November 22, 2020

 

Dear Faculty Colleagues,

This note has two purposes. Most importantly, if you are planning to teach or give exams in-person on Monday and/or Tuesday, please read the following few paragraphs as I have an important request.  Secondly, in the later paragraphs, I wanted to express my profound appreciation to all of the UNCG faculty and provide a bit more background information.

Here is the main point of the communication for those with in-person classes, or in-person exams scheduled, on Monday and Tuesday:

Because of the: 1) spike in cases in Guilford County and beyond; 2) the need to quarantine anyone who is in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 (contact, from a public health perspective, means within 6 feet of an infected individual for more than 15 minutes);  and 3) our desire to protect our community and not to place students or faculty in a situation of being quarantined over Thanksgiving,  we want to make sure that you know you have the flexibility to teach your last class(es) on Monday and Tuesday virtually, should you want to (we know that many of you have already planned to do so)

If you choose or need (e.g. labs) to teach in-person, or plan to give in-person exams, please do what you can to try and ensure that students remain at least six feet apart. If you need a larger classroom to provide six foot distances between students in class or exams, please contact  Andrew Hamilton (ahamilton@uncg.edu) or Julia Jackson-Newsom (j_jackso@uncg.edu), as we believe we may be able to accommodate your request.

Now for some additional information:

First, I want to thank all of you for your flexibility, determination, and hard work to simply make it to this point in the semester, and for your dedication to our students. I can’t tell you how honored and happy I am to be a part of the UNCG community. This is truly an inspiring place to work because of the people and the mission.

I have met with many of you in the surreal confines of my Zoom 2-D rectangle over the last several weeks in virtual venues such as Faculty Senate, department meetings, and various other individual or group discussions in the internet’s ether.  One thing I know from those meetings is that we are all pretty exhausted. So, please know that the last thing I want to do is cause you to do more work. This request is truly optional and is aimed at making you and your students’ lives easier, not harder.

Here is a little more information on the COVID situation and why I am encouraging virtual instruction for the last two class days of the term:

We have seen an uptick of positive cases in the campus community, though the positivity rate of asymptomatic individuals remains very low. We also have no evidence of the virus spreading in classrooms. But, per public health regulations, and out of an abundance of caution, anyone who we determine has been in close contact (within 6 ft for more than 15 minutes) with someone who tests positive is required to quarantine.

With students heading home, and the holiday this week, we very much want to avoid putting any additional students or faculty into quarantine as a result of in-person instruction. We will also be working over the break to further ensure appropriate social distancing in all classrooms, so this issue will be managed as effectively as possible for the spring semester.

As a reminder, COVID testing will be available again on Monday, from 9 am-3 pm in the Dail Room in EUC for students and employees.

If you have questions about COVID and the classroom, please contact Julia Jackson-Newsom (j_jackso@uncg.edu).

Please have a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday!  I will be reflecting on so many things for which I am thankful – such reflection helps to recharge my soul. So, if your life allows it, please try and recharge what needs to be recharged for you and your families, and try and find moments for reflection, rest and relaxation.

With the warmth of ours and all other suns,

Jim

Jim Coleman

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Professor of Biology
University of North Carolina Greensboro
336.334.5494; jscoleman@uncg.edu
Twitter:@ j_s_coleman
Web https://provost.uncg.edu/;  https://biology.uncg.edu/people/jim-coleman/