March 10, 2020
To the University community,
As you know, the University continues to monitor the global and local developments around the spread of the novel coronavirus disease, also called COVID-19, while working closely with local public health authorities.
For the last two weeks, a University task force with representation from various divisions and offices across campus has been working to assess and plan for the potential operational impacts created by COVID-19. This is an evolving situation, and we appreciate the flexibility of our campus community as we work to mitigate risk and respond to new information.
To date, we have suspended all University-sponsored international travel, and we have requested a 14-day, self-monitoring process for any member of our community who returns to the United States from international travel to any of the countries that have been designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as having sustained transmissions of COVID-19.
We take very seriously our commitment to protecting the University community.
Each year, the University offers Lasallian Immersion and Volunteer Experience (L.I.V.E.) trips during spring break. Two such trips scheduled for next week have been canceled, as the states of Kentucky and North Carolina have declared states of emergency.
La Salle will handle all remaining University-sponsored domestic group travel on a case-by-case basis. Out of an abundance of caution, the University is likely to cancel remaining L.I.V.E. trips or University-sponsored domestic trips if the destinations to which they are scheduled declare states of emergency. If a state or municipality makes such a declaration while members of our community are in transit or on location, the University will work swiftly to finalize their return travel arrangements.
This decision was not an easy one to reach. Students await L.I.V.E. trips with great anticipation. These trips are a source of tremendous pride for our community. To the members of our community most affected by this decision, we understand your disappointment. The students slated to participate have been notified individually. The coordinators of this specific trip have been contacted by L.I.V.E. leadership to discuss options about future trips.
Additional preventive measures
The Office of Facilities Management is working closely with our custodial partners at Interstate to increase the level of cleaning and disinfecting across campus. They are actively cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces (i.e. doorknobs and handles, sinks, toilets), and refilling all hand-sanitizer dispensers on campus. Next week, during spring break, they will perform a comprehensive deep-cleaning of all academic, athletic, and residential areas.
Individually, remember to engage in best practices regarding personal hygiene.
The University’s Instructional Design team will lead virtual learning workshops aimed at ensuring academic continuity. We are in a period of great uncertainty. For this reason, professors and instructors are asked to prepare to lead their courses in a digital setting, in case the situation should worsen and require such measures.
Per yesterday’s message, the University encourages members of our community to consider rescheduling personal travel plans, if possible. Your travel plans may put you in plausible contact with individuals impacted by COVID-19. Additionally, the level of a country’s travel health notice is subject to elevation with little or no warning.
While this situation is causing great unease—at La Salle and far beyond our community—the cooperation of our students, faculty, and staff is greatly appreciated. As always, please keep in your prayers those who have been most affected by the spread of this disease. Together and by association, we are stronger.
Lynne A. Texter, Ph.D.
Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs
Dawn M. Soufleris, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management