May 28, 2020

A Message from the Task Force

Good afternoon,

This is the first of weekly communications with the campus community from the Task Force that President Paino has initiated to answer questions about what resuming face-to-face education in the fall might look like.

As we’ve gotten beyond the initial discussion of the overarching issues, President Paino has added to the Task Force to include representatives from the University Faculty Council (UFC) and the Staff Advisory Council (SAC), as well as a number of other units and areas of expertise. The Task Force has divided its efforts into seven subgroups: Public Health, Academics, Student Life, Residential Life, Dining, Work Life, and Technology. Each of these subgroups has membership beyond the core Task Force and is focused on the many different issues that we must work on in order to be prepared to open. Subgroup topics covered include, but are not limited to, the following:

Public Health: alignment with federal and state guidelines; testing, contact tracing, isolation capabilities; sufficiency of personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as policies and legal analysis of PPE requirements; regional preparedness including the adequacy of area health care facilities and relationship building with partners.

Academics: faculty development and support for remote/online instruction; governance and approval of remote/online instruction; planning for a variety of alternative ways to provide instruction; analysis of classroom limits and social distancing requirements; sufficiency of academic support services and resources; academic policies and procedures; guidance and plans for remote/online laboratory, studio, and experiential classes; cleaning of academic facilities; classroom policies.

Student Life: protocols for remote/online student support services; planning for behavioral issues; redevelopment of co-curricular events and activities in accordance with social distancing; alterations to the campus infrastructure to reduce large gatherings; athletic team competition; fitness facilities.

Residential Life: adequacy of isolation spaces; evaluation of reasonable student density and placement within residence halls; policies and procedures to support social distancing in residential spaces; move-in plans; staff training; closure and cleaning protocols.

Dining: design and implementation of plans to promote social distancing in dining facilities; development of plans for quick pick-up, delivery and takeout; processes to ensure delivery of meals to students in isolation; policies and procedures around personal protective equipment (PPE) for Sodexo workers and patrons.

Work Life: adequacy of the University’s infectious disease preparedness and response plans; implementation of infection prevention measures; policies for prompt identification and isolation of sick employees; development, implementation, and communication about workplace flexibilities and protections, including PPE; implementation of workplace protocols to encourage safe practices.

Technology: assessment and remediation of gaps in student and faculty access to computers, internet access, and specialized software (especially focused on addressing the digital divide and the equity imperative); adequacy of telecommunications and infrastructure to continue to support remote instruction and work.

See the membership lists and chairs below for the Task Force and these subgroups. We encourage you to contact members of the subgroups to share your ideas and suggestions.

Currently the Task Force is raising and beginning to answer questions about all the areas that we would need to address to be ready for the fall. The work is framed in four primary scenarios:  1) reopening campus, 2) monitoring the health conditions to detect infection, 3) containment to prevent the spread of disease if/when detected, and 4) return to remote operations if that becomes necessary. The Task Force is also identifying the needed resources to improve our readiness in all of these areas (for example, how much PPE and how many masks we would need to acquire and how). Again, the prevailing goal is to move forward on fulfilling our educational mission while addressing the safety needs of staff, faculty, and students.

The work of the Task Force is influenced by research and guidance from a variety of agencies, offices, and organizations, including Governor Northam’s “Forward Virginia” plan, the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins, the Harvard/Rockefeller Foundation “Roadmap to Pandemic Resilience,” theOccupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the American College Health Association (ACHA) and the Report of the Higher Education Subcommittee to Reopen Connecticut, among others. The Task Force is also looking forward to further guidance from both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). 

As President Paino announced in his email two days ago, in addition to a weekly email from the Task Force, you can expect to see a number of interactive sessions going forward, including the UFC meeting yesterday and more Zoom/YouTube Q&A sessions with campus leaders. We will also be setting up a web page for the Task Force with a place where you can submit your ideas and suggestions.

Our hope is to provide information to you regularly, quickly, and transparently as the Task Force and its subgroups examine complex issues and identify solutions to allow the University to move forward safely and successfully.

 

Jeff McClurken, Chief of Staff

Tim O’Donnell, Associate Provost

 

Task Force Membership

Troy Paino (chair)
Lisa Bowling
Audrey Burges
Andrew Dolby
Dave Fleming
Sabrina Johnson
Pete Kelly
Juliette Landphair
Lynn Lewis
Jeff McClurken
Keith Mellinger
Nina Mikhalevsky
Mike Muckinhaupt
Tim O’Donnell
Christy Pack
Anand Rao
Lynne Richardson
Jerry Slezak
Debra Schleef
Stuart Sullivan
Nancy Wang
Beth Williams
Kimberly Young

 

Public Health Subgroup

Jeff McClurken (co-chair)
Mike Muckinhaupt (co-chair)
Anna Billingsley
Lisa Bowling
Patrick Catullo
Dave Fleming
Melissa Jones
Juliette Landphair
Sue Lafayette
Lynn Lewis
Paul Messplay
Nina Mikhalevsky
Tim O’Donnell
Chris Porter
Stuart Sullivan
Nancy Wang
Beth Williams
Susan Worrell

 

Academics Subgroup

Nina Mikhalevsky (chair)
Andrew Dolby
Pete Kelly
Jeff McClurken
Keith Mellinger
John Morello
Tim O’Donnell
Anand Rao
Lynne Richardson
Debra Schleef
Kimberly Young

 

Student Life Subgroup

Juliette Landphair (chair)
Dave Fleming
Melissa Jones
Brittanie Naff
Cedric Rucker
Kelly Shannon
Nancy Wang
Tev Zukor

 

Residence Life Subgroup

Dave Fleming (chair)
Nolan Akau
Matt Brooks
Megan Brown
Cece Burkett
Michelle Brooks
Lee Roy Johnson
Jessica Machado
Mike Muckinhaupt
Hunter Rauscher
Stuart Sullivan
Mary Taylor
Nancy Wang

 

Dining Subgroup

Juliette Landphair (chair)
Dave Fleming
Mike Greenfield
Roy Platt
Chris Porter
Cedric Rucker

 

Work Life Subgroup

Beth Williams (co-chair)
Christy Pack (co-chair)
Rosemary Arneson
Terri Arthur
Mike Hubbard
Sabrina Johnson
Melva Kishpaugh
Mike Muckinhaupt
Michelle Pickham
Stuart Sullivan

 

Technology Subgroup

Jerry Slezak (chair)
Hall Cheshire
Jeff McClurken
Keith Mellinger
Tim O’Donnell
Anand Rao
Debra Schleef

UMW Opens ‘COVID-19 in Context’ Course to Community

Those who think they’ve heard everything that can be said about COVID-19 can guess again.

UMW faculty will share their perspectives on the COVID-19 pandemic in a free eight-week online summer course open to incoming and current students, faculty, alumni, staff and the broader community.

UMW faculty will share their perspectives on the COVID-19 pandemic in a free eight-week online summer course open to incoming and current students, faculty, alumni, staff and the broader community.

Experts at the University of Mary Washington are sharing their perspectives through COVID-19 in Context, an eight-week online summer course starting June 1 that will be open free of charge to not only UMW students, faculty, alumni and staff, but also the broader community. The 16 classes will be delivered right to cell phones, tablets and computers via Zoom. All participants need is Internet access.

Each session will look at the coronavirus pandemic from a different angle – the effect on climate change, the history of pandemics, the potential impact on our upcoming presidential election, the chemistry of disinfectants, and even how COVID-19 has influenced the fine and performing arts.

Each Monday and Wednesday through July 22, at 4 p.m., faculty from varied disciplines across the University, from psychology and communication to geography and economics, will broadcast a 30-minute lecture followed by an interactive Q&A session. The inaugural class, on June 1, will be a biologist’s look at the virus itself. Read more.

Emergency notification to all members of the UMW community

The following message is from the Office of Public Safety.

The welfare and safety of our community during this time is the University of Mary Washington’s primary concern. We are writing to inform you that the University learned this morning of a member of our community testing positive for COVID-19. This person worked in Lee Hall and has not been present on campus since March 17.

Upon learning of this staff member’s diagnosis, we immediately notified public health authorities and consulted with epidemiology and infection prevention experts. In coordination with the Virginia Department of Health, we have begun tracing any possibility of or potential exposure to students and staff, based on the timeline of this incident. Those who had been in direct contact with this individual have been contacted and offered additional guidance. Also, in an abundance of caution, we are closing Lee Hall at the end of business today for thorough cleaning.

We are relieved to report that this patient showed mild symptoms, did not require hospitalization, and is recuperating at home.

We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to take seriously CDC- and state-issued health guidelines regarding COVID-19. These guidelines are designed not only to ensure your own well-being, but the well-being of others:

  • Engage in social distancing. Do not go to work or school. Keep at least 6 feet from other individuals.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth with your hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Watch for cough, troubled breathing, or other signs of respiratory infection.
  • Monitor temperature for a fever above 100.4 degrees F.
  • If you develop a cough, fever, and/or difficulty breathing, call a healthcare provider or dial 911. You may also call the Virginia Health Department at 877-ASK-VDH3.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19, please inform your supervisor and/or Human Resources. All such communications are strictly confidential.

Our thoughts are with each of you. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Emergency Management Director Mike Muckinhaupt at mmuckinh@umw.edu or 540-654-2108.

 

Stay safe,

Mike Muckinhaupt                                                                           Mike Hall
Director of Emergency Management and Safety                       Chief of University Police

 

Employee Travel Guidance, COVID-19

Dear Faculty and Staff,

I am writing to provide additional guidance regarding domestic and international travel as part of our efforts and the efforts of the Commonwealth to manage the impact of the coronavirus.

As mentioned in President Paino’s message on March 11, all University-sponsored international travel is suspended until at least May 15. While we recommend using caution and good judgment for all travel destinations, if you undertake personal international travel to any country that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified as a level 3 risk, or the State Department has identified as a level 3 or 4 risk, we expect you to follow CDC guidance. You must not return to campus until you have followed that guidance. Upon return home, notify your supervisor and self-quarantine for a period of 14 days. You are urged to seek medical attention if you experience fever, coughs or difficulty breathing. Read the latest CDC travel guidance related to COVID-19.  

In accordance with Governor Northam’s declaration of a state of emergency on March 12, all University-sponsored domestic travel outside of Virginia is suspended for 30 days, even if your travel was previously approved and regardless of the funding source of your official business travel. The Governor will revisit these guidelines after the initial 30-day period.

We strongly discourage all University travel for non-essential purposes, particularly if traveling by air, attending large gatherings or traveling to areas experiencing high numbers of COVID-19 cases, as documented by the CDC. As a part of the University’s travel approval process, we are asking supervisors and approvers to carefully evaluate the purpose of a trip, the destination’s COVID-19 conditions and why the travel is essential to the University. We also discourage personal travel when possible.

If you must travel, whether University-sponsored within Virginia or personal, please take all possible precautions, including staying up to date on the latest spread of the virus.

Please check UMW’s COVID-19 web page for additional travel information under the Frequently Asked Questions section.

The University’s Emergency Operations Team will continue to carefully monitor the situation, and both international and domestic travel guidelines will be updated and communicated to the UMW community as needed.

As always, take appropriate steps to ensure your health and safety, as well as the health and safety of those around you.

Sincerely,

Paul Messplay

VP for Administration & Finance, and CFO

A Message from the President regarding COVID-19

To the campus community:

I am writing to share important information about the University’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. In recent days, the University’s Emergency Operations Team has been closely monitoring the situation and has been working to plan and prepare for possible disruptions to our operations. We have consulted with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), the Governor’s Office, local officials, and our colleagues in higher education around the Commonwealth and beyond. Though we have no known cases of infection among members of the University community, the virus’ spread across the mid-Atlantic region is continuing and it is likely that this will be the case for some time.

In this challenging time, we appreciate your positivity and cooperation as we try, first and foremost, to ensure the safety and well-being of our campus community. Equally important is our commitment to keeping all students on track to complete their course work for the semester and maintain progress towards graduation. We realize that the virus, as well as the uncertainty of what lies ahead, may cause heightened anxiety across our campus community. Your concerns are understandable, and we will continue to communicate with you as frequently as possible to give you accurate and current information.

Based on the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the VDH, we will immediately initiate a series of steps designed to mitigate the risk of transmission. The goal of these efforts is to promote social distancing by minimizing gatherings in which members of the community spend long periods of time in close proximity. We know from public health officials that this step is essential to help slow the spread of the virus in the United States.

First, all classes will be cancelled this Thursday, March 12, and Friday, March 13. This will provide faculty and staff an opportunity to virtualize instruction and prepare to move teaching and learning online and to alternate formats beginning next week. All in-person class meetings will be suspended and instruction will be moving to online and alternate learning options for a three-week period beginning on Monday, March 16, and continuing through Friday, April 3, pending further developments.

Provost Nina Mikhalevsky will soon provide faculty with additional information in support of this effort. The University will continue to monitor the situation and will make appropriate adjustments as necessary to the timetable outlined above.

Let me be clear: the University will remain open with operations and services continuing with minimal interruptions.

While all in-person classes are being moved online and to alternate learning approaches, this will allow residential students to depart the campus. All residential students are strongly urged to return home by the end of this weekend. The Office of Residence Life & Housing will be available to work with and support students during this transition and Vice President Juliette Landphair will be sharing additional information with all students shortly.

To further ensure the health and safety of members of the University and local communities, we will also limit gatherings and travel during this critical time period. Effective tomorrow, all University events and programs, as well as all other events scheduled for the Fredericksburg and Stafford campuses, are cancelled through April 6. Varsity athletic conference competition will continue while we work with athletic conference partners and the NCAA.

Further, all University-sponsored international travel is suspended until at least May 15. All members of the UMW community are strongly encouraged to exercise caution in domestic University-related and personal travel. Further guidance about travel will be provided in a follow-up communication from Vice President for Administration and Finance Paul Messplay.

In taking these actions, our goal is to ensure the health and safety of the University community while maintaining the continuity of our academic programs so that students remain on track to complete the semester and, in the case of our graduating students, to receive their degrees.

While we hope that we will be able to return to in-person classes at the beginning of April, we must also understand that this may not be possible. We will update you as events warrant for this very fluid and rapidly evolving situation.

Please also continue our tradition of care for one another. We encourage you to acknowledge the hard work of the people working in residence halls, facilities, services, and classrooms as they prioritize student learning and the safety of all members of our community. In keeping with ASPIRE, UMW is committed to creating an environment that supports the wellbeing of all students, faculty, and staff with all members of the community being treated with dignity and respect.

Thank you for your help and leadership as we work collaboratively to face COVID-19 as a united community and take steps to respond in this complex situation.

President Troy D. Paino
University of Mary Washington

 

Campus Update on Coronavirus

To students, faculty, and staff:

As members of our community return from spring break, when many of us have been traveling, we would like to provide an update on the global outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). Rest assured that UMW’s medical and emergency management officials have taken proactive steps and are continually monitoring the situation and are regularly in touch with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).

There are no confirmed cases in our community or in Virginia. At this point, VDH recommends self-quarantine only for individuals who have traveled to or been in close contact with residents of China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea. In addition, the same protocol is recommended for anyone who has been in physical proximity with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19.

We realize many students, faculty, and staff have traveled widely during the past week. While the risk of contracting COVID-19 is lower if you have not traveled to any of the four countries named above or been in close contact with someone who has, we urge all members of the campus community to practice vigilance in regard to their health.

As a means of ensuring your safety as well as the safety of the campus community, we ask that you inform student health via this link of where you have traveled in the past several weeks.

The symptoms associated with COVID-19 are similar to the common flu – fever, cough, shortness of breath, and other respiratory complaints.  Students who are ill or think they may be ill should stay home from class and must contact their instructor via email or telephone to discuss appropriate adjustments. Faculty will be provided guidance on ways to accommodate students who may temporarily need to participate or complete assignments remotely. Faculty members who have questions about how to do this may find assistance through the Center for Teaching and Digital Learning Support.

As with any cold or flu, it is important for everyone to follow these self-care habits to reduce the chance of infection:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid eating or drinking after others or sharing e-cigarettes.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

There is currently no treatment available for COVID-19; for more than 80% of people who contract the virus, cases are mild and the virus runs its course. However, if you test positive with coronavirus, VDH recommends self-isolate for 14 days so as not to expose anyone else to the virus.

If you have medical questions or are in need of a thermometer, please call the Student Health Center at 540-654-1040.

For any other questions or concerns, please email healthupdates@umw.edu or call/leave a message at 540-654-1999.

Further information on COVID-19 can be found at Virginia Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control, and/or x211 (press 9).

We continue to work closely with local, state, and federal health officials, and we will regularly update the campus.

Your well-being is a top priority. In our commitment to minimizing the health risks to our students, staff and faculty, we will provide as clear and timely communications as possible.

Sincerely,

Juliette Landphair, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs
University of Mary Washington
540-654-1062
Jlandpha@umw.edu