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Dear LAS Colleagues,

You have my very best wishes as you prepare to resume classes, teaching in an entirely new and unexpected way. I thank all of you—faculty, staff, and graduate students—for your hard work and creativity.

I encourage all of us to be understanding and realistic as classes resume. With that in mind, faculty have my support to use their judgment about how much instruction to offer the week of March 23, with the goal of achieving full operation by Monday, March 30. As you do so, please consider the following guidelines and recommendations:

  • Consult with your department leadership, who are encouraged to give you flexibility whenever possible.
  • Communicate with your students and department leadership so that they know what is happening in your classes this coming week.
  • Resume teaching as soon as possible. For those of you who are ready to start on Monday, please do so, and thank you!
  • We strongly recommend that you engage your students in some way next week. Your first classes don’t need to focus on content, and they don’t need to be full-length. Consider offering brief classes that focus on testing the approaches you have developed and giving your students a chance to become familiar with them. If you are teaching a 2nd 8 week course, you might distribute the syllabus and take questions; if you are continuing a full-semester course, you might introduce one assignment, or ask students to complete a low-stakes task or brief reading outside of class time.
  • As you re-design your courses for the remainder of the term, please be mindful that students are experiencing unexpected changes in most or all of their courses and, like you, are experiencing stress. The date for course completion has not changed, and we ask you to consider that delays in resuming instruction may add to a student's already very full academic load.

Having some people start on March 23 and everyone make an attempt at teaching this coming week will give us all an opportunity to identify and solve problems. We hope that this will put us on course for full operation by March 30. Even then, we understand that you are doing your best under difficult circumstances.

We are eager to support you. The ATLAS IT group and many other faculty and staff members have worked very hard over the last few weeks to help the college and campus prepare for the rest of the semester. The LAS Marketing & Communications team has created an LAS landing page with links to college and campus resources related to COVID-19, including information on virtual LAS advising for your students. Please don’t hesitate to contact your department head or others who will do their best to connect you with the assistance you need. This is not an easy undertaking, and I thank everyone again for their understanding as we work together to protect the health of our people, and do the best that we can for our students.

Sincerely,

Feng Sheng Hu
Harry E. Preble Dean

Ralph E. Grim Professor