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A message to the UD community

President Assanis announces additional measures to address COVID-19 situation

Editor's note: The following message was sent to the University of Delaware community by President Dennis Assanis on March 15.

Dear UD Community,

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic situation continues to rapidly evolve with the escalation of positive cases on a national level – and even here in the state of Delaware – we feel that the University of Delaware needs to accelerate all measures of preparation even further to protect the health and safety of our community. In order to do so, we will need to pivot immediately by taking the following additional measures:

1. We will extend Spring Break for an additional week, so it will now last two weeks: March 14-29. This will provide us additional time to complete the online course conversion process. There are several hurdles to overcome in this process related to IT resources, technology access and other preparation for virtual instruction. We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we work through this transition process.

2. Move-out period for students to remove belongings from all residence halls will be extended to the end of the semester. Given strengthening recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization for social distancing, returning to campus to retrieve belongings may increase risk for our students, their families, and our community. Therefore, we are asking students to not return until the University determines it is safer for you to do so. Residence Life and Housing staff will provide additional instructions in the coming days. If you have questions about your specific housing situation, please call 302-831-4663.

3. Research personnel at all UD locations should immediately begin preparing for all on-campus research to be restricted to only essential activities. Effective 5 p.m., Tuesday, March 17, access will be provided only for the most critical needs (e.g. maintaining animals, critical cell cultures, unique reagents, essential equipment and materials). Researchers should anticipate very limited access for two weeks and potentially longer. Additional guidance and protocols can be found on this webpage including access to Virtual Town Halls, to be held Monday and Tuesday.

4. Only those UD employees performing essential functions that cannot be carried out remotely will report to campus. The president, provost and executive vice president, in close coordination with their direct reports, have identified the personnel to whom this applies in order to support students remaining on campus, as well as critical infrastructure, operations and research needs, patient care and instructional continuity. The health of all members of our community remains our top priority. To this end, we want to minimize person-to-person contact and potential exposure in line with guidance around social distancing provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This protocol remains in place through Friday, March 27, and will be updated accordingly.

5. All University-sponsored or affiliated travel, including domestic travel, is temporarily suspended until further notice. The University is also discouraging personal travel to reduce risks for exposure in other locations that may have presented higher risk.

6. We are taking additional environmental measures to attend to the safety of our campus. To this end, we have already actively accelerated the campus cleaning schedule to continually disinfect all campus buildings as quickly and completely as possible. All buildings will be secured and accessed via UD ID card or by contacting UD Police at 302-831-2222. Updates on other specific University operations will be listed in the FAQ section on UD’s coronavirus web page.

Finally, I want to remind you all to attend to your health and wellbeing. As the global news on the coronavirus pandemic changes every day, it is essential that we all remain attentive to our personal hygiene, social behaviors and environmental surroundings. I appreciate all you are doing to protect your personal health and safety — as well as that of others in our community.

I know these new steps, restrictions and precautions are extremely difficult adjustments for us all, but they are necessary to successfully complete the academic year with strong hearts and deep pride. This is an unprecedented, trying and stressful time for the entire world. But I am certain that — as a community that is creative, bold, compassionate and enduring — we will ultimately emerge stronger, rising above this disruption to come together, help each other, and create a brighter future.

Sincerely,

 

Dennis Assanis

President

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