when classes resume. Be sure to bring your class/instructional materials with you, as well as other indispensable personal items such as prescriptions.

·         We recognize that some students may be unable to return to their permanent residence for various reasons and will need to stay in their residence halls. At this time, services for those students will be available such as dining services in the Yellowjacket Union, residence halls, Jim Dan Hill Library and Marcovich Wellness Center.

·         On March 30, on-campus classes will begin in their alternate delivery mode. The first possible date that campus may resume face-to-face classes would be April 13.

·         The emergency response team will assess safety and risk between now and then and update students and the campus by April 8. Should the period extend, the university will provide at least five days’ notice.

·         More information will be coming soon on the plans for the alternate delivery mode and how students and instructors will be supported in making this change.

·         Classes that are already online will not be affected by the spring break extension and will continue as regularly scheduled.

·         Campus operations remain uninterrupted. We are mindful of the welfare and well-being of our employees. At this time, the campus is a safe place to work. Campus will remain open in accordance with UW System Administrative Policy 1235. Student employees can continue to work during this break and after without interruption. The emergency response team will continue to monitor health, risk and safety issues daily.

·         There will be specific information sent to our international students. If you have immediate questions, please contact Salisa Hochstetler directly.

·         The following travel guidelines are now in effect. Travel will remain under review.

·         All upcoming university-sponsored travel for employees and students is being canceled through the end of the semester for areas at a CDC level 3 health notice for COVID-19. This currently includes China, Italy, Iran, and South Korea. This list may change if additional areas are impacted.

·         Anyone who has traveled to these areas for any reason is strongly advised to self-quarantine for 14 days, whether or not symptoms are present, before returning to our campus.

·         We also strongly discourage employees and students from any non-essential university-sponsored travel through the end of the semester. If you are altering university-sponsored travel plans, please consult Dawn McMillan or Tia Harrison in the Business Office.

·         If you opt to travel for any reason, please know that there could be health risks involved. If you travel, we ask you to self-monitor for 14 days after you return for fever, cough and difficulty breathing.

·         Students who are in a study away program should consult with Anya Russom, UW-Superior Study Away Coordinator, on whether to stay or return. Decisions about summer study away will be made in late April. Decisions for fall will be made at a later date in accordance with international and domestic partners.

This is a rapidly evolving situation and we will provide updates to our campus community as quickly as possible when additional information becomes available. In the meantime, you may also check out www.uwsuper.edu/coronavirus for information.

Please pay close attention to your email in coming days as this is the official means of communication.

Thank you for your support, patience and flexibility as plans are implemented. These changes can be stressful, but I have confidence that we will adapt. Please remember to be kind and patient with each other. Your leadership teams have worked hard to be responsive and thoughtful.  As I’ve said many times, we are small but mighty. I continue to have confidence in the mightiness of all of you.

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