March 12, 2020
Urgent message from President Myers regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19)
Dear K-State Community:
Currently, much of the K-State community is dispersed throughout the nation and globe during spring break. When everyone returns to campus the risk of spreading the novel coronavirus will increase. With careful planning and guidance from public health officials, there are prudent steps we can take to mitigate this risk and protect our campus and local communities.
The concept of social distancing has been shown to slow a disease outbreak during times of concern with pandemics. This means we reduce the number of times and places that people gather in large numbers or spend extensive time together. By slowing the spread of the disease, medical facilities are better able to handle the demand, which saves lives in the long run.
In order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 after spring break, we are taking these immediate steps:
- K-State will suspend in-person classes at all campuses the week March 16-20. Online classes will be held as scheduled. During this time students are strongly encouraged to travel home or remain at home until in-person classes resume. For those who cannot go home, our campuses will remain open and services will be available such as student health, residence halls and dining halls. The situation may change very rapidly, based on what we’ve seen in other areas.
- Beginning March 23, classes will be taught remotely (not in person) until further notice. The suspension of classes March 16-20 provides time for faculty members to prepare to move classes online or to teach through other alternative methods. While completing classes remotely, students are strongly encouraged to remain at their permanent homes away from campus, unless they cannot return home due to travel restrictions, financial burden, or lack of reliable internet access. We are working to accommodate learning that typically takes place in laboratories and other in-person situations. Our success will depend on the creativity and resourcefulness of our students and faculty, in which we have great faith. We will provide at least one week’s notice before in-person classes resume, per Kansas Board of Regents guidance.
- Telecommuting may be an option for some employees. We have published initial guidance for relaxed policies and ask unit heads to determine who may be eligible to work off-campus.
- Visitors are urged to postpone campus visits during this time. We strongly encourage visitors to reschedule planned trips to our campuses and recommend postponing previously scheduled visits. Please keep in mind that international travelers arriving from CDC-designated Level 3 countries are subject to a 14-day quarantine period.
- Veterinary medicine students who are involved in clinical rotations or clinical work will receive further guidance from the College of Veterinary Medicine.
- Polytechnic students who are involved in flight training or the maintenance program will receive further guidance from the College of Technology and Aviation.
- Large campus community events (more than 100 people) will be handled on a case-by-case basis. We strongly encourage campus units to cancel events with more than 100 persons between now and March 30, please be prepared for the situation to change rapidly. Student events occurring between now and March 30 should be postponed or moved to another format. Athletic events will follow Big 12 guidance.
- Travel policies have not changed at this time. All university-sponsored international travel is banned to CDC warning level 3 or U.S. State Department Travel Advisory level 4 countries. There are no mandated restrictions for university-affiliated or sponsored domestic travel at this time, but we ask you to consider the potential risks for you and others and the possibility of trip disruption. As conditions evolve, further restrictions may be added.
These social distancing steps are admittedly inconvenient but have proven to be effective in other locations and will help safeguard the greater good for all. I know each of us will act responsibly to help us protect the entire K-State family and the local communities that are home to our campuses. We can meet this challenge with the strength and resiliency our university has demonstrated for over 150 years.
Please check our website on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) for the latest information. If you have a specific question please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Richard B. Myers