Update: March 11, 2020, 3:59 p.m.
The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of uncertainty and concern, and we have been reminded about what matters most: our students, colleagues, friends, and family. As you may have heard this afternoon, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced plans to move all SUNY and CUNY instruction to distance learning for the remainder of the semester. I am writing to you today about Buffalo State College’s plans to begin spring break a week early and move all classes to remote instruction starting Monday, March 30, and continuing through the end of the spring semester.
To clarify: We will cancel all classes March 14–20, and expand spring break to two weeks—from March 14 to 29—to allow our faculty and instructional designers dedicated time to work together to prepare for the switch to remote instruction. The final day of in-person classes this semester will be Friday, March 13. Classes will resume via remote instruction only on Monday, March 30.
Buffalo State College will remain open during this temporary interruption of in-person classes. Staff members will continue to follow regular work schedules, and faculty members will continue to present coursework to their students—albeit in a different format. Students, please know that our interim provost, deans, chairs, and faculty members will work tirelessly to make any accommodation necessary to ensure that your academic progress is not slowed by this decision. If you are on track to graduate this semester, you will stay on track to graduate. Coursework after March 30 will be delivered through a variety of platforms, including services like Blackboard or Zoom, conference calls, or other methods. And yes, we also recognize that studio and lab work, as well as student teaching, will be difficult to replicate, but again, our faculty members are discussing creative alternatives for those classes.
Because we will no longer hold in-person classes after March 13, we recognize that many of our resident students will choose to return home. Our Residence Life and Student Affairs teams are readying plans to assist students and families with their departures. If some personal items must be left behind in residence halls until a later date, we will make those accommodations.
We also acknowledge that some students, including our international students, will choose or need to remain on campus over spring break and for the remainder of the spring semester. We will make every effort to accommodate those students; however, students and families should be aware that services such as dining may be reduced or significantly altered to limit large gatherings in campus spaces.
To be clear, as of March 11, there were no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Erie County or affecting the Buffalo State College community; however, please know that we remain in close consultation with the Erie County Department of Health not only regarding response plans in the event that a member of our community should test positive in the future, but also regarding guidance for large gatherings and events. We are reviewing guidance and plans to limit the size of social gatherings and events on campus. Further information on this issue will be forthcoming.
Right now, like you, we have many more questions than answers. We will do our best to answer those questions and provide follow-up information in the coming days via e-mail and on our website. For now, we felt it prudent to share this information with you as soon as possible. I would ask for your continued patience and understanding as we work together through this significant shift in operations. This is an unprecedented challenge for Buffalo State, but together we can meet it.
Buffalo State College
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