I would like to recognize National Hispanic Heritage Month which began on September 15 and continues through October 15. We are fortunate to have Hispanic faculty, staff, and students at UVM who share their strong traditions with us, enrich our campus culture, and contribute to the excellence of our community.
We have made it to October 1 thanks to the commitment, caring, and collaboration among all members of our community. I can’t overstate how important it is for you to encourage your students to reflect on the impact of their individual choices, and to renew their commitment to testing, facial coverings, social distancing, and frequent hand washing, as well as limiting travel, and getting a flu shot.
This week, I am writing again to share some important information that I hope will be helpful to you.
- The Department of Romance Languages and Cultures will host the virtual 1st Annual Hispanic Forum for Students on October 15 and 16, entitled Science in the Hispanic World. The forum continues the annual tradition held every autumn since 1994 that has brought together distinguished scholars from Vermont and beyond as part of our National Hispanic Heritage Month celebration. This year the focus will shift to student presentations on topics ranging from Astronomy to Zoology from the Middle Ages to the present. I encourage you to attend to support our dedicated student presenters and to celebrate the many contributions Hispanics have made to our country and to the world. For information on presentations please contact Juan.Maura@uvm.edu.
- Thank you for your efforts on behalf of the remote students in your in-person and mixed classes. One simple but very important thing you can do to further engage remote students is to repeat the questions of in-person students before you answer them. This ensures that the remote students hear the question and can fully benefit from your response.
- Giving an upcoming test on Blackboard? The Center for Teaching and Learning has just posted their Top 10 Blackboard Test Tips for faculty to help you make the most of Blackboard’s testing features.
- Due to continued uncertainty regarding travel and the stability of health and safety conditions globally, at this time the university is confirming the cancellation of all study abroad for spring 2021. This includes all international and domestic winter and spring break travel study courses. This decision also covers domestic travel study, and semester-long programs in locations outside Vermont. Decisions regarding UVM-sponsored summer study abroad and travel study opportunities will be made around February 1, 2021; a decision regarding summer study abroad and travel study sponsored by non-UVM providers will be made before March 30, 2021. For all other student travel, the Travel Policy Fall 2020 addendum provides additional guidance. Updated travel guidelines for travel on university business, including essential research travel, will be issued later in November 2020. Spring 2021 guidelines for academic visitors to the University of Vermont will also be issued later in November.
- As you read in yesterday’s announcement, we have joined the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD). Information on NCFDD programs, resources, and activating your membership can be found on the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs website.
- As we continue to deal with the threat of COVID-19, getting annual flu shots is more important than ever. To encourage and promote participation, UVM has doubled the number of on-campus opportunities to get flu shots this year. Flu shots will be available to all employees and dependents from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. in Waterman 427A on the following dates (please bring your medical insurance ID card – UVM and non-UVM allowed): October 15, 16, 20, 22, 23, 28, 30, and November 9. Please note that registration is required to help ensure appropriate social distancing. Flu shots will also be available to all students at the COVID-19 Information and Service Center.
- You can find detailed information on the number of COVID-19 tests administered and the number of positive tests on the Weekly Testing Report. We have conducted 52,986 student COVID tests since August 7, with a more than 99.95% negativity rate. Faculty and staff who are participating in testing voluntarily have a 100% negativity rate. In my weekly briefings with the Governor’s Office and the Vermont Department of Health, it has become clear that travel outside of Vermont is the most frequently cited reason by contact tracers for positive COVID-19 tests. So please be mindful that your out of state travel be limited to emergencies if at all possible. This is a message that we have been sending to our students as well.
Enjoy the beauty of our autumn leaves, apple picking, and socially distanced walks outdoors during our incredible fall weather.
Patricia A. Prelock
The University of Vermont
Provost and Senior Vice President