Coronavirus Update: Temporary Move to Remote Instruction

Coronavirus Update: Temporary Move to Remote Instruction

March 12, 2020

Message from President Elaine Collins

To the NVU Community:

NVU continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation within Vermont and across the country. The health and safety of the Northern Vermont University community is our top priority. At this writing, the Vermont State Colleges System (VSCS) has chosen to move to remote learning. NVU understands the deep impact such a decision may have and the VSCS has carefully weighed options.

While there are no known cases of COVID-19 in our community, the difficult decision has been made to do the following:

  • All in-person, face-to-face instruction at the campuses of Northern Vermont University will be suspended at the end of the day tomorrow, Friday, March 13, 2020.
  • All courses that are currently delivered online will continue as normal. If you are taking classes elsewhere, you should be in touch with the other institution and/or instructor.
  • For students, the April break has been moved to the week of March 16, 2020 to give faculty and staff time to ready their in-person courses for remote delivery. This remote instruction will take place via remote means such as Canvas, Zoom, and other tools. Students and faculty, look for details in follow-up emails from Provost Nolan Atkins.
  • Classes will transition to remote instruction beginning Monday, March 23, 2020 for at least two weeks, continuing to at least Friday, April 3, 2020.
  • We intend to return to traditional, face-to-face instruction Monday, April 6, 2020. The NVU administration and the VSCS will reassess the situation as it evolves before deciding which day in-person instruction will resume.
  • All athletic games, matches, and practices are immediately suspended until further notice.
  • The SHAPE facilities on both campuses are closed until further notice, effective Friday, March 13, 2020.

Residential Students

Students are encouraged to stay home and continue classes online. However, we recognize that for some students the safest, most-secure place will be on one of our campuses. At this time, residence halls, dining services, and other student services will continue. Should on-campus student services be reduced as a result of a change in the situation, we will let you know.

  • You are encouraged to return home by the end of the day on Sunday, March 15. Those students who are unable to return home will be allowed to remain on campus.
  • Sodexo will remain in operation.
  • Campus is open to those students who remain living on campus in residential halls. If you are a commuter student, or a student living off campus, you must remain off campus until all students are called back to campus.
  • Residential students should anticipate remaining home until at least through Friday, April 3, 2020.
  • Look for an email from Dean of Students Jonathan Davis following up with details.

Faculty and Staff

  • Please monitor your health and safety and contact Interim Director of Human Resources Kathy Armstrong at Kathy.Armstrong@NorthernVermont.edu if you have concerns.
  • At this time, Northern Vermont University and its two campuses and offsite instructional locations will remain open and employees should plan to report to work unless informed otherwise.
  • Faculty and staff will be working hard to develop trainings and other supports to aid in this rapid transition.
  • Effective March 16, all on campus public events and gatherings will be rescheduled to an online format or postponed to a future date.

Events and Travel

  • All international travel continues to be suspended through April 30.
  • All domestic travel, including travel between campuses and within Vermont, is immediately postponed.
  • All public events on our campuses are suspended through at least April 6, 2020. This includes events hosted by external groups.
  • All NVU events, on or off-campus, are suspended through at least April 6, 2020.

Faculty, staff, and students remaining on campus must employ social distancing practices.

  • All gatherings of more than 10 people must be handled virtually or rescheduled.
  • Use electronic means for meetings such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or conference calls.
  • If a meeting room must be used, the meeting room may be no more than 1/3 full.
  • Individuals should strive to maintain 6 feet distance between each other.
  • Practice good hygiene and wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds.

Social Distancing, Students returning home: Students returning home are strongly recommended to practice social distancing in their homes for this period in order to protect family and community members and themselves while they are home and the NVU community upon their return.

Social Distancing, Students remaining on campus: Students remaining on campus will be required to remain on campus throughout the duration, including weekends, with the exception of short trips to pick up essential supplies in order to protect the community.

See more social distancing practices here.

Next steps as we approach April 3

Northern Vermont University and the VSCS will make further decisions about the remainder of the semester following as we approach April 3. Students should expect to receive information after April 1 regarding the remainder of the semester.

NVU Students, we are committed to you and the education you receive here. NVU is your school and we will see you through this untraditional run through the end of the semester. Please look for additional emails, posts to the portal, and updates at NorthernVermont.edu/Coronavirus for further details of your remote instruction.

The academic year is a rhythm and to pause this natural flow as we approach the end of the semester is heartbreaking for us. I want you to know that we have heard from students who want to stay on campus because they feel safe here, and we have heard from students who want to go home. The executive team and the full VSCS system has worked to come to a decision that balances prudency, educational quality, and safety for our community. Further information will be made available moving forward.

I hold each of you in my thoughts during this time and look forward to seeing you soon.

-Elaine
President, Northern Vermont University