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March 22 Covid-19 Community Update

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Dear Campus Community,

This COVID-19 Campus Update is not only in response to the university’s commitment to reevaluate the need for digital learning solutions by March 30, but also to keep you posted on where we are today and where we are moving toward in the weeks ahead.

Instructional Delivery

Due to the dynamic and rapidly changing situation, we are faced with many ongoing uncertainties.However, based on the most recent government regulations, it has now become clear that all classes, labs, and simulations will need to continue to be delivered on digital platforms until further notice. At this point in time, faculty should not only be thinking about how to teach the remaining Sp’20 semester online, but also be considering how to teach summer sessions online, as well.

#1. Please consider this message as notification that digital instruction is required to continue for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester. We strongly encourage faculty to prepare for the possibility of completely online summer sessions, as well.

Campus Operations & Accessibility

The campus will remain open to only essential personnel confirmed today through their department managers (this message supersedes all previous correspondences). While the government’s definition of “essential” is evolving, please understand that D’Youville will continue providing services such as IT (technical) support, tutoring, academic advising, and financial aid and admissions counseling through Zoom or other digital platforms until further notice. Starting at midnight on Sunday, March 22, exterior door access to most campus buildings will be locked to protect the health and safety of essential on campus personnel, ensure government compliance, and protect campus assets. As a reminder from the last campus update, please retrieve all personal possessions or work files that will be needed for the foreseeable future before Sunday, March 22. Moving forward, any emergency visit to campus to pick-up essential work resources will require two-step verification, AVP or higher level-approval, as well as registration on the Emergency Campus Visit Log.

#2. Building access protocols will be changing on 3/23/20 to maintain compliance with government regulations of 100% non-essential workforce reduction. All essential on campus personnel will be required to carry their D’Youville ID and carry copies of their essential employee notification letter to gain access to campus facilities.

#3. All other employees need to coordinate with campus leadership and digitally register
their planned visit.

Students in Residence

Approximately 80 of our students remain in residence. Therefore, food services are essential and will be provided via digitally ordered takeout meals. Insta-food kits have also been provided to accommodate students with additional options. The Office of Student Engagement has developed a robust calendar of virtual activities and events that will continue to connect our students throughout this period. Additionally, Campus Ministry has prepared special care packages and virtual pastoral services for them as well.

#4. D’Youville will continue to serve our students in residence with the highest level of care and compassion possible during this unprecedented time.

Reflecting Backward & Charting Forward

I am immensely proud of our entire D’Youville community for responding with the necessary sense of urgency required by this unprecedented situation. The speed, patience, and professionalism with which the campus community adapted vital academic and university functions to our new reality is truly remarkable. Thank you to all. It should be noted that special recognition is deserved among the cleaning professionals who have always been at the front of the line maintaining our campus but are currently now more than ever going above and beyond to properly sanitize our facilities, playing a mission critical role in “flattening the curve” of this COVID-19 pandemic. We must also pay exceptional tribute to all IT and online learning specialists who have been the backbone of continuing our viability as a successful digitally distributed educational community. Finally, we must acknowledge the inspiring efforts of our faculty, whom were critically essential in adjusting their instructional modalities to keep our students learning.

#5. Big broad thank you goes out to everyone that has been working tirelessly to proactively keep our educational learning community safe and high functioning. Looking forward, we must not stray from fulfilling our mission to educate the next generation of healthcare providers and socially conscious community leaders. This is a historical moment in time, so as inspiration it is relevant to reflect upon the lessons learned while navigating previous times of trouble. Winston Churchill stated while navigating WWII: “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” To this end, we must recognize that there will be a point in time where we are able to reopen our doors and welcome a new class of students to our physical campus.

Until then, I am pleased to announce that we are launching a virtual open house for prospective students on Wednesday, March 25. A trailer for the virtual tour can be viewed here. This important virtual open house initiative will help position us for a strong class of students in Fall 2020 and beyond.

Finally, we will be announcing plans for commencement in the coming weeks. Major modifications are obviously and unfortunately dictated by the pandemic but rest assured, we will come together to recognize the accomplishments of our graduating students in a celebratory and safe manner.

Thank you again for all of you have done to help with our efforts to respond quickly and effectively to this crisis. Keep washing your hands, sanitizing surfaces, and maintaining social distance as these remain our best tools in combating this pandemic.