Letter from Dean Curzan to LSA March 8, 2020
Sunday March 8, 2020
Dear LSA faculty and staff,
I hope that all of you were able to find some time to relax and recharge over the weekend.
The situation around the COVID-19 coronavirus has evolved from just a week ago, and it continues to change rapidly. We recognize the uncertainty this global health issue is creating, so I write here on a Sunday evening, before classes resume tomorrow, to share updates about how the college is currently responding to this ever-changing environment. Please know that the safety and well-being of our community are the absolute priority.
- The most current information about the university’s guidance concerning COVID-19 can be found on the Key Issues page. The decisions we make as a college will rely heavily on this guidance. I also encourage you to carefully review President Schlissel’s recent message, which contains campus-wide guidelines and important information that is relevant to everyone.
- Classes and programming will continue as scheduled unless or until we have other university-wide guidance. We have shared guidance with instructors for supporting students who may not be able to attend classes.
- Currently, there is no university recommendation to cancel large events being hosted on campus. If you are hosting an event in the next several weeks, though, we encourage you to have a contingency plan in place. Depending on the nature and timing of the event, as well as the locations from which attendees may be coming, you may decide to cancel or postpone your events as a precaution.
- Faculty or staff needing to self-quarantine should notify their department chair or supervisor, respectively. We are exploring tools to streamline this notification process. I want to assure those who need to be absent from work that the college is committed to working with you and your supervisors to support options for working remotely whenever possible.
- While there are currently no U-M travel restrictions for domestic travel, caution is advised around travel to areas with sustained community transmission of COVID-19. We understand that many people may not want to travel right now, so please consider what feels comfortable for you. If you have already booked a trip and would prefer not to travel or are concerned about canceling, please have a conversation with your department chair, program manager, chief administrator, or supervisor. Most airlines are waiving flight change fees, and in the event that an airline does not waive the change fee, the university has a policy and process where faculty and staff can document the reason for the flight change and then it can be approved by the supervisor. We are in active discussions with Procurement Services about travel-related policies, and they will be continuing to update information related to travel on their webpage.
- Winter study abroad programs in countries with a CDC Level 3 Notice have been canceled, and we will be working with affected students to try and arrange completion of coursework through alternative means. Our teams continue to monitor the situation for any additional countries that raise to CDC Level 3 so that we can make appropriate arrangements. We will also send out updates about spring/summer study abroad programs as soon as possible.
- I want to stress that if you are not well, the most important thing is for you to take good care of yourself, stay home, and focus on getting well. We encourage all staff and faculty who are not feeling well to stay home from work as needed. Additionally, we can all take everyday preventative actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases (e.g., handwashing, disinfecting high-touch surfaces).
- The college has a dedicated response team working closely with the president’s office and key partners across campus, including the university’s global and health experts, to actively monitor the situation with the health and well-being of our community as the foremost concern. We are regularly updating the college’s continuity of operation plans and are encouraging departments to support local planning.
Please continue to read messages as they're sent on this topic and check the university’s Key Issues page often for the latest information. If you have questions, concerns, or ideas you can share them with us here.
While the University and LSA are engaged in extensive contingency planning, I know that these can be stressful times and topics for many of us. So, above all, I want to encourage you to take care of yourselves and the people around you.
Sincerely, Anne Curzan, Dean