Update on University's pivot to fall semester

May 21, 2020 - President

Cardinal Family,

For 73 days, since senior leaders began considering major interventions related to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 9, you’ve done heroic work to keep the university operating while facing unprecedented challenges in your lives. In 88 days, we’ll face the fall semester and create a new normal -- together.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began affecting our community, we have intentionally prioritized the health and well-being of our staff, faculty and students. As you know, Provost Boehm is leading our planning efforts for a safe return to campus this fall. While that important work will ensure we are ready for August and September, I know many of you have questions about June and July.

Beginning June 1, we will cautiously begin our pivot to the fall, continuing to keep the health and safety of our faculty, staff and students as our top priority. This phased transition will include the following:

  • We have extended the remote-work policy through June 30 for those employees who can continue performing their duties off campus.
  • Beginning June 1, certain units whose vice president, dean or vice provost determines they have critical on-campus needs may begin to bring some employees back to campus. Those decisions will be approved by central administration, and those units will follow the governor’s “Healthy at Work” plan for reopening businesses. This includes enforcing physical distancing, limiting face-to-face meetings, providing an initial supply of masks for on-campus employees, restricting access to common areas, providing plenty of hand sanitizer and encouraging frequent hand washing.
  • Beginning June 1, small meetings and events of 10 or fewer people may be held.
  • Pay reductions and furloughs scheduled between now and June 30 will continue as planned.
  • Some research labs and clinical research programs will begin to open following strict health and safety guidelines. You can read more about these EVPRI guidelines here under “Research Reopening Plans.”
  • We will continue to evaluate the situation and update the campus on next steps prior to July 1.

While we anticipate the COVID-19 pandemic to influence our actions for the foreseeable future, we are preparing for the fall semester under what we expect to be a “new normal” environment.  As Provost Boehm wrote to faculty and staff last week, we have formed three committees – each including faculty, staff and student representatives – to lead those preparations: a coordinating committee to develop plans for campus operations, student services and other key functions; a safe return to campus committee to plan testing necessary to safely return to work and classes; and an academic scenario planning committee to address delivery of academic programming. We will share information from those committees as they develop those plans.

While none of us knows what the future holds, we are working diligently to ensure that the University of Louisville will be prepared for any eventuality. For details about our phased approach toward returning to “normal,” see the attached document.

As always, thank you for your dedication to the university and for your continued support as we navigate this uncharted territory. I promise you this: we will get through this together.

Go Cards!

Neeli