A Message From President Katsouleas on COVID-19

A message from President Katsouleas about how the university is addressing COVID-19.

One of UConn's most visible individuals speaks about UConn's journey to this point.

Six UConn researchers have been named among the most highly cited in their fields (UConn Photo).

Dear Colleagues and Students,

The health and well-being of our community is always our highest priority. During extraordinary times, such as the current global pandemic, we need to support that primary obligation while doing our best to carry out our academic mission. Consistent with these values, along with directives from our governor and our desire to collectively support the CDC’s public health activities, not only on our campuses but throughout our state, the university is taking the following steps:

  • Beginning on Monday, March 23, UConn will move to online course delivery for classes held at the Storrs campus, regional campuses and the School of Law. It is expected that this will remain the case until at least Monday, April 6. If this is extended, the university will communicate that well in advance. All faculty need to provide this option to their students. No faculty members should cancel their courses. Students will be graded and given credit as they normally would.  The provost and deans will work with their faculty to develop individualized accommodation plans for courses such as labs, law clinics, internships and clinical placements that are not amenable to online delivery.
  • UConn Health will issue separate guidance to its students, faculty and staff by close of business Thursday, March 12.
  • All students who are able to remain at home or elsewhere following spring break should do so. For those residential students who will remain at UConn during spring break or have no alternative but to return to campus following spring break, Student Affairs/Residential Life will work directly with them to assess needs and ensure accommodation. The Rec Center will be closed, as will other facilities. A dining facility and other essential services will remain open.
  • Effective Saturday, March 14, employees on the Storrs campus, regional campuses, and law school who are able to telecommute should plan to work from home, with the approval of their supervisor, until at least Monday, April 6. Employees must speak to their supervisors in advance to confirm they both agree that the employee is able to telecommute. Further guidance will be provided within the next 24 hours. Employees who cannot telecommute should report to work as scheduled.
  • Also effective Saturday, March 14, no events larger than 100 people will be permitted on any campus. This includes all events, meetings and performances, which should be canceled or postponed if they involve more than 100 people. Extension faculty who work regularly with groups of people throughout the state on programming may continue to do so, provided the group is fewer than 100 people.  
  • With respect to intercollegiate athletics, competitions may continue. However, spectators will not be permitted to attend, per guidance from the NCAA, including for tournament games.

We at UConn want to do our part as the state battles the threat this virus poses. Reducing the number of people working or living in close quarters on our campuses is one way we can contribute to the effort. It is without a doubt disruptive, but necessary.

These steps, which are being taken in the best interests of public health and our campus communities, are unprecedented in recent memory at UConn and the university recognizes that our students, faculty, and staff will have many, many questions. Extensive Q&A documents are being prepared and will be shared in the coming days, which will hopefully answer many of these questions.

The university’s goal is to dramatically reduce the number of people who are in close contact on our campuses, with their health and well-being in mind. The university will remain open and research will continue, but its operations are being significantly limited for this stretch of time. The university will evaluate the situation continually and will strive to communicate any new developments or changes as they occur.

To that end, we will be holding a virtual town hall tomorrow, Thursday, at noon, when I and other members of UConn’s leadership team will work to answer your questions.

I want to thank you for your patience and flexibility, as well as your prompt effort to adopt these steps to help reduce risk to our own community and to contribute to curtailing the global spread of the virus.