Campus Message - March 9, 2020
For the most recent campus messages, please visit our Coronavirus news center.
10 March 2020
I am writing to you with an important request for preparation in the face of the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Consistent with CDC guidance to institutions of higher education, University System of Georgia (USG) universities have been actively planning for how we will maintain continuity of teaching and learning, should social distancing become necessary. As a first step, we are exploring converting face-to-face classes to online courses, wherever this is possible and appropriate.
To ensure that instruction continues with minimal disruption, I am asking all faculty to begin to prepare to teach courses remotely, wherever feasible. We recognize that some of you have never taught online and may find this somewhat daunting. We also know that not all courses (such as laboratories, studios, clinical rotations and so on) lend themselves easily to online instruction. To make this potential transition as smooth as possible for faculty and students, we will provide as much support as we are able.
The Center for eLearning and the Center for Excellence in Learning & Teaching (CELT) have developed a range of resources to support instructional continuity online, including a new webpage devoted to the basics of teaching remotely, located at: https://www.valdosta.edu/academics/elearning/teaching-remotely.php.
In addition, all VSU faculty have been enrolled in a new “BlazeVIEW 101 Spring 2020” course. By the end of this week, we will make available to you a “Rapid Guide to Teaching Online”, which is being created by USG’s eCampus. Likewise, all VSU students will have a new resource, “VSU BlazeView Student Tutorial Spring 2020” available to them in BlazeView.
Highlights of the BlazeVIEW 101 course include brief learning-on-demand tutorials describing how to create an online discussion forum, set-up a gradebook and use video conferencing tools. There is also an “Ask the Expert” module, where faculty can communicate with colleagues and with staff in the Center for eLearning to share teaching tips and solve problems. Many faculty at VSU have extensive experience teaching online and using technology for instruction. CELT has compiled a list of faculty experts in each college who have agreed to offer pedagogical support to their peers. If you need additional technology to enable you to work from home, a number of laptop computers are available for check-out from Odum Library.
We are providing these new resources in order to assist you to deliver academic content online as soon as possible in the event that we must cancel face-to-face classes. These tools are not intended to transform faculty who are new to online teaching into master online teachers, but these are basic tools grounded in best practices. To begin to prepare for the possibility of moving courses online, I am asking all faculty to try adding new content to one of your BlazeVIEW courses this week before leaving for Spring Break.
As always when time permits, one-on-one consultations and trainings are available from the Center for eLearning. For assistance, e-mail email@example.com or call 229-245-6490. Even if campus closes for a public health emergency, staff in the Center for eLearning and CELT will work remotely to answer e-mails and the phone. Faculty can also call the D2L Help Center 24-hours a day for troubleshooting (1-855-772-0423).
The VSU leadership team is working hard to stay on top of the evolving COVID-19 situation, as we are in regular contact with public health and USG officials and we are implementing a plan that reflects the best information currently available on COVID-19. We will keep the campus updated as this situation continues to develop.
Thank you for your dedication to student learning, as well as your flexibility and efforts to continue instruction remotely should it be needed.
Robert T. Smith, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Professor of Mathematics
Valdosta State University
1500 N. Patterson Street
Valdosta, GA 31698
229-333-5950 (voice), 229-333-7400 (fax)
REPORT HEALTH CONCERNS
Key term: Close Contact - this is defined as being within six (6) feet of an individual for more than 15 minutes regardless of whether a face covering is worn.
EMPLOYEES DO NOT come on campus if you believe you have been in close contact with a person having COVID or yourself having symptoms or receiving a positive diagnosis. Instead, notify your supervisor of your absence, seek medical services from your primary care provider, and self-report your information by completing the online form or contacting HR directly at 229-333-5709.
STUDENTS DO NOT come on campus nor go directly to the Student Health Center if you believe you have been exposed to COVID. Instead, call the Health Services at 229-333-5886 to speak with a triage nurse over the phone. Additional guidance will be provided on how to access the health center facility. The health center remains open for walk-in patients with non-COVID medical needs.
Members of the campus community should report all instances of close contact with a person having COVID or themselves receiving a positive diagnosis of COVID. To assist with reporting, a COVID Self Reporting link has been added within MyVSU.
If you have been instructed to self-isolate or quarantine, you should do so at your permanent home for the period given unless it should be extended due to remaining symptoms.