Dear Campus Community:
Our daily lives continue to change as new recommendations and directives come forward from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the federal government, and Governor Beshear’s office to ensure continued social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19. Just this afternoon, we conducted our March Board of Regent’s meeting remotely, and the technology worked well and allowed us to conduct business without gathering. We know there are many questions about how these announcements will continue to impact our campus, and we have answered many of them to best of our ability at this time. As your President, I assure you that our decisions are being made with the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff in mind. That is our top priority in these uncertain times.
Based on these new directives, we are taking the following protective measures.
- Remote Instruction will continue through the end of the semester.
- Students in our 16 week face-to-face and online classes have an extended Spring Break this week with classes resuming on Monday, March 23rd through our online platforms. Those participating in seven-week online classes started on Monday as scheduled.
- Campus housing will close for the remainder of the semester, with the exception of special circumstances. Students must gather their personal items and check out of housing by April 1, 2020. A move-out schedule will be communicated shortly to ensure social distancing during this process. We also know there are students with special circumstances who cannot return home; therefore, we are prepared to work with those students to identify housing solutions.
- Special Circumstances – Any student who is concerned about their ability to move out of campus housing by April 1, please contact University Housing by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the office at (859) 572-5676 or (866) 572-5676.
- International Students – We are aware of the unique challenges facing our international students during the COVID-19 outbreak. Because of this, international students are allowed to remain in University Housing. We ask these students notify NKU if they decide to return to their home country.
- Housing Costs–Students leaving University Housing will receive a pro-rated refund or a credit for the remainder of the Spring semester.
- All Education Abroad programs planned for the spring and summer are canceled. All NKU students and faculty that are currently living and studying abroad are being recalled. They will be required to take part in the CDC’s 14 day self-quarantine upon returning to the U.S.
- Students who do not have access to a laptop or the internet at their permanent homes may request assistance from IT by contacting them at email@example.com.
- NKU is committed to honoring student employment. Independent work study or federal work study students are not required to work but may continue working. Those choosing to not work will be paid based on the previously established work schedule.
- The decisions about Finals Week and Commencement will be forthcoming next week.
For Faculty and Staff:
- Alternative Work Arrangements are an option for staff. This includes working from home and altered on-campus schedules. Both of these options support the need to promote social distancing. To ensure we have adequate coverage to meet the needs of our campus, arrangements must be approved by your supervisor. We are encouraging supervisors to:
o Provide flexibility for staff to work from home if possible.
o Be flexible with staff that need to be on campus to perform their job by allowing altered scheduled and creating a safe onsite work environment.
- We are launching a temporary pay process that will keep staff in a full pay status through the end of April, and we will assess any changes that may be needed for May as we are closer to that month.
- All domestic university-sponsored travel, with the exception of our Tri-State region, is suspended until further notice.
For our Campus Operations:
- While NKU will remain open, we are reviewing where we can limit access to university buildings and services consistent with reduced staffing levels. More details will be communicated shortly on our physical hours and our virtual support time.
- Campus dining will be very limited, and the options that remain open will be for take-out services only. Dining Services will be communicating more details soon.
- COVID-19 Awareness Posters have been displayed on all entrances to campus buildings to outline NKY’s safety measures (see attached).
Please know, we have heard your questions and concerns shared through our firstname.lastname@example.org email, and the President’s Cabinet is responding. There are many questions about how the university shares information regarding employees who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Here’s what NKU is doing in order to inform and protect our campus:
- We are following the CDC’s communication protocol to balance the need to update our campus with the privacy of individual employees.
- With this in mind, our communications will be timely and transparent, and the university will take protective measures based on the information we have.
- We are recommending the same precautions as the CDC and local health officials regardless of whether a person is tested or not, self-quarantined or not.
While we work to be mindful of our campus community’s health, the COVID-19 Preparedness Team is reviewing the impacts across our divisions. Provost Sue Ott Rowlands is leading the Academic Affairs team to ensure a smooth transition to the online instruction. Assistant Vice President for Student Engagement and Dean of Students Arnie Slaughter is leading his group to outline how our student support services will operate. There are many other teams working through all aspects of our academic and business operations. Please check your emails for these updates and visit our COVID-19 Preparedness webpage for all NKU communications.
Our new normal would be almost unthinkable just a few weeks ago, but we have learned proactive measures, like social distancing, can help protect our community. When we are challenged in these types on instances, it is our opportunity to rise to the occasion. NKU prides itself on being agile, this is our chance to innovate new ways to ensure student success.
Thank you all you do to support our university during this uncertain time.
Ashish K. Vaidya
Ashish K. Vaidya, Ph.D.
Northern Kentucky University
800 Lucas Administrative Center
Highland Heights, KY 41099