Hello UMass Dartmouth Community,
As you know, our academic semester will go fully remote after the last class on Wednesday, November 25, 2020. The decision to move the limited number of face-to-face courses to a remote modality after Thanksgiving was made to protect the health and safety of our community during a time when COVID-19 cases are expected to increase, and holiday travel takes place.
Consistent with our Fall 2020 Re-Opening Plan, all instructional activities will be remote and virtual following the Thanksgiving Break, including final exams. We recognize that some labs, studios, and campus facilities will need to be available to those completing work on capstones, and other projects. Our Colleges and Departments are developing plans to meet specific needs and to ensure students and faculty will be able to safely access the facilities and equipment they need to advance and complete their studies, research, and creative work. Access to ongoing research activities is being managed directly by the Office of Research Administration. Visit the Claire T. Carney Library website to view hours of operation during this period.
Students who live in housing on campus will have a choice to either stay home after Thanksgiving or to return to campus until 24 hours after their last final exam ends or when the halls close on December 16, whichever comes first. The University recommends that residential students stay home after Thanksgiving due to the risks associated with travel during the pandemic. For students that plan to live on campus after Thanksgiving, we encourage you to avoid out of state travel. Remember, anyone returning to Massachusetts must quarantine for 14 days unless they are coming from a lower-risk state or can produce, on request, proof of negative viral RT-PCR SARSCoV2 test result from a test administered on a sample within 72 hours before arrival in Massachusetts, or meet the exemption criteria.
Students should have received a formal housing survey to indicate their plan to return after Thanksgiving break. If you have not filled this out yet, I urge you to do so before today’s deadline.
Travel during the pandemic is strongly discouraged and should only be undertaken in exceptional circumstances. Therefore, university-related travel is restricted for all students, faculty, and staff. Examples of university-related travel include conferences, research, colloquia, data gathering, fieldwork, archival work, human subject research, and student organization sponsored/organized travel, to any location. Visit the University-related travel website for more information.
Though all courses will be held remotely, and we expect some residential students to return to their primary residences, our campus will still be open and there will be students that need support. Supervisors will follow-up with further information on staffing during this time. Review the End of Fall Semester Select Offices Hours of Operations document for more information.
Governor Baker and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health have released tips for a safe Thanksgiving celebration. I encourage you to review them so that you can celebrate while still protecting your health and the health of those around you.
This has been an incredible semester despite all the challenges we have overcome together. Please read my message on our plans for the spring 2021 semester and stay tuned for more information. As always, keep engaging with our on-campus testing program by scheduling your test today. Note that there will be no on-campus testing on November 25, 26, or 27, and review the Testing Website for updates on the schedule for the end of the semester. Information on testing during winter break will be released soon. I am so impressed by everyone’s commitment to keeping UMassD healthy and safe.
This has been a challenging year and I hope that during this upcoming season you can spend quality time around loved ones. I wish you and your families a happy and safe Thanksgiving.
Mark Preble, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Chief Operating Officer and Acting Chancellor