From: Office of the President
Sent: Thursday, March 12, 2020 2:56 PM
To: All Faculty and Staff
Subject: COVID-19 Message to Campus
Dear Faculty/Staff: As you are aware, we are in the midst of an unprecedented event with COVID-19. It is imperative that SFA does our part to keep campus and all our constituents safe during this public health crisis. I am sharing with you below the release that will go out at 3 p.m. today. We will be communicating regularly as this situation evolves, and I ask that you all be patient as we work to ensure continuity of operations and educational programming.
I very much appreciate all of the work you do to provide an outstanding educational experience to our students. While this is difficult for all of us, together we will see this through and come out stronger as a result.
Update March 12, 2020
Given the ongoing global concerns around COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, we want to do our part to keep our entire campus community safe and to contribute to the management of this growing public health crisis.
We currently have no confirmed cases on Stephen F. Austin State University’s campus, but several cases have been confirmed in Texas, including East Texas. Moreover, a large number of our students and faculty are currently engaged in personal travel to a number of domestic and international locations for Spring Break.
Wherever you are, we encourage all members of the SFA community to be conscientious in following CDC guidelines for staying healthy.
Given the potential for exposure and CDC recommendations for social distancing, SFA has made the following decisions:
- Spring Break for students will be extended through March 17, with no academic activities taking place for students.
- Beginning Wednesday, March 18, all classes will resume in an online-only or other distance-education format until April 6.
- Faculty will be able to utilize March 16 and 17 to prepare to deliver classes online or in other distance-education formats.
- All staff will report as normal on March 16 unless notified otherwise.
The university will be maintaining a special call center at 936-468-3401 for questions:
- March 12 until 7 p.m.
- March 13-15 - 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. each day.
- Our current plan is to begin in-person instruction again on Monday, April 6. We will closely monitor this dynamic situation and could possibly extend further the date for resuming in-person classes. Students will receive information from their respective colleges and faculty with details regarding how course work will be conducted.
- All on-campus events scheduled through April 5 will be canceled or postponed. Event planners will be contacted by the reservation specialist starting on Monday, March 16.
- Showcase Saturday, scheduled for March 28, will be rescheduled. Campus tours may still be provided, but will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
- Student athletes will receive additional clarification related to team activities from the Athletics Department and their coaches.
- In order to catch up on lost class time, Easter break will be canceled, and classes will be held April 9, 10 and 13.
- Students are asked to remain off campus until in-person classes resume.
- Any student or employee who is ill or who believes they may have been exposed to coronavirus cannot return to campus and should follow CDC guidelines for self-isolation. If any student or employee is diagnosed with COVID-19, it is requested that you notify the university at www.sfasu.edu/COVIDabsence.
- All university-sponsored student and employee travel, both international and domestic, scheduled for March 16 through April 1 will be canceled unless approved by the respective Vice President (domestic) or President (international).
- May commencement exercises are expected to continue as scheduled.
- These plans are evolving, and we wanted to inform our community as quickly as possible to enable you to begin making your own arrangements. We realize you may have questions that are not addressed here. Please know that our team is working diligently to accommodate this transition for our campus, and we will provide additional information as soon as possible.
- If your questions are not urgent, we ask you to wait for further communication that may address your concerns.
- In addition, please continue to monitor your campus email and this website. This site also offers additional information on the virus, travel advisories and prevention that may be helpful.
- The university will be maintaining a call center from Thursday, March 12th until Sunday, March 15th. The center will be open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. each day. If you have questions or special needs, please call the main university phone number at 936.468.3401.
Finally, we ask that you try to understand how difficult it is to make these decisions and request your patience as we seek to make the best decisions possible to keep everyone in our community healthy and safe, to do our part to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and to continue the university’s mission to provide excellence in higher education.