University News
 

COVID-19 Update from SUU

Published: March 12, 2020 | Category: Administration

Visit go.suu.edu/coronavirus for all campus health updates.

On March 12 a campus wide email was sent to all faculty, staff and students informing campus that SUU Administration is joining the seven other institutions of the Utah System of Higher Education, under the direction of Governor Gary Herbert, and temporarily move from face-to-face courses to online instruction starting March 23, following SUU's spring break, which begins Monday. 

Subject: COVID-19 Update from SUU

Dear Campus Community,

At the direction of Governor Gary Herbert, Southern Utah University will join the seven other institutions of the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) and temporarily move from face-to-face courses to online instruction due to the worldwide impact of COVID-19.

The health, safety, and well-being of everyone on our campus and community is our relentless priority at all times. The coronavirus (COVID-19) is already proving to be an unprecedented disruption and this extraordinary move is being made to try and prevent the spread of the coronavirus throughout SUU, Cedar City, and Utah. With the rapidly evolving nature of the disease, the landscape is continually shifting, and we will do our best to communicate with you as decisions are being made.

The most important news:

  • Starting Monday, March 23 we will be moving classes online through April 23. Given the changing nature of the situation, we may re-examine the situation as warranted.
  • The University, including campus buildings, will remain open. This includes student housing, dining, the library, tutoring center, testing center, and student center.
  • Due to the developing nature of COVID-19, students may want to consider staying in Cedar City during spring break and for those that do travel, students are encouraged to return to Cedar City after spring break.
  • In the spirit of keeping students and the community healthy, effective immediately, the University will restrict any event on campus and large gatherings will be postponed, canceled, or offered virtually. Commencement is currently scheduled for April 24 and we expect it will take place as scheduled.
  • During this time, the university is NOT closed. The administration is currently developing a plan for remote work. Please remain flexible in your current operations as we work through this rapidly evolving situation.

We’re taking these steps for three reasons: to protect the health of our students, faculty, staff and Cedar City neighbors, to slow the potential spread of the virus, and to ensure the continuity of our core mission - educating our students.

These are obviously significant steps that will cause disruption and disappointment, which we all regret. We nonetheless feel compelled to take these steps in light of the most recent evidence. We do not yet have a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Iron County, so our risk remains relatively low. Experts have also told us that the best time to take steps to prevent that spread is now, before the first case arrives.


Students

For those living on campus and in Cedar City, we encourage you to stay. Cedar City’s rural location and smaller population may reduce the risk of coming into contact with the coronavirus. We will continue to provide housing and dining services, and the library, tutoring center, testing center, and student center will remain open.

Due to the developing nature of COVID-19, students may want to consider staying in Cedar City during spring break and enjoy the beautiful outdoors of southern Utah. For those that are traveling, students are encouraged to return to campus following spring break. Currently, there are no restrictions on personal travel during spring break, either internationally or domestically. However, for those who travel to certain areas, SUU is considering following the lead of other institutions and imposing a requirement for any student, faculty or staff who travels abroad and returns to SUU to practice social isolation and distancing for a minimum of 14 calendar days.

The University will remain open and student-workers should continue reporting to work as usual and take the recommended steps to prevent illness.


Faculty

Faculty will have full access to campus offices and resources and will be able to provide instruction from campus. The administration is currently developing a plan for remote work, however, we recognize that not every employee can or will be able to work from home. A follow-up message will be sent to all faculty from Interim Provost Eves with additional information regarding adjustments to instruction.

We encourage faculty to be flexible and do their best to provide students with a positive learning environment. Please be accommodating as students’ extenuating circumstances arise.

Faculty will be hearing from their deans soon with more details about moving classes online. The Online Teaching & Learning (OTL) office has several resources for faculty on their website, including request forms for a Zoom Pro license and a webcam if your office or personal computer doesn’t already have one. Please contact canvas@suu.edu with other questions.


Staff

During this time, the university is NOT closed. Staff should continue normal business operations and take the recommended steps to prevent illness. Employees are expected to continue to support the needs of the University. The administration is currently developing a plan for remote work, however, we recognize that not every employee can or will be able to work from home. 

Please remain flexible in your current operations as we work through this rapidly evolving situation. Additional information will be available soon.


Campus Gathering

In the spirit of keeping students and the community healthy, the University will restrict any event on campus and large gatherings will be postponed, canceled, or offered virtually.

SUU’s 2020 University Commencement ceremony is currently scheduled for April 24 and is expected to take place as scheduled. It would take an extraordinary event to force a cancellation or postponement of graduation.


Travel

Based on guidance from the CDC and in an abundance of caution, we have suspended all university-affiliated travel in international locations until further notice. All University-sponsored or endorsed domestic travel is strongly discouraged and will now only be approved in unique, essential situations. Prior to moving forward with domestic travel, individuals must have approval from their supervisor and the Emergency Response Team. This is an update and tightening of the guidelines shared with campus earlier this week. Supervisors should send an email to the Emergency Response Team ( emergencyresponse@suu.edu ) requesting that the University allow their employee to still travel.

While the University cannot restrict personal, non-university related travel, either internationally or domestically, SUU strongly recommends that all faculty, staff, and students reconsider any travel plans for the immediate future. If employees and students still choose to travel, all need to understand that SUU is considering following the lead of other institutions and imposing a requirement for any faculty, staff, and students who travel abroad or to high outbreak areas within the United States, and then return to SUU, that they need to practice social isolation and distancing for a minimum of 14 calendar days.


We have confidence in our technical and personnel capabilities to provide for continuity of our mission. We will not cancel classes this semester or the summer semester. The coronavirus may force us to change our method of instruction but not our commitment to your education and your planned graduation date.

For the latest information about COVID-19 visit go.suu.edu/coronavirus. If you have specific questions that are not answered by the information on the website, call SUU’s COVID-19 telephone hotline at 435-865-8488 or email the Emergency Response Team at emergencyresponse@suu.edu.

We are going to have to be patient with each other as we work out a few bugs, but we are confident that we can deliver high-quality education and make this work.

Thank you for your patience and I will see you after spring break.

Sincerely,

President Scott L Wyatt

Visit go.suu.edu/coronavirus for all campus health updates.


Tags: Coronavirus

Contact Information:

Emergency Response Team
435-865-8488
emergencyresponse@suu.edu