The following message was emailed to faculty on behalf of Provost Rogan Kersh:

Greetings faculty colleagues.  My appreciation to you each as we work to maintain our teaching and research/creative activities amid the uncertainty of this novel-coronavirus (COVID-19) spread.  I write specifically to discuss contingency plans for academic continuity should the virus affect members of our campus community: no cases have been reported in Forsyth County as of this writing, but we are actively planning for various scenarios.

Course Delivery

I along with our deans ask that each of you make preparations to teach your upcoming courses (summer/fall) remotely should that become necessary.  And should the virus’s more imminent spread require a shift to remote delivery of courses or final exams this current semester, we are grateful for your cooperation in preparing for that eventuality as well.  Please consider how you might shift class discussions, course exercises, and performative components to distance formats, using our existing Learning Management Systems (Canvas or Sakai) and online collaboration applications, such as Webex or Voice Thread. A comprehensive resource guide detailing these and other tools that can be utilized for remote teaching and working will be forthcoming in a separate communication.  Instructional support staff and other knowledgeable IS experts are ready and available for advice and other assistance.  We do not currently anticipate a need to teach courses in this fashion, but must be prepared should that exigency arise.

Supporting Students

In a similar spirit, we ask that you show flexibility and understanding—characteristic, of course, of our faculty!—with any students who might be delayed returning from spring break, possibly because of 14-day quarantines that other countries or our own government may require.  Again, we do not expect such situations to arise, but enough international travelers displaying COVID-19/related symptoms have been consigned to quarantines that it behooves us to be prepared.  In a similar spirit of understanding, we ask that you remain attentive to situations, however inadvertently intended, where students, staff, or even faculty are behaving in potentially discriminatory fashion: a student coughing in class should not be asked to leave, for example.

Professional Travel

For those with upcoming conference and other professional travel scheduled, we strongly recommend that faculty (and staff & students) refrain from travel to locations abroad or within the United States identified by the Centers for Disease Control as high risk (CDC Level 3). Should you choose to travel to these affected areas, you may be asked to undergo a 14-day self-quarantine off campus upon return.  We have communicated with all students to discourage spring-break travel to affected areas.

Institutional Preparations

Senior academic and other University leaders continue meeting daily to consider related issues (e.g., accepted or returning international students who may be unable to join our campus community this fall; current students planning to study abroad this summer or fall who may instead opt or be required to remain on campus; and so forth).  President Hatch’s message to all Wake Foresters earlier this week includes links to various internal and external authorities; we will continue to post updates on the University’s COVID-19 website, spelling out responses to specific issues as they arise.  We are all aware that the COVID-19 environment changes rapidly, and the University will continue to share information and communicate relevant policies as the landscape evolves.

Again, I’m deeply thankful to you each for your understanding and assistance as we navigate unfamiliar terrain.