Undergraduate Student Update: Coronavirus - March 17, 2020
Dear undergraduate students,
We know that the past few weeks have generated an unprecedented amount of uncertainty and stress for each of you as you complete the winter quarter. Whether adjusting a research project, taking final exams, returning home unexpectedly from study abroad, or looking ahead to learning online during spring quarter, no doubt you have many questions. We also know you are deeply concerned about the well-being of your friends, family and loved ones.
This message is intended to address some of these concerns.
Please know that although spring term courses are moving to an online learning platform, DU will remain open. However, as most staff members will be working off-site, many services and resources will be offered remotely. Your education and community experience are our paramount concern, and we are doing everything we can to honor that.
Our commitment to your success and academic progress: We are committed to ensuring student academic progress is maintained during this challenging time. What does this mean? It means that we will work closely with you to make sure you stay on track and not lose progress to your degree as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Specifically:
- For students anticipating graduation in June: We will be rapidly conducting degree evaluations for all those intending to graduate in June, looking for missing classes, seeking alternatives, and communicating frequently.
- For our commitment to diverse learning styles and neurodiversity: We will be ramping up resources, tools and advising to support the transition and navigation into these new online learning environments.
- For students who anticipate technology challenges with online coursework: Please contact the Provost’s Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will help you troubleshoot.
- For students using GI Bill benefits: We know you are concerned about potential impacts to your benefits as a result of transitioning all courses online. A legislative solution is currently moving through Congress. Please be assured that as updates come in, Veterans Services and the Certifying Official will update you as soon as possible.
- For all students: We are working to create or modify policies to support your success and help you stay on track for degree completion.
In addition to our commitment above, here are a few brief updates and answers to questions we have received:
Winter Term Finals
All final exams and assessments will be offered online. We want you to do your best, and we understand that these are extraordinary circumstances. Please reach out to your faculty members if you need help navigating your study plan or if you need additional flexibility. If you are having technology difficulty, please visit DU’s Information Technology Student Resources.
Please understand that all group proctoring of exams is cancelled. However, the Disabilities Services Program (DSP) will continue to assist students with their accommodations. Call first: (303.871.3241). They are also available via email (email@example.com), and you can also schedule to meet via Zoom. They will continue to work to provide Alternate Format Text (AFT) for eligible students during this time as well.
Spring Term Classes
As you know, we have moved to all remote learning for the spring term. We are strongly encouraging faculty to begin the spring quarter with a planning week to orient students to this new learning environment. Experiential classes will be a challenge, but faculty have demonstrated exceptional creativity in these early days on how they will offer their content and also maintain our desired learning outcomes. We recognize that this is an extraordinary disruption of the regular academic enterprise and appreciate your patience and flexibility. To help, we are developing advising tools for you to use during this transition.
As a community, we are committed to close faculty-student engagement. We are building tools and supports to help faculty maintain this critical aspect of the DU student and faculty experience. We look forward to supporting innovation in engaging students in the adaptive process of pushing forward research, scholarship and creative works in these digital times.
Please know that our faculty and staff are working tirelessly to prepare for your return to DU. You can expect to hear from each of your faculty members about what you can do to prepare for your work in the spring term, in whatever form that experience takes. We are making extraordinary preparations to ensure that you will continue to receive high-quality teaching that will prepare you for leading lives of purpose—however, your classes in the spring quarter are delivered.
We know that your final quarter should be one of your happiest and most memorable times at DU. We know graduation is a key life milestone and we are committed to finding a way to celebrate this with you if public health guidance will allow us to do so. At this time, we have not altered the dates for Commencement exercises in June. We will continue to listen to the health experts and will keep everyone informed.
With the change to online spring term classes, many of you are now changing your plans for remaining in campus housing. For questions about transitioning out of the residence halls, visit the Student Resources section of the DU COVID-19 website. If you already had submitted room-and-board payments, we will be sharing further information about reimbursements soon.
As we all prepare to navigate the days ahead, we want to take a moment to make sure that, in this extraordinarily demanding and stressful time, you are paying close attention to your emotional well-being as well as your physical care. It can be overwhelming to manage the almost-daily communications and recommendations from the University and others relating to COVID-19. Being isolated raises new challenges.
If you have symptoms of cough, fever, and shortness of breath, during business hours, call the Health & Counseling Center nurse triage line, 303-871-2615. Our afterhours medical staff may be reached through the HCC mainline, 303-871-2205. Please be sure to call before showing up at the clinic. Our medical staff will help you determine best next steps.
Additionally, students may connect with a Student Outreach & Support (SOS) Case Manager to determine which support resource is best for their situation including for housing, food and financial insecurities by calling 303-871-2400 or reaching out online.
In times of crisis, monitoring the environment, adapting our behavior, and communicating to our community members are key. We will be sending regular updates to the student community. That said, please check the DU COVID-19 website for the most current University communication, guidance on what to do if you feel ill or may have come in to contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, and updates on event restrictions. The FAQ section is extensive, and new updates are posted every day.
Please know that this is an unprecedented situation, and the issues we face at DU are being faced at universities and schools around the world. We understand your anxiety and value your input. Please take care of yourself and those around you.
Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor