To Our Faculty, Staff and Students:
As we begin this unprecedented experience in Case Western Reserve’s history, we first want to extend our best wishes for the health and well-being of every member of our campus community. Ohio now has 37 confirmed COVID-19 cases (14 in Cuyahoga County), with another 351 people awaiting test results. Our thoughts are with them, their families and the thousands of others across the country grappling with this outbreak.
We also want to thank the hundreds of students who departed campus housing this weekend, as well as the staff and campus police officers who assisted with the process. We deeply regret that you need to leave, but also are grateful that you will be in safer spaces (and, in turn, have helped make campus safer too).
None of us can predict how long these extraordinary measures will last, or if they will need to become more restrictive in the days and weeks to come. What we do know for certain is that our community is committed to continuing education and research to the best of our abilities during these difficult times.
Below we provide several important updates.
Closures of Campus Facilities
As of noon, Monday, March 16, Thwing Center; Wyant Athletic and Wellness Center; Veale Convocation, Recreation and Athletic Center; and Kelvin Smith Library (and other campus libraries) will close until further notice. One to One and Next Level fitness spaces also will close at noon on Monday. Sears think[box) will be open from 9:30 a.m. to noon Monday, but only for people to pick up projects or gather needed items.
Changes to Campus Dining
Some campus dining facilities will close altogether, while those still open will transition to offering prepared meals. Spaces will feature dramatic reductions in seating in alignment with Centers for Disease Control guidance regarding social distancing. Additional details (including hours and locations) will follow Monday.
For students, Monday evening marks the last day of free dinners available with campus identification. Effective Tuesday evening, standard practices involving the university meal plan resume. Those who would like to join a meal plan now may do so; learn more on the dining website.
New Protocols at University Health & Counseling Services (UHCS)
To protect the campus community, neither health nor counseling can accommodate walk-in visits. Both Health and Counseling will conduct nearly all visits via telephone. Additional information is available on the UHCS website.
Cleaning and Disinfectant Practices
The university has adjusted its custodial procedures (for both in-house and vendor staff) to align with CDC Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations. This guidance includes frequent cleaning of common areas and touch points, and use of registered antimicrobial products the Environmental Protection Agency has listed for use against the source of COVID-19.
As noted in Friday’s email, the university will provide specific guidance regarding remote work this week. Its goal will be to reduce the number of employees on campus as much as possible while still maintaining necessary operations.
Supervisors and staff should prepare for this transition now by determining which duties require physical presence. For those activities that do not, employees should assess what resources they need (technological and otherwise) to complete them away from campus.
We encourage employees able to work remotely to do so as soon as possible, pending their supervisor’s approval.
The Office of Research and Technology Management website has a page dedicated to guidance and resources for research during this outbreak. In addition, individual schools will offer recommendations regarding ways to continue this work while reducing the likelihood of any individuals working in close proximity (e.g. fewer than six feet). In some instances, labs may be staggering schedules to have fewer people present at any one time.
Faculty and staff will receive a separate email later this evening regarding principles and resources for delivering education to students through technological means. Colleagues already have begun sharing tips and ideas to enhance remote teaching.
That example of mutual support is one of many we have seen within our campus in recent days. Ours is a community whose members care about one another’s welfare and success. This shared spirit offers more than momentary inspiration—it provides powerful evidence that Case Western Reserve will emerge from this challenge with increased strength, cohesion and confidence that we can realize our greatest ambitions.
Barbara R. Snyder
Ben Vinson III
Provost and Executive Vice President