Dear Faculty: In accordance with our fall calendar, we have about four weeks left before ending in-person instruction for all undergraduate courses and final exams following Thanksgiving break. I know you are preparing our students well for being fully engaged in their content through the end of the semester. Registration is also right around the corner, so once the Schedule of Courses is released on October 26, please connect with your advisees and guide them in their important course planning for spring semester.
This week, I am writing again to share some important information that I hope will be helpful to you.
- Please remind your students and advisees that the last day to withdraw from a Fall 2020 class is November 2.
- Expanded section descriptions (ESD) allow students to make more informed course selections. All faculty members are required to develop and post expanded section descriptions no later than two weeks before the first date of registration, but preferably by October 26. As of this week, only 20% of the ESDs have been posted. Please make sure your ESDs are posted by next week as students begin reviewing the schedule of courses.
- Beginning October 26 the Howe Memorial Library will be open Monday to Thursday from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm and Friday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Extended hours will continue until the last day of in-person classes, November 24. For guidelines on visiting the Howe Library, see https://library.uvm.edu/help/visiting_the_howe_library. The Howe Library continues to offer expanded remote and curbside services including 1:1 research consultations, point-of-need help through virtual reference services, and research instruction meetings with classes. The virtual reference desk will be staffed from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday through Thursday, and from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm on Fridays. You can use curbside services to pick up books, interlibrary loans, media equipment, and DVDs. The library has also expanded efforts to provide scanned copies of articles and book chapters in the UVM Libraries’ collections. All Interlibrary Loan services continue.
- In the coming weeks, the Center for Teaching and Learning is hosting events highlighting how we can support student learning and wellbeing in these unprecedented times. The following events will be presented by the Dean of Students, the Center for Health and Wellbeing, and the College of Arts and Sciences:
- Teaching in Tumultuous Times: A Faculty Panel
October 28, 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm
- Student Voices Panel Discussion: Building Classroom Connection During a Pandemic
October 29, 10:30 am - 12:00 pm
- Contemplative Teaching and Learning: Sitting Alongside Students in Uncertain Times
November 5, 9:00 am - 10:30 am
- Identifying and Supporting Students of Concern
November 11, 10:30 am - 12:00 pm
- Teaching in Tumultuous Times: A Faculty Panel
- The Course Action Form has been revised in response to requests from academic units and to support the Catamount Core. Among the changes that will be live October 26:
- The course description word limit has been increased to 55 (from 40)
- The text box asking for a justification of the proposed change is now mandatory
- Additional questions have been added to certify the definition of a credit hour
- A new Catamount Core general education section was added
- The change of seasons is upon us. Since we’re spending more time indoors, heading into cold/flu season, and COVID is spiking in areas across the Northeast, we will now be restricting all visitors to campus. You can read more about these restrictions here. Thank you for understanding the need to take these precautions to support the continued health and safety of our campus.
- In his September 16 memo, President Garimella announced that our fall 2020 COVID-19 testing protocols would remain in place until November 1. A more formal announcement will be issued soon, but I wanted to let you know that we will continue existing testing protocols until November 24. Testing in December and January will continue for select on-campus populations. This spring, we will again provide free pre-arrival COVID tests that students will administer before coming to campus/Burlington. Arrival day testing will be required, and we will test every seven days, review results, and consult with public health experts to plan forward as we have this fall.
- UVM has added more flu shot clinic dates for faculty and staff in the months of October and November. These will be held on campus and administered by professionals from our local CVS pharmacy. Flu Shots are by appointment only and are available from 8:30 am –5:00 pm on October 29 and November 2, 4, and 5. Visit the Employee Wellness website to register for a flu shot appointment Register for Flu Shot. If you do not take advantage of UVM flu shot events, please be sure to get a flu shot from your local health care provider or pharmacy. The cost of a flu shot is 100% covered by the UVM medical plan. For more reasons to get a flu shot, visit Four Reasons to Get Your Flu Shot This Year. Students can receive a flu shot at the Davis Center testing site.
- You can find detailed information on COVID-19 tests administered and results on the Weekly Testing Report. Last week’s student tests were running at a more than 99.99% negativity rate. Faculty and staff who are participating in testing voluntarily had a 100% negativity rate. I encourage faculty and staff to take advantage of our testing protocol as surveillance testing helps manage any potential spread of the virus. In my weekly briefings with the Governor’s Office and the Vermont Department of Health, travel outside of Vermont is the most frequently cited reason for positive COVID-19 tests. As we have counseled student, please limit your travel to emergencies if at all possible.
Students continue to express the value of small group opportunities to connect with faculty and their peers around academic content. A big thank you to those who have been intentional, and quite creative in bringing students together. Keep this up as it is making a difference in their experience!
Patricia A. Prelock
Provost and Senior Vice President
The University of Vermont