IU suspends classroom teaching for two weeks, institutes online teaching through April 6

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BLOOMINGTON —  In response to the rapidly changing situation with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie has issued a university-wide letter about specific measures in support of the health and well-being of students and others in the Indiana University community.

A key measure includes temporarily suspending classroom teaching for two weeks following IU’s scheduled spring break, which runs March 15 to 22. Students will be taught remotely (not in person), returning to their respective campuses on Monday, April 6. Students are encouraged to travel home during this time period, with course work continuing via virtual teaching. Classroom experiences typically including laboratories and similar settings are being further considered, and more guidance will follow.

The president’s letter also includes directives on international and domestic travel, as well as guidance related to large events.

McRobbie said to date, no known cases of COVID-19 have been identified on any IU campus. Two IU students have self-reported presumptively positive tests for COVID-19 after being in a CDC-designated Level 3 country while studying abroad. They are receiving care at their home cities, and neither has returned to an IU campus. There have been six cases reported in Indiana.

Given that one of the best ways to prevent the spread of viral illness is to limit contact and the associated risk of disease transmission, the following policies are to be implemented immediately:

Face-to-face classroom teaching temporarily suspended

Following our scheduled spring break (March 15 to 22), students on all IU campuses will be taught remotely (not in person) for two weeks (March 23 to April 5). We are planning to resume face-to-face teaching on Monday, April 6. However, that could change with the evolving situation.

Students are encouraged to travel home, if possible, during this time period. For this two weeks, course work will continue via virtual online teaching. We are investigating how to accommodate classroom activities that typically include laboratories or other in-person interactions, and specific guidance will follow. IU campuses will not close, and residential halls and dining will remain open.

While completing classes virtually, students are strongly encouraged to stay in their permanent homes away from campus, unless they are prevented from returning home because of travel restrictions or they do not have access to the technology at home, such as reliable internet access, to complete their classes remotely.

Telecommuting option for faculty and staff

In addition to virtual instruction and consistent with the public health goal to minimize unnecessary contact, effective immediately and until April 6, unit heads should determine if any staff and faculty members are able to meet their work obligations from home by telecommuting and are in a position to do so. In making these decisions, unit heads should be as flexible as possible, considering the nature of the work and whether the necessary tools and technology are available to allow employees to fully perform their job duties away from campus.

International travel

University-sponsored or affiliated international travel is suspended through April 5. Personal international travel is strongly discouraged given the associated risks of possibly being unable to return for some period if the situation changes. Travelers returning from countries designated Level 2 or 3 by the CDC are subject to 14-day self-quarantine off campus upon return.

Domestic travel

University-affiliated domestic travel outside Indiana is suspended through April 5. We encourage all members of the IU community to consider using video conferencing, phones or other means rather than traveling campus-to-campus or elsewhere to meet in person.

Other than for students returning home, personal travel outside Indiana is also discouraged.

Visitors

Until April 5, visitors to all IU campuses are strongly discouraged. Previously scheduled visits should be postponed, and it is important to keep in mind that travelers from international destinations in CDC-designated Level 2 or 3 countries are subject to the 14-day, off-campus self-quarantine on arrival. The CDC designation for any country could change at any time.

We look forward to again welcoming prospective visits beginning April 6.

Large events (generally, 100 people or more)

No new non-essential, large events should be scheduled through April 6. For events already scheduled through April 6, organizers are strongly encouraged to immediately consider canceling or rescheduling these. Any large events that it is proposed should continue must seek the approval of the Executive Vice President for the relevant campus or unit. Athletic events will follow the guidance of their Conference Governance and public health officials.

While IU campuses will not be officially closed as part of this two-week time period, we ask for your patience as some services may be limited due to adjusted staffing levels.

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Author: Ayaan