Message From Chancellor- Coronavirus Update | AUM

Message From Chancellor- Coronavirus Update

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Dear AUM faculty and staff,

On May 11, site-critical AUM employees began returning to campus. As we continue to prepare for a planned return to face-to-face course delivery for fall semester, we continue to prioritize the health and safety of our students and employees. 

In accordance with CDC guidelines, individuals on-campus are expected to take the following reasonable measures to safeguard the health of the campus community:

  1. Self-screen before coming to campus. Before returning to campus, individuals should self-screen for COVID-19 and consult a doctor if showing symptoms or answering “yes” to any of the screening questions. Do not come to campus – and consult a doctor – if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
  2. Continue physical distancing: Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others whenever possible while on campus.
  3. Wear face coverings:  Face masks or face coverings are expected to be worn by all employees and contractors working on campus when in the presence of others and in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., common work spaces, meeting rooms, classrooms, etc.). Individuals may wear face coverings of their choice that meet the standards set by the CDC. 
  • Appropriate use of face masks or coverings is critical in minimizing risks to othersnearyou.Youcould spread COVID-19toothersevenifyoudonotfeelsick.Themaskor clothfacecoveringisnotasubstituteforsocialdistancing. Some work areas may have more stringent requirements, which will be addressed by supervisors, department heads and deans. The CDC recommends face coverings in order to decrease the risk of virus transmission.

     4. Practice good hygiene: All employees on campus are expected to:

 

This guideline is effectively immediately and will continue until modified based on new information and guidance from public health officials. The guidelines are applicable to all employees and contractors on campus. If you have questions or concerns about this policy, please reach out to your supervisor.

Enhanced cleaning measures in place to keep campus healthy

To further ensure the safety of the campus community, Facilities has implemented modified custodial services to allow more time for sanitation and disinfection in campus buildings. To allow for a heightened focus on sanitizing and disinfecting high-touch surfaces, some routine tasks have been deferred from their normal schedules.

Thank you for your remarkable efforts during this challenging time and your continued service to AUM. 

Sincerely,

 

Carl A. Stockton, Ph.D.
Chancellor


Wednesday, April 22, 2020


Dr. Stockton addresses new partnership with Baptist Health.

Navigating change during the COVID-19 pandemic

Dear Colleagues:

I hope this message finds you and your family members safe and well.

The days since our March 12 announcement of plans to deliver remaining spring semester coursework remotely have seemed like an eternity. The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected our state and nation, creating uncertainty, disrupting routines, bringing financial hardships for many, and claiming many lives.

Through it all, we have made unplanned adjustments to a new way of living and working while striving to serve our students. So many enjoyable elements of the campus experience - athletic events, awards ceremonies, guest speakers, silent disco, intramural sports, performing arts and a commencement ceremony - have been placed on hold as we navigate a new and hopefully temporary "normal."

Before the pandemic, we had been in the midst of a year worthy of celebration - our 50th anniversary of service to students. While last few weeks have changed how we serve them, I am proud of the way that you, as faculty and staff, have worked to uphold AUM's mission and deliver on the promise we have made to those we service.

I would like to reiterate my appreciation for you and the manner in which you approached an imposing transitional process with determination, resourcefulness, and grace. Before spring break in March, we offered 248 courses online. After spring break, that number had increased to 1,119 courses. That would not have happened without your willingness to prioritize our students and reinvent traditional face-to-face classes in short order.

I also want to specifically thank AUM Police, as well as our Facilities, Housing and Information Technology Services teams for all that they have done during this time. Other units, such as the Student Health Clinic, Counseling and Health Promotion Services, Wellness Center, and Warhawk Academic Success Center have been creative in anticipating and meeting the needs of our students. And, most recently, we hosted a highly successful Virtual Grad Studies Preview Night that leveraged the skills, creativity, and expertise of faculty and staff from each of our colleges, as well as a variety of units. Within the last few weeks, we were also pleased to announce a partnership with Baptist Health that would enable employees working on the front lines of coronavirus patient care to utilize an unoccupied residence hall.

These groups and initiatives represent a few of the many examples of AUM displaying its best in trying times. Our Office of Human Resources recently set up a recognition opportunity for "Warhawk Champions," employees who have gone "above and beyond" to serve the needs of students, faculty, and staff. I encourage you to nominate individuals for this recognition.

So many of you have continued to approach your daily work with energy and enthusiasm while also adding additional jobs - directly managing the education of your own children as K-12 schools converted to remote delivery or caring for family members with high levels of vulnerability amid the pandemic.

While there is ongoing discussion of when Alabama will "re-open" its economy, I can assure you that Auburn University at Montgomery will not act in haste. As much as we may long to see in-person those students and colleagues we have only been interacting with on Zoom, we remain committed to offering courses remotely through the end of summer semester. 

While we hope to be able to resume traditional campus operations and instruction for fall semester, we will continue to adhere to the guidance provided by public health officials. I have formed a university committee that will focus on when and how to safely resume face-to-face services and instruction.

During this period of uncertainty, we will rely on our core values in guiding future decisions. We will continue to put the safety and well-being of our campus community above all else. Even as we prepare for the future - whatever it may look like - we must be mindful of the physical and emotional toll of this pandemic and care for one another.

Thank you for all that you have done - and continue to do - as faculty and staff. Be safe and be well.

Sincerely,

Carl A. Stockton, Ph.D.

Chancellor


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Update: Commencement ceremony plans, summer course delivery, as well as temporary changes to grading and course withdrawal date

Dear Auburn University at Montgomery Family:

Over the last few weeks, we have been confronted by an extraordinary set of circumstances that have impacted -- and continue to cause upheaval for -- our campus, city, state, and nation. Meeting the immense challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic requires adjustments to be made.

We have modified the manner in which we provide course instruction and deliver campus services. We have curtailed activities and observed the social distancing practices recommended by public health officials. After much deliberation, we will institute additional changes that are necessary under the present circumstances.

We will provide all of our summer courses via remote delivery. While we had hoped the public safety concerns connected to COVID-19 would pass quickly, we believe this decision best safeguards the well-being of our students and employees. Registration for summer courses begins this week, and we are offering a Summer Incentive Scholarship Program for first-time AUM undergraduate and graduate students.

We will delay our Spring 2020 commencement ceremony, an important and unavoidable step for the health of our community. While our spring Class of 2020 will earn their degrees in May and become AUM alumni, the formal celebration of their success will be observed on Saturday, August 15. We delayed this decision as long as possible in the hopes that the COVID-19 pandemic would show signs of subsiding and that we would be able to gather for our university's most special occasion at our usual time. 

Of all the decisions that we've had to make during this difficult period, this one has been the most heartbreaking. This spring semester should be about our graduates completing their degrees and celebrating years of hard work with professors, family, and friends. However, this change is necessary in light of public health guidance regarding the avoidance of large gatherings. We will share information about how our graduates will receive their diplomas as soon as we have it, as well as a schedule for the August celebration. We hope that the timing of this decision will allow graduates, as well as their families and loved ones, time to plan accordingly.

We understand that this decision may add to the stress and uncertainty many of you are undoubtedly experiencing. That is why we have made some temporary adjustments to our academic policies. AUM's Office of the Provost has examined grading options for students and faculty, as well as course withdrawal dates, and developed the following initiatives:

AUM will extend the deadline for students to drop a course with a "W" to Friday, April 24. Students are encouraged to consult with their academic advisors to understand how withdrawal might affect academic progression.

AUM will also offer a temporary expansion of pass/fail options. Once letter grades have been entered for Spring 2020 courses by the faculty, students will have the opportunity to request conversion of any passing grade to an "S" and any failing grade to a "U." This temporary change will not impact how faculty members assign grades in their classes, but it will offer students the option to request a possible change after reviewing their final grades. S/U (Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory) grades are not included in grade point average determinations and do not impact students' GPA for "Satisfactory Academic Progress," an important measure for continued financial aid.

Please visit our COVID-19 resource page and find additional details about the expansion of pass/fail options in the Student and Employee FAQ sections.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our everyday routines, but some things remain durable in this moment. Our faculty and staff remain committed to helping AUM students achieve success. And our soon-to-be graduates will build on the legacy of their predecessors by utilizing their education and talents to make their communities stronger through their work as educators, healthcare workers, entrepreneurs, researchers and more.

I remain immensely proud of AUM's students, faculty, and staff during a period that presents a formidable but not insurmountable test for all of us. We will pass it because we are the Mighty Warhawks.

Sincerely,

Carl A. Stockton, Ph.D.
Chancellor


Monday, March 23, 2020

AUM community appreciates your efforts

Dear Faculty and Staff:

I know that, for all of you, these are particularly uncertain times as we adjust processes and amend policies in responding to the challenges COVID-19 presents to our campus, community, state, nation, and world. Each day brings new information about how to mitigate the spread of the virus, which in turn necessitates change at a far more accelerated pace than we may be accustomed to in academia.

Please know that your efforts, as faculty and staff, are greatly appreciated. Many of you worked during your spring break to help prepare our students for the transition to remote learning while also balancing care for your own families as public schools announced closures and "social distancing" became a facet of our daily lives.

Our students also face considerable uncertainty as we collectively navigate challenging and rapidly changing circumstances. While we have tried to proactively address the items that are top of mind for our students, they may express unanticipated concerns or needs to their professors and staff members. Please encourage your students to direct these matters to our online Warhawk Help portal, and to utilize the FAQ section of our COVID-19 web presence.

With this being our first week back from spring break and our first experiment with a different operational and instructional model, it is expected that some of our processes will have rocky beginnings until we have an opportunity to test and refine them. These experiences represent learning opportunities for all of us and will help us become more effective in serving the needs of our students.

Each of our decisions during this uncertain time has been guided by the imperative of preserving the health and well-being of our campus community. Beyond that, we are focused on delivering - with as minimal disruption as possible - the high-quality educational experience and campus services our students have come to expect.

We do not yet know whether the COVID-19 will allow for a return to normalcy in short order or whether the changes we have made in response represent a new normal for an extended period. I can, however, say this with complete certainty: There is no doubt about who we are as a campus community. 

Our faculty and staff are strong, compassionate, student-focused, creative, resourceful, and resilient. We will work together to ensure the needs of our campus community are met.

I want to thank each of you again for going the extra mile to help our students and the AUM family during this time of uncertainty. I firmly believe we will get past all of this.

Please continue to take care of yourself, your loved ones, and your fellow AUM Warhawks during this difficult time.

Sincerely,

 

Carl A. Stockton, Ph.D.
Chancellor


Sunday, March 15, 2020

University finalizing plan to modify business operations

Dear AUM Family:

 

Based on Alabama Department of Public Health updates on novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases within Alabama and Montgomery County, Auburn University at Montgomery will temporarily modify its business operations in order to safeguard staff and faculty as much as possible while also continuing to serve the needs of its students.

 

Senior university leaders will finalize an updated operational plan on Monday. All AUM employees who can perform their work assignments remotely will be asked to do so as soon as possible, but no later than the close of business on Monday, March 16. 

 

We are focused on preserving the most essential functions of the university with the minimum possible number of campus-based personnel to maintain recommended public health practices of "social distancing." This model is expected to be in effect through Friday, April 10, unless circumstances dictate otherwise.

 

Final determinations on assigned work locations for employees (on-campus vs. remote) will be made by supervisors based on each employee's assigned job responsibilities and whether they support a critical element of university operations. Supervisors should communicate as soon as possible with employees in their units to discuss arrangements. 

 

We will continue to provide new information as it becomes available, via email, AUM social media accounts, and our  COVID-19 resources web page . Please continue to monitor each of these touch points on a regular basis. As conditions change, we will be prepared to adapt to them.

 

This is not an easy time for our campus, our state or our nation. Please know that I appreciate the patience, dedication, resourcefulness, and resilience of our amazing AUM staff and faculty. Thank you for all that you have done, and continue to do.

 

Sincerely,

 

Carl A. Stockton, Ph.D.
Chancellor

 


Thursday, March 12, 2020

 

 

University transitioning to remote course delivery through April 10 in response to coronavirus concerns

Dear AUM Family,

In response to concerns about the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Auburn University at Montgomery will temporarily move from in-person instruction to remote delivery of course content. The change in course delivery will become effective on Monday, March 23, after AUM's spring break, and will remain in effect until Friday, April 10, unless circumstances dictate an extension. 

AUM faculty will contact students on steps they should take to continue their academic coursework. Our goal is to resume in-person instruction as soon as it is reasonable to do so.

While no confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Alabama as of this announcement, we believe this decision is necessary to safeguard our students, faculty and staff. Based on information available from epidemiologists and public health authorities, the best course of action is to try to limit potential exposure through "social distancing" in order to protect members of the campus community.

We encourage AUM students to make wise decisions regarding their health and safety. They may choose to go home during spring break and continue their studies online from there through April 10. Our residence halls will remain open, and no student is required to leave. The Wellness Center and normal dining operations will be closed between March 14 and April 10. Alternate dining options will be available. Additional information on dining and residence halls will be forthcoming to students.

There may be a few challenges associated with the temporary transition from campus-based, face-to-face instruction to alternative delivery formats. We are doing everything possible to minimize disruptions to university operations and maintain a high-quality educational experience for our students. We appreciate everyone's patience during this transitional period.

AUM will maintain normal business operations. All employees, other than full-time faculty and instructors, will be required to report to campus. Please check with your supervisor as to the plan for your unit.

Effective March 14, all campus events scheduled through April 10 will be canceled or postponed unless otherwise authorized by the Office of the Chancellor. A process for requesting exceptions is being established, and additional guidance will soon be provided to clubs, organizations and academic units.

The AUM Student Health Clinic will remain open. Area hospital partners have informed us that all COVID-19 testing in the Montgomery area will be administered by the Alabama Department of Public Health. If anyone in the AUM community believes they have been exposed to the virus, they are advised to contact ADPH at 334-293-6400 to coordinate a time for testing. At this time, the AUM Student Health Clinic does not have the ability to provide COVID-19 testing. However, we will share details if those capabilities change.

At this time, all university-sponsored domestic and international travel for faculty and staff is suspended unless otherwise approved by the Chancellor.

AUM Athletics is in communication with the NCAA and the Gulf South Conference and expects to receive additional information in the near future regarding regular season sports schedules.

We will continue to share new information, as it becomes available, via email and on our COVID-19 resource page.

Thank you for all of your efforts to keep Auburn University at Montgomery a healthy and safe campus. Please take care of yourselves and each other as we collectively navigate this unique set of circumstances.

 

Sincerely,

 

Carl A. Stockton, Ph.D.
Chancellor

Auburn University at Montgomery

 
 

 

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Dear Auburn University at Montgomery Family,

In response to concerns about the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Auburn University at Montgomery will temporarily move from in-person instruction to remote delivery of course content. The change in course delivery will become effective on Monday, March 23, after AUM’s spring break, and will remain in effect until Friday, April 10, unless circumstances dictate an extension.  AUM faculty will contact students on steps they should take to continue their academic coursework. Our goal is to resume in-person instruction as soon as it is reasonable to do so.

While no confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Alabama as of this announcement, we believe this decision is necessary to safeguard our students, faculty and staff.  Based on information available from epidemiologists and public health authorities, the best course of action is to try to limit potential exposure through “social distancing” in order to protect members of the campus community.

We encourage AUM students to make wise decisions regarding their health and safety. They may choose to go home during spring break and continue their studies online from there through April 10. Our residence halls will remain open, and no student is required to leave. The Wellness Center and normal dining operations will be closed between March 14 and April 10. Alternate dining options will be available. Additional information on dining and residence halls will be forthcoming to students.

There may be a few challenges associated with the temporary transition from campus-based, face-to-face instruction to alternative delivery formats. We are doing everything possible to minimize disruptions to university operations and maintain a high-quality educational experience for our students. We appreciate everyone’s patience during this transitional period.

AUM will maintain normal business operations. All employees, other than full-time faculty and instructors, will be required to report to campus. Please check with your supervisor as to the plan for your unit. 

Effective March 14, all campus events scheduled through April 10 will be canceled or postponed unless otherwise authorized by the Office of the Chancellor.  A process for requesting exceptions is being established, and additional guidance will soon be provided to clubs, organizations and academic units.

The AUM Student Health Clinic will remain open. Area hospital partners have informed us that all COVID-19 testing in the Montgomery area will be administered by the Alabama Department of Public Health. If anyone in the AUM community believes they have been exposed to the virus, they are advised to contact ADPH at 334-293-6400 to coordinate a time for testing. At this time, the AUM Student Health Clinic does not have the ability to provide COVID-19 testing. However, we will share details if those capabilities change.

At this time, all university-sponsored domestic and international travel for faculty and staff is suspended unless otherwise approved by the Chancellor.

AUM Athletics is in communication with the NCAA and the Gulf South Conference and expects to receive additional information in the near future regarding regular season sports schedules.

We will continue to share new information, as it becomes available, via email and on our COVID-19 resource page.

Thank you for all of your efforts to keep Auburn University at Montgomery a healthy and safe campus. Please take care of yourselves and each other as we collectively navigate this unique set of circumstances.

 

Carl A. Stockton, Ph.D.
Chancellor

Auburn University at Montgomery

 


 

March 9, 2020

An update on novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Dear AUM Family,

There have been a number of important conversations surrounding the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it may affect the Auburn University at Montgomery family. Several weeks ago, we began conversations with representatives of the College of Nursing & Health Sciences to begin identifying the potential impact of the COVID-19 phenomenon. These conversations quickly grew to include the Deans of each college at AUM and several other key campus leaders. This group has been actively monitoring reliable and verified information from the  World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), as well as experts at other universities from throughout the United States.

While there are currently no diagnosed cases of COVID-19 in the State of Alabama, the WHO on Wednesday declared novel coronavirus a global pandemic. As we prepare to move into Spring Break, I want you to be aware of five important notes that relate to our campus preparedness for containing COVID-19.

  • ENHANCED CAMPUS HYGIENE RESOURCES. You may have noticed that we have installed a significant number of hand sanitizer stations throughout campus. Almost all of these stations are mounted on the wall next to exterior doors in the major campus buildings. We have also posted notices and educational material on communicable disease prevention throughout campus, including digital signage. Please keep a watchful eye for additional notices in these public spaces as they relate to ongoing informational sessions. Also, our campus services staff has increased the frequency and thoroughness of campus germ control. They will continue to incorporate new cleaning methods and new cleaning agents to increase our cleanliness levels on campus.
  • CAMPUS SERVICES & OPERATIONS. We are monitoring the decisions of universities that have closed their campuses or modified their schedules in order to restrict the potential spread of COVID-19. We are in active communication with many of these campuses, as well as numerous similarly situated campuses in our region and local universities. At this time, there are no plans for AUM to close campus or to limit our campus services now or after Spring Break. If changes to the university schedule become necessary, we will let you know directly via email and the AUM website.
  • ALTERNATIVE INSTRUCTION MODELS. In order to measure AUM's readiness and capacity to respond to a public health crisis, we have asked many of our faculty members to replace one class session that is scheduled to be taught in a classroom with a class session that is accessible online. Faculty will be asked to implement the online class session after spring break (Week of March 23). Our desire is to assess our ability to utilize alternative instruction models and also to measure the impact that alternative instruction models have on the student learning experience. Students, if one of your professors changes one of your class meetings to an online format, please know that we desire for you to fully engage in this process by attending the online class session and providing feedback to your professor regarding the strengths and weaknesses of temporarily using an online instruction model.
  • BLACKBOARD USAGE. In order to provide an enhanced distance learning experience, we have asked that all faculty members increase their usage of Blackboard. You may have noticed recent faculty posts including syllabus, course materials, and additional important information. Faculty may also hold discussions and/or synchronous and asynchronous class sessions.  
  • TESTING PROTOCOL. Our partners at area hospitals have informed us that all COVID-19 testing in the Montgomery area is being administered by the ADPH, located at 3600 Mobile Highway. If anyone in the AUM community would like to be tested, they are advised to contact ADPH via phone at 334-293-6400 and coordinate a time for the testing process. At this time, our Student Health Center does not have the ability to provide COVID-19 testing; however, we will let you know if those capabilities change.

As the situation changes, please visit  AUM's COVID-19 website to stay updated on the latest campus news related to COVID-19. We will continue to communicate additional guidelines and updates as they become available. AUM employees should contact the Office of Human Resources should they have any questions.

AUM is committed to ensuring the health and safety of everyone in our community, and I am confident that by working together we will continue to make decisions that protect our students, faculty, and staff.

 

Sincerely,

 

Carl A. Stockton, Ph.D.
Chancellor

Auburn University at Montgomery

 
randomness