TIME SENSITIVE: NO IN-PERSON CLASSES THIS WEEK

Mar. 15, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

With the daily if not hourly updates and changes in local, state, national, and international policies with respect to COVID-19, we are yet again updating our own policies.  Effective immediately, all courses at Brandeis will go online, regardless of size.  This includes labs and studios.  For those who had planned to have in-person exams this week those exams will need to be delayed until after March 25 and be conducted online. I know that many of you have already moved your course online, even if you have less than 100 students.  For those who are still in the process of moving your class, lab, or studio online and will not be ready by tomorrow, I ask that you switch your course to an online reading or review session for this coming week.  By March 26 all courses will need to be online.

I recognize the challenges of pivoting yet again at such short notice.  For those of you who will need to quickly come up with reading or review assignments this week before you go fully online by March 26 may I suggest that you might consider readings in your field related to COVID-19.  In the sciences there is no shortage of material you should be able to easily access and post on your LATTE page.  As a suggestion for other fields, a group of friends have pulled together a reading list for COVID-19 from past major health crises including: The Betrothed by A. Manzoni, 1630 plague in Milan (see chapters 31 and 32); The Decameron by G. Boccaccio, 1348 plague in Florence; The Plague, by A. Camus, based on the plague in Oran, Algeria, 1500 and 1600; Love in the Time of Cholera, by R. Garcia Marquez; The Cholera Years: The United States in 1832, 1849, and 1866, by C. Rosenberg; and A Year of Wonder by G. Brooks, about the bubonic plague in 17th century England.  Local papers have included pieces on the 1918 Spanish flu and here is a link from the CDC.  See also https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/reconstruction-1918-virus.html.  I am sure our colleagues in the creative arts can come up with suggestions of relevant creative works.

Teaching support from our Center for Teaching and Learning is available online and groups are congregating in Zoom rather than in the CTL Farber Library space. The Teaching Continuity webpage is where you'll find constant 24/7 live help, answers to frequently asked questions, and Brandeis colleagues' good examples to support our transition to an online environment. 

As we prepare for the possibility of travel restrictions in the greater Boston area that may make it more difficult for faculty to record their class from Brandeis, we now have 24/7 round-the-clock live support in place (available from the Teaching Continuity webpage) for those faculty who still want more help learning how to record lectures on Zoom, even after they have completed the Zoom tutorials available on the Teaching Continuity page:

By making all classes virtual starting tomorrow we will be able to help students leave sooner.  With the increasing number of travel restrictions around the world we do not want to put our students at a disadvantage for returning home because they feel they need to remain for an in person course.

I thank you for your understanding, flexibility, and creativity as we manage this extraordinary moment. 

With gratitude,

Lisa

Lisa M. Lynch, Provost