Email from the Office of the UB President, Mar. 10, 2020
To the UB Community:
Today, in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, University System of Maryland Chancellor Jay A. Perman and the USM presidents have agreed to prepare for students to remain off campus following spring break. Each institution will establish its own plans to respond to the USM’s guidance. UB will plan to suspend all in-person classes and move to online instruction. The situation is moving quickly, and our decisions are aligned with the state’s and the USM’s guidance. I urge you to stay informed via the University’s webpage – this is our main source for up-to-date campus information. The University’s plans may adjust as the situation evolves. Our plans are based upon the best current thinking from our state and national public-health professionals on managing this public health crisis.
Following my message of March 5, this email is to update you on the steps that UB will take in the coming days in response to COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus on our campus. It is important that you read this information:
- Continuity of Classes and Campus Operations
- University Events and Activities
- Travel Guidance: University-Sponsored
- Travel Guidance: Personal
- Reminders on Prevention of Viral Illness
We are making adjustments to operations as it relates to academic and campus activities. Since my last email, there are still no known cases of COVID-19 among UB community members. If a confirmed case of COVID-19 virus has impacted you directly, please report to the University immediately (UB-EMT@ubalt.edu or 410.837.4444).
Continuity of Classes and Campus Operations: The University will remain open for now. However, in an abundance of caution, the University will plan to move all classes to remote (online) class sessions. All in-person (on-campus) instruction will move to a virtual environment as early as March 23 and continue for at least a two-week period. Details can be found here. UB will work to ensure minimal disruption to student learning and continue operations.
University Events and Activities: Pending further guidance from public-health authorities or the University System of Maryland, we are assessing on a case-by-case basis whether to hold currently scheduled large-scale university events or UB-sponsored external events. However, effective immediately, new requests will not be approved for large-scale events to be held on campus, until further notice.
University-Sponsored Travel: We continue to evaluate all university-sponsored trips and to coordinate with the University System of Maryland regarding travel decisions. We have cancelled all university-sponsored international student travel through June 30, 2020. While we are not issuing any specific prohibitions against domestic travel for employees, we are recommending against university-sponsored domestic travel for students. Students opting to participate in a previously approved trip will be required to sign a travel waiver; consult with your faculty advisor. Until further notice, no new student travel will be approved.
Personal Travel Guidance: All University of Baltimore employees and students are urged not to travel to any country with a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention travel advisory related to COVID-19. Any employee or student who is returning to the U.S. from one of these countries must refrain from coming to campus—and be symptom-free—for 14 days before returning to campus. Similarly, community members who have had contact with someone who has traveled recently to these countries will also be asked to delay their return to campus.
If you are returning from a country with a CDC advisory or have been in contact with someone who has traveled recently to these countries, you must contact the Office of Human Resources (employees) or Office to Student Support (students). If you are planning to go to a destination that is not on the CDC travel alert list, you should still consider the potential for:
- Isolation or quarantine while you are away
- Flight cancellations and public transportation disruptions
- Screening, isolation, and/or quarantine upon return to the U.S.
- Denial of reentry to the U.S.
UB advises against domestic travel, except travel related to your regular commute. Employees and students should continue to monitor and follow the guidance of public health authorities related to your destination area.
Teleworking: The University is considering teleworking protocols for employees to work remotely, if need be. A separate message will be sent to all employees.
Preventing the Spread: Please continue to follow the guidelines provided for staying healthy, including washing your hands frequently and social distancing when possible. Visit UB’s webpage for more information on public-health guidelines for care and precautions.
I thank the UB community for your understanding and patience as we work through the details of handling this major public-health emergency. It is natural for individuals to have their own views on how our institution should respond during this time of uncertainty. At UB, we value your opinions and needs. In that spirit, let’s work together to implement these measures to keep our campus healthy and as safe as possible.
Kurt L. Schmoke, Presidentby