Auburn is asking all faculty on campus to “deliver at least one class period remotely during the week of March 16” in order to gauge how well prepared the University is at handling a possible campus-wide closure caused by a potential spread of the coronavirus, according to an email sent by provost Bill Hardgrave to faculty and obtained by The Plainsman.
Faculty were recommended to use Canvas, Zoom or any other medium easily accessible to students.
Once faculty conduct their classes remotely, they will submit a form to the Biggio Center to gain feedback, according to the email.
The email goes on to reiterate that there are “no current plans to close the University,” adding that no student has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
“Any formal decision involving a campus closure would come at the direction of the Alabama Department of Public Health, working in conjunction with our local health authorities and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” Hardgrave said in the email.
The email follows the University’s recent decision to suspend all spring 2020 study abroad programs, including those that were scheduled for spring break, and its recall of all students who were already abroad this semester. Those students were strongly urged by the University to remain in self-quarantine at their respective homes and not come to campus.
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Read the full email sent by Hardgrave to faculty below:
Dear Auburn University Faculty,
As you know, the coronavirus situation continues to evolve as new information emerges daily on the domestic impact of COVID-19. The unprecedented nature of the outbreak has resulted in unprecedented decisions for our campus, beginning with this week’s recall of all students studying abroad and international travel restrictions for faculty and staff.
Before I discuss our academic contingency plans, I want to remind faculty that all official university statements and updated information is available on Auburn’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information website. The Office of Communications and Marketing continues to update the site with FAQs on the virus while addressing key concerns shared by students, parents, faculty, and staff.
Several faculty members have reached out with questions regarding how the university will continue to fulfill Auburn’s instructional mission should a COVID-19 outbreak occur on campus. As the university prepares for the possibility of several different scenarios, we do so with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the Alabama Department of Public Health. It is my hope that Auburn’s campus will remain unaffected by COVID-19. Regardless of the potential degree of impact, all faculty must have adequate contingency plans in place that support the delivery of academic instruction and minimize any disruptions to our academic mission.
To ensure the university is adequately prepared, we are asking all faculty to deliver at least one class period remotely during the week of March 16.
By asking faculty to do this, we are effectively gauging our collective capabilities, resources, and preparedness for a possible campus-wide closure. Although we strongly recommend Canvas and Zoom, you may use whatever system or medium is convenient for you and readily accessible to your students (e.g., Panopto).
To support faculty as you prepare to deliver your class remotely, the Biggio Center has created a new site, aub.ie/keepteaching, to provide resources and support for the following functions:
Conducting live classes, meetings, and office hours using Zoom;
Communicating with students, and securely collecting assignments and issuing grades using Canvas;
Virtually proctoring exams while ensuring academic integrity and minimizing the burden on faculty time; and,
Recording videos for course content to securely share it with students using Panopto.
Once you have delivered your course, we ask that you submit a brief form to the Biggio Center to gather feedback on the faculty experience of this effort.
There are no current plans to close the university, and no student has been diagnosed with COVID-19 to date. Any formal decision involving a campus closure would come at the direction of the Alabama Department of Public Health, working in conjunction with our local health authorities and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Earlier this week, President Gogue and I sent a message outlining our expectations for faculty regarding your interactions with international students and students returning from study aboard trips.
Again, these are unprecedented times for both Auburn and higher education. We continue to be guided by our commitment to upholding the safety of our students, faculty, and staff. I ask that we continue to come together as a campus community and as members of the Auburn Family to support one another.
Thank you for all you do for Auburn University.
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