Earlier this week, in the face of a rapidly changing situation across the country and in our state, we provided students with an early departure option. We just have two more days of classes before Thanksgiving and then we are fully remote through the end of the semester, as per our original fall 2020 return plan. I know this semester has been extraordinarily challenging, and I thank you and all of the staff who support students for your continued flexibility in accommodating our students, offering them a quality education, and ensuring their wellbeing.
Here is some important information that I hope will be helpful to you.
- As of Monday, November 16, the university moved to Research Activity level 3 (yellow). This represents a more restrictive level of research activity and applies to all UVM research spaces/facilities and activities. You can review the approved activities here. Information on the activity level rationale and the context around the decision process can be found here, along with the current activity level.
- In January faculty will have the opportunity to reserve classroom space to deliver spring 2021 in-person proctored exams. As you consider your spring courses, please note that proctored exam space will be available during the following weeks only:
March 1 – 5 (week 5)
March 15 – 19 (week 7)
April 4 – 9 (week 10)
May 13, 14, 17, and 18 (finals)
- Classroom producers are available for both REMOTE and MIXED modality courses for spring semester. Faculty who used classroom producers found them to be helpful in managing students for synchronous meetings, and in helping manage technology in classroom spaces for mixed or synchronous remote instruction. If you are interested in having a classroom producer in your course this spring, you should fill out this form by 5:00 pm on November 30. The form allows you to indicate whether you have asked a specific student to apply for the position. Classroom producers are trained for main-campus UVM-supported technology only.
- The University has a supply of computer keyboard and mouse covers that are available to faculty and staff. The covers provide additional protection in situations where this equipment is shared, such as in a classroom. Department Safety Officers and Logistics Coordinators can order the covers from the University’s Central Warehouse of essential COVID-19 Safety and Supplies.
- Getting questions from students about returning textbook rentals? Students are not required to return rentals before leaving campus next week. Students received an email last week outlining rental return options, which include: (1) returning rentals to the Bookstore (via mail or drop-off) by January 22, 2021, or (2) mailing rentals back directly to the rental company. Students returning rentals to the Bookstore now are asked whether the rental is needed for the remainder of the semester to ensure students don’t return rentals too early.
- CELO invites applications to its annual Faculty Fellows program, a cohort-based learning community where faculty learn about community-engaged pedagogy and design a community-engaged course with workshops, consultation, and peer support. Intended courses may have the Service-Learning (SL) or Civic Learning (CL) designation. More information and the application can be found here.
- As you make your Thanksgiving plans, I urge you to refrain from traveling and/or hosting guests from out of state and to limit gatherings to your immediate family. I know the prospect of this is difficult for many of us, but our individual sacrifices can have a positive impact on the health and safety of our campus and our state. If you do travel outside of Vermont, you must abide by all Vermont quarantine restrictions upon your return. Your guests must abide by these restrictions as well. Please also see the Travel Requirements Update issued November 12.
- Given the rising incidence of the virus, all faculty and staff who are coming to campus are urged in the strongest possible terms to test weekly. There is simply no good reason not to test -- it is a safe and efficient process that helps ensure the health of our campus, our state, and our families, especially during the upcoming holidays. Testing for faculty, staff, and students will be available at the COIVD-19 Information and Service Center located in the Davis Center throughout our move to remote instruction and during December and January. Continue to schedule your test using CoVerified. The hours of the Testing Center have been adjusted and are available here.
- You can find detailed information on COVID-19 tests administered and results on the Weekly Testing Report. Last week’s student test results included 20 off-campus positives and seven on-campus positives out of 10,705 tests. Last week’s faculty and staff test results included eight positives out of 936 tests.
I am grateful for all the flexibility you have shown in the last week to accommodate our students’ decisions to leave campus early so they could return safely to their families. With the entire country suffering through growing numbers of COVID-19 cases, students are rightly worried and concerned about their families. Your ability to once again adapt to the situation is much appreciated at every level.
Thank you for all you are doing,
Provost and Senior Vice President
The University of Vermont