Baylor COV-19 updates, plans for next 3 weeks

March 13, 2020
COV-19 Updates

Dear Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:

This is an unprecedented time for higher education, indeed for our country and community as well. I want to reassure you that our University leadership team, along with Baylor's COVID-19 Task Force, are constantly assessing this rapidly evolving situation and making decisions to ensure the continued health and safety of our students, faculty and staff. I am confident that together - as a strong and resilient University community - we will navigate these challenges in the days ahead, sustained by our God of grace, peace and hope.

We shared a lot of information with you on Wednesday, and I wanted to reiterate a several important points as we head into the weekend:

  1. We have extended spring break for students next week (March 16-20). However, the campus is open, all University operations will continue as normal, and faculty and staff are expected to resume their regular work schedules and activities.

    With the temporary closing of public schools in the Waco area this afternoon, we understand the hardships that will be placed on many of you. A Telework Policy has been approved to help support faculty, staff and student employees who need to work remotely on a temporary basis. The previous provisions regarding a 12-month employment requirement, dependent childcare during telework and the completion of the telework agreement form have been waived at this time. The policy has also been extended to include student employees working remotely at this time.

  2. Once the University shifts to online instruction for a two-week period from March 23 through April 3, it will be a regular work week for faculty and staff. All offices will be open, and campus operations will continue as normal. To reiterate, all instruction will be offered online.

  3. Since spring break was extended for students, no academic assignments are due for students next week, and we also request that faculty please refrain from additional assignments. The extended spring break period next week (March 16-20) is for the well-being of students and for faculty to prepare to transition instruction to an online environment.

    We have created a valuable resource website for faculty at www.baylor.edu/keepteaching, with Baylor Libraries providing in-person and online Canvas 101 training sessions. Faculty can register for these sessions at libcal.baylor.edu. We also have helpful information for staff available at www.baylor.edu/keepworking.

  4. All University activities, events, conferences and large gatherings are suspended from March 16 through April 3. We will reevaluate the resumption of such events after that date. In addition, in coordination with the Big 12 Conference, Baylor has suspended all regular-season athletics competitions, on- and off-campus recruiting and out-of-season practices until March 29.

  5. The academic calendar remains unchanged as it relates to finals and commencement at this time.

  6. If you traveled internationally over last week's spring break, we request that you self-quarantine for 14 days at your permanent residence at the advice of the CDC and public health officials, prior to returning to campus.

  7. All study abroad and international mission trips for this summer have been canceled. We are exploring alternative opportunities and experiences for students as well as the possibility of opening up additional course sections over the summer months.

We realize you have many questions, and we have put together a comprehensive list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on our dedicated COVID-19 website at www.baylor.edu/coronavirus . We will continue to update these FAQs daily as more information becomes available.

Please understand we are in the midst of an intense, stressful time that causes much hardship and uncertainty. But Baylor is not alone, as other colleges and universities nationwide are working their way through the same rapidly unfolding scenarios.

I also cannot stress enough the importance of taking preventive actions as recommended by the CDC . These steps sound simplistic, but they are highly effective in helping stop the spread of the coronavirus and regular flu:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with your sleeve/elbow.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • Implement social distancing, which means avoiding groups and keeping a physical distance from others.
  • Stay away from campus if you are feeling sick.

As you enter next week, please remember that even as we are encouraged by health officials to practice social distancing, we are truly all in this together, and we are more connected than ever before. My prayer for you today and in the days and weeks ahead comes from Romans 15:13, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Sincerely,

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.
President

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