VP Message - COVID 19 Update

Dear DSA team,

As you saw in the president’s announcement yesterday, as of 5 p.m. tomorrow our campus will transition to only essential operations and will move all other campus offices to virtual services.

I know you are all feeling the strain of these unprecedented times we find ourselves in and I know that strain extends to what you are dealing with personally and not just professionally.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you are doing to support our students during this difficult time. They need us now more than ever and I am heartened to know you are out there fighting for them and each other.

Some updates:

Continuity of Staffing

  • As of 5 p.m. tomorrow, UNT employees who do not fall into the essential personnel category for being on campus and are unable to do their work from home will be reassigned to other duties or receive emergency leave through Friday, April 3. You should have heard from your supervisor by now to review your current work plan.
  • Our offices will remain open and we will continue to serve students even if we close. After Tuesday, offices will be staffed by essential personnel where needed. Any physical traffic will be limited to the few students we still have on-campus.
  • Any staff physically in the office should not feel the need to meet face-to-face with a student who comes in unless they are comfortable doing so and can ensure spatial separation and other safety precautions. If a student comes in and staff would feel more comfortable asking them to jump on an office computer for a virtual meeting, that is permissible.
  • Student employees can telecommute and they can be deemed essential personnel. We will be able to forward our office lines and have students manning those as deemed appropriate. Please remember student assistants will need to have a work plan in place detailing what duties they will be performing remotely.
  • If you no longer have work for some of your student employees, please refer them to the Career Center. They are working to move students to available positions. Supervisors can communicate with Patricia Chastain at patricia.chastain@unt.edu or 940-565-2105 about students you are seeking to reassign.

Responding to Student Needs

  • Instruction resumed today, Monday, March 23, and will be online for the remainder of the semester. Urge students with questions regarding their classes to reach out to their professors. You can find FAQs for students here.
  • Willis Library will remain open, with limited operations.
  • Residence halls and dining services, along with the Student Health and Wellness Center clinic, will continue operating – with social distancing in mind for those students who wish to remain in our care.
  • We announced to parents and students Friday that beginning today, students who choose to leave university housing and complete their coursework elsewhere will be given a prorated housing refund based on their move-out date. Any remaining dining credits will be applied to a dining plan of choice for the 2020-2021 academic year.
  • Please keep driving folks to our Parent and Family Hotline at 844-366-5892. The hotline is available 10 a.m. to 2. p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • For students in need of financial support due to this situation, please contact SMMC or DOS as usual. SOS will continue to respond to individual student issues and needs and direct services accordingly.
  • ODA remains the contact for any students who need accommodations. They are working through accessibility issues for virtual learning with Academic Affairs and are available to respond to questions as needed.
  • Counseling continues to be available for all students. There may be some limitations based upon the availability of graduate student interns.

Continuity of Communications

  • We are curtailing routine communications such as In the Know to clear channels for the most urgent emails. 
  • If you have specific questions, please funnel these through your direct report. This will allow us to best coordinate communications. 
  • All media inquiries related to Coronavirus should be sent to Leigh Ann Gullett in UBSC Leigh.Gullett@unt.edu.
  • Please check https://healthalerts.unt.edu/ for all the latest updates from the University.
  • All questions can be directed to Amy Armstrong, 940.565.2464 or amy.armstrong@unt.edu

Kudos

If you know of staff members who are going above and beyond during this time, please email student.affairs@unt.edu describing their effort. I will send them a note of appreciation and highlight some of these examples as we discuss how we have come together as a caring campus community to respond to this health crisis.  These will also be sent to the president for use on a campus level.

  • Thank you to Sandy Howell and Ryan Davis who spent numerous hours last week securing laptops not only for our Division but the entire University.
  • Thank you to everyone who has stepped up to volunteer for our Parent and Family Hotline.

Thank you for all the work you have already put in, and will continue to, as we navigate this evolving situation.

Take care,

Elizabeth With Ed.D.

Vice President for Student Affairs