To the Temple community:
Welcome back! We hope you enjoyed your spring break.
Spring break is normally a quiet week on campus, but this year was an exception with growing awareness about the coronavirus (COVID-19). As the situation around COVID-19 continues to evolve globally and locally, we want you to know the steps we’ve already taken and how we are building our plans for the future. While events like these can be unsettling, you should take comfort in knowing that our actions have only one goal: keeping you healthy and safe, while ensuring that we continue to deliver a high-quality education.
We also want to tell you what medical experts have repeatedly told us: This is not a time for panic, but for preparation in order to make well-informed decisions. We have been gathering expertise from our vast Temple community, as well as city, national and international experts. You are also an important part of our campaign to stay well, as you can see from the actions we’ve outlined here.
Campus health measures
- As noted below, any students, faculty or staff who have traveled to areas of the world where sustained transmission of COVID-19 is occurring (China, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea) have been advised that they may not return to campus until they complete a 14-day self-monitoring period. Visitors to campus should adhere to the same guidelines.
- The university is working with experts in the College of Public Health and Wellness Resource Center to develop a public health messaging campaign. Their message is that our behavior can make a difference in the spread of the virus. Here are some measures you can and should be taking:
- Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water. Wash for at least 20 seconds. Read more about handwashing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid sharing food, drinks or eating utensils with others.
- Avoid close physical contact, including hugging and handshaking.
- Use disinfecting wipes to clean and sanitize your workstation as needed.
- Additional measures to ensure that campus buildings are cleaned and disinfected are being taken.
Travel suspensions and restrictions
- Students, faculty and staff travel for any reason to any areas under a Level 4 advisory from the U.S. Department of State has been suspended. Restricted travel locations include all of China, as well as areas in Italy and South Korea that are under a Level 4 advisory. Student travel to China, South Korea and Italy has been suspended.
- Anyone who has traveled to countries designated by the CDC as being sites of sustained community transmission of COVID-19 has been told to stay home to self-monitor for the CDC-recommended 14-day period to ensure that they do not become ill. Deans, department chairs, faculty members and supervisors have been advised of steps they should take to accommodate students or staff who must stay off campus during a self-monitoring period.
- University-affiliated travel to any area that has a Level 1 or higher warning for COVID-19 specifically from the CDC has been suspended through the end of the semester. Staff and faculty members should discuss any planned conferences with their cognizant vice presidents, deans or supervisors and seek teleconferencing options.
- A questionnaire regarding your recent travel will be available in TUportal on a specially created tab dedicated to updates on the COVID-19 situation. Please fill out this survey as soon as possible, as it will help our efforts to support those who need to stay off campus for a period of time and to ensure everyone’s health.
Academic continuity planning
- With support from the Center for the Advancement of Teaching, all faculty members have been advised that they must prepare contingency plans to continue teaching their courses online should campus operations be interrupted by a local outbreak.
- Likewise, students should evaluate their readiness to transition to online learning. For most students, all it takes is a device that can access the internet and is up-to-date (computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone), and a reliable internet connection. Should Temple move entirely online, look for more communication to students on how to make this transition seamlessly.
- Temple University Rome’s in-person academic operations have been suspended for the remainder of the spring semester. This decision was made in response to the CDC and State Department elevating their travel advisories to a Level 3 for all of Italy, advising against all non-essential travel to the country. Rome faculty, with the support of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching, began teaching their courses online today.
- Temple University Japan’s (TUJ) in-person academic operations closed March 2 for a two-week period. TUJ faculty are teaching their classes online during this period. Students have not been called home from Japan.
All university communications and a list of frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and Temple’s response are published online. This page is a great resource for the latest information on this situation as it pertains to Temple. We will continue to send updates as needed.
As you can see, Temple University has come together and already accomplished a lot. We also know there will be challenges ahead of us. It is times like these when we are overwhelmed by the expertise and dedication of our faculty—particularly at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine—and staff, who have been working tirelessly to ensure our safety and academic continuity. We have been touched by the perseverance of our students, some of whom have experienced dramatic change in a short time. We also draw strength from the ways Temple community members have reached out to offer any help they can to each other.
Thank you for your patience and your commitment to the fellow members of your Temple University family.
Richard M. Englert
JoAnne A. Epps
Executive Vice President and Provost