The following message was sent to the Drexel community on March 13.
As we close out this extraordinary and challenging week together, we would like to pause briefly, and thank each of you for your understanding, cooperation and support as we map a safe course through the threats posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
This is a difficult time for all of us, full of many uncertainties — and now declared a national emergency by the White House. However, we are a resilient and resourceful community. Already, with so many working together, we have mobilized to ensure the continuity of research and educational programs and the continued well-being of our community.
At Drexel, we should take heart from the precautionary measures carefully enacted this week to safeguard our University and community. Each is designed, first and foremost, with safety in mind for more than 24,000 students, as well as faculty and professional staff. In addition, the steps we’ve taken will ensure Drexel continues to fulfill its mission of teaching, research and service.
Here in summary are the measures that will guide us through the next weeks and months:
- Final exams scheduled for next week will be conducted online, with students living on campus encouraged to travel home to complete their exams.
- Spring break for quarter-based programs will be lengthened by one week, while an enhanced protocol for cleaning of campus facilities continues.
- When the spring quarter begins on Monday, April 6, all courses will be taught remotely using web, video and teleconferencing tools already widely adopted by faculty. Deans and faculty will ensure students continue to have an academic experience that is rewarding and challenging, drawing heavily on Drexel’s more than 25 years of experience and leadership in online learning.
- All research activities and campus offices will continue normal operations, but many professional staff will be able to work remotely as of Monday, March 16. Core groups physically needed at Drexel will be able to maintain safer social distancing with fewer colleagues on campus; free parking at University facilities will enable commuters to avoid mass transit, if desired; and buildings will be secured for DragonCard entry-only. (Comprehensive details are being provided in a separate message to faculty and professional staff from Drexel Human Resources.)
- Medical and Nursing and Health Professions students will continue clinical rotations, unless otherwise noted, and students should check with supervising faculty regarding clinical or practicum placements.
- Co-op advisors are counseling students with questions about spring-summer co-ops, and students utilizing the Disability Resources testing center for exams will be assisted by the Office of Disability Resources.
- At this time, we plan to maintain our Commencement schedule for June 10 and 11. Final exams for the spring quarter will take place as originally scheduled during the week of June 8.
- As of today, we are restricting all University travel for faculty and professional staff. Domestic co-op assignments will continue, and our co-op advisors are working diligently with students and employers to follow the policies implemented by their organizations. Students should direct any questions to their co-op advisor.
In addition, we regretfully have pulled back from any international engagement. We’ve canceled spring-summer overseas co-ops and the spring break Intensives Courses Abroad, study abroad, and student organization international travel. And we are strongly counseling against personal travel, with required 14-day self-isolation for anyone who returns from a high-risk (CDC Level 3) country. For personal domestic travel, we recommend following CDC domestic travel advisories.
Details on all the precautionary measures enacted so far can be found on the Drexel coronavirus website. We will continue to share regular updates as needed.
In the midst of this turmoil and uncertainty, we urge you to remain calm and stay safe. In all the communities where we live, our daily routines are being altered in ways that are meant to limit the spread of this virus. We need to remain hopeful. We need to support all those around us. And we need to continue to be understanding and patient as all of us deal with the manifold impacts of this pandemic.
Paul E. Jensen, PhD
Interim Nina Henderson Provost