March 11, 2020, 8:51 p.m.
To: University Community
From: Cory Nomura, Senior Vice President, Finance & Administration; Kathy Ogren, Provost; and Donna Eddleman, University Dean of Student Affairs
Subject: Coronavirus response updates: curriculum/instruction, events, and staffing
As our leadership teams have followed the fast-breaking news about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and reviewed national and regional public health advisories daily, we have carefully considered options to minimize the risk of coronavirus on our campuses and in our community.
The following policies have been developed to enable us to adapt our curriculum and instruction, administer events, develop contingency plans for Commencement, and manage the needs of our staff in the face of this unprecedented situation.
Starting Monday, March 23, we expect most of our courses to transition to “online” (or “technology-enhanced” hybrid virtual instruction) to minimize in-person meetings for the duration of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) spring semester. Similarly, the School of Education will be moving toward online or technologically enhanced modules for the remainder of the spring semester.
Conventionally, we call this "going online," but in most cases this will likely mean faculty will make more extensive use of Moodle to deliver classes from a distance rather than offering an entirely "online program." All courses are already available in the Moodle format. Some exceptions are expected that may need to continue in a face-to-face modality—possibly including graduate work, classes at regional campuses, science labs, fieldwork, art studios, and music coursework.
Here are some things to keep in mind about the transition:
The Marin campus’s San Francisco Theological Seminary of the Graduate School of Theology moved to online instruction yesterday in order to maintain curricular integration with the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) and the University of California, Berkeley. This practice will extend until Monday, March 30, at which time it will be reassessed.
All May Term travel classes, both international and domestic, are canceled. Consequently, students who may need credits that were associated with the canceled travel courses will have an opportunity to register for either current May Term courses OR additional courses offered by faculty who will not teach their travel course this year. Whether or not on-campus May Term classes will need to change from a face-to-face modality will be determined by Monday, March 30.
Residential communities will remain open for all on-campus residents. The guest policy found within the room and board contract will be limited to enrolled University of Redlands students only. Harvest Table has modified the dining experience to limit health risks, and the dining venues will remain open to the entire University community.
All non-essential events with an expected attendance of more than 100 people are canceled, beginning Friday, March 13 through Monday, March 30, at which time this policy will be reassessed. This includes the Admitted Students’ Day event planned for March 14. Decisions about Commencement proceedings on the Redlands campus, currently scheduled for April 16 to 18, will be made at that time as well.
As stated previously, University-sponsored travel is prohibited to any country designated by the U.S. Department of State as a level three (“Reconsider Travel") or four (“Do Not Travel”). Last week, we recalled five students studying abroad in Italy. As of tonight, we are reevaluating the situation for our students in other European countries.
Given the global nature of the epidemic, the University is currently discouraging all international travel. Outside of May Term travel (which is canceled, as stated above), scheduled academic programs involving international travel are being evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Note that any country’s public health status can change quickly, and anyone choosing to travel abroad may be subject to quarantine upon reentry. We continue to monitor recommendations from the U.S. Department of State, with particular attention to areas with U of R student and faculty activities, including Hong Kong, Austria, and Japan.
Domestic travel is currently at the discretion of each individual in the community, however we encourage the reconsideration of planned trips involving large gatherings, air travel, or visits to areas with recorded outbreaks.
In light of the emerging coronavirus epidemic, there have been many questions from our employees. At this time, employment will continue as usual. If there are specific reasons that would prevent you from being on campus at this time, please work with your supervisor to discuss accommodation(s). These requests will be handled on a case by case basis. The University’s Sick Leave and Vacation Leave policies remain unchanged and in full effect. Future communication will continue to address employment-related concerns.
The U of R Information Technology Services (ITS) instructional technology team is making additional time available to help faculty members to meet the needs of the current situation. In particular, the team can help:
The team is available in person from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the Jones Computer Center, to consult with faculty members in enhancing their courses using technology tools. Virtual consultation and phone support is also available to faculty during regular business hours, evenings, and weekends. Faculty can:
Students seeking support should contact Tech Support Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 909-748-8922.
The Armacost Library will remain open as long as campus is open. We encourage social distancing within the library and have increased efforts to disinfect surfaces, such as tables, computers, door handles, and restrooms.
We know there are many issues still to be resolved, and we appreciate your patience as we, as a community, work through this period of uncertainty, carefully weighing options for the best ways to serve our students. Look out for further announcements, as we will continue to keep you up-to-date on the latest developments on our campuses.