Dear Members of the University of Bridgeport Community,
Today marks the conclusion of UB’s second day of online instruction. I remain grateful to our faculty, staff, and students for their adaptability and cooperation as we navigate this new environment together. To ensure that all faculty and students are prepared with essential information on how to use Canvas and other online instructional technologies, several trainings sessions have been recorded and shared on the UB website: https://acts.bridgeport.edu/support/. Early feedback about the training sessions is positive, and the academic technology support team is working to make edits and new recordings available as needed.
UB and its senior leadership team continuously monitors updates and developments at the state, national, and international levels. Institutional decision-making is aligned with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization, as well as our elected officials. In this time of uncertainty, we are affirmed in our belief that the health and wellness of our community is of paramount importance, and we will take all necessary actions to ensure that our community is not compromised.
Therefore, effective immediately, all UB courses will be held online for the remainder of the semester. This decision does not come easily, but it comes with the support of the faculty and Board of Trustees. Today, the Faculty Council passed the following resolution: “The Faculty Council fully supports the administration’s decision to hold classes online this spring, and summer if necessary, in light of the evolving coronavirus epidemic.” I am grateful to Faculty Council for their continued leadership on behalf of UB and its students. Students who left belongings on campus will have the opportunity to retrieve them. More details will be forthcoming from the Division of Student Affairs in the coming days.
We recognize that many students with clinical or lab requirements will be unable to complete these course and program requirements. Students in laboratory-based courses will continue to work with their instructors to satisfy most of their course requirements online. Instructors will communicate with their students to devise individual plans to complete any remaining laboratory work after the end of the semester, if necessary. Some programs, specifically in the College of Health Sciences, are reviewing if clinical options such as telemedicine and virtual clinical education may replace clinical hours. Also, some programs are revising their curriculum to complete theory courses at this time and meet the clinical competency requirements once students can resume their clinical rotations. School directors are in constant contact with program accreditors to ensure that we are meeting all requirements. Specific concerns should be addressed to your faculty advisor, clinical coordinator, school director, or dean. Students who would like additional advising services should reach out to Academic Advising Services in the Heckman Center for The Bridgeport Plan.
While campus operations will be reduced for the remainder of the semester, our core institutional functions and educational mission will continue with the least amount of disruption possible in the midst of a very turbulent time. President Trump has announced that gatherings of more than 10 people should be avoided for the next fifteen days, and the CDC recommended that all gatherings of more than 50 people be suspended for the next eight weeks. Please be assured that our students, the few remaining on campus as well as those on-line and offsite, will be cared for by the residence life and student affairs teams and that the institution will continue to be well-protected by campus security.
The deans, supervisors, and directors will be meeting with staff tomorrow to determine who will need to remain on campus for operations and services and who will be working from home. Staff and faculty may pick up any items they will need until Friday, March 20, at 3 p.m. At that time, the University will commence a lockdown and anyone needing admission to a building should contact Campus Safety for entrance. We are planning to reduce our facilities footprint to promote safety, and Rob Schmidt, chief operating officer for administration and facilities, is directing our on-site housekeeping and cleaning crews to thoroughly clean and sanitize offices and buildings upon their closure. This proactive approach ensures that campus operations will resume smoothly and efficiently when UB reopens.
UB has offered the use of the unoccupied residence hall, Bodine Hall, to Bridgeport Hospital to accommodate hospital staff housing. Today, a team from the hospital will be visiting Bodine to view the space to make observations and evaluate this possibility. I would like to thank our faculty and staff who have already volunteered to help. During this difficult time, it is critical that we support one another and work together for the common good of our community. We are committed to the health and welfare of our campus and the City of Bridgeport. I will keep you apprised of developments in my future messages to you. I encourage you to continue to review the University’s efforts at www.bridgeport.edu/coronavirus.
Thank you for all that you do for UB. We will move ahead together.
Laura Skandera Trombley