UPDATED: JSU asks professors to prepare for ‘potential spring 2020 disruptions’ amid COVID-19 concerns

UPDATED: 8:20 p.m. MARCH 10, 2020 – adds statement from university Emergency Management director Dr. Jeff Ryan.

Scott YoungNews Editor

Jacksonville State University sent an email to professors on Tuesday morning giving them tips on how to quickly upload classroom content to Canvas to prepare for “potential spring 2020 disruptions”.

“The provost, Dr. Shelton, has met with all deans to discuss our academic contingency options,” said Dr. Jeff Ryan, director of the JSU Emergency Management program. “The faculty have been made aware of this possible transition. Preparations and actions are underway to give us the option in the near future.”

Ryan said that some faculty need more time to familiarize themselves with the Canvas system after receiving training and access to coaches.

“The university has a comprehensive and detailed contingency plan that considers all aspects of such an event,” said Ryan. “We have looked at the many ways this problem might manifest itself on our campus. We are prepared and continue improving our posture daily.”

Ryan added that if the switch to all online classes becomes necessary, that the provost would direct the move.

The memo to faculty comes four days after the university announced that two JSU students were exposed to a COVID-19 patient in northwest Georgia. No cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the state of Alabama.

“To help faculty prepare for unforeseen disruptions in normal university operations, we have a brand new tutorial for you,” the email reads.

The email then provides a tutorial from Online@JSU on how to upload syllabi, content, files, gradebooks and assignment submissions to Canvas to prepare professors for “course continuity”.

A growing number of universities in the United States have cancelled in-person classes due to COVID-19, including Harvard University, Columbia University, Princeton University, Rice University, Stanford University, Hofstra University, University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Washington, among others. JSU has not made an announcement regarding whether or not in-person classes will be cancelled.

The two JSU students exposed to a COVID-19 patient are in a self-quarantine off-campus for 14 days and are not symptomatic.

To prevent illness, the CDC advises people to avoid close contact with those who are sick, stay home when you are sick and wash your hands regularly. For more information about COVID-19, visit http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/.

This story will be updated as new information comes in.


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