COVID-19: Preparing for Online Instruction
Dear Baylor Faculty,
You should have received an email from President Livingstone today regarding the University's immediate decision to extend spring break by one week (March 16-20) and shift classes to online instruction in response to the continually evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the United States. This extension of spring break will allow faculty sufficient time to transition classes to an online environment for a two-week period from March 23 through April 3. I shared this information today with the Deans of each College and School, who are supportive and equipped to provide guidance and help answer your questions.
Faculty should use next week (March 16-20) to prepare for online course delivery beginning Monday, March 23. The University has launched baylor.edu/keepteaching, which is designed to provide faculty with all of the resources necessary to quickly get courses up and running online. The Baylor Libraries are providing a series of in-person and online Canvas 101 training sessions. Faculty can register for these sessions at libcal.baylor.edu. Please take advantage of these training sessions.
Labs and studios may require additional considerations, so please contact your Dean for additional guidance in preparing for moving labs to online delivery. For your own safety, faculty who fall into a high-risk category as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may wish to consider moving their courses online for the remainder of the semester.
I understand that we are asking you midway through the semester to rethink how you teach. We ask this because we know that student health and safety is important and that you want to avoid putting your students, as well as our greater campus community, at risk. I thank you in advance for your willingness to adapt and explore alternative teaching methods while still providing quality teaching to your students.
Once on-campus classes resume, the COVID-19 outbreak will cause us to be flexible regarding the University's attendance policy for those students who are directly impacted by COVID-19. The bottom line is that we do not want those students showing signs of illness to come to class. Please remind students should they have COVID-19 symptoms, which include fever, cough or shortness of breath to stay home. Note that Baylor typically sees an increase in flu-related illnesses as students return from spring break.
If you have specific questions regarding the online administration of your course, please direct your questions to your respective Deans. University Deans, in concert with Vice Provost Dr. Wesley Null, a member of the Baylor's COVID-19 Task Force, will work to address your questions.
Please know that the decision to alter University operations was made in consultation with Baylor's COVID-19 Task Force and our local and state public health agencies, in accordance with the CDC's guidelines for higher education. As President Livingstone mentioned in her email, since late January, Baylor's COVID-19 Task Force has been actively monitoring guidance from the CDC and healthcare professionals. The group is vigilant, well-informed, and has representation from multiple departments across the University who are equipped to address the ever-changing coronavirus developments.
Thank you for your understanding as we navigate this unprecedented situation.
Dr. Nancy Brickhouse