March 23rd message from Chancellor Johnson on COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)

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Dear campus community,

I want to wish you the best on the first day of the remote delivery of face-to-face courses. While this is not how we normally reconvene after spring break, we must finish the semester strong. The spread of the coronavirus has changed how we operate but it has not changed our ability to support students in their academic goals.

I appreciate everyone’s flexibility, patience, and resiliency during this challenging time. Our campus may look empty, but we are serving more than 8,000 students and hundreds of faculty to learn and teach remotely. We need to give our best effort to support and ensure every member of our community succeeds.

Earlier today, Governor Charlie Baker issued an emergency order that will increase the use of social distancing in Massachusetts beginning on Tuesday, March 24 at noon until Tuesday, April 7 at noon. Within the order there is an exception for “Educators and staff supporting public and private emergency childcare programs, residential schools for students with disabilities, K-12 schools, colleges, and universities for purposes of facilitating distance learning, provision of school meals, or performing other essential student support functions, if operating under rules for social distancing.”

What does that mean for UMass Dartmouth?

There have been no cases of the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) at UMass Dartmouth, yet we have already transitioned all coursework to online delivery and encouraged staff who have jobs that are suitable for working remotely to work from home.

This order does not impact our face-to-face courses being taught remotely, though faculty are discouraged from utilizing campus facilities for course delivery.

We are complying with the Governor’s order and will limit on campus personnel to only those staff members who are essential to the continued support of students and other critical areas. Consistent with the list of COVID-19 essential services that was included as part of the Governor’s Emergency Order, departments are now determining the minimum number and kinds of staff that are needed. Human Resources continues to work with the unions to ensure that all faculty and staff remain safe and are appropriately compensated.

Remember, UMass Dartmouth is not closed and thus we will always need personnel on campus. However, we must do what we can to lessen the number of physical interactions.

We must work together, sacrifice together, and ultimately persevere together. #UMassDTogether

Please visit our Coronavirus Updates Page for additional information.

With gratitude,

 

Robert E. Johnson, Ph.D.

Chancellor


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