We’ve taken our first steps together into our virtual campus this week, and the success of the transition has been nothing short of outstanding. Our classes are proceeding, our students are engaged and the university is meeting its mission. I’m cheering for all of you every day as you continue to step into the unfamiliar, new and exciting, modeling the way for others to see what integrated adaptation can look like.
The university continues to monitor the progress of the COVID-19 virus through our state. Scientific projections from trusted experts anticipate a significant upward trajectory of cases and mortality rates. At this time, the peak of the virus’ impact is projected around April 22. We will have had a seven-week climb in cases that would lead us to that peak date. It is likely that there will be a lengthy decline following that peak date as has been demonstrated in countries around the world. While working and taking classes from home may be extremely challenging for some of us due to circumstance, the projected statistics are a powerful reminder of why we took this step in the first place. Protecting you as you protect your families is of the utmost importance to us.
To continue to protect you – our students, faculty and staff – we will extend the closure of our physical campus through May 31, 2020. Additionally, out of an abundance of caution, May intersession courses and summer block I and II classes will be delivered via alternative instructional methods. All flexible work arrangements previously made will need to be reconfirmed with your supervisor for the period extending beyond April 15. Details about how compensation will proceed can be found on this Campus Closure Extension Compensation Plan document.
Social or physical distancing has interrupted life in myriad ways but none more palpable than the basic fact that it eliminates the very thing we crave at times like this, human contact. We enjoy the personal interactions and warm exchanges that our in-person environment brings us. The people who surround us at work and school are often one of the top reasons we choose to be any particular place in life. UCO is a place I’ve chosen to be for 13 years because of how you make me feel to be part of you. As much as I would like to bring us back together quickly, I believe that congregating our campus community on April 15, as previously expected, would not be a healthy decision.
You continue to amaze me with your spirit and dedication despite the circumstances. We are so fortunate to be part of this caring community. Thank you for making UCO a great place to work and learn.
Stay safe and be well, Bronchos.