March 10 Message to Campus: Moving to remote delivery of courses; information for students living on campus

To Our Faculty, Staff and Students:

We notified you yesterday that Cuyahoga County now has three confirmed cases of COVID-19. As of this morning, individuals known to have been in contact with these three have been directed to self-isolate.

Based on the experiences of other communities that have seen confirmed cases, we know it is likely that Northeast Ohio’s numbers will grow.

In that context, the health of our campus community requires that we move to remote delivery of education for nearly all of our programs. The single exception involves those students participating in clinical activities as part of their academic preparation; in those instances, the deans of the respective schools will provide direct guidance regarding which clinical experiences will continue.

To allow faculty time to prepare for this transition, all classes (on- and off-campus) are canceled Monday and Tuesday (March 16-17).

Remote education will commence Wednesday, March 18. As of this writing, we plan to continue this approach through Monday, April 6. In between, we will closely monitor COVID-19 developments within our region and nationwide, and will communicate any changes to that end date as quickly as possible.

We are amid the university’s spring break. Those who have traveled outside of Cleveland this week are encouraged to return to their homes; those who stayed on campus this week also are encouraged to go home. Those who need to retrieve additional items from their on-campus housing before returning home are, of course, permitted to do so.

We understand that some of our students with extenuating circumstances will have to stay in the residence halls. For those individuals, the university will provide meals, cleaning and maintenance; in addition, health and counseling services will continue, and adult residence life staff will be present and provide some small group activities.

In addition, effective today, the university will prohibit all on-campus meetings, gatherings and/or conferences larger than 25 people. This ban will continue through Monday, April 20. As with remote delivery of education, the university will monitor local and national developments closely and provide updates regarding the length of the direction.

As of this time, other campus operations, including research, will continue. While sick employees are strongly encouraged to stay home, all other staff are expected to report to work as usual. As with all other guidance, the university will update you should circumstances warrant a change in this guidance.

Finally, the university is suspending all sponsored international travel as well as sponsored domestic travel for those who engage in direct delivery of health care. For all others, the university’s prohibition on international travel continues to apply; we also strongly discourage sponsored domestic travel for anything other than those whose purpose is absolutely essential for the university’s operations.

We appreciate that these decisions have significant implications, and that many of you will have additional questions. We will provide more details later today, but wanted to provide this overall update as quickly as possible.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we seek to protect the health of our campus community during a rapidly evolving situation.

Barbara R. Snyder

Ben Vinson III
Provost and Executive Vice President