As we prepare for spring break, it is important that we directly address any misinformation about the University’s operational plans regarding the coronavirus outbreak. Apparently there are some unsubstantiated reports that classes will be canceled following spring break or that spring break will be extended. This is simply not true.
At this time, based on the diligent work of the University’s coronavirus taskforces, there are no plans to cancel regularly scheduled classes or to close our campuses. Further, in the absence of any reported COVID-19 cases among the University and South Florida communities, we are taking proactive steps outlined in our recent communications available at news.miami.edu/coronavirus. This site contains the most up-to-date and accurate information for the University community and is the sole source on coronavirus information for students, faculty, and staff. The University’s social media platforms are also making sure everyone is aware of this website. Please make sure faculty, staff, and students are aware of the University’s latest communications and health advisories related to the coronavirus and promote this helpful site.
I ask all of you to be nimble during this quickly-changing event and to be respectful of individual decisions made by students and academic peers as we continue to monitor this situation and to follow CDC guidelines, including their recommendations specific to higher education institutions. While we can’t predict the full scope and reach of the outbreak, spring break provides a window for faculty to consider and prepare for the potential impact the viral outbreak can have on our students and their families:
Our recent actions to suspend study abroad programs in affected areas and nonessential international university-sponsored travel to those places are both precautionary and prudent measures, with any future actions guided by the best science and policies and in close coordination with government and public health agencies.
Students are anxious, and we ask that the faculty be sensitive to and respectful of students’ personal health needs and that of their families.
Faculty members should work with students who miss class because of self-isolation that may be required to ensure they can continue their academic pursuits.
While there are no plans to close the University, we have been working on academic contingency planning since Hurricane Irma in 2017, and the School of Nursing and Health Studies’ recent presentation to the academic deans is promising and may serve as a model for other schools.
We are more than halfway through the semester. Use spring break as an opportunity to refresh and recharge.
Everyone should continue to follow good hygiene and responsible citizenship, which go a long way in controlling the spread of coronavirus.
Much is still unknown about the coronavirus, but we are better served by being informed, taking safeguards, following guidelines, and remaining supportive of our students and colleagues.
The health and safety of students, faculty, and staff remains our highest priority. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office if you have any questions.