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March 12, 2020

Updates on academic continuity and University operation

To the University community,

As you know, for the past few weeks, a University task force has been working to assess and plan for the potential operational impacts created by COVID-19. We continue to closely watch the updates from global health organizations and maintain regular communication with local public health officials as we inform our decision-making around this global pandemic.

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.

We always will act in the best interests of our community, and prioritize the health, safety, and protection of our students, faculty, and staff. It is important to note that there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at La Salle University.

We are preparing for the possibility that academic instruction and University operations could be significantly interrupted. During this period of uncertainty, the University is canceling face-to-face courses on campus for one week, from Monday, March 23 – Friday, March 27. Online and hybrid courses will continue as planned during this time. This, in effect, serves as an extension of the University’s spring break for students, which is scheduled for Monday, March 16 – Friday, March 20, and provides faculty time to complete preparations that are already underway.

Following a week of preparation for academic continuity, University courses will resume through remote learning from Monday, March 30 – Friday, April 3. Face-to-face instruction on campus will resume no earlier than Monday, April 6. We are constantly monitoring new developments and will continue to update you as the situation evolves.

For faculty:

During the week of March 23-27, faculty will report to campus and actively engage with the additional training and resources as you prepare to lead coursework remotely.

Yesterday, you received an email from the Office of Instructional Design with more immediate training workshops for remote learning. These are scheduled for today and Friday of this week and are available in-person and through Zoom conferencing. Faculty are encouraged to attend these sessions. A forthcoming message will share details on additional sessions available between March 16-27. In addition to the Office of Instructional Design, we will be leveraging the online teaching expertise that exists among our faculty to help ensure we are prepared to serve our students to the best of our ability in these extenuating circumstances.

For students:

Students are asked to make appropriate considerations when departing campus for spring break. Take with you all materials essential to your academic coursework.

Students with internships or other off-campus academic activities should check with their site supervisor on whether they are to report as scheduled.

After students depart campus for spring break, the University recommends that students remain in place and postpone their return to campus until at least Sunday, April 5, unless notified otherwise. We recognize this may create an unanticipated hardship. Select students have filed required paperwork and received permission to remain in our campus residence halls over spring break and during the week that will follow. Students interested in pursuing this option are encouraged to complete the Housing Extension Request Form through Housing Self-Service on the Portal. La Salle Dining options will be available during this time.

We acknowledge that technology gaps exist in our student population. For those who lack access to technology that is necessary for remote learning, Connelly Library and University computer labs will be accessible and maintaining regular hours of operation for the week of March 30. Students who do not have reliable Internet access at home are asked to contact their professors, directly and immediately, to find alternate opportunities for learning and completion of assignments.

For staff:

University operations will continue during this time. Staff should report to work as usual and take the recommended precautions. If you are sick, call your supervisor and do not report to work. If your symptoms are consistent with COVID-19, contact your medical professional to determine if you need to observe a 14-day, self-monitoring period. If you are advised to notify your employer, please contact the Office of Human Resources at 215-951-1013 or hr@lasalle.edu.

Additional updates:

The Office of Facilities Management and the University’s custodial partners at Interstate will use these two weeks to continue their work cleaning and disinfecting all academic, athletic, and residential areas on campus.

The Department of Athletics and Recreation will not admit spectators to attend La Salle sporting events held at University venues. Only team and essential personnel will be permitted at these events. This decision is effective immediately and will remain in place through April 3. The Atlantic 10 Conference announced changes to the men’s basketball championship tournament, in which our team begins play this evening. Only team and essential personnel will be permitted entry to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Spectators will not be admitted.

University services, including La Salle Dining facilities, Connelly Library, and University computer labs, will remain open. The Student Health Center will be open only for administrative questions during the week of March 16 and will reopen for medical services on March 23.

We are currently evaluating University events scheduled from March 23 – April 3. These events include campus gatherings, lectures, and conferences, among others. Details pertaining to these will follow.

Self-monitoring protocol:

The University’s expectation is that members of the La Salle community will engage in a 14-day, self-monitoring period under the following circumstances:

  • Upon return from international travel to countries that have been designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as having sustained transmissions of COVID-19 or
  • If advised by a medical professional to engage in a 14-day, self-monitoring period due to other circumstances.

Faculty and staff are asked to work with their supervisor and the Office of Human Resources (hr@lasalle.edu). The request to self-monitor for 14 days may have an effect on your available sick-time allowance or ability to care for loved ones.

An email will follow later today from the Office of Human Resources with specific guidance for faculty and staff.

Preventative actions:

Individually, remember to engage in best practices regarding personal hygiene.

As a reminder, 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. Re-entry to the United States may be delayed.

We ask for continued cooperation from all members of our community. We recognize this shift in academic operations will not be easy and will require widespread collaboration across our campus. This is a rapidly evolving situation. Together and by association, we are stronger. Finally, remember to treat others with respect and empathy, and please support and pray for those most affected by this situation.

Thank you and stay healthy.

Sincerely,

Colleen M. Hanycz, Ph.D.
President