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Update: Message to Faculty - Planning for Possible COVID-19

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University of Denver

Planning for Possible Coronavirus

News  •

Dear Colleagues,

It is always my desire to keep our faculty updated, prepared, and feeling supported. Today I write to you directly to start providing you information on planning specific to curricular continuity planning, as well as sharing strategies and resources that will be helpful as you navigate the next few weeks and months.

The University of Denver is closely monitoring the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and associated COVID-19 disease. Recent news of infected persons in states throughout the US and in a growing number of countries around the world demonstrates that the circumstances regarding the virus are emergent.

Faculty and students have asked about anticipated impacts to instruction and what steps they should take. At present, there are no known cases of the virus in Colorado.    We are monitoring the situation very carefully and as of today, impacts to the current instructional program are modest. Faculty are encouraged to continue the normal course of instruction. This is an evolving situation, both in the US and globally, so circumstances could change rapidly. We will be providing frequent updates, and I will be in touch if and as they do.

Public health officials have recommended that people potentially exposed to the virus, or those demonstrating symptoms consistent with COVID-19, self-isolate and stay home from school and work for a period of two weeks.

If you or a family member are sick

The health and safety of our campus community are very important to us. Faculty and staff who are ill—no matter the cause—are encouraged to stay home and to communicate via email to relevant parties (chair, dean, etc.) to let them know you are sick. Please remember we are also still in the midst of flu season.

  • If you are concerned about your flu-like illness, seek immediate medical advice from your medical provider. Many providers are asking you to call before going.
  • Faculty and staff, please contact Kaiser Permanente at 1-800-218-1059 or your healthcare provider.
  • EAP (Employee Assistance Program)
  • If you or a family member become ill, please note that the following benefits and policies may apply: sick leave, FMLA, short term and long-term disability. If you have questions about these benefits and policies, please contact Human Resources (303-871-3931).

If a student in your class is sick and chooses to self-isolate, please accommodate them while they are out of class.

  • Treat the student as if they were experiencing a health issue that keeps them from attending class. No doctor’s note is needed.
  • Provide course materials and offer the opportunity for make-up work. Take the extra step and show empathy and leniency.
  • Make course materials and assignments available through Canvas. This makes it easy and safe to manage the distribution of materials and assignments to all students in your course as well as providing an ability to collect work electronically. 

Preparing for Upcoming Academic Terms

As we continue to monitor the events associated with COVID-19, we are developing a broader plan to account for a variety of scenarios. We expect all classes to continue in the majority of these scenarios, but the outcomes in every scenario will be enhanced by leveraging online or different modality capabilities.  This will include the use of existing teaching and learning technologies: Canvas and Zoom.  I am requesting that all faculty move their spring and summer courses into Canvas. Minimally, every faculty will:

All classes have a course container already built within Canvas, but if this is your first time additional information on how to populate your course please leverage resources recently develop to streamline your efforts: 

If you are unfamiliar with these technologies, please ask your colleagues who do use online methods and learning management systems for their advice and wisdom or attend an OTL training session.


Monday, March 9th 2pm-4pm

Wednesday, March 11th, 2pm-4pm

Friday, March 13 9am-11am

All three sessions will be held in the OTL Conference room

As a reminder, no one in the DU community has been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, and as of right now we are operating on a normal on campus schedule. This may or may not change as we move through the next days, weeks, and months. We encourage all DU community members to remain welcoming to and supportive of each other. Offer empathy and care to friends, colleagues, and classmates who may worry about family and friends in other places experiencing outbreaks.

Thank you for your support of our students and their learning as we work through this time.

Best regards,

Corinne Lengsfeld


Additional resources:

Coronovirus: What You Need to Know

Radio Ed Podcast: The Coronavirus: Keep Calm and Carry On

Centers for Disease Control: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the U.S.