Preparedness for Possible Coronavirus-related Disruption of Classes
As you know, there is increasing awareness and sensitivity to the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the United States and around the world. At Loyola, we are monitoring the situation carefully, and making plans to ensure the health and safety of all our students, faculty, and staff wherever they are in the Chicago area and at international locations. We are also making plans to ensure the academic continuity of our programs. Your work as faculty members is vital in allowing us to achieve these goals for our students.
While it is not possible at this point to predict the trajectory of the virus, we want to make sure that we have considered all possibilities and are prepared for any eventualities. One possibility is that we might not be able to hold in-person classes. In this event, we would move as many of our classes as possible to an online format. To this end, we ask that over spring break you give some thought to how you might be able to transition your course to an online format. We are fortunate to have nearly 500 faculty members who have undergone the training to provide online classes. For those of you who would like support in moving your course to this format, the Office of Online Learning has produced a self-guided training via the Just in Time Online resource available at https://www.luc.edu/ool/resources/justintimeonline/ Additionally, the Office of Online Learning will have training opportunities available for faculty over the next few weeks.
When students return to campus in March, we ask you to consider being more flexible in class attendance policies so that they do not feel constrained to attend class even when sick. The director of our Wellness Center notes that if cases of the virus become more commonplace in the United States, there is likely to be a significant student demand for the services of the Center. In order not to overburden the resources of the Center, we ask that you not require students get a note from the Wellness Center to excuse them from assignments or exams.
While there is great uncertainty in the future effects of the virus, what is certain is that your skill and compassion will help us care for our Loyola community, and we will be able to navigate this situation successfully. As global citizens and educators, we can be positive and reassuring role models to our students during this time. We will be providing more details regarding our plans as they become available.
I wish you all a peaceful and productive spring break, and look forward to working with you in March and beyond.
Norberto Grzywacz, PhD
Provost and Chief Academic Officer