Dear Faculty and Staff,
I write to update you on our transition to online and remote teaching and learning as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. As you read in the message from Fr. Fitzgerald on Saturday, the university will hold classes online for the remainder of the spring semester and most students will move out of our residence halls this week. Understandably, there are many logistical questions that we are working through, and I appreciate your flexibility and unwavering commitment to students as we face this crisis together.
Given that most of our students will be moving out of residence halls by Saturday, March 21, I ask that you approach the Wednesday, March 18 start of online classes with awareness that we do not expect 100% perfection as we immediately launch this format. Students will understandably need flexibility, as many of them are making arrangements to move out and move home this week. We will need to do everything possible to support student requests for excused absences, deadline extensions, and other accommodations. Please share that sentiment with your students.
The priority this week is for individual classes to be connected as virtual communities by Friday. Please use course time and meetings to make sure you are ready to connect with your students and colleagues online, using the many technological resources at your disposal. We want to do everything possible to ensure that no students disconnect from us. With all the uncertainty surrounding this transition to online learning and the COVID-19 situation generally, this week is a critical time to reinforce with our students that we are truly one beloved community, and that the supportive, personalized approach to learning that is a hallmark of a USF education will continue in this new environment.
We recognize that this transition in mode of instruction may be challenging to several of you. We want to remind you that there are a number of resources to support your planning and implementation of online learning and community building in your classes. Please review the Keep Teaching and Learning pages on myUSF, which detail continuity of instruction options and resources. In addition, updates on the university's response to COVID-19 are posted regularly to the myUSF resource pages, and Human Resources has posted helpful FAQs regarding on-site and remote work issues during this time.
This is a trying time for us all. In the midst of uncertainty and difficult decisions, I am incredibly proud to be partnering with such dedicated faculty and committed staff as we navigate these uncharted waters. The health, safety, and well-being of you and your loved ones are what matters above all else. I thank you for all you are doing to care for one another and further our work together and our shared mission to change the world from here.
Tyrone H. Cannon