March 5, 2020
As we continue to monitor the situation around COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, I would like to make you aware of some important information. This Monday, March 9, classes will resume as planned; however, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people who are sick with COVID-19, or suspect that they are, stay home unless they are seeking medical care.
To protect the health of everyone in the Ball State community, I am asking our faculty to accommodate students who become ill and be flexible with class scheduling and due dates for exams and graded projects. If COVID-19 affects your class, Online and Strategic Learning can assist you with making content available remotely, and you may use Canvas to receive papers and other assignments. Some students may be absent for prolonged periods. In such cases, medical withdrawal and incomplete grades may be last-resort options as you evaluate the pace and percentage remaining in your course. Please remember, if you consider assigning an incomplete grade, provide the student with specific instructions and the expected date to resolve incomplete assignments, consistent with University guidelines
In addition, I ask that faculty review, and if necessary, reconsider class attendance policies and communicate with students when they return from Spring Break. It will be important that we work with students to help them complete necessary assignments. This may require you to consider alternative grading options for class attendance and participation.
All faculty and staff should look after their own health and follow CDC guidelines. If you need accommodations due to illness, please work with your supervisor and Human Resources as necessary.
Ball State has already taken several measures in response to COVID-19. The University has suspended all work-related travel to China, South Korea, and Italy.
On March 1, the CDC issued a guidance statement asking higher education institutions to consider postponing or canceling student foreign exchange programs. To best protect our students, faculty, and staff, Ball State has decided to cancel all upcoming study abroad programs until further notice. This includes the cancellation of all Summer study abroad programs and Fall semester study abroad programs scheduled to depart this Summer. We are in the process of notifying the people affected by this decision and resolving issues associated with it. At this time, we are not recalling students who are already abroad.
Ball State continues to follow our International Travel Policy for other faculty travel. The policy allows faculty to travel to countries and regions designated by the Department of State as Travel Advisory Level 1 and 2 (exercise normal precautions and increased caution), requires University approval for travel to Level 3 areas (reconsider travel), and prohibits travel to Level 4 areas (do not travel).
On campus, we are more frequently cleaning high-touch surfaces and restrooms in residence halls and academic buildings. We have also launched bsu.edu/coronavirus
with information about the virus, prevention, symptoms, treatment, and a link to the CDC website.
I ask faculty to communicate to students any modification in their attendance policy or other classroom policies, urge students to stay home if they are ill, and refer them to bsu.edu/coronavirus
. A recent survey found that many students get information about the University from faculty and advisors. So, it is important that students hear from you.
Ball State’s Crisis Management Team will continue to monitor developments with COVID-19 and coordinate campus resources, responses, and communications. Thank you for your commitment to providing a premier education to our students and keeping our campus community healthy and safe. I am confident we can manage any potential challenges from this disease if we remain innovative, proactive, and compassionate.