COVID-19 Update: Issue 2

March 24, 2020 - A&S Dean

Notes

Many thanks to Prof. Rachel Hopp (Biology) for taking the time to discuss with WHAS how she moved her course online. 

UofL moved classes online for the rest of the semester and asked students to move out of dorms by March 29

Two new funds have been created as a result of the coronavirus pandemic: one is a student emergency fund to support students who are struggling; and the other is a COVID-19 research fund.  If you have questions about these funds, please email Denise Bohn, Senior Director of Development for A&S. To contribute to either of these funds, please click on the button below. If you know students who are in need, please encourage them to apply for emergency funds.

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Instruction & Curriculum 

Changes to Graduate Education policy

Please be aware of the following A&S Graduate Education policy changes due to the current Coronavirus pandemic:

    • Effective immediately, all thesis and dissertation defenses for A&S graduate students for spring graduation must take place online using remote collaborative tools (e.g. Microsoft Teams or Zoom). Requests for exceptions must be made to the A&S Associate Dean for Graduate Education, David Brown, at asgrad@louisville.edu.
    • Due to cancellation of GRE exams, departments whose programs normally require the GRE for admission will be allowed to admit students without the GRE for study beginning in summer or fall 2020.  Those students will be admitted in good standing provided that all other admission requirements are met.  If your department's graduate program requires the GRE and you would like to offer admission and/or assistantship to a student affected by the cancellation of the GRE, please send a note to this effect to gradadm@louisville.edu copied to asgrad@louisville.edu.
    • Forms for graduate students can be found on the A&S Graduate Education site under the Student Resources tab or the Faculty Resources tab.  Forms should be completed electronically and circulated via email to all signatories before being forwarded for final approval to the A&S Associate Dean for Graduate Education at asgrad@louisville.edu. The free Adobe Acrobat Reader is the preferred tool for filling out forms.  

Note that items 1 and 2 are expected to be temporary measures. Item 3 is temporary as a requirement, but is the generally recommended way to handle forms even in the most placid of times.

Pass/Fail option for Spring 2020

Students are now able to opt for P/F grading for any of their courses this term up until April 21st. They will make this selection through a portal that is nearing completion. Prof. Linda Fuselier, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education, developed this guide for students who are unsure whether the P/F option is appropriate for them. Please note:

  • Students have until Apr 21 to opt for P/F and are not required to inform their instructors of their decision;
  • Faculty will not necessarily know which students choose the P/F option;
  • Students are expected to complete the work in the course as described in the most updated syllabus; if a student stops participating in the class, they risk earning an F as per the grading and assessment criteria in the syllabus;
  • Faculty will submit letter grades for students regardless of the P/F option;
  • Grades for students that opt for P/F will be changed by the Registrar "behind the scenes.”

If you have any questions about this temporary policy, please email Linda Fuselier.

Advising & Student Support Services

Emergency fund for graduate students

The Graduate School realizes that you may need some additional resources and support as a result of the actions that have been taken to curb the outbreak of COVID-19, and so we want to remind you that the Graduate School has a modest Emergency Fund for Graduate Students. If you’re experiencing financial hardships due to the pandemic, consider submitting a request for up to $500 in emergency relief funding. There probably won’t have enough funding to help everyone who’ll ask for support, but all requests will be reviewed and a decision will be reached within 3 business days.

Research

Non-essential research activities are suspended

If you have not ramped down your non-essential research activities at this time, you are instructed to do so immediately. Effective Thursday, March 26, all non-essential research activities are suspended and all researchers are requested to stay away from on-campus workspaces/laboratories with limited exceptions approved by your Dean/VP to carry out essential research activities as follows:

  • Activity that if discontinued would generate significant and irreplaceable data and sample loss
  • Activity that if discontinued would pose a safety or health hazard
  • Activity that maintains critical equipment in facilities and laboratories that would otherwise become damaged
  • Activity that maintains existing critical or irreplaceable samples, animal populations and other research materials.
  • COVID-19 related activity that has a timeline for deployment that could address the current crisis
  • Activity that has U.S. government-mandated security and access requirements, cannot be performed remotely, and whose activity is deemed critical by the U.S. government
  • Activities specifically requested by a U.S. Government sponsor to continue during this emergency situation
  • Clinical trial activity that if discontinued or not started would negatively impact patient health, safety or survival

All research activities that do not meet the criteria listed above and that have not been approved to continue by the cognizant Dean/VP (or their designee) should immediately be ramped down and stopped by March 26. Research Service Centers and Core Facilities should also ramp down all activities by March 26, unless services are being provided to research programs performing approved, essential research activities. Non-essential research studies and experiments that have not yet started should be immediately postponed. Full letter from EVPRI 

Administration & Operations

Updates on travel, personnel policies, communication, finance, etc. 

Federal emergency programs for employees

Many UofL families and have been impacted by childcare centers and schools closing, and many employees may have healthcare and/or government issued mandates that are keeping you from doing the essential functions of your job.
 
The University of Louisville is an eligible employer for two of the recently passed federal government emergency programs that went into effect Monday, March 23:

  • Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA)
  • Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (FMLA Expansion)

Employees and supervisors: please take time to thoroughly read the supervisor guidelines and employee guidelines that explain the details of these emergency programs and employee eligibility. Supervisor guidelines can be found here. For any questions, please contact leaveadm@louisville.edu or hrbpsvcs@louisville.edu.

Notice for H-1B foreign national workers

For current H-1B workers, we must ensure that we comply with the Department of Labor rules regarding our employees’ worksite location(s).  We are required to post the Labor Certification Application (LCA) for each worksite where the individual foreign national employee is located. All H-1B foreign national workers need to email Carcyle Barrett  directly for next steps if that employee is temporarily working from a different location than previously identified – even if this location is a home office.

To Tenure Track Faculty RE: Extension of Probationary Period, Letter from Provost

"I don't want anxiety about the impact of this unanticipated situation to add to your stress as you also seek to attain tenure by forwarding your teaching and research agendas. Therefore, I'm calling your attention to a seldom-used Redbook policy that allows you to request an extension of your tenure clock:

4.2.2 C: Extension of Probationary Period
A faculty member who faces extenuating circumstances that do not require a leave of absence but result in a significant reduction in ability to perform normal duties (such as personal illness, the birth or adoption of a child, or care of an ill family member) may request an extension of the probationary period for no less than six months and no more than one year. A second extension may be granted for a second extenuating circumstance. An extension shall not be granted more than two (2) times within the probationary period of a faculty member. Such extensions must be requested and approved before the end of the fifth year of the probationary period and must have documentation satisfactory to the Executive Vice President and University Provost." 

See the full letter from the Provost to tenure track faculty regarding getting an extension of probationary period.