A Message to UConn Faculty Regarding COVID-19

A message to UConn faculty regarding COVID-19.

A message to UConn faculty regarding COVID-19. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)

To all Faculty:

While a decision to suspend on-campus operations has not been made at this time, in light of the COVID-19 virus, all faculty must begin preparing now in the event UConn chooses to transition to remote teaching online after Spring Break. Faculty should have plans in place, based on guidance below, to make that transition as soon as March 23. This is to ensure a smooth and seamless transition for all courses should the university make this choice in the near future in the best interests of public health. Faculty should also get in the habit of taking their laptops home every night to prepare for the possibility of a short-notice decision to restrict access to campus.

The Academic Affairs working group has developed a plan with key features outlined below to help ensure we balance the need to be sensitive to the health and safety needs of our community while also being sure to meet our academic obligations to our students.

Restricting access to our physical campuses does not mean classes should be cancelled.  All faculty should be reassured that it is possible to effectively conduct classes and assess students remotely, and that they have a number of options to do so. The core technology that facilitates all remote teaching and learning is the university sponsored learning management system – Blackboard HuskyCT.  Many faculty are already familiar with HuskyCT (there are more than 5,000 unique course sites this semester).

In an effort to be as proactive as possible the university has created a HuskyCT site for any lecture or discussion section currently taught this spring semester that did not otherwise have one.  Faculty who are not familiar with HuskyCT are strongly encouraged to become so as soon as possible.  CETL has compiled extensive resources to guide the effective use of HuskyCT for novices through experts.

The University administration will continue to provide updates based on the best information from public health officials, and will continue to provide general guidance and support. Faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to work with their deans and department heads to determine the best way to implement these guidelines in their respective areas. Additional communications will be forthcoming with guidance for clinical placements, lab courses, performance courses, or other special circumstances.

Please see these resources for important tips for planning ahead and approaches to teaching remotely.

We also want to take this opportunity to let you know that at the present time, May, summer, and fall 2020 terms are proceeding as normal.  The Registrar’s office will open registration appointments for continuing undergraduate students for all these terms beginning on March 23rd as planned.

Finally, we hope you understand that it is almost impossible to communicate precise options for all class situations. If you have a unique situation that you would like to discuss, have any additional questions, or need additional support about planning course continuity in an emergency, please email cetl@uconn.edu or call 860-486-0457