Message from Chancellor Koch: Weekly UIS COVID-19 Update

March 27, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff –

As we come to the close of the first week of our university’s temporary “new normal,” I am so proud of how faculty, staff and students have pulled together to resume the Spring 2020 semester using remote methods of course instruction and in many cases relocating to ensure optimal health and safety during these challenging times. Progress this week is the result of teamwork, flexibility, patience and hard work on the part of many, and I greatly appreciate everyone’s cooperation. We will continue navigating the challenges that come, and I have no doubt that, with continued collaboration, we will have a successful semester!

I realize our university community has received a lot of communication in the past few weeks as we made decisions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the semester now reconvened, we are moving to a more systematic communication strategy and will be providing a weekly email to inform everyone of the latest developments regarding the COVID-19 response. This weekly communication will also share some uplifting stories that are unfolding as our university community rises to the occasion in true Prairie Stars fashion! Of course, any urgent or important announcements will be shared in a timely manner outside of this weekly communication, and I hope you will continue to check uis.edu/covid-19 for additional updates and resources.

For your information, below are some new developments from the past several days:


Campus Facility Hours

With many employees working remotely, most campus buildings are locked and being monitored frequently by UIS Police and Facilities personnel. Faculty and staff who need access to a building should use their keys or swipe-card or, if needed, call UIS Police Dispatch at 217-206-6690 for assistance.

The Student Union is closed and tentatively scheduled to reopen April 7. Meals for students are being provided at the Lincoln Residence Hall grab-n-go counter daily. If you are a student living on campus with an active meal plan, please refer to your email for additional instructions.


Campus Mail Delivery

Starting next week, campus mail delivery will occur Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; packages will continue to be received and delivered daily Monday-Friday.


Remote Teaching and Learning Resources

Information Technology Services and the Center for Online Learning, Research and Services have provided extensive support to faculty and students during the transition to remote teaching and learning. A new site called Guide to Remote Access has been created to aggregate resources for remote learning, working and teaching and to answer frequently asked questions. Please continue to check these resources as content continues to evolve.

Questions about remote teaching and learning can be sent to remotecourse@uis.edu. Please also refer to your UIS email often for updates and resources.

For the many who are working (or studying!) remotely, be sure to read these tips about proper home office ergonomics.


Disability Services and Resources

During this challenging time, some students, including students with disabilities, may experience difficulty adapting to remote learning environments and modalities. Students with disabilities should continue to contact the Office of Disability Services to request assistance or accommodations, and course instructors should continue to work with ODS on requests from students with disabilities for academic adjustments as an accommodation in the virtual classroom.

Campus experts in online teaching and learning in COLRS are also ready to provide guidance and assistance with adapting learning styles and ensuring accessibility in remote instructional delivery.


Spring 2020 Grading Options

Provost Papini (in consultation with the Campus Senate) has decided to expand grading options for students for the Spring 2020 semester by allowing the option for Credit/No Credit grading for all courses. This change is for the Spring 2020 semester only.

Faculty/staff and students received a communication earlier today that explains how students can take advantage of this option. This decision was made in an effort to provide as much flexibility and support as possible to help students have a successful academic outcome this semester.


Health Services updates

As an essential service, Health Services continues to be available for student health needs. Modifications to the Health Services schedule have been implemented to promote appropriate social distancing. Walk-in appointments will not be taken and online scheduling has been suspended. In-clinic and Teleheath appointment schedules are available at uis.edu/healthservices.

Students with a health concern should contact Health Services at 217-206-6676.


Leadership lived

In just a few weeks’ time, we have remarkably adjusted our lives and reset our priorities in myriad ways, but what hasn’t changed is our collective commitment to the mission, vision and values of our university. Near or far, UIS students, faculty and staff continue to embody Leadership lived!

Below are two examples of Leadership Lived that will surely remind you of who we are as a university. More stories will be featured in this weekly message in the coming weeks. (You can submit your own stories to covid19@uis.edu for consideration.)

  • Amandailee Adams, assistant professor of Medical Laboratory Sciences, recently shared how she has adapted her curriculum using Zoom and other technologies. Her creative approach to instruction is just one example of the great work faculty are doing on behalf of our students.
  • Student-athlete Dan Mahony recently was featured in The State Journal-Register as an example of how students are adapting to the many changes this semester. Dan’s positive spirit is one I hope many others will continue to embody. Though we certainly are experiencing a challenging situation, “we’re going to stay positive,” Dan said. “We’re going to stick together, we’re going to keep each other going.”

Thank you, everyone. I greatly appreciate your cooperation and dedication during this time. Please do continue to stay safe and healthy. We will get through this together.

-Chancellor Koch

 

 

Helpful COVID-19 Resources:

UIS COVID-19 website

Guide to Remote Access

UIS Updates