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New Coronavirus Update Addresses Academic Preparations

Campus fall 19

A message from Minghua Zhang, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, outlines emerging plans to cope with the COVID-19 epidemic from an academic point of view. The message follows yesterday’s guidance from Interim President Michael Bernstein. Zhang’s statement, dated March 4, 2020, reads as follows:

In response to concerns over novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced today that SUNY’s study abroad programs in China, Italy, Japan, Iran and South Korea are suspended, effective immediately. SUNY is arranging chartered flights for study abroad students in Italy, South Korea and Japan to return to the United States. Upon their return, they will be quarantined for 14 days. Stony Brook University has 61 students in these countries who might return within the next few days.

In light of the unique circumstances, Stony Brook’s Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) and Office of Global Affairs (OGA) will work with the impacted students to determine academic course alternatives. Once a revised course plan has been developed, staff members from DUE or OGA will reach out to the appropriate department and programs to finalize accommodations for these students. I write to ask for your cooperation to support these students so that they can maintain full-time status and continue their academic progress for the Spring 2020 semester. I thank everyone for their flexibility and assistance during this challenging situation.

Since COVID-19 is a rapidly changing situation, circumstances may require you to make alternative teaching arrangements for your courses. I encourage you to start exploring whether and how your classes may be temporarily offered online. An important step is to ensure your current syllabi are uploaded to your Blackboard course sites if you have not already done so. Within Blackboard, you can find your courses, make group contacts with your students and set up “SBConnect Room” that will launch Adobe Connect. Instructions and other online teaching options have been prepared by staff in the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) and are available on the Keep Teaching webpage for your reference.

Earlier today, President Bernstein advised that students, faculty and staff returning from countries or regions designated with travel warnings (level 3) or travel alerts (level 2) by the CDC and the U.S. Department of State will be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine. This requirement applies to visiting students and scholars, as well as other people who come to campus. If you have planned events, meetings, conferences or experiments with external people coming to campus, please be aware that those who have travelled to the impacted regions in the past 14 days will not be allowed to enter campus at this time. If these visitors have already arrived, please advise them to self-quarantine until 14 days have passed after their recent travel to the impacted regions.

As a reminder, you can visit the Stony Brook Medicine Coronavirus information page to find information on how to prevent the spread of 2019-nCoV and what to do if you think you might be infected.

See also: University Coronavirus Information Page

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