UWA announces changes for spring semester, transition to online classes

Published: Mar. 13, 2020 at 12:07 PM CDT
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The University of West Alabama announced changes in operations Friday that will impact students.

UWA will transition to online instruction starting Apr. 6.

However, classes will be on the usual schedule Mar. 16-20. The next week, Mar. 23-27, is spring break.

The following week, Mar. 30-Apr. 3, there will be no classes to allow additional time for UWA to transition as efficiently and completely as possible to online instruction.

University president, Dr. Ken Tucker, says the university is continuing to monitor COVID-19 (coronavirus) and its potential effects on UWA and its educational delivery methods.

He stresses that. at this time, there have been zero cases identified on the UWA campus, and no one from UWA has reported experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.

Tucker says UWA's response is based on the latest guidance and recommendations from CDC and other public health agencies and out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of the entire

university community.

Students are not required to return to campus when classes resume

Apr. 6, and can continue their course work via online instruction. International or other students who do not have alternative accommodations, students from areas without high-speed internet or

other means of receiving remote instruction, and students with exceptional hardships, or academic, employment, or clinical requirements may return to their university housing.

Arrangements will be made to ensure any students who need to remain on campus have access to essential services. A move-out plan from UWA Housing will be communicated soon.

In addition to the previously announced suspension of international travel, all university-sponsored domestic travel will continue to be reviewed based on the previously announced criteria and changing circumstances.

Due to these changes, some essential personnel may be required to work over spring break. Supervisors will be in contact about those schedules. Other UWA operations will continue as originally planned, with employees returning from spring break March 30.

The university urges students to NOT return to campus if you meet the following criteria:

* If you have traveled to a CDC COVID-19 Level 2 or 3 country (on personal or University business) or come in close contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID19, you are required to contact the Alabama Department of Public Health.

* If you have the symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath, contact your healthcare provider.

UWA says it will examine how to best support employees and students who have special health or other needs impacted by these decisions. Faculty may call upon UWA Online staff members to assist with online preparation and teaching.

Even though UWA's local area's health risk and exposure to COVID-19 is considered low, everyone should follow these and any other practical measures to ensure wellness:

* Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.

* Cover your mouth when coughing.

* Use hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol or above.

* Avoid contact with sick people.

* Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

* Avoid unnecessary travel.