Interim Provost Stephen Roberts sent the following update on COVID-19 to Missouri S&T faculty and staff on Friday, March 6. For the latest updates, check the S&T coronavirus website.
Dear S&T community members,
The spread of COVID-19 has prompted
much discussion on campus among various constituent groups. I have listened to
your input, weighed options, and offer this general plan for continued
operations should we find ourselves in an emergent situation.
are no known cases of COVID-19 on our campus at this time. Following are descriptions of services in place that will enable
us to respond to the COVID-19 situation if it worsens. In the case of any type
of emergency that causes our operations to cease or substantially change, you
will be informed by email. If email is impossible for you to access, please
check this website for
updates and further information.
- Medical Preparedness: As campus Student
Health Officer (CRR 280.010), Dr. Dennis Goodman is assigned medical duties for campus relevant to the current situation. He is the primary
contact assigned to protect students and members of the
University community by ensuring, so far as possible, that communicable and
contagious diseases will not be spread among them. No information about the
spread of any emergent disease or medical condition should be distributed on
campus unless it has been reviewed by him.
- All decisions and
public announcements regarding the medical aspects of an emergent situation
need to be coordinated through the Student Health Officer Dr. Dennis Goodman. This involves the medical aspects of preparedness,
testing, isolation, quarantine, and treatment decisions. This scope of involved medical decisions may expand as the
situation changes. The Student Health
Officer is assigned the responsibility of keeping current on the state of
medical care and decision making.
- Students: International Affairs staff work closely
with study-abroad and international students and their families regarding
travel and the associated registry, academic resources, insurance coverage, and
related matters. Each case is handled individually to ensure that all parties
have relevant and complete information. Faculty and staff traveling on
university business who register their travel are also tracked and assisted
individually by International Affairs.
- Communications: We continue to offer
students campus-level information through all regular channels. Continue to seek
national information from reliable sources such as the CDC. We also encourage
everyone to check for local updates about COVID-19.
Our designated Student Health Officer will recommend restrictions on
travel in and out of the university.
Final decisions of travel restrictions come from Chancellor Mo Dehghani,
and are coordinated with Mark Diedrich at the UM System Emergency Preparedness
are asking everyone to carefully consider all university-related travel, and if
you travel, to take appropriate precautions when you travel and upon return as
needed. Right now, university travel is prohibited to China, South Korea, Iran,
and Italy because of CDC and State Department warning levels. Changes to this
position may occur if the U.S. State Department Travel Advisory Level changes
to level 3 or 4 in any specific location.
We will alert campus if travel to any additional location becomes prohibited.
Infrastructure Preparedness: Vice Chancellor for Research Costas
Tsatsoulis is responsible for a plan to manage the research infrastructure on
campus in the event that we experience a disruption in operations. This information will
be shared if and when necessary.
- System level
A System Emergency Preparedness Planning Task Force has been meeting to assess
risk and potential risk based on information from the CDC, the State Department,
and local and national news media.
have general questions about the Missouri S&T response to the current
situation, send them to me: firstname.lastname@example.org. We
will direct them to the appropriate individual to provide you a response.
Academic Preparedness Plan
Our shared goal is continuity in our
academic mission even if it becomes necessary to
partially or fully close campus. Faculty should look to department chairs for
instructions, and department chairs will look to deans for instructions on
continuing instruction in the case of a campus closure.
In many instances, faculty can deliver course content using
our university-wide online learning tools—Canvas and Zoom—which are available
to all faculty and students. Most faculty already use Canvas, and many faculty
already use Zoom. If faculty are not using Canvas and Zoom, we request that you
begin to do so very soon as part of a general emergency preparation strategy,
especially knowing that COVID-19 is currently causing campus closures in other
locations within the U.S.
recognize that not all courses are equally portable; wet labs, experiential
learning, and other activities may not be possible to continue, and
alternatives will need to be identified and provided for students. Please collaborate
with your department chair and colleagues about which strategies will be most
effective for your students. Plan to act on your findings if we do experience
any campus disruptions.
do have to rapidly convert on-campus courses into an online format, we will do
everything we can to support you. You will be provided with lists of resources
as they become available. Those will include tech support for you, and academic
support for students.
possible, in the event of a campus closure, classes will be held electronically
through Zoom. Assignments and tests will be submitted and graded on the Canvas
platform. All courses are automatically given a Canvas course shell, which most
of us already use.
technologies and resources will be integrated to provide a comparable academic
experience for students. For assistance with Zoom, visit https://it.mst.edu/services/zoom/ or
contact the Missouri S&T Help Desk for any other
Zoom-related questions. Zoom Pro’s features include the following:
may host up to 300 participants;
have no time limit;
are easily recorded (observe FERPA and general privacy guidelines);
and screen-/document-sharing capabilities are included;
video quality works well across many device types. Download the client to your
desktop, laptop, and cell phone if you wish.
steps in emergent situations
- Stay in contact with your department chair: Your department may issue more details about the situation and guidelines about their expectations for your classes.
- If you assign points for class attendance, do not penalize students for missing class if they are sick. Encourage students to not come to class if they are not feeling well and/or are demonstrating symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (or any other significant illness).
- If you do have to adjust the format for delivery in the middle of the course:
- Consider realistic goals for continuing instruction. What do you think you can realistically accomplish during this time period? Do you think you can maintain your original syllabus and schedule? Do you hope students will keep up with the reading with some assignments to add structure and accountability? Consider ways to keep them engaged with the course content.
- Review your course schedule to determine priorities. Identify your priorities during the disruption—providing lectures, structuring new opportunities for discussion or group work, collecting assignments, etc. What activities are better rescheduled, and what can or must be done online? Give yourself some flexibility in that schedule, just in case the situation takes longer to resolve than you think.
- Review your syllabus for points that must change. What will have to temporarily change in your syllabus (policies, due dates, assignments, etc.)? Anticipate student anxiety.
- Pick tools and approaches familiar to you and your students. Try to rely on tools and workflows that are familiar to you and your students, and roll out new tools only when absolutely necessary.
- Clearly articulate your new expectations for students. You will have to reconsider some of your expectations for students, including participation, communication, and deadlines. As you think through those changes, keep in mind the impact this situation may have on students’ ability to meet those expectations, including illness or needing to care for family members. Be ready to handle requests for extensions or accommodations equitably but generously.
- Add a section to your syllabus that tells students how communications will occur in the event of a partial or complete campus closure.
conclude, we are formulating plans in proportion to the threat, with a nimble
approach that quickly responds to changes in alert levels. Our community has
remained calm and thoughtful as COVID-19 news dominates the media. We are
optimistically planning on business as usual, but ensuring that we are prepared
in case our operations face significant challenges. Thank you for helping
continue our missions of teaching, research, and service in a time of elevated
anxiety and uncertainty.
Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor