All in-person classes at the Lawrence and Edwards campuses will move online beginning March 23 for the rest of the semester. Courses that were already online will continue online.
Students should look for messages from their instructors about expectations for courses. If online learning is new to you, visit remote.ku.edu for a basic guide and resources to get started. You can expect your instructor to utilize Blackboard, as well as tech tools such as Skype or Zoom as an alternative for in-person meetings or office hours.
Students, we are committed to supporting you and helping you further your educational goals during this time of change. It is ideal for you to participate in distance learning from your residence. However, you are allowed to access university Wi-Fi if you are in a personal vehicle parked on campus provided you still meet the social distancing requirements at the root of recent health orders from Douglas County and various Kansas City area counties.
Students who need access to Internet service or computer hardware should reach out to KU Information Technology on the Lawrence campus and firstname.lastname@example.org on the KU Edwards Campus for guidance and assistance. Several internet service providers are also offering service at no-cost, low-cost or with waived fees. As a last resort, students who need computer access will be allowed access to the Watson Library computer lab, which has been reconfigured to support appropriate physical distancing and frequent cleanings.
Additionally, KU Libraries is offering services to students and working to identify technology resources for students who might need them. For details, visit the Libraries coronavirus response page.
We understand moving instruction to a solely online format will be a heavy lift for some faculty. Resources are available so no faculty member needs to make this online transition alone.
KU Information Technology’s Ed Tech team, Center for Teaching Excellence, Center for Online and Distance Learning, and Office of Faculty Development and Mentoring are engaged in this process and will be available with guidance, instruction and tutorials. The team has created a new site — remote.ku.edu — that provides guidance for those who are new to Blackboard, as well as next steps for faculty who are ready to do more. Individual guidance will also be available.
Instructors and staff are encouraged to use Skype or Zoom to interact with students for office hours or appointments.
Also at remote.ku.edu, you can learn how to connect remotely to KU’s secure systems. For security reasons, employees are discouraged from using personal home systems. However, employees who do not typically have access to KU laptops may be able to use KU workstations in their homes. KU IT is working on procedures to put computers in the hands of employees and students who need them. Students and researchers will also find many KU Libraries services are still available remotely.
For assistance getting classes online, faculty and instructional staff can contact KU IT Educational Technology Support at 785-864-2600 or email@example.com. The team will assess each faculty member’s situation and either assist with Blackboard migration or refer instructors to more specialized consulting available through the Center for Online and Distance Learning.
All employees are encouraged to work remotely as much as is possible. Where we can conduct business and minimize in-person interaction, we will to the fullest extent possible. Supervisors have autonomy to make work arrangements and assignments that:
allow as much work as possible to be completed off campus
help ensure people are physically separated
enable meetings to be held by phone, Skype or other technology
Supervisors and employees should work together to craft a shared plan for how to manage duties remotely.
The Public Health Planning Team continues to develop plans that address our continuity of mission-essential academics and operations. A Futures Planning workgroup is outlining how we function and manage change with a reduced presence on campus and then how we come back stronger. Human Resource Management is working with campus leaders to identify mission-essential employees who are critical to on-site functions.
To be clear, our situation is not like a snow day. Students are still learning and earning credit. Research is still being conducted. Services are still being provided. Our students and faculty continue to provide clinical support that is impacting our region and beyond. Our university is and will continue to be operational and productive. We will continue to pay employees, including student employees, and expect that all employees will continue to work and serve the university by completing assignments and/or professional development, without coming to campus, unless your supervisor has identified you as a mission-essential on-site employee.
As a community, we will continue to learn together how best to support our education and research missions in an enhanced remote work environment. To help you, we continue to share tools and tips for teleworking, advice for supervisors who are managing teams remotely, and guidance for managing stress during an infectious disease outbreak.
Human Resource Management has compiled a list of Lawrence and KU Edwards Campus offices whose roles include investigating or mediating conflicts, discrimination, harassment, or other issues. Even though these teams have a reduced on-campus presence, they continue to address concerns brought to their attention.
Effective March 17, KU Student Housing will restrict access to all housing facilities and close all facilities through a tiered process beginning March 20. Only residents who need to maintain a physical presence on the Lawrence campus will be allowed to stay.
The move-out process will be conducted in stages and extend through a 21-day period to protect the health and safety of students and staff. First priority for move-out will be given to the students currently living in KU Student Housing who stayed over spring break or returned to Student Housing from spring break. After that move-out, residents currently away from campus will schedule a specific day and time to move out to allow for appropriate social distancing in our buildings and to limit the number of people on campus.
All university-sponsored domestic and international business-related travel at meetings, conferences, etc., is discontinued. Business-related travel in and around Kansas and Missouri is excluded from this restriction. Do not make new plans for business travel during the next 60 days. Under extreme circumstances, exemptions to the restriction will be considered by the provost.
You should be cautious about your own personal travel. Circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic are changing quickly. The reality is, at this time, travel can:
present a health risk to you or others around you
result in you getting stuck in a location away from home
be in violation of stay-at-home orders being issued by cities, states and counties across the nation
On March 27, the CDC applied Warning Level 3-Avoid Nonessential Travel to all international travel. This means the CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential international travel. Relatedly, on March 19, the State Department raised its global travel advisory to Level 4, the highest it goes. China was previously updated to a Level 4 warning in February at the start of the outbreak.
The university requires certain categories of travelers to self-isolate for 14 days before returning to campus, including individuals who traveled to Louisiana, Colorado, California, Florida, New York, Washington state, Illinois or New Jersey, as well as many international travelers and anyone who has been on a cruise ship.
These guidlines are developed by the the Public Health Planning team, which relies on a variety of sources -- including the CDC, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Shoreland Travax and professional medical communities -- to determine best practices and appropriate steps. Please note, given the rapidly changing circumstances, these guidelines are subject to change at any point without advance notice.
If you choose to defy CDC and U.S. Department of State guidance and travel internationally for personal reasons, you must register with KU ahead of time. This enables us protect the health of our community and provide you tailored support if needed.
All international students are encouraged to partner and work closely with International Support Services as they explore options and make decisions. The staff’s expert knowledge can help protect immigration status and help students navigate issues related to on-campus and off-campus housing, completing the semester, how to depart campus in light of travel restrictions, and considerations for navigating access to online courses and maintaining contact with professors from abroad if they leave the United States. International students living on campus should also seek ISS guidance on staying in the residence halls.
In recent weeks, KU suspended study abroad in countries classified as Warning Level 3: Avoid Non-Essential Travel by the CDC. Additionally, as a result of the guidance issued on March 11 and the subsequent changes to the CDC alert levels for the European continent, KU has now also suspended all spring 2020 study abroad programs in the following countries, effective March 12: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden, with the addition of these countries effective March 16, 2020: England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales. No decisions have been made yet regarding study abroad programming for the summer and fall semesters.
Moving forward, events must be mission-essential and with in-person participation of 10 or fewer participants, at least through May 15.
Per the CDC, events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene, and social distancing. When feasible, organizers could modify events to be virtual.
Please note, we have not yet made a decision about the university's Commencement ceremony, scheduled for May 17.
In addition to prioritizing health and safety, KU is committed to minimizing the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on research activity. The Office of Research is monitoring COVID-19 developments and providing guidance on best practices related to agency communications, temporary financial policy changes, contingency planning for research, animal care, human subjects, sponsored projects deadlines, and travel.
While COVID-19 is distinct, KU and its partners have processes in place for this type of public health situation. Earlier this year, both the Lawrence and KU Medical Center emergency management teams turned their attention to coronavirus and began daily monitoring and planning. These campus teams continue to meet regularly and have immediate access to the latest information from national, state and local health officials. These emergency management groups continue to plan for scenarios that could affect our campuses.
The Public Health Planning team has assembled smaller workgroups that are thoroughly addressing these broad topics:
Student services – including enrollment
Academics – including content delivery and change management
We have a strong team that is assessing conditions regionally and across the nation and is making recommendations guided by the following principles:
Keep KU open so it can provide services to the fullest extent possible given unprecedented circumstances.
Maintain continuity of operations that support the academic and research missions of the university.
Prevent the spread of the disease at KU and beyond.
Protect members of the KU community through self-quarantine and social distancing, especially:
those who may have been exposed
those with chronic health challenges
those currently sick
Encourage the KU community to be informed and practice healthy behaviors by following CDC recommendations.
Protect equity for our most vulnerable employees and students, as much as possible, as we respond to the situation.
Respond with agility to the fluid nature of the situation.
Provide clear communications to the KU community.
Provide exceptions for mission-critical activities on a case-by-case basis.
Inclusion and support
As we respond to this situation, it is important to reaffirm our commitment to a safe, supportive and inclusive educational environment. We have a responsibility to ensure our university is free of discrimination and harassment. Relatedly, we should seek opportunities to offer care and support to those who have family and friends affected by COVID-19.
Students, we know you are adjusting to these unique circumstances. Remember, we are here to help you. Keep visiting the student section of remote.ku.edu for access and tools for online learning, and work with your instructors if you have challenges.
Some students may be concerned about housing, food or financial issues. Student Money Management Services is available remotely to help students figure out next steps.
As a result of the pandemic, some students will be at even greater risk of food insecurity. Our Campus Cupboard partner Just Food has developed new distribution methods to serve the community and students while maintaining social distancing.
Information for faculty and instructors working with students
Remember, as you are adjusting to online teaching - and more broadly, to our new reality - our students are adjusting, too. Faculty members have the power to help them endure these times.
Learning: Some students are familiar with online study, however many are not. Point them to the student section of remote.ku.edu. Faculty, be willing to make accommodations for your students as the semester continues. What works for some may not work for all.
Food, Finances and Shelter: Some students may be concerned about housing, food or financial issues. Student Money Management Services is available remotely to help these students figure out next steps. As a result of the pandemic, some students will be at even greater risk of food insecurity. Our Campus Cupboard partner Just Food has developed new distribution methods to serve the community and students while maintaining social distancing.
All-around Support: If you encounter students facing exceptional difficulty, whether related to health or other circumstances, you may submit a care referral to Student Support and Case Management for individualized support and connection to community resources.
Information for all employees
It is important that each one of us takes care of ourselves and the others we work with. The Public Health Planning Team has created a voluntary and confidential information form for faculty and staff to fill out if they learn they are part of a COVID-19 contact investigation. Professionals will be able to follow up to determine if additional actions are required for our campus community.
Watkins Health Services is open for some immediate in-person care. People who need attention should go to the main entrance where they will be screened for the reason of their visit. Individuals showing signs of respiratory illness will be evaluated at the main entrance. Routine provider appointments are suspended unless they can be done by videoconference. The pharmacy is open.
All KU employees are encouraged to reach out for personal help if it’s needed. Benefits-eligible employees and their dependents can get assistance through the state’s Employee Assistance Program. The program provides short-term counseling services, legal advice, money management assistance and much more. If you suspect a colleague is struggling to adjust, reach out and ask them. Help them connect to services they may need.
The KU IT Security Office has received reports from the federal government as well as nearly 100 reports from members of the KU community that criminals are using the COVID-19 pandemic to send phishing messages, malicious attachments and links to malicious websites. These messages claim to offer COVID-19 infection maps, official notices and other misinformation. You might also receive messages via text message, WhatsApp, TikTok and other social media platforms.
To protect equipment, property, and work in progress during this period of reduced on-campus activity, all non-KU Student Housing campus buildings will remain locked 24 hours a day for the foreseeable future.
Deans and directors have identified mission-essential faculty and staff, including some student employees. Many of those individuals have either key or card access to their buildings. Mission-essential employees who already have access to their locked building will retain the same key or card access that they had. Access will be provided to those mission-essential employees who need it. If you have been designated mission-essential on campus by your dean or director and do not currently have building access, please submit a service request at maximo.ku.edu. Other employees who need to retrieve essential personal belongings should work with their unit director to identify opportunities for limited building access.
KU Student Housing buildings will also remain locked. Information about access to those buildings can be found at housing.ku.edu/coronavirus.
KU police and security officers will be working around the clock to ensure all campus buildings are closed and locked. It is critical that the mission-essential employees on campus support building security efforts by refraining from allowing unknown people in, blocking doors open, and allowing others to follow behind you. Please take the extra step to make sure doors shut completely and lock as you leave the locked buildings.
In the midst of crisis, alumni and donors have reached out asking how they can help. We’ve seen students volunteer to help our most vulnerable citizens, and Jayhawks everywhere are connecting with and supporting one another and their larger communities as we all rapidly adjust our daily lives. In response, we’ve identified ways to help in the short term.
"Let us be clear. KU is not 'closing.' We instead are redefining how we deliver services and maintain quality and integrity with a provisional, limited on-campus presence. And we are rising to this challenge. We are Jayhawks.
Douglas A. Girod
Barbara A. Bichelmeyer
Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor