Update on COVID-19 (coronavirus) from University of Lynchburg President Kenneth Garren

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Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

I am writing with an important update on our ongoing response to COVID-19 (coronavirus), which has now been elevated to a worldwide pandemic. As the situation unfolds nationwide, I recognize the uncertainties and the possible risks here in our own community. I have decided to err on the side of extreme caution to keep our campus safe. I know that many of you are worried as you prepare to resume classes next week and I want to share our immediate plans to ensure your health and well-being.

Effective immediately:

  • Spring break will be extended by one week; we WILL NOT return for classes March 16.
  • On Monday, March 23, all spring classes will resume and be moved exclusively to online delivery for the foreseeable future.
  • Students are not to return to campus and will continue their coursework remotely; faculty are prepared to deliver all instruction remotely.
  • Faculty and staff are required to report as usual on Monday, March 16, to finalize planning to support online delivery of instruction and ensure students can continue to work toward completion of their current classes.
  • Beginning Monday, March 23, all faculty and staff – with the exception of essential personnel – will begin working remotely and will not be required to be on campus.
  • As of Monday, March 16, all scheduled events are canceled. Spring athletic events will be interrupted through at least April 3. For updates, follow lynchburgsports.com
  • We will reassess in early April.

Clearly, these decisions will cause disruption and challenges for us all. Given the current situation and the rapid progression of the virus, I feel we are taking the most prudent steps. There has not been a confirmed case of the virus on campus or in the Lynchburg region, and the risk to our community remains low. Medical authorities have noted that it’s best to work on prevention in our community before the first case is recorded.

As we’ve prepared for all possible scenarios, we’ve been focused on a few key priorities: ensuring the health and well-being of our students, faculty, staff, and community-at-large; helping to stem the spread of the virus; and continuing our ongoing teaching, learning, and scholarship. We’ll advance our priorities by limiting the number of people who gather on campus each day.

Some specific information for members of our community:

Students

  • You are not permitted to return to campus until further notice. The University will make accommodations for students who must retrieve important belongings from campus such as computers, books, and other course materials. Details about how to do so will be forthcoming.
  • We understand that a small number of students will find it impossible to go home, whether for financial reasons or because they reside in a country where the virus has resulted in unsafe travel. Additional information will be provided in follow-up email to residential students.
  • Faculty and staff are working diligently to ensure that you can meet all of your academic requirements remotely. You will be hearing from deans and professors over the next several days with details about your classes, including any clinical, experiential, performance-based, or studio learning that may require alternative arrangements.

Faculty

  • All faculty will be hearing from the provost and deans soon with more details about moving classes online.
  • The Teaching and Learning Center (T&LC) and Information Technology & Resources (ITR) have been working together on the necessary resources to allow you to deliver all of your instructional materials online.
  • Faculty are asked to return to campus next week to prepare for the transition to online delivery of classes.

Staff

  • At present, staff should report to work as usual.
  • Staff with questions or concerns about their workplaces and the possibility of working remotely should speak with their supervisors. Should you become ill, please be cautious and stay home.

Events

  • Effective Monday, March 16, and until further notice, all university-sponsored events are canceled. This includes intercollegiate athletic events.
  • Spring athletic events will be interrupted through at least April 3. For updates, follow lynchburgsports.com

You can expect regular updates from the University via email, LiveSafe/Text, and the University’s website: lynchburg.edu. Currently, all information related to COVID-19 is on the Student Health Center web page. As plans for the coming days and weeks come together, the pages will be updated regularly.

Finally, and very importantly, if you have direct contact with anyone who has coronavirus, or if you develop any symptoms of respiratory illness, report your situation to your dean, supervisor, or the Student Health Center (434.544.8357) and seek medical treatment.

I thank you all for your support in this challenging time and I know that we will get through this together.

Sincerely,

 Kenneth R. Garren

President, University of Lynchburg