LU going to online classes only following Spring Break

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Lamar University notified students that classes will be held solely online following Spring Break.

In a notice sent to students, LU President Ken Evans announced:

The global impact of COVID-19, also called coronavirus, continues to grow as we work to keep our students, faculty and staff safe. While we have no cases of COVID-19 on our campus, there are confirmed cases in Houston. LU’s Incident Command Staff has been activated to make decisions with our overarching focus on our community’s health and safety – especially for those in high risk categories. Taking these actions now reduces the exposure of LU community members to the virus.

Following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we are implementing a number of actions intended to slow the spread of the virus and protect the health of our Lamar University community. Please know that we recognize these actions will be disruptive, but the health and safety of the LU community is our focus at this time.

Future Classes: All faculty should move their courses online or to alternative instructional methods delivery during Spring Break, March 14-22, for the following week’s instruction, March 23-29. To be clear, campus will remain open during Spring Break and the week after. However, the week of March 23, students must take their courses online or through alternative instructional methods. All students must know their LEA to log into LU Learn (Blackboard) which is the same information needed to log into your Lamar University email. We also ask faculty to work with students who have limited Internet access or are experiencing flu-like symptoms.

Campus: Campus will remain open, including computer labs, during that week. Dining services will resume as previously scheduled in a limited capacity the week of March 23.

Students Who Live on Campus: Students living in the residence halls have the option of returning to campus or not for the week after Spring Break. All of the residence halls will remain open during the break and afterwards. Again, we will work to ensure that all students can complete their program of study online, through alternative instructional methods or have other accommodations made.

Staff: All other normal campus operations will continue at this time with campus remaining open. Supervisors will decide and notify on a case-by-case basis around essential personnel and if a staff member’s job responsibilities allow telecommuting from home.

Preparing for Alternative Instructional Methods Instruction: The Office of Digital Learning has prepared resources to assist faculty in delivering courses online or through alternative instructional methods, including finding alternative means of instruction for laboratory and clinical courses if required. Go to https://luonline.blackboard.com and at the bottom of the page under the Support area, find help for moving your courses to an alternative instructional methods format. You may also email Blackboard for additional help at blackboard@lamar.edu or call them at 866-585-1738. Additional instructions for faculty will be forthcoming via email from the provost.

Travel: We are suspending all university-sponsored international travel effective March 14 through the end of the spring semester when we will reevaluate. Domestic travel should be limited and considered essential by you and your supervisor. Use your own good judgement on travel at this time. For personal travel, we urge you to carefully consider intended destinations and check on restrictions or quarantine measures that may be recommended or required by the CDC upon arrival or return. Personal international travel is strongly discouraged.

Events: We are suspending all university-sponsored events at this time, effective March 14 through March 30. A faculty or staff member who believes that they have an essential business reason to hold an event can request a waiver for academic events through Brenda Nichols, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, or non-academic events through Jeremy Alltop, vice president for finance and operations. Following Southland Conference guidelines, there will be no athletics events until March 30.

Summer Study Abroad: All study abroad for this summer is cancelled. As you know, LU is committed to a robust study abroad program and providing students with an enriching global experience. However, at this time with the prevalence of COVID-19 and its continuing spread across the world, the university is unwilling to risk our student’s health and safety. All monies paid into the program will be reimbursed to students and will receive a full refund on payments they have made.

Best practices:

You can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the following ways:

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

You can find the most recent information, updates, guidance and FAQs for our LU community at www.lamar.edu/coronavirus along with a form to fill out for any questions you may have. Someone will get back with you as soon as possible.

 

Ken Evans

President