Communications

SENT: 3/12/2020 12:34 PM
TO: Employees 
SUBJECT: President's Announcement: COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Communication to UIU Faculty and Staff

Dear University Community, 

The purpose of this email is to provide an update regarding Upper Iowa University’s planning and actions related to COVID-19 and the impact on the University. First off, the safety and wellbeing of our students, faculty, staff and community members of UIU is always our top priority. Situations continue to change rapidly and we will continue to provide communications related to University operations.

Please see the information below describing actions taken universitywide.

Fayette Campus:

Academics: Session 4 will be delayed one week at the Fayette Campus and classes will begin on March 23, 2020, with a possibility that the remainder of Session 4 may need to be shifted entirely to online learning. This determination will be based on continued conversations with public health agencies. While this is a rapidly evolving situation, the current intent is to make a determination whether or not to move to exclusively online classes for Session 4 no later than March 19.  To reiterate, the current plan is to continue face-to-face instruction during Session 4 at Fayette Campus, beginning on March 23 and ending on May 7.

This extra one-week timeframe should be used by faculty members and support staff to prepare for the possibility that courses may need to be offered exclusively online at some point during Session 4.  Should faculty have concerns about the ability to meet course objectives exclusively online, the faculty member should communicate these concerns immediately to their respective department chair. Please remember that in transitioning to a 7-week session it is still necessary to fulfill required instructional time during this shortened time period.

Housing and Food Services: Will remain open beginning March 15. Students will be advised to stay home for the additional week prior to classes starting, however, in some cases we understand that is not possible. Students who are staying on campus are required to notify Student Life. Food services will also be available; however,  Aramark will be proactively taking precautionary steps in the Servery and Café to protect their staff and customers.

Athletics: At this time, the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference has indicated that spring sports will continue as scheduled. More information will be made available should this change at any time.

Study Abroad: Students currently abroad are safe and will be traveling home from Amsterdam on Friday. We are working with public health to determine any action plan necessary upon their arrival back to the U.S. There will be a specific message sent to participants of this study abroad trip with instructions after consultation with local public health. At this point, UIU will be suspending all international travel until further notice. Additional communication will occur with those who may be affected by this suspension in regards to upcoming planned travel.

Events: We are reviewing internal and external events scheduled for the upcoming months. At this point, the decision has been made to cancel the Honors and Awards Banquet scheduled for April 4 on the Fayette Campus. A comprehensive list of external and internal events is currently being reviewed and announcements will be forthcoming.

Reporting to Work: After consultation with the Fayette County Department of Public Health, the recommendation is that it is not necessary for the campus to be closed or for courses to be moved online at this time.  Faculty and staff should continue to report to work if you are not showing the warning signs of COVID-19. Please follow the University’s sick and vacation guidelines as described in the Employee Handbook.

Visits: Prospective student visits will continue to occur on campus in small groups.

Centers:

Academics: Session 4 will be delayed one week and classes will begin on March 23, 2020, with a possibility that the remainder of Session 4 may need to be shifted entirely to online learning. This determination will be based on continued conversations with public health agencies. While this is a rapidly evolving situation, the current intent is to make a determination whether or not to move to exclusively online classes for Session 4 no later than March 19.  To reiterate, the current plan is to continue face-to-face instruction during Session 4 at the domestic centers, beginning on March 23 and end on May 7.

This extra one-week timeframe should be used by faculty members and support staff to prepare for the possibility that courses may need to be offered exclusively online at some point during Session 4.  Should faculty have concerns about the ability to meet course objectives exclusively online, the faculty member should communicate these concerns immediately to their respective department chair. Please remember that in transitioning to a 7-week session it is still necessary to fulfill required instructional time during this shortened time period.

Should public health officials communicate concerns related to specific demographic regions of our centers, actions will be taken to transition face-to-face learning to online.

Military Bases and Community College locations: UIU will continue to follow the guidance of military bases and community colleges where we are located. Should at any time these locations provide guidance of closure, UIU will transition face-to-face classes to online. Military Commencements have not been canceled at this time.

Graduation Receptions: Center Graduation Receptions have been canceled and graduates will receive notification today.

Reporting to Work: Local public health guidance is being reviewed for domestic centers. Faculty and staff should continue to report to work as normal if you are not showing the warning signs of COVID-19. Please follow the University’s sick and vacation guidelines as described in the Employee Handbook.

Online:Online classes will begin Session 4 as scheduled on March 16, 2020. Should you advise students who take both online and face-to-face courses, please be sure to remind the student that the Online start date did not change in order to help eliminate possible confusion.

Self-Paced: Self-paced classes will continue with their regular published start dates.

Hong Kong: Since January 2020, face-to-face classes have been canceled and Hong Kong students have been transitioned to online. There is no change at this time and online learning will continue until further guidance from the Hong Kong government. The 2020 Hong Kong Commencement Ceremony has been canceled.

A reminder to follow good public health practices to minimize the spread of illness. Officials suggest there is no need to change any routine activities or behaviors due to COVID-19 if you practice the previously described hygiene etiquette.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness (e.g., fever, trouble breathing, consistent coughing) not come to work, “until they are free of fever (100.4° F or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g., cough suppressants).” Any student or employee experiencing symptoms of this nature is encouraged to call appropriate medical care to avoid unnecessarily exposing others. For students and employees: 

  • Students: Those experiencing symptoms of acute respiratory illness should refrain from going to class and limit their contact with others. 
  • All Employees: As a result of the CDC’s recommendation, Upper Iowa University is requiring that any employee who is experiencing symptoms of acute respiratory illness refrain from coming to work until the symptoms have resolved. Employees who miss time at work should consult their immediate supervisor regarding the use of benefit time. 

There is a COVID-19 Planning Team that is meeting frequently to review current situations for all UIU locations and following guidance of local public health and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  UIU will continue to provide regular updates to stakeholders. As you continue to monitor the ever changing situation, please review credible sources such as local public health and CDC websites; links to these entities are provided via the link below.

I encourage all members of the UIU community to visit https://uiu.edu/coronavirus/ for updates. This resource includes university updates, external public health resources and other important information about prevention. Our COVID-19 Planning Team and President’s Council is working to answer your questions and provide updates to the best of our ability as quickly as we can.

The intent of these measures is to keep our university community healthy and safe.

Thank you for your patience during this rapidly changing situation.

Sincerely,

William R. Duffy II, Ed.D., Ed.S. 
President
Upper Iowa University