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Temporary shift to remote learning for undergraduate courses, Aug. 24-28

Aug. 23, 2020

Dear faculty and staff, 

While we have noticed real improvement in the behavior of students this weekend, a concerning number of students are now in isolation for testing positive or in quarantine as close contacts. 

It is clear that while there does not appear to be wide community spread of the virus, several clusters have emerged among networks of students based upon social activities that occurred a week or so ago that did not comply fully with our safety protocols. These clusters appear to be interconnected, and we need to take more stringent measures immediately to prevent the virus from spreading further.

Therefore, in consultation with our medical advisory panel and with the support of Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County, we are elevating our campus status level to 3 - YELLOW - CAUTION. We are implementing a number of measures to help identify, contain and isolate the spread of the virus, and we have informed students about these measures in a separate email, included below. 

We will assess both the spread of the virus and student behavior later this week to determine our next steps for the following week. It is my deepest hope that we will be able to start in-person undergraduate classes as soon as possible.

Thank you for all that you have done and for your support for this decision. I appreciate your efforts to fully engage our students during this most unusual first week of the semester and all that you do to encourage them to follow the safety protocols. 

Sincerely,
Eric F. Spina
President 

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Dear students, 

I want to thank you for your cooperation in wearing face coverings, physical distancing and avoiding group gatherings. We've noticed a real improvement in recent days. I’ve seen it with my own eyes as I walked around campus. I heard in our conversations that you clearly understand what’s at stake, and what you each have to do to make sure that we can remain on campus. The positive changes in behavior you are exhibiting will make a difference. Even if it takes some time. 

But in the past two days, a concerning number of students are now in isolation for testing positive or in quarantine as close contacts. It is clear several clusters of the virus have emerged among networks of students based upon activities that occurred a week or so ago that did not comply fully with our safety protocols. These clusters appear to be interconnected, and we need to take more stringent measures now to prevent the virus from spreading further. 

Therefore, in consultation with our medical advisory panel and with the support of Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County, we are elevating our campus status level to 3 - YELLOW - CAUTION. We are implementing a number of measures to help identify, contain and isolate the spread of the virus. Those measures include: 

  • All undergraduate classes will be held remotely at least for the next week. Undergraduate commuter students should not come to campus. Please remember you are responsible for checking your email for updates from your instructors.
  • Graduate courses and clinical experiences may convene in person, with the permission of the program director and the dean. 
  • Dining services will continue as established for this fall.
  • Mass will be virtual.
  • RecPlex will be closed, but outdoor recreation will be allowed using proper safety protocols.
  • Roesch Library will be closed to undergraduates. 
  • Student clubs and organizations must meet remotely. 
  • Undergraduate student employees should not report to work in-person, unless they work for Student Development, Dining Services or Admissions and receive guidance from supervisors. 
  • Students are not to leave campus unless they have been asked to go home to isolate or quarantine, or unless it is absolutely necessary. Students who leave campus for extended periods may be subject to testing/quarantine/isolation upon their return. 
  • As announced earlier, the University will launch the next phase of our testing program this week to help us better understand where clusters are emerging and to identify those who are infected with the virus, but who may not know it. This is essential as we seek to minimize the spread of the virus.

We continue to believe we can contain this virus on campus, especially with the positive attitude that so many of you have demonstrated. While we have seen the virus pop up in connected clusters, we have not yet seen wide community spread. 

Assisting contact tracers is an important strategy in combating the spread of COVID-19. If contacted by a contract tracer, please be forthcoming with them, and remember neither you nor the contacts you identify will face discipline for merely becoming sick.

We will assess both the spread of the virus and student behavior later this week to determine our next steps for the following week. It is my deepest hope that we will be able to start in-person classes as soon as possible.

This temporary move is a vote of confidence in your ability and willingness to help limit the spread of COVID-19 so we won't have to make it a permanent move. Please remain vigilant about observing UD and public health safety measures, and encourage fellow students to abide by them. The entire campus community appreciates your efforts to wear face coverings indoors and outdoors, practice physical distancing, and, especially, to avoid gatherings or groups larger than 10 people. 

Be well and be safe,
Eric F. Spina, Ph.D
President