Coronavirus Update for Campus Community

Dear Campus Community,

I hope that you all had a safe and healthy weekend. In my ongoing effort to keep the UB community informed regarding the coronavirus situation and relevant campus news, I write to you today with the latest updates. We are all experiencing shock about how fast our world has changed over the past few weeks. Here at UB, we are determined to continue the semester for all of our students.

Currently, we have 143 students living on campus. Eighty-seven students are undergraduates. Graduate students are located in housing near campus or reside in university-owned apartments. I wish to thank Craig Lennon, Rob Schmidt, and their staffs in supporting all of our students during this challenging time. Food service is available on campus for our students. All of our students, both on and off campus, are encouraged to reach out to their faculty, our advising center staff, and our counseling staff for the support they may need during this difficult time.

Provost Healey, Dean Lennon, and I greatly appreciate the positive feedback received from a March 15 letter from Diter Bitri, UB’s Student Body President and a current student in my class. In his letter, under consultation with his constituencies, Diter references the commitment and thoughtful decision-making of the University in this unsettling and unprecedented situation, and we are most appreciative of the confidence placed in us by our students. We will continue to work together to ensure the health and safety of all members of our community, strive to meet student needs as proactively and responsively as possible, and focus on minimizing disruption in the delivery of our academic programs. The Provost’s Office continues to work closely with the Faculty Executive Committee (FEC) concerning key academic matters. Vice Provost Chris Cassirer and his IT staff are here to provide support for all faculty who are offering online instruction to keep the academic program moving forward without interruption. This morning, at exactly 9:30 a.m., I gave my very first online class and was so glad to see the faces of my students. The Deans are currently working through the various arrangements that will need to be made to cover clinicals and labs for affected students. More information from them will be forthcoming. The University will be flexible and work with one goal in mind—to best accommodate all of our University of Bridgeport students.

The University has offered Bodine Hall, a currently unused residence hall, as a temporary facility to help Bridgeport Hospital with the predicted overrun of hospital beds in the upcoming days and weeks. The State of Connecticut along with New York and New Jersey, announced today, a collective regional approach to limit crowd capacity to 50 people for the next eight weeks. In keeping with this new directive, a number of UB events are postponed, including Faculty Research Day and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Northeast Section Conference. In place of the on-campus Accepted Students Day planned for March 29 and the Admissions Open House on April 26, we are creating a virtual event with videos to replicate, as closely as possible, the in-person experience for admitted and prospective students. According to the State of Connecticut’s website, the three governors also announced that restaurants and bars that serve food will temporarily be required to move to take-out and delivery services only. Bars that do not serve food will be required to temporarily close. These measures will take effect at 8 p.m. tonight. The website also stated that the governors will temporarily close movie theaters, gyms, and fitness centers, and similar public workout facilities and studios.

I have received many inquiries from parents and students concerning spring commencement. As the parent of a graduating senior, believe me, I understand why this is so important to both the student and their family. For the first time in several years, my son will be living at home as he completes his last trimester of college online. As of now, here at the University of Bridgeport, no decision regarding spring commencement ceremonies has occurred. Please stay tuned as additional information becomes available.

Sincerely yours,

Laura Skandera Trombley