Sharing developments for our COVID-19 response
March 11, 2020
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,
Since yesterday's message regarding our proactive response to COVID-19, BGSU continues to work diligently on our preparedness efforts in consultation with local, state and national agencies. The University remains open, and while there are currently no known COVID-19 cases in northwest Ohio, we join other universities in taking measures to slow down the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Above all, we are committed to the health and vitality of our learning community, as well as the continuity of University and academic operations. We want to ensure our students finish the semester with no loss of time toward degree completion and maintain the high quality of the academic experience at Bowling Green State University. It is important that you prioritize your health and wellness, as well as consider the health of others by following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines.
This is a rapidly evolving situation. We have developed an FAQ website to begin to answer the questions we have received from students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and community members through phone calls, emails and social media. This FAQ list may not answer all of your questions, but we will add to it as we make decisions.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine declared a State of Emergency on Monday, and he also offered a set of recommendations for higher education when speaking to Ohioans yesterday and today. We are implementing all of them, including:
- moving face-to-face classes toward temporary online learning starting March 23 to April 6, after our scheduled Spring Break. The two weeks of temporary online learning complies with the CDC’s COVID-19 exposure window
- screening students, faculty and staff who recently traveled internationally
- extending our previous travel restrictions to suspend all BGSU-supported, non-essential, domestic and international travel for students, faculty and staff until May 15. Only approved, essential business travel will be permitted
- suspending all BGSU events involving more than 100 participants effective March 14 through April 17, and strongly encouraging students, faculty and staff to practice social distancing
We are mindful of the potential impact the transition to temporary online learning will have on our students. We are taking actions to support this change, and while there are ongoing discussions, we want to share updates to clarify operations:
- we are following CDC and Ohio Department of Health guidelines to implement appropriate safeguards. Students who show symptoms or become sick will be asked to self-quarantine. Working with the Wood County Health Department, BGSU will assist in identifying those accommodations
- we expect faculty to work with students who have underlying health conditions
- today, we have adjusted the self-service buffet options in the dining facilities. The dining staff will serve food in The Oaks and at Carillon Place. We will continue to offer dining options to meet the capacity of our students, faculty and staff
- we are immediately enhancing and instituting public health and hygiene measures for students in residence halls and common spaces, which will remain open and accessible
- we currently plan to return to face-to-face classes on April 6 in compliance with the CDC's COVID-19 exposure window after Spring Break travel
- we have launched an online resource hub to support our faculty to continue class delivery remotely. This online initiative is led by the Office of the Provost, Center for Faculty Excellence and Information Technology Services
- Information Technology Services will assist students who do not have access to technology to ensure they have the support to be successful during the temporary online learning window. A process to triage those concerns is being developed. In the meantime, if you are a student who needs access to technology, please fill out this form so we can reach out to you.
- we continue to evaluate classroom experiences such as laboratory, performance and flight classes, and the University will provide more detailed guidance next week. We understand these experiences may require you to be on campus and we are exploring options to still offer these classes. Internships, co-ops, clinical rotations and student teaching currently in place will continue as planned, but are subject to changes that may occur at the external sites
- classes will continue on both campuses as scheduled through Friday. During this week, we urge all students to make choices that are best for their own personal health situations. Faculty will be flexible for class attendance during this time
Here's what we know today: the COVID-19 spread impacts all of our students, faculty and staff, but current employment statuses and staffing levels related to this pandemic are expected to remain unchanged. We are actively reviewing BGSU's remote work guidelines. We have asked that supervisors and managers offer flexible accommodations, where appropriate. If employees are sick, it is strongly encouraged that they do not come to either campus. Staff, student employees and graduate assistants remain employed and will receive compensation for their work. As with other part- and full-time employees, we ask them to work with their supervisors to coordinate accommodations.
The suspension of all BGSU events involving more than 100 participants until April 17 has caused understandable inconvenience, but this measure limits exposure to high-risk large groups. Please practice social distancing, especially with your personal space and contact with others.
We have not yet made a decision on whether large events after April 17, such as Spring Commencement, will continue. We are exploring options and doing everything we can to ensure these scheduled events happen.
We understand that you may have more questions. We will continue to update the FAQs on the University's coronavirus website and will immediately communicate with you regarding additional decisions and information. At Bowling Green State University, the health and safety of our learning community remains a top priority.
Rodney K. Rogers, Ph.D.
Joe B. Whitehead, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs