University President Joan Gabel has sent several updates, including one today, on the University’s response to COVID-19. We understand that communication is critical at this time, and we are committed to providing you with frequent, relevant information as this situation develops. We will begin daily leader huddles as another way to ensure information is available. Finally, you should also visit the University’s Safe Campus website for the most current information.
Here are the important updates for today:
- In-person instruction, including field experiences and clinicals, across our five campuses is being suspended and is moving to online or alternative instruction until at least April 1. For classes that cannot be taught online, the instructor will contact students with further information. A message from Scott Davenport, Director of Student Affairs, will shortly follow this message, and will provide more in-depth details to students.
- Spring break will be extended on the Duluth, Rochester, and Twin Cities campuses until Wednesday, March 18. Students will resume classes, through online or alternative instruction, on March 18.
- The Office of Student Affairs is working on the specifics as it relates to clerkships, electives away, and extracurricular activities, and will communicate with students as needed.
Students are encouraged to stay home and continue classes online. However, residence halls, dining services, and other student services will continue for the time being. Those returning to campus should follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Minnesota Department of Health advice on hygiene and prevention.
- All non-essential international and domestic travel by faculty, staff, and students for University purposes is prohibited, regardless of funding source. Please note that staff travel between campuses for essential operations is still permitted.
- The restrictions cover travel occurring March 16 to April 30, and will be re-evaluated on March 31.
- At this time, the only restrictions on education abroad programs are for spring, May term, and summer programs in CDC Level 3 advisory countries. As of today, those include China, South Korea, Iran, and Italy.
- For more information on international travel and education abroad programs, see the GPS Alliance’s COVID-19 information for travelers.
All University of Minnesota campuses will continue normal operations and employees of the University should report for work as standard. Supervisors and human resource leads will work with employees to determine if telecommuting is necessary. Please contact your HR lead for more information.
Vice President Chris Cramer is leading efforts to ensure readiness to activate the campus pandemic response plan related to our research mission. OVPR has offered new guidance from the IRB today regarding clinical trials and human research participants.
We are working closely with M Physicians and Fairview to ensure coordinated efforts. M Health Fairview has convened a Command Center to centrally manage all COVID-19 patient care operations and communications. The Minnesota Department of Health and other regional coordination groups are actively involved with advising clinical partners in Minnesota.
For additional information, tomorrow, Susan Kline, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases & International Medicine in the Department of Medicine will present "COVID-19: Quarantine, Containment and Mitigation" at the Department of Medicine Grand Rounds, Thursday, March 12, 2020, 12:15 PM in Moos Tower 2-650. I encourage attendance at this important presentation.
I am grateful for your steady focus as we face these challenges together. I can assure you that the University’s leaders are prepared, planful, and well-connected. We will work every day with safety, high-quality patient care, and communication as our high priorities.