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Coronavirus

Coronavirus/COVID-19 Updates

Community Information Regarding Coronavirus

Update May 22, 2020 - A Special Message from UIW President Thomas M. Evans, PhD

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

I am inspired at every graduation. Yet, I found this graduation, while different due to its virtual format, to be the most inspiring of all. As I stood in the Student Engagement Center filming my graduation message to our Cardinal graduates and their friends and families, I knew that words were simply not enough to convey how incredible they are to have successfully modified their course attendance to fully online mid-semester and realize their goals of obtaining their degrees, all during this unprecedented pandemic. I hope that each of our graduates feels a sense of accomplishment and pride in their great efforts during our virtual commencement ceremonies on May 30.

Indeed, all our students exhibited fluidity and adaptability as we asked them to transition to remote learning, move out of dorms earlier than expected, cancel their theater and musical performances, end their sport seasons early, and make many other changes in their lives. Our students’ resilience and fortitude are a testament to the power of hard work and grace in responding to a changed world. I also thank our staff for their dedication to serving and supporting our students and our faculty for their innovation in reimagining their classrooms in a virtual space, while still providing the highest caliber of compassionate and quality education.

Having just completed the Spring 2020 term, I would like to share the ongoing work of the various teams that are focused on plans for the eventual resumption of activities on campus. To that end, while early summer sessions will be delivered online, we are hopeful that students will be back on campus for the Fall 2020 term. However, the situation around COVID-19 remains fluid, with guidelines and mandates changing rapidly. We must remain flexible and proceed cautiously, following the guidance of the CDC and complying with mandates of our county, city, state and federal governments. Decisions regarding the Fall 2020 term will be made by the end of June and information will be shared with our students by the Office of the Provost.

Please know that teams across our system are hard at work to protect the health of students, faculty, staff and visitors to our university, and ensure that our students will enjoy caring, rewarding and academically enriching summer and fall semesters. Our leadership team, incident command team, business continuity groups and key members of our faculty and staff have been at work monitoring developments, exploring options and planning for the start of the summer and fall terms for months. Given the complexity and scope of campus activities and many uncertainties, planning has included the development and analysis of several possible scenarios for the upcoming academic year. We also remind ourselves that while we are anxious to return to campus, we must remain adaptable to new conditions as we navigate within our changed world. Finally, we fully appreciate that the financial and operational decisions we make now are essential to upholding and building upon the quality of scholarship and education at the University of the Incarnate Word in the years ahead.

  • The Incident Command Team, led by Dr. Glenn James, vice provost, and Sam McDaniel, director of Environmental Health, Safety & Risk Management, includes the core group of Dr. David Garza, UIW medical director, Dr. Ronda Gottlieb, assistant director of Health Services, Dr. Darrell Haydon, CFO and vice president for Business & Finance and Margaret Garcia, director of Communications & Brand Marketing. This team serves as the overarching group overseeing all aspects of the public health concerns related to planning and preparations to meet its objective to protect the health of students, faculty, staff and visitors to the university and the communication of those messages to the UIW community. This team of healthcare professionals and leaders from UIW are providing expert guidance on the conditions under which students, faculty and staff could gather on the various campuses. Some of the issues under discussion include availability of testing, use of face coverings and personal protective equipment (PPE), the level of population density in campus offices and classrooms, campus housing, and other campus environments in relationship to the potential spread of COVID-19, social distancing, quarantine planning and building a campus culture in which everyone recognizes our individual and collective responsibility for maintaining a healthy environment.
  • The Academic Planning Team is focused on preparing course options that maximize opportunities to enhance learning – with in-person classes as much as safe practices will allow, combined with creative and engaging remote instruction. Options will be available for students who have a preference or need to continue to attend remotely. Our fall offerings will have the flexibility to pivot smoothly to fully remote learning if our regional health concerns require that again. This team is also working on enhancing the online delivery of our various support services. Our university faculty continue planning to be fully prepared for summer and fall semesters to continue our high standard of excellence and dedication to student education and engagement—regardless of the delivery method.
  • The Financial Planning Team is led by Dr. Darrell Haydon, joined by Douglas Endsley, our soon-to-be retired CFO, and Edie Cogdell, our controller. The finance team is developing response and contingency plans that will allow UIW to remain financially resilient to the risks that the pandemic has caused for all major institutions of higher education, including ours. In addition, this team will be proposing to the Board an adjusted fiscal year 20-21 budget to reflect the expected impact from the pandemic on our enrollment and financial operations during the upcoming academic year.
  • The Campus Life/Housing/Dining Team, led by Sandy McMakin, associate provost, is analyzing safe housing options for our students’ eventual return to campus, residence halls and dining facilities. They are also focused on planning diversified programming and activities to engage our students on campus, as well as in creative, educational and entertaining online options.
  • The Human Resources Team is led by Annette Thompson, associate vice president for Human Resources. The HR team is exploring a number of different possibilities to support our employees and ongoing needs of the university while shaping the workforce in light of projections across the higher education industry that indicate that the economic difficulty and uncertainty caused by this pandemic will continue for some time. The team is analyzing options for employees and, for those currently working remotely to return to work on campus with careful attention to their health and safety, and in a manner consistent with all federal, state and local health requirements.
  • The Athletics Team, led by Richard Duran, interim athletic director, is working with the NCAA and Southland Conference on guidance for a safe return to competition. Athletics training staff are working closely with the university medical team on plans and preparations for safely returning student athletes to campus and are partnering with Campus Police to support the university’s screening program for temperature checks for all entering the Broadway campus.
  • The Development and University Relations Teams are working on COVID-19 related philanthropic efforts. Immediately following declaration of the pandemic, they collaborated with the offices of Financial Aid and Finance to create an Emergency Impact Fund, which has raised almost $30,000 to help students impacted by COVID-19, and have several requests pending with community-based and national funders. The Government Relations Team continues to seek out grants and other opportunities to benefit our students and university; it was instrumental in UIW being among the first universities in the nation to receive and distribute to our student emergency funds from the CARES Act.
  • The Facilities, Information Resources, and Public Safety Teams are working to improve the safety and effectiveness of our learning environments. These efforts include installing over 100,000 square feet of plexiglass to improve staff and student safety, increasing our investment in classroom technology to improve our flexibility to deliver in-person and online instruction, and to develop the safety processes and procedures to ensure that our campuses are prepared to welcome back students for the fall.
  • The Office of Communications and Brand Marketing is ensuring that everyone in our community across all campuses is up-to-date on announcements, new procedures and policy changes. The team continues messaging specific to our many constituencies through several different platforms, so that all in our community understand their role and how they may be impacted. The creation of different communication delivery models, from one-on-one to social media interactions to email or web-based announcements, are ensuring access to all members of our community in multiple mediums.

As you can see, preparations for the immediate and near future are underway across our university system. Updates and protocols for each school will be shared by its respective dean or appropriate personnel as decisions are made. Maintaining the health and safety of our community is paramount, and as such it is vital for all university programs to coordinate with their deans and directors before making plans to resume any on-campus activities that had been suspended as a result of the pandemic.

Kudos go out to Neil Schroeder and the Information Resources Division who seamlessly executed the transition to distance learning for our students and remote work for our staff and faculty throughout the university. Their attention to detail to ensure the reliability and security of our infrastructure is noteworthy and another example of the UIW community coming together as one.

I congratulate our graduates once again and pray that everyone remains safe, healthy and compassionate to the needs of themselves, their families and others. I ask members of our community everywhere to please join in prayer for all those suffering from COVID-19, those caring for them and all who are affected by this pandemic.

Praised be the Incarnate Word!

Sincerely,

Thomas M. Evans, PhD
President

Previous Updates

Update May 1, 2020 Open
Update April 24, 2020 Open
Update April 17, 2020 Open
Update April 10, 2020 - A Special Message from the Office of the Provost Open
Update April 3, 2020 Open
Update March 27, 2020 Open
Update March 25, 2020 – Important Message from Career Services Open
Update March 19, 2020 Open
Update March 18, 2020 Open
Update March 18, 2020 - Important Message from Human Resources Open
Update March 18, 2020 - Important Message regarding Federal Work-study and Non-Federal Student Employment Open
Update March 17, 2020 Open
Update March 15, 2020 Open
Update March 14, 2020 Open
Update March 12, 2020 Open
Update March 12, 2020 Open
Update March 11, 2020 Open
Update March 11, 2020 Open
Update March 8, 2020 Open
Update March 6, 2020 Open
Update March 4, 2020 Open
Update March 4, 2020 - Important COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Terms to Know Open
Update March 2, 2020 Open
Update Feb. 28, 2020 Open
Update Feb. 28, 2020 Open
Update Feb. 14, 2020 Open
Update Jan. 31, 2020 Open