March 19, 2020
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
Danley Hall, Suite 204
1100 E. 14th Street, PMB P-8 • Ada, OK 74820-6999
580-559-5213 office • 580-559-5788 fax • www.ecok.edu
Dear East Central University Community,
I am proud to report that members of our University community are working collaboratively and creatively to respond to the significant disruptions that are resulting from the aggressive measures being taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. It is clear that all of us are doing our part to help confront this public health crisis. We will continue to provide you with updates about changes to University operations and procedures via email and on the University’s website.
GUIDELINES FOR INSTRUCTION AND ADVISING
As determined just a week ago, students have an extended spring break, through March 30. Between March 23-30, faculty and staff will transition face-to-face courses to virtual instruction. Virtual instruction may include different platforms: Blackboard, Zoom, blogs, email, YouTube lectures, etc. Faculty will communicate with students in their individual courses as to how instruction will occur. There should be no face-to-face meetings with faculty and students, including presentations, labs, testing, etc. Deans and department chairs will be available by phone to answer students’ questions about the courses in their particular colleges, schools, or departments.
It is truly heartbreaking to think we will not celebrate commencement on May 9 in our traditional way. Commencement is truly the best event of each year. It is the culmination of labor for our students and faculty. We see joy, pride, and relief in our students when they walk across the stage and collect their diplomas. We cannot let the moment pass us by, even in these uncertain times. Even though we are postponing spring commencement, we will continue to explore other options.
- Courses will remain virtual/online for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester.
- Students who have clinical or field experiences should check with their faculty supervisors on how to proceed. Some professional licensure or certificates require a specific number of completed hours.
- Tutoring is available online. Students can access Smart Thinking, an online tutoring platform, through their Blackboard course shells or go to smarthinking.com. Additionally, students who need tutoring can call the main number for the Academic Success Center, 580-559-5696 to be directed to a tutor.
- As we receive additional information, we will post it on ECU’s COVID-19 Response Plan webpage.
- Advising for current students will be conducted by phone and email.
- Advising for new students will be conducted by phone and email, with in-person advising on a limited basis, by appointment.
- Linscheid Library is available to a limited number of ECU students, faculty, and staff. You must show your ECU ID to be admitted. Social distancing will be enforced for the safety of each student and library staff. The library is closed to the public.
GUIDELINES FOR ON-CAMPUS HOUSING AND MEAL PLANS
We are committed to our students who call ECU home. If students have no other housing option, they will remain in their respective halls or move into one or two residences (more information to come). All other students are encouraged to return to their family residences.
- Housing credit for unused weeks beginning March 23 onward will be posted to the student’s bursar account.
- Students must follow the regular check-out procedure to receive credit on their student account.
- Credits for unused portion of Housing and Meal Plan will be placed on the student account.
- Refunds will be issued to students who are in good financial standing.
- The Financial Aid Office will reduce housing waivers to match the time spent in housing.
- Housing Director, Nick Buckley, will communicate additional information on housing with those students who remain on campus.
GUIDELINES FOR HEALTH AND COUNSELING SERVICES
These are stressful times, and we strongly encourage people to seek professional care should they feel the need.
- Please call the Health Center, 580-559-5260, before going to the office. They have screening protocols in place.
- Counseling Services will occur by telephone. To talk with someone, please call 580-559-5258 or email email@example.com.
GUIDELINES FOR EMPLOYEES
Day-to-day operations will be altered to reduce group gatherings and facilitate enhanced cleaning efforts. Each office has been asked to provide work plans that will ensure the University continues to meet the needs of its stakeholders and mitigate the spread of the virus. The efforts of the individual directors and their staffs cannot be praised enough. Everyone has truly come together to make the best of a disruptive and chaotic time. My wholehearted thanks goes out to those folks who have been available during spring break to prepare for the upcoming weeks on campus.
We continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates as things change. We would like to provide a more definitive timeline than we have given, i.e., when things will return to normal. However, we are dealing with an unprecedented situation. The pace at which we are given direction by the Center for Disease Control as well as our state and national leaders makes a specific timeline impractical. We are also reviewing our leave policy in light of the telecommuting policy we have implemented. We may have to revise our policies with short notice. We will keep you informed of any changes.
- Many staff will telecommute. Call before visiting any office.
- Staff who are telecommuting are to be available during regular office hours unless otherwise determined by their immediate supervisor.
- The telecommuting policy is located on the Personnel Policies page.
- Children are not to accompany an employee to work regardless of the hours being worked or perceived isolation of the office.
GUIDELINES FOR EVENTS AND FACILITIES
As the Nation has learned more about COVID-19, we have adapted to reduce the spread of the virus. Heeding the recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and the Oklahoma State Department of Health, we are strictly reducing the use of space on campus.
- All events of any size are rescheduled or postponed with dates to be determined.
- Business or committee meetings should be conducted through Zoom or conference calls.
- The University Center, including the Wellness Center, will not open until the CDC advises resuming normal operations.
- Linscheid Library will not be open to the public until the CDC advises resuming normal operations. You must show your ECU ID to be admitted. Social distancing will be enforced for the safety of each student and library staff.
- Athletic facilities will not be opened until the CDC advises resuming normal operations and the NCAA approves practices and games to resume.
Students, you are to be commended for the calm spirit that each of you has demonstrated as we transition to virtual instruction. Faculty, you are to be commended for the adaptive and determined nature you have shown in providing a quality education for our students. Staff, you are to be commended for the care of one another and the creativity you have provided in solving staffing problems.
Stay safe and healthy.
Katricia G. Pierson, Ph.D.