I am proud of the strength and resilience with which you all are carrying out the work of our university. Over the past week our faculty, staff and students have united in a common goal of safeguarding the health of our community while ensuring the continued delivery of education and support to our students is uncompromised. I’m grateful for the many ways that you continue to care for the academic, emotional, physical and spiritual needs of our Samford community. As we settle in to a new routine, I want to draw your attention to a few things:
- We’re adding to the coronavirus microsite daily, so please check it regularly for the latest news and information.
- General technology support is available 24/7 for employees and students by emailing email@example.com. Canvas support is available by either (1) the chat feature, (2) emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or (3) calling 833-741-0038. Instructional design support is available at email@example.com.
- Continuity of instruction during COVID-19 includes library support. The digital library is open and librarians are available to serve you and your students. Virtual reference and support is available Monday-Thursday 8 a.m. - 9 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Saturday 12 p.m. - 4 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. A research guide detailing library services during this period of online learning is available.
- University Health Services is available by appointment Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. To discuss your symptoms or to make an appointment, call 205-726-2835 or send a message through the patient portal. Blue Cross and Blue Shield is also expanding telehealth options. Check with your personal health care provider for more information.
- The CARE Team continues to monitor student successes and struggles. It is reaching out to students and directing them to helpful resources. CARE Forms are available for online submission.
- Counseling Services is available by phone or e-mail. Students may e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 205-726-4083. The Counseling Services website includes helpful resources for students and employees.
- The post office has arranged for weekly departmental mail pickup; your supervisor will provide specific details for your area.
- A very important issue we are examining is refunds or credits for students related to room and board expenses while students are off campus until April 6. This issue will be considered by the university’s Board of Trustees during a special meeting next week. The administration is working on a proposal for the trustees to consider and we will provide you with an update no later than March 28.
- I understand that some employees are housing students. This is thoughtful and kind but please know this is not an expectation of the university nor is it recommended or endorsed.
- During this time of response to COVID-19, we will have unique but necessary expenses. It is important that we are able to identify and track these expenses in order to support re-imbursements that may be available from FEMA or other emergency sources. Mike Darwin will be sending instructions about how we plan to accomplish this important task and how you can help.
- Finally, as to the questions of when we might resume regular operations and any possible cancellation of commencement ceremonies, let me assure you that it is still too early to make those decisions. We will continue to hope for a prompt return to campus. If decisions regarding commencement ceremonies must eventually be made, Dr. Westmoreland has instructed us that—unassailably—we will observe the ceremonies in true Samford fashion, even if they must be held at a later date. He feels honor bound to deliver that “we sit in the shade of trees” line in person.
As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow, it is imperative that we remain vigilant in our efforts to reduce its spread. Based on the latest guidance from the CDC and the Alabama Department of Public Health, you should:
- Stay home if you or someone in your household is sick.
- Avoid social gathering in groups of more than 10 people.
- Avoid eating or drinking in restaurants or food courts. Utilize drive-thru, pickup or delivery options.
- Avoid discretionary travel.
- Continue to practice good hygiene (wash hands frequently).
- Practice social distancing.
Many other questions that you may have are addressed on the coronavirus microsite. Take time to review that information. If you have additional questions, please e-mail COVID19info@samford.edu. We’re doing our best to respond to all inquiries as quickly as possible.