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Last Updated: 03/17/20 7:17 P.M.

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

As you know, President Ojakian has just announced that we will be running a virtual campus for the rest of the semester.  This decision was made in response to the rapidly evolving pace of COVID-19.  At this time, I am sure that everyone has many questions about next steps. Please be assured that we are putting plans in place and will be informing you of what to expect in the next few days.

For now, all faculty and staff who will be working remotely should retrieve anything they need from their offices by Friday, March 20.  After that time, we will begin the deep cleaning of campus and will not be able to allow access to buildings.

For all residential students, please watch for information about retrieving your belongings from the Residence Halls. We are organizing a schedule to do so that prevents crowds (as per all health advisories in place).

For students in VPA and Student Athletes, who may have left things in lockers, we are setting a schedule for pickup there as well.  Please wait so we can coordinate with the Residence Hall schedules.

For all students, don’t forget to log into Blackboard when our virtual classes begin on March 23.

For everyone, watch for updates in email and check the FAQs frequently for guidance.

Thank you for your patience while we get the next steps fully coordinated.

Stay healthy,

Missy Alexander, Ph.D., Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs

Keith Betts, Ed.D., Vice President for Student Affairs

 

Last Updated: 03/12/20 5:10 P.M.

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

In light of the recent announcement of school closings in Danbury, Bethel and Brookfield, and President Ojakian’s recommendation that we move to online classes and telecommuting as soon as possible, we are officially cancelling all classes on Friday, March 13. Administrative offices and services will be operational.

Starting Monday, March 16, WCSU will be operating as a virtual campus. Buildings will be closed to the public, as we begin a deep cleaning process.  We will remain in this mode through April 5.

Students should enjoy spring break and then log into their classes online starting March 23.  Faculty will begin teaching and advising online after spring break.

Management & Confidential, SUOAF, A&R, and Clerical employees should communicate with Fred Cratty (crattyf@wcsu.edu) about the feasibility of working remotely during this period. Unfortunately, working remotely is not an option for Maintenance and Police employees.

It is important to note that we have had no reports of any members of the WCSU community being diagnosed with COVID-19 or of any known exposure.  However, we are acting with an abundance of caution, given the recent school closures in the surrounding communities.

At this time, we plan to return to normal operations on April 6. If there is any change, we will post it on our website and send out additional information.

Stay healthy,

Missy Alexander, Ph.D., Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs

Keith Betts, Ed.D., Vice President for Student Affairs.

 

Last Updated: 03/12/20 1:30 P.M.

FAQ for Students

 

 

Has WCSU had a report of COVID-19 on campus?

No.  We have received no reports of infection or known exposure at this time.

 

Are classes cancelled until April?

No, classes are not cancelled.  Classes will be online starting March 23, when spring break ends.  Be sure to figure out how to log into your classes before that day, but our help desk (https://support.wcsu.edu/) will be open throughout the semester.

 

When will we return to campus?

We are currently scheduled to reopen the residence halls on April 5 and start on-campus classes on April 6. Keep checking our website and your email for any change in this plan.

 

Can some students come to campus for labs or studio time?

No.  All students must remain off campus until April 5 for residential students and April 6 for non-residential students.  Your faculty should be developing alternate instruction plans.  We understand that this is very challenging for some disciplines, but this closure is in the best interest of all members of the WCSU community and it must be applied consistently.

 

How will I get my PIN for fall registration?

Your advisors will be holding virtual office hours after spring break. Please email them to make an appointment for assistance.  All appointments will be held online, on the phone, or Web-Ex, as determined by your advisor.  They will not be held on campus until after April 5.

 

How do I get help with online learning?

First, practice logging into Blackboard (https://wcsu.blackboard.com/). Your regular log in information will work.  In that space you will find links to all the courses you are currently enrolled in.  Your faculty are busy putting things in there to help you proceed in the course after spring break. They will be your guide.  Check in next Saturday or Sunday and you should have some clear instructions. If you can’t log in, contact the help desk requestit@wcsu.edu for assistance.

 

What should I do if I don’t have access to a computer or at home?

Contact requestit@wcsu.edu.

 

Will tutoring, academic coaching, and research services be available when all courses are online? 

Yes.  You may not come to campus, but you will have access to help.

Please go to the websites below for further guidance.

 

What happens to my internship?

This will depend on your placement. There are some sites that are moving to a remote plan, some schools do not want students from outside their community there, some students may be in high-risk environments that they should not attend (hospitals, for example).  Please contact your internship advisor (faculty or career services) and your immediate supervisor at your internship site for guidance.

For students who experience a disruption at their internship site, or for residential students who cannot participate while our residence halls are closed, please rest assured that we will help you complete your requirements, even if in a modified way.  Please check in with your internship advisor if you need to change your plan.

 

I have a job on campus, can I continue?

If you are a student employee with a campus job, you are permitted to continue in your position.  However, not all work assignments may be available, while students and most faculty are away from campus. Check with your supervisor for guidance.  Student employees will be asked to follow the same guidelines that are currently in place for faculty and staff for reporting illness or potential contact with infected persons to Fred Cratty in Human Resources department (crattyf@wcsu.edu). 

 

What should I do if I travel over spring break?

If you return home by March 22, there is no need to report your travel. The two weeks away after that will be sufficient time to know if you have contracted the virus during travel.  If you travel after that, we do ask that you let us know. Contact the Dean of Students (cramerw@wcsu.edu) and he will provide guidance on any next steps.  Students returning to campus from their homes in other states do not have to report this travel. They should report any potential exposure to COVID-19 or any flu-like illness, like all other students.

 

I live in New York. Do I need to report that as travel?

No.  You, should, however let us know if you have reason to believe that you have been in contact with anyone who may be a carrier of COVID-19. Contact WCSU Health Services (lipked@wcsu.edu) and they will provide guidance. You should not come to campus if you suspect you have been in contact with anyone who might be infected.

 

What do I do if I get sick?

Please let us know at any time if you have flu-like symptoms and/or COVID-19.  Contact WCSU Health Services (lipked@wcsu.eduand they will provide guidance. You should not come to campus unless you have been cleared by a medical professional.

 

Will we have commencement?

So far, commencement is still on.  We are monitoring the spread of this virus and will make decisions as we know more.

 

Last Updated: 03/12/20 1:30 P.M.

FAQ for All WCSU Employees

 

 

Has WCSU had a report of COVID-19 on campus?

No.  We have received no reports of infection or known exposure at this time.

 

Is campus open or closed until April 5?

Campus is open to employees only.  This includes student employees. From Monday, March 16 through April 5, all buildings will be closed to the public and to our students.  You will be able to swipe into your buildings, so make sure you have your WestConnect ID card with you.

No guests are permitted on campus. All meetings with non-employees should be conducted by phone or Web-Ex.

Students will return to the Residence Halls on the fifth and then we hope to return to normal operations.

 

Can I work remotely?

Teaching faculty are on spring break for the first week and then they can work remotely for the next two weeks. Faculty may come to their offices, labs, and studios if they prefer to work from there, but there is no requirement to be on campus. Faculty should be available online or on the phone to advise their students while working remotely.  It is especially important that advisees know what their advisor’s availability will be, as we have begun our registration period. Please communicate that information to your advisees.

 

Remote assignments or accommodations for all other members of our community will depend on your union contract and the nature of the work you do.   Please contact your supervisor and Fred Cratty (crattyf@wcsu.edu) in Human Resources if you have any questions about this.

 

Can student employees come to campus?

Yes, if there is work for them to do.  If you supervise a student worker, please discuss the feasibility of working while we have no students on campus to support.  If it is appropriate, they can return to their usual employment.

 

In some cases, student workers may be asked to work remotely, due to the nature of the work they are doing (tutoring for example) and the fact that they may be at a distance because they have been moved out of the Residence Halls.  This is appropriate if there is a clearly designated work schedule and routine reporting on that work to their supervisor.

 

How will we support students while they are not on campus?

  • Faculty will be teaching and reachable online.
  • Faculty and the advising center will be supporting registration online.
  • Academic Support Services (tutoring, academic coaching, and library services) will be offered online.
  • The Help Desk will be available online.

In sum, we are still supporting everything but events.

 

What about reporting travel?

All employees (including student employees) should report any travel to high-risk regions, per the CDC designations, to Fred Cratty (crattyf@wcsu.edu) in Human Resources.  Going into areas that have not been designated high-risk by the CDC does not have to be reported.

How shall I report on illness or potential contact with another person with COVID-19?

If you have flu-like symptoms, you should stay home. Let your supervisor know you will be out and report that it may be a flu, to Fred Cratty (crattyf@wcsu.edu) in Human Resources.

If you believe you may have been in contact with another person with COVID-19, you should self-quarantine and contact Fred Cratty for guidance.

If a member of your household has been asked to self-quarantine, you should do so as well. Assuming no symptoms emerge, you may return to work when they are cleared to return. This should also be reported to Fred Cratty.

If I am working remotely, will there be technological support?

Yes.  Please contact the Help Desk, requestit@wcsu.edu. They will be open.

Will we cancel Commencement?

So far, no.  We are in a wait and see mode.

 

What happens if there is a large outbreak and we have to stay online for more than a few weeks?

We have business/educational continuity plans in place.  We will provide guidance if that occurs. Let us hope it does not.

 

Last Updated: 03/11/20 1:30 P.M.

For Distribution to Students 

Dear Students,

In consultation with the Board of Regents, and in light of the expanding impact of COVID-19 in Connecticut, the heightened risk factors from our adjacent New York communities, and the potential travel plans of students, faculty, and staff over spring break, we have decided to run all academic programs online starting March 23 –April 3. This effort will allow us to monitor the spread of this virus and continue to enhance our health and safety protocols on campus. At this time, we anticipate having students returning to campus on Monday, April 6.

All residential students must return home for the next three weeks.  While we had hoped to offer students the option to stay in the resident halls over spring break, in light of the Governors’ remarks in both Connecticut and New York, we do not feel that this is prudent.  Residence Halls will close at 5:00 pm this Friday, March 13. You will be allowed to return to campus housing on Sunday, April 5.

Please note: any resident student who is not able to leave by 5:00 pm on Friday should go to the Housing and Residence Life Offices in Newbury Hall today and tomorrow to discuss their individual circumstances.

The Housing and Residence Life Office will forward additional information about a revised plan for fall room selection, so please keep checking your email.

Last Updated: 03/11/20 1:30 P.M.

For Distribution to Faculty and Staff

Dear Colleagues,

In consultation with the Board of Regents, and in light of the expanding impact of COVID-19 in Connecticut, the heightened risk factors from our adjacent New York communities, and the potential travel plans of students, faculty, and staff over spring break, we have decided to run all academic programs online starting March 23 –April 3. This effort will allow us to monitor the spread of this virus and continue to enhance our health and safety protocols on campus. At this time, we anticipate having students returning to campus on April 6.

Teaching Faculty

Teaching Faculty should teach from home.  You are permitted to come to your office, use your labs, etc., but you are not required to do so.  We ask that you communicate with your students about virtual office hours, particularly since we are entering the registration period of the semester.

All students have been advised to bring course materials home and make sure they can log into their courses.   Many of you are scrambling to get your course materials online. This is a huge effort for those of you who have never taught online before, and there will be some bumps in the process.  Please be aware that Rebecca Woodward and her team will be available throughout.  Reach out for assistance as needed and rest assured that every online instructor has made a mistake at some point.  In other words, relax and keep your sense of humor.

For those advising students in internships and clinical placements, please work with them to determine when and if they can continue in these positions.  Students should not go into high-risk areas for their internships (hospitals, etc.) and they should not report to any internship if they have been exposed to COVID-19.  Most companies are providing guidance to their staff, and some may be able to continue online. This is an evolving situation, but we want to facilitate the completion of the minimum contact hours required.

All other WCSU Personnel

Campus will remain open, so all other personnel should come to campus.  Exceptions to this are members of our community who may be particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.  If that is the case, please contact HR so we can support alternate arrangements.

For Everyone

All campus events are cancelled through April 30.  Guest lecturers in classes are permissible, assuming they are not traveling from high risk areas.  However, large gatherings and external groups on campus are strictly prohibited.   We are evaluating the feasibility of holding Commencement this year, but for now it is still on.

While we have had no reported incidents of COVID-19 in our community, we want to emphasize that if you do contract this illness you should let us know by sending an email to Human Resources (crattyf@wcsu.edu). If you believe you have been in contact with someone who may be a carrier or who has been asked to self-quarantine, we ask that you do the same. Stay home, and please let us know about it.  This important for tracking the spread of this virus, determining when you can return to campus, and ultimately determining when to re-convene on campus instruction.

In addition, we ask that all university employees report any travel plans during this three-week period to Human Resources (crattyf@wcsu.edu).  High-risk areas are expanding quickly, and we may ask you to self-quarantine for 14 days.

We regret the impact of the changes in events and the need to move classes online, but our first priority has always been the health of our community.  By closing the campus to students we are able to support good “social distancing” practices that will slow the spread of this virus. We are counting on all of you to monitor your exposure and keep us informed as needed.

Stay tuned and stay healthy.

Missy Alexander, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Keith Betts, Ed.D., Vice President for Student Affairs

 

Last Updated: 3/9/2020 4:35 P.M.

Commuter Students and Staff from outside of Connecticut should continue to come to campus.  Like all members of our community, we ask that you monitor your health and/or potential exposure. If you are sick, you should stay home.  If your illness is flu-like, particularly if you have a fever, you should let us know by contacting Health Services (lipked@wcsu.edu).

Classes are in session, including large classes. Those who may have health-risk factors that make it unwise to be in classroom settings right now should contact their professors, chairs, deans, or supervisors to discuss potential accommodations.

Here is the general health guidance that applies:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

University Events expected to draw more than 100 people are currently cancelled through April 30, per the Board of Regents recommendations. Smaller events are being considered on a case-by-case basis. Cancellations will be posted on the Events Calendar https://www.wcsu.edu/newsevents/upcoming-events/. If you are the organizer of any large events, please begin the process of cancellation. For events related to the academic program, please know that we are reviewing options with the appropriate deans and will let you know next steps as we assess the scope of this situation.

All university-sponsored travel outside of Connecticut is cancelled until further notice.

University Housing

The residence halls will be open during spring break for current residents.  To utilize this option, residents need to stop by the front desk of their residence hall and fill out a Spring Break Registration Form.  The Registration Form must be returned to your resident director by the close of business on Wednesday, March 11.

If you do decide to stay on campus during the break, please be aware that all food service facilities are closed, your meal plan will not work, and no shuttle service will be available.

Watch the university website for updates about returning to campus after spring break. We are monitoring how COVID-19 is spreading in the region and may need to impose additional restrictions at that time.

Stay healthy everyone,

 

Missy Alexander, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Keith Betts, Ed.D., Vice President for Student Affairs

 

Message from 3/09/2020 at 8:30 A.M.

To the WCSU community:

As a result of the university’s proximity to the first cases of COVID-19 in Connecticut, with two cases currently linked to Danbury, and in accordance with a system-wide directive from President Ojakian, Western Connecticut State University is cancelling all out-of-state athletic, academic and student club travel at least through Spring Break. We will also be cancelling or postponing large events.

Although the university recognizes that this decision will cause hardship for many, we are acting with an abundance of caution and considering the safety of students and the public health implications of travel with this action. Specific guidance for those who will be cancelling university sponsored trips and events will be shared with coaches, advisers and department heads in the next two-days.

In addition, all students, faculty, and staff are strongly discouraged from personal travel outside of the state of Connecticut during spring break. If you do decide to travel outside of Connecticut, we ask that faculty and staff inform Human Resources (crattyf@wcsu.edu) and students inform Health Services (lipked@wcsu.edu) so that we may assess the risk and provide guidance on when you can return to campus. If your travel involved a region where there has been a high incidence of COVID-19, you may be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. Be sure to bring textbooks, or other relevant materials home with you, so you can work remotely.

Please see a supporting statement from Mark Ojakian, the president of the Connecticut Colleges and Universities, at (https://wcsu.edu/emergency-management/cscu-president-mark-ojakian-statement/)

A reminder:

Any member of the campus community who has flu-like symptoms should stay home. Students should notify their professors and arrange a plan to keep up with their assignments. Likewise, faculty members should contact their department chairperson and/or dean in order to make arrangements for instruction to continue. Staff members are requested to take similar steps by contacting their immediate supervisor and/or the Human Resources department.

Students, faculty and staff who require accommodations should also communicate with the appropriate academic and administrative leadership.

 

Message from: 03/07/20 8:30 P.M.

Coronavirus Update

This document contains updates on several aspects of WCSU’s approach to Coronavirus issues as of Saturday, March 7. The university administration is communicating with health officials locally and at the state level to gather up-to-date information regarding the safety of everyone at WCSU.

Student safety
The first report of Coronavirus in Connecticut came from Danbury, Norwalk and Bridgeport hospitals, where an employee became ill. WCSU Nursing students work in both Danbury and Norwalk hospitals to complete academically required training. While hospital and health officials have assured us that no WCSU students work in the same areas as the infected employee and they have not had contact with the individual, our Nursing students will not work at the hospitals at least through Spring Break, with a reassessment at that time.

We have also been in contact with local school administrators regarding WCSU students working in classroom assignments. No Coronavirus has been reported in those schools as of this date.

Similar discussions are taking place regarding student athletes who may have games scheduled out of state.

Campus forums
In-person forums to provide updates are scheduled on campus for the coming week. All forums will be held at noon. On Monday, March 9, the forum will be held in the South Ballroom of the Campus Center on the university's Westside campus. On Tuesday, March 10, the forum will be in the Student Center Theater on the university's Midtown campus. On Friday, March 13, the forum will be held at the Student Center Theater on the university's Midtown campus.

Ensuring continuing operations
Training will be held in the coming week to ensure professors can continue the semester by teaching courses online if required.

We will communicate to all audiences via all available platforms to convey information that is as timely and accurate as possible regarding university operations and steps that individuals should consider.

Alternative arrangements
Any member of the campus community who has flu-like symptoms should stay home. Students should notify their professors and arrange a plan to keep up with their assignments. Likewise, faculty members should contact their department chairperson and/or dean in order to make arrangements for instruction to continue. Staff members are requested to take similar steps by contacting their immediate supervisor and/or the Human Resources department.

Students, faculty and staff who require accommodations should also communicate with the appropriate academic and administrative leadership.

Staying healthy
Facilities staff will continue to distribute sanitizer and cleaning materials at central locations. The university is working with suppliers to ensure continuing supplies of these increasingly scarce resources.

A clinic for anyone who has not already gotten a flu shot will be held from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10, at the offices of Health Services on the Midtown campus.

And we will repeat the best advice for everyday preventative actions that help stop the spread of germs:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.