Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

The University of Kansas has modified its operations to protect the health and well-being of our students, faculty, staff and the community due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

We continue to partner with regional and national health officials and emergency management organizations to respond to evolving circumstances.

We will update this page regularly with the information you need to continue learning, working, teaching and staying connected with fellow Jayhawks.

Overview

On March 17, the University of Kansas issued the following updates for the Lawrence and Edwards campuses, effective immediately:

  • All instruction will be online for the remainder of the spring semester
  • There will be a significantly reduced on-campus presence for students, staff and faculty
  • KU Housing will be limited only to residents who need to maintain a physical presence on the Lawrence campus

 

Latest developments

 

Key Information

We continue to communicate information in the following categories:

 
 

Classes and academics for students

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.

For details, visit remote.ku.edu.

Technology and Internet access

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 kuecservices@ku.edu 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

Grading

The university has changed its grading policy for the spring 2020 semester. Please read carefully the details in Provost Bichelmeyer's recent message to students titled "Spring 2020 Grading."

Students, as you read about the grading policy change, the most important advice we can offer you is this: Before you proceed with any change, you should work closely with your advisor to fully explore and understand the implications, including those associated with student financial aid, degree completion, or licensure.

Withdrawing from a class

During the spring 2020 semester, students in regular 16-week classes will have until May 4, 2020, to withdraw from a class. For short courses still in progress, the withdrawal deadline will be modified proportionately. Please consult an advisor for the exact dates.

Final exams

We know many of you have thoughts about finals. This is on our radar and will be addressed in the near future. Just as with our recently announced grading options for students on the Lawrence and Edwards Campus, these seemingly simple parts of our operations can have far-reaching impact and deserve thoughtful attention before making a university-wide decision.

Summer session

Students should plan for all courses to be presented in an online format. We will continue to monitor conditions to determine the potential to return to in-person instruction during the summer.

 

Classes and academics for faculty

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 itedtech@ku.edu. 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.

For details, visit remote.ku.edu.

Summer session

Faculty should plan for all courses to be presented in an online format. We will continue to monitor conditions to determine the potential to return to in-person instruction during the summer.

Grading

The university has changed its grading policy for the spring 2020 semester. Please read carefully the details in Provost Bichelmeyer's recent message titled "Spring 2020 Grading."

Withdrawing from a class

During the spring 2020 semester, students in regular 16-week classes will have until May 4, 2020, to withdraw from a class. For short courses still in progress, the withdrawal deadline will be modified proportionately.

Final exams

We know many of you have thoughts about finals. This is on our radar and will be addressed in the near future. Just as with our recently announced grading options for students on the Lawrence and Edwards Campus, these seemingly simple parts of our operations can have far-reaching impact and deserve thoughtful attention before making a university-wide decision.

 

Personnel and human resources

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.

For details and an extensive list of Q&As, visit Human Resource Management's coronavirus response webpage.

Tips for teleworking

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. For details, visit Human Resource Management's teleworking webpage.

Reporting concerns

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.

Hiring freeze

Even though we’ve taken great measures to ensure the university continues to operate and students continue to learn under these extraordinary circumstances, the pandemic has already had a significant financial impact on our institution. The uncertainty of these times requires us to take precautions that will help us weather what we can expect will be a continuing hardship. Until further notice, the University of Kansas is implementing a strategically focused hiring freeze that will serve as an initial step to address financial implications of the pandemic. A hiring freeze will help us begin to re-establish our financial footing as we map out a structured recovery plan. These decisions are never easy and often raise new questions. We’ve worked with several campus leaders to develop guidelines that help us remain true to our mission while also being fiscally responsible.

For details, see the April 2 message from the Chancellor and Provost.

 

Housing

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.

For details, visit KU Student Housing's coronavirus webpage.

Refunds

Housing will provide financial relief to students and issue a prorated room credit to residents who moved out between March 17 and April 9, or who needed to defer their move out due to COVID-19. The amount varies depending on the resident’s building and room type. It will be prorated to credit residents for April and May housing charges.  Visit the Housing website for details.

KU Dining meal plan dollars from 2019-2020 will be fully rolled over for use by plan holders for school year 2020-21. Refunds will be made to graduating and non-returning students upon request. Visit the KU Dining website for details.

 

Travel

Business travel

All university-sponsored domestic and international business-related travel at meetings, conferences, etc., is discontinued. This includes travel in and around Kansas and Missouri. Do not make new plans for business travel until further notice.

Personal travel

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

Stay-at-home orders

On March 28, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly issued a statewide stay-at-home order for the state of Kansas. This order supersedes all pre-existing local orders in Kansas, including but not limited to orders issued by Douglas, Wyandotte, Johnson and Leavenworth counties.

International travel

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.

Required self-isolation

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.

Registration

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.

For additional information, visit the Centers for Disease Control travel advisory page.

 

International guests, students and parents

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.

Visiting scholars must be registered in advance of their visit via our KU Visitor Registration form.

KU suspended all new J-1 visiting programs for 60 days on March 13, and will reevaluate May 10.

For details, visit International Support Services.

Information specifically tailored to parentsof international students is available at International Support Services' dedicated parents page.

 

Study abroad

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.

For details, visit the Office of International Affairs coronavirus response webpage.

 

Events

No in-person university events are being held at this time.

Please note, the university's Commencement ceremony, scheduled for May 17, has been postponed. We hope to schedule an event for later in the summer or early fall. Details will be shared as available.

The summer months are also a busy time for units across campus that host youth programs, activities and camps, as well as outreach and engagement events. Deans and other unit leaders will have discretion regarding whether to continue these efforts, and they’ve been asked to explore opportunities to engage virtually and to prioritize the health and welfare of participants in their decisions.

 

Research

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.

For details, visit our Office of Research coronavirus response webpage.

 

Planning and response 

Management teams

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
  • Research
  • Technology
  • Policies
  • Human Resources
  • Events

Guiding principles

We have a strong team that is assessing conditions regionally and across the nation and is making recommendations guided by the following principles:

  1. Keep KU open so it can provide services to the fullest extent possible given unprecedented circumstances.
  2. Maintain continuity of operations that support the academic and research missions of the university.
  3. Prevent the spread of the disease at KU and beyond.
  4. Protect members of the KU community through self-quarantine and social distancing, especially:
    1. those who may have been exposed
    2. those with chronic health challenges
    3. those currently sick
  5. Encourage the KU community to be informed and practice healthy behaviors by following CDC recommendations.
  6. Protect equity for our most vulnerable employees and students, as much as possible, as we respond to the situation.
  7. Respond with agility to the fluid nature of the situation.
  8. Provide clear communications to the KU community.
  9. 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.

Related to this, we encourage you to read the statement by the Association of American Universities member presidents and chancellors regarding the need for unity at this difficult time.

 

Health and wellness on campus

Information for students

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.

If you are struggling emotionally can connect remotely with Counseling and Psychological Services. Additionally, Watkins is available for students still in the region.

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.

Wellbeing: Students who are struggling emotionally can connect remotely with Counseling and Psychological Services. And of course Watkins is available for students still in the region.

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.

 

Security

Information technology

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.

Read more from KU Information Technology about how you can protect yourself.

Building access

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.

 

Helping those in need

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.

For details, visit the KU Alumni Association's recent message.

 

Refunds

Refunds on unused services -- such as for housing, parking or dining plans -- are being finalized. Details will be provided as available.

Housing

Housing will provide financial relief to students and issue a prorated room credit to residents who moved out between March 17 and April 9, or who needed to defer their move out due to COVID-19. The amount varies depending on the resident’s building and room type. It will be prorated to credit residents for April and May housing charges.  Visit the Housing website for details.

Dining Plans

KU Dining meal plan dollars from 2019-2020 will be fully rolled over for use by plan holders for school year 2020-21. Refunds will be made to graduating and non-returning students upon request. Visit the KU Dining website for details.

Parking

KU Transportation Services will issue a partial refund to students who purchased annual or spring semester parking permits for the 2019-2020 academic year. Payroll deductions for faculty and staff will stop May 1 - June 30. Faculty or staff members who paid upfront for a 2019-2020 permit will receive a partial refund as well. Visit the KU Parking website for more details.

Our Way Forward

"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
Chancellor

Barbara A. Bichelmeyer
Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor

Campus Messages

Graduate Education and COVID-19
Message from Vice Provost for Graduate Education Jennifer A. Roberts
April 3

Parking Refunds and Related Information
Message from Vice Provost Mike Rounds
April 3

Hiring Freeze, Changes to Commencement, Travel Restrictions
Message from Chancellor Girod, Provost Bichelmeyer
April 2

Chancellor, Provost to Livestream University Update on April 2 (VIDEO)
Message from Chancellor Girod
April 1

Changes to Academic Policies and Procedures
Message from Provost Bichelmeyer
March 30

KU Resources for Reporting Concerns During Difficult Times
Message from Vice Provost Mike Rounds
March 27

How Jayhawks Can Help
Message from Alumni Association President Peterson and Endowment President Seuferling
March 26

New Links for Town Hall Sessions + COVID-19 Research Funding
Message from Simon Atkinson, Vice Chancellor for Research
March 26

Virtual Town Hall Sessions for KU Research Community
Message from Simon Atkinson, Vice Chancellor for Research
March 24

Health Order Implications for Lawrence and Edwards
Message from Chancellor Girod, Provost Bichelmeyer, VC Cook
March 24

Resources for Learning and Life
Message from Provost Bichelmeyer, VP Durham
March 23

Suspension of Non-essential Research Activities for Lawrence and Edwards
Message from Chancellor Girod, Provost Bichelmeyer, VC Atkinson
March 20

Building Security
Message from Police Chief Keary
March 20

Maintaining Community in a Time of Social Distancing
Message from Chancellor Girod and Provost Bichelmeyer
March 19

A Note to the KU Community
Message from Senate Presidents
March 19

Working Remotely and Managing Stress
Message from Vice Provost Mike Rounds
March 19, 2020

Classes to Remain Online, Campus to Decrease In-Person Presence
Message from Chancellor Girod and Provost Bichelmeyer
March 17, 2020

Financial Policy Changes for COVID-19
Message from VC for Research Simon Atkinson
March 17, 2020

New Guidelines for Travelers
Message from Chancellor Girod and Provost Bichelmeyer
March 15

Health Planning Updates
Message from Chancellor Girod and Provost Bichelmeyer
March 14

Health Planning Updates
Message from Provost Bichelmeyer
March 13

Resources and Support for Moving Classes Online
Message from Faculty Development
March 13

Graduate Education and COVID-19
Message from VP Jennifer Roberts
March 13

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Impact on Research Activity
Message from Simon Atkinson, Vice Chancellor for Research
March 12

A Very Important Message Regarding COVID-19
Message from Chancellor Girod and Provost Bichelmeyer
March 11

"Health, Wellness, Preparation and Prevention"
Message from Provost Bichelmeyer
March 6

"Coronavirus Spring Break Guidance"
Message from Diana Malott
March 5

"Update on Coronavirus"
Message from Chancellor Girod
March 2