To: Faculty, Staff and Students
From: Provost Sue Ott Rowlands
Subject: Update from COVID-19 Preparedness Team
Dear Campus Community,
I hope you all had a chance to read President Vaidya’s message last week that shared details on our plans for Commencement and the spring semester. We are all disappointed in having to cancel the traditional in-person commencement yet again. Please know the health and wellbeing of our campus community is our main focus as we navigate the pandemic. To avoid gathering a large crowd indoors, we concluded a virtual commencement ceremony was the safest way to honor our summer and December graduates.
We also heard your feedback and adjusted the spring semester calendar to replace spring break week with a series of shorter breaks.
The COVID Preparedness Team reviewed alternatives and decided this schedule provides five days off for faculty and students while at the same time reduces the risk associated with typical spring break travel. Other universities, like the University of Kentucky and the University of Cincinnati, have also released similar schedules with the common goal of minimizing the risk of spring break locations becoming hot spots.
We also received many questions about finals week during the spring semester. Our schedule has the semester finishing on time, and spring finals will be in the same mode of delivery that the class is offered in. As we all know, this could change based on the COVID-19 environment, and we will share the update with campus if that is the case.
Finally, I’m closing our update message with a nice gesture from one of our oldest international partners. Gifu University in Japan sent 2000 masks to be distributed throughout our campus and community. If you pick up a disposable mask from Health, Counseling and Student Wellness or other offices around campus, if may be from our friends at Gifu. As you know, facial coverings are required on campus–even outdoors, so their gift is both practical and thoughtful. Please remember to keep following our Norse Nine principles for proper health habits and continue to do your part to keep our campus community healthy.
Sue Ott Rowlands
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Northern Kentucky University