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D'Youville Implements Digital Classrooms to Stem Spread of COVID-19 in WNY

D'Youville Implements Digital Classrooms to Stem Spread of COVID-19 in WNY

Campus to remain open and Spring Break will be extended to transition classroom-based instruction to online platforms 

D’Youville announced today that it will shift all undergraduate and graduate classroom instruction to digital platforms beginning March 18, with re-evaluation of status scheduled for March 30. D’Youville’s campus will remain open and fully operational with laboratory and simulation-based instruction continuing on campus as usual.

The decision was made in anticipation of approximately 66,000 students returning to local campuses from Spring Break in the coming weeks. There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Western New York but a significant number of students and faculty from the eight colleges and universities located within the city will have traveled to regions with confirmed cases of COVID-19.

“These are extraordinary times. Out of an abundance of caution and in consideration of the World Health Organization’s emphasis on maintaining social distance as a basic preventative measure against COVID-19, we will migrate lectures and classroom-based learning to digital platforms beginning on Wednesday, March 18,” said D’Youville President Lorrie Clemo.

Clemo emphasized that the campus would remain open while classroom instruction is being delivered digitally. “D’Youville’s campus will remain fully operational, and laboratory and simulation instruction will continue on campus as usual. The Library, residence halls, dining centers, and student services will maintain regularly scheduled hours,” she continued.

“The best time to protect the health and safety of our campus community is before the disease knocks on our door,” said Jeremiah Davie, PhD, associate professor of biology and president of the Faculty Senate at D’Youville. Davie was chosen by President Clemo to lead the campus COVID-19 Task Force.

“With more than 4,000 deaths reported worldwide since January, and the rapid increase in the number of cases in New York State, it makes sense to reduce the opportunities for exposure,” continued Davie. “This action will allow support staff to concentrate sanitation efforts toward laboratories and heavily trafficked areas, which was a major directive of the COVID-19 Task Force convened by President Clemo last month. At this time, we are continuing laboratory and
simulation-based instruction due to their smaller size and learning objectives.”

“One of the main concerns regarding transmission of this infection is that patients may not
have symptoms for up to 14 days. Meanwhile, these patients can still spread the infection to
other people. This specific type of coronavirus has significant transmissibility,” explained Dr.
Mario Beccari, PharmD, BCPS, AAHIVP. Beccari is clinical assistant professor in the School of
Pharmacy and a member of D’Youville’s COVID-19 Task Force.

“Currently, for every patient infected by this virus, two to three people will catch the infection.
To prevent the sustainability of this virus in our community, we need to take appropriate action
before we have confirmed cases. The best approach is to isolate our students for as long as the
infection is able to be transmitted,” Beccari continued.

D’Youville has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak since January. President Clemo
convened a COVID-19 Task Force made up of faculty experts, union representation, staff, and
administrators in February which has been preparing in accordance with CDC guidelines. Some
of these preparations include identifying and preparing quarantine zones and developing
protocols for alternative instruction for epidemics. A website: has been
designed for students and faculty to answer questions about the transition; students and
faculty were provided with COVID-19 specific email addresses to answer questions about the
transition and the campus response to the virus.

“We understand that this measure may be an inconvenience in the short-term, but decisive
action now has the greatest potential to mitigate significant risks in the months to come.
D’Youville has been recognized by US News and World Reports for excellence in online
education, and I am confident that our faculty will serve our students in whatever modality
necessary to maintain the health and safety of our community of global learners,” closed

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