COVID-19 Update | Message from the Chancellor
Dear Antioch Community,
We continue to monitor the evolving situation with the COVID-19 virus carefully and want to report to you on recent decisions and developments. In that regard, we want to assure you that we are guided by two overarching principles.
- The health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and communities are paramount in the decisions we are making as we continue to communicate with regional and Federal health agencies.
- Students will be able to continue their classes without interruption. While the learning modality may need to be adjusted from on-site, face-to-face formats, depending on the situation, we will do everything in our power to ensure no interruptions in courses or in the academic calendar.
We are in regular contact with higher education associations and health authorities to secure their guidance about steps to protect the public health. We have been informed that the best strategy for doing so and minimizing the spread of the disease is by social distancing and that, of course, is inconsistent with an on-site classroom modality.
So, please know that while we are watching the evolving situation closely. We have also made some immediate decisions based on the best information at hand, which I wanted to share with you in this communication.
- Effective Monday, March 9, Antioch University SEATTLE will be shifting all of its on-site classes to distance learning formats for the remainder of the quarter, through March 31 Again, there will be no interruption in the courses or in the academic calendar. Student services will be provided, both available on campus and remotely. Many AU Seattle-based employees will work remotely but will be available by telephone and email. Specific contact information will be distributed by AU Seattle Provost Ben Pryor. I know we all want to express our gratitude for the commitment of our Seattle staff, faculty and students during this unusual time.
- We also have made the decision to shift the upcoming University PhD in Leadership & Change four-day residency, which was scheduled to be held on the Seattle campus in mid-March, to an entirely virtual format. Here too, I want to thank the faculty and staff for their intense work over the past days to readjust schedules and sessions.
- We have also canceled AULA’s upcoming Japan study abroad and, consistent with other higher education institutions, will not be approving other international travel until further notice.
- Our IT and Academic Technology (AT) departments have been working to ensure that access and additional training is available for Sakai and Zoom sufficient for all faculty, students and staff. I know you have been seeing the announcements from AT to this effect. If you need more help or questions, please reach out to them. They are here to help.
I know that during times of insecurity with so many unknowns, communication that is well-informed, timely, easily available and well-coordinated is essential. To that end, we have established several University channels for information in addition to your local Provost and campus operations.
Please note that on AU 2.0 in the “All Employee” space, there is now a Crisis Management tab. It is still under development but you will easily find resources, announcements and documents right there. This actually parallels what we have now set up for students and others on the website, which is a Coronavirus Update page, accessible off of every web page on our site.
And, finally, I have established a Crisis Management Team (CMT) composed of senior University leadership to coordinate our institution’s efforts and facilitate timely and informed decision-making across the University. The Team is chaired by Vice Chancellor Chet Haskell, and includes Assistant Vice Chancellor Melissa Kirk, General Counsel Rebecca Todd, Associate Counsel Mary Granger, and GSLC Provost & Special Advisor to the Chancellor, Laurien Alexandre. The CMT meets every morning and will continue to do so until there is no longer need. If you have questions for the CMT, feel free to address them to CMT@antioch.edu. The CMT will either answer your question directly and as quickly as possible or forward it to those that can best answer in a timely manner.
Our actions thus far are consistent with steps being taken by universities across the country. We will be thoughtful and informed and I will continue to communicate as often as necessary as we move through these rather uncharted territories along with our fellow residents of the United States and, indeed, all citizens of the world.
William R. Groves, JD