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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Coronavirus timeline: UA announces health and wellness board, launches global campus (May 4)


Food and Drug Association is working with U.S. government partners, including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and international partners to closely monitor an outbreak caused by a novel (new) coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.

The Daily Wildcat has put together a timeline of updates from the University of Arizona and Tucson government officials about its plans in response to the coronavirus. Events are listed in reverse chronological order, with the most recent information at the top. Check back later for new updates.

May 4

University creates health and wellness board: The goal of the board is developing a health and wellness strategic initiative, lead by Dr. Amy Athey. Athey is the current executive director of student wellness and retention in student success & retention innovation. 

Provost Liesl Folks said in an email that Athey, along with Campus Health, Campus Recreation, Housing and Residential Life and the Dean of Students office will create a “holistic vision of major health and wellness efforts on campus as well as the development, implementation and evaluation of initiatives to improve wellness outcomes.” 

The board will also create research and training opportunities in addition to overseeing development and funding support for health and wellness initiatives. 

University announces global campus: Through Global Student Accomodations, UA students will be able to live on international university campuses. The global campus plan was accelerated in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to give international UA students an option to continue their studies. There are 73 global campus locations in 32 countries; students will be able to take UA courses online partner courses in-person. 

May 1

Furlough and pay reduction update: The university has two updates for the furlough and pay reduction program: any university employee who earns less than $44,500 will be exempt from furlough days, and the plan now includes salary brackets. Employees will be able to see how this program impacts them through a UAccess tool launching next week; in the meantime, employees can look at the program data

“Let me be very clear: these modifications will not increase any furlough days for employees nor deepen any pay reductions already planned,” President Robbins said in an email to the university at-large.

Mitigation for summer 2020: Provost Liesl Folks emailed UA faculty, staff and students to announce the summer 2020 in-person instructional activities will be fully online for May, June and July. 

“As conditions improve, and when the Governor permits it, we will expand research activity as a first priority, and we will begin to introduce in-person employee activities to campus through the summer months,” Folks said in the email. 

This follows the April 23 announcement from President Robbins that May and June classes are to be conducted entirely online; the fate of July activities had not been decided. 

April 30

UA announces in-person classes for fall semester: After President Robbins had his blood drawn for antibody testing for COVID-19, he announced a plan during a press conference for the UA to return to in-person classes in the fall. 

April 28

Financial stability update: President Robbins sent an email to the UA community with financial updates. The email said the UA incurred $58 million in losses for the 2020 fiscal year and anticipate a projected loss of $97 million by June 30. 

Currently, returning undergraduate students losses are projected at 45% for resident and non-resident students; the university believes that projection is inflated due to classes being online and students not having their standard reminders.

“Therefore, we are projecting a 25% loss of domestic out-of-state students and a 1% growth in in-state students, equivalent to a $35 million loss in tuition revenue,” Robbins said in the email.

Projected losses for returning graduate students based on registration data (for both residents and non-residents) is projected to be 4%, or a $1.6 million loss in tuition revenue. New undergraduate and graduate enrollment was projected to decrease 11% for in-state and 19% for out-of-state, which is a $18.7 million total loss in revenue. 

New international student losses are projected to be 80%, and current international student losses are projected to be 30%, which is a $33.1 million total loss in revenue. 

“All other tuition and fees (increase in online, decrease in summer, decrease in mandatory and course fees associated with lower enrollment) are projected to result in a $6.7 million loss in revenue,” Robbins said. 

Other projected losses include $58.2 million lost revenue from Intercollegiate Athletics, a $54.8 million loss in revenue from a decrease in philanthropy and investment income, a $16 million loss due to a decrease in research activity and a $14.1 million loss due to reduced activities such as summer programs, camps and conferences and departmental sales. 

Expenses related to COVID-19 response is currently at $7.1 million spent, with more investment in the future for testing, tracing and isolation. 

Deans and administration to host town halls: Deans from each college, along with Provost Liesl Folks, CFO Lisa Rulney and Robbins will be hosting virtual town halls to discuss these financial updates and what it means for the university. More information regarding the dates and times of these town halls will be released later in the week. 

April 23

Summer classes will be held online: President Robbins announced summer classes scheduled for May and June will be conducted online, with updates coming soon regarding classes held in July. 

“While we do not yet know all the details, there will be school this fall,” Robbins said in the email. “We are working energetically to create a comprehensive academic and health plan, and our goal is to be prepared to welcome you back to campus in Fall 2020, with options for hybrid face-to-face and online learning, under modified conditions, provided that state and local authorities permit it.”

Robbins also said more updates will come by the week of May 4. 

March 30

Gov. Doug Ducey announces stay-at-home order: Gov. Ducey announced a stay-at-home order for Arizona, effective Tuesday, March 31 until April 30 currently. Grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open, and restaurants will continue delivery and takeout service. 

University hiring freeze: UA’s human resource department announced a freeze on all faculty and staff hiring. Current scheduled interviews with finalists should be cancelled or rescheduled, employment offers should not be extended and new job change transactions will not be approved or processed.  

March 29

Class of 2020 medical students allowed to graduate early: UA’s College of Medicine – Phoenix and College of Medicine – Tucson will allow the class of 2020 to apply for graduation early. Students who wish to graduate early need to have all of their graduation requirements fulfilled by March 27.  

March 25

Student financial emergency fund: President Robbins announced a crowdfunding campaign available to students needing financial support. Students who wish to apply need to fill out a student emergency fund form, and those who are able can donate to the fund and Campus Pantry

March 23

Experiential learning courses have been terminated: The Provost’s office announced experiential learning courses for spring 2020 are terminated unless a complete work-from-home arrangement is possible, effective Monday, March 23. Any courses involving in-person interaction should not be approved. 

The announcement said these courses include ” Internships, Practicums, Clinical Rotations, Independent Study Plans, Capstone Projects [and] Senior Design Projects”. 

The university will decide if courses requiring in-person involvement starting after July 1, 2020 can begin; that decision will come by May 1.  

March 20

Convocations and commencement are canceled: President Robbins sent out an email announcing the cancellation of all convocations and commencements scheduled for May. Robbins said the university is planning an alternative graduation ceremony plan and updates will be available on the commencement website starting Friday, March 27. Students who planned to attend May’s convocation and commencement is invited to participate in December 2020 or May 2021 ceremonies. 

“Seniors, we are heartbroken that we had to change our plans for your Commencement,” Robbins said in the email. “I will miss seeing you more than you will know. I can only hope you will understand why we couldn’t hold the ceremony as scheduled.”

New academic policies released: The Provost’s office sent an email to UA faculty and students outlining updated academic policies for the spring semester. Students can choose any class they are enrolled in to be pass/fail, provided the registrar is notified by the last day of the spring semester, May 6. These classes will still count towards program requirements and fulfill prerequisites with a pass grade. 

The last day students can withdraw from a class is now April 14 and they will not be counted towards 18-unit limit for undergraduate students. Students are allowed to repeat a course taken in spring 2020 without it counting as a grade replacement opportunity. 

If a student earns a 2.0 GPA or higher at the end of the semester, they will be considered academically eligible, which would allow students to move out of academic review, academic warning, academic probation or ineligibility if they held any of the aforementioned statuses. 

The email said the university’s policy regarding incomplete grades will not be changing should be used “sparingly”. 

March 19

Pima County Health Department announced new cases: As of March 19, Pima County has seven confirmed cases of COVID-19, the most recent being a woman in her 50s who is hospitalized and a man in his 50s who is isolating but not hospitalized. 

March 18

Main Library announced closure: UA Libraries announced they will be closing despite Dean of Students Kendal Washington White stating the Main Library and Health Sciences Library would remain open earlier in the week. CATalyst Studios, Science-Engineering Library, Fine Arts Library and Special Collections are all closed. 

March 17

Mayor order local emergency: Tucson Mayor Regina Romero called a local emergency to go into effect March 17 at 8 p.m, forcing dining rooms in restaurants, bars and food courts to close. Restaurants are still able to provide takeout and delivery services. 

“I want to reiterate that food being served by our restaurants is safe,” Romero said in a statement. “It is the congregation of individuals in a dine-in setting that is unsafe.” 

Recreation Center announced closure: All of UA’s recreation facilities — the main Student Recreation Center, Outdoor Rec and NorthREC — all announced they will be closing on their Instagram page.

“The university values the health and safety of all Wildcats and while this decision was hard to make, it is necessary,” the Rec Center said in their announcement. 

March 16

Campus cleaning update: UA’s Facilities Management Custodial Services released their cleaning frequency guide of UA’s campus; restrooms (with routine policing), common areas and showers are cleaned daily with a “thorough and entire disinfecting” of the entire space. Classrooms are cleaned three days per week, multiple occupant offices are cleaned two days per week with daily policing and single occupant offices and laboratories are cleaned once a week.  

March 15

Message for students regarding online instruction: Dean of Students Kendal Washington White sent an email to students reminding them of internet accessibility options. White said instructors should ask their students if they have reliable coursework access, but if they do not, students need to inform their instructors. The Main Library and Health Sciences Library will be open during operating hours. 

Housing rent credit for students: UA Housing and Residential Life sent an email to students currently residing in dorms with repayment options. Option A would give students a credit applied to the student’s bursar account in May, and the Bursar’s office will either send a check or send the money via direct deposit to the student. 

Option B would apply a larger credit amount for students who apply for on-campus housing for the 2020-2021 academic year. Students have to choose which option they prefer through their UA Housing portal before April 17. Students who do not select an option before April 17 will have Option A automatically selected for them. 

The email said all decisions are final, and the amount credited to students depends on which dorm they reside in

March 13

On-campus housing advisory: UA’s Housing and Residential Life sent out an email advising students “not return to campus, provided they have suitable alternative living arrangements.” The email said students already on campus, or who do not have a suitable alternative, can remain. 

Students wishing to move out of the dorms can do so starting Wednesday, March 18, according to the email; they must empty their dorms of their belongings, complete a check-out and return keys between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. If students are unable to return to campus but still wish to check out, the email said University and Student Services will pack students’ belongings and either ship them home or store them until the start of the Fall 2020 semester. Students will need to mail their keys in order to check out. 

Cancellation of in-person events: Provost Liesl Folks sent out an update announcing the cancellation or postponement of all in-person university events on campus. Folks also urged in-person meetings to be limited to four people or less and to practice social distancing. 

Continuation of research: Senior Vice President Betsy Cantwell and Provost Liesl Folks sent an email announcing that research will continue as normal. 

“Should your research be adversely impacted by the health and availability of yourself or your research staff, please work with your direct supervisor to develop an effective mitigation plan that ensures laboratory safety and minimizes risk to human subjects and animal care,” Cantwell and Folks said. 

Researchers are encouraged to review contingency plans in case conditions worsen. The email also said Research Development and Sponsored Projects offices will support research needs. 

Faculty and Staff update: Provost Liesl Folks sent an email update to UA faculty and staff informing them of student housing updates. Instructors are encouraged to “work directly with academic program directors and unit heads/chairs/directors to address challenges with this tight timeline.” Instructors were also told online is the expected mode of instruction until the end of the semester. Folks advised staff and faculty to assess the risk of themselves and those around them and self-isolate for two weeks after travelling. 

Campus mitigation update: President Robbins sent an email to students and faculty with updated mitigation plans for UA’s Tucson, Sierra Vista and Phoenix Biomedical campuses; students should not return to campus if they have viable alternative living arrangements, but are allowed to stay on campus if they do not. Classes will reconvene Wednesday, March 18, fully online for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester. Faculty and staff are encouraged to work from home, research will continue and events and gatherings on campus are cancelled. 

March 11

Research: Provost Liesl Folks and Senior Vice President for Research and Innovation Betsy Cantwell sent out an email to all UA employees, saying, “until further notice, normal research activities will continue,” though special accommodations would be given to various impacted work and faculty and staff who may be especially at risk for serious health consequences due to the coronavirus. They went on to say that the UA’s Research, Innovation & Impact office would be “establishing a working group of university research experts in coronavirus-related areas to plan for future proposal opportunities that will arise from this crisis.” 

Moving to online classes: Provost Liesl Folks sent out an email to all UA students with a list of changes to how the university operates, including that certain campus services would remain open, as UA President Dr. Robert C. Robbins had listed earlier, and that all classes would be online only until at least April 6. Folks also said student employees would continue their jobs. She then encouraged students to be mindful of their health and the health of others, being ready to “self-quarantine, if required, especially if you have travelled extensively over the break.”

New guidelines for teaching and travel: Provost Liesl Folks sent out an email to all staff at the UA. Folks encouraged employees “at risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19” to work from home starting March 16. Folks then listed changes to class structure, including that the deadline for moving to an online class structure would be March 23 and that studio sections and labs would have “special accommodations” with the approval of the College Associate Deans for Academic Affairs. Folks also said these changes in course structure should be communicated from professors to students directly. She said travel would be “strongly restricted” and that employees should opt for virtual conferences instead. Folks also gave a list of resources where concerns could be addressed specific to staff, students, families and faculty.

“Delaying Start of Classes:” UA President Dr. Robert C. Robbins sent an email to all students and employees at the university, “delaying the start of classes to Wednesday, March 18” and saying that all classes should move to online instruction only. He said all “residence halls, recreational facilities, food services and Campus Health are open now and will remain open,” and that planned public events would continue unless announced otherwise. Robbins said online instruction would continue until April 6, when the university would reassess its “operational status.” He also announced the UA’s new COVID-19 page, which would be updated as the university put out more information.

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