Dear campus community,
I want to share the latest news regarding the global coronavirus situation and its impact on UMass Dartmouth. There have been no cases of the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) at UMass Dartmouth. A dedicated group of staff has been monitoring updates and adhering to the recommendations and guidelines of the CDC and Massachusetts Department of Public Health. With the latest information put forth by the Baker Administration in mind, I, alongside the Chancellors at our sister campuses, and President Meehan are enacting policies intended to keep our communities safe and provide as little interruption to learn as feasibly possible.
Out of an abundance of caution, UMass Dartmouth will enact the following:
- UMass Dartmouth will extend spring break for students until Friday, March 20, 2020. All faculty and staff are expected to operate normally with special guidance to follow.
- UMass Dartmouth Residence Halls will not admit students without prior written approval until Sunday, April 5, 2020.
- UMass Dartmouth will deliver all courses through an online modality starting Monday, March 23, 2020, until Friday, April 3, 2020.
- UMass Dartmouth will cancel all events containing audiences larger than 50 people, per CDC guidelines, until Friday, April 3, 2020.
- UMass Dartmouth-sponsored domestic travel using public transportation has been suspended until further notice.
As we move into the online delivery of our courses, we need to recognize that this transition must be handled with care. That is why we are extending spring break to allow time for faculty to prepare and ensure they can connect with their students and provide meaningful academic opportunities.
The decision to not admit students into Residence Halls during this period of online delivery comes under social distancing guidance from the CDC and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Students with extenuating circumstances that require them to remain in our residence halls during this time, must submit a petition to request to stay in housing. Additional information will be provided later today regarding how students may return to their residence halls to pick up items they will need for the next three weeks.
Continuing the act of social distancing also includes the cancellation of all events that will have more than 50 attendees. While UMass Dartmouth has already suspended university-sponsored international travel, we are extending the suspension to domestic travel as well to safeguard against exposure. University staff are expected to report normally.
I know you have many questions right now. You will receive additional guidance this afternoon to help you understand how to navigate the times ahead.
We must support each other and our students as we adapt to whatever challenges the future brings. I am proud of how our community has risen to the occasion and I know that we will continue to be leaders in turbulent times.
Robert E. Johnson Ph.D.