Faculty and staff are currently working remotely and available via email, phone and online services. Only select campus buildings are open. All instruction will be online for the remainder of the Spring semester.
In an effort to provide you with important and timely updates concerning the coronavirus, we have initiated this webpage as a single source of information for the St. Edward’s University community. You can expect to receive updates from the university as news of the virus develops. In the event of more urgent news, we will distribute information immediately.
Updates for Monday, April 6, 2020
The second week of online instruction brings the opportunity to step away from work and assignments for a few days in celebration of Easter. Many of you are distanced from family and friends who would normally join you in gatherings, but even in these difficult and uncertain circumstances, we hope you will take time to connect and draw support from your loved ones.
The Easter break may provide students with time to think about plans for the Summer semester. Registration is already underway and we want to ensure students have necessary details to make informed choices for their academic goals. In order to continue protecting the health and safety of our campus community, the university is extending remote instruction through the Summer semester. The university’s leadership continues to follow local and national health recommendations and monitor this developing situation.
Summer Semester Courses via Remote Instruction
All course work during the Summer 2020 semester will continue to be delivered via remote instruction, including research and other experiential learning opportunities. Deans and faculty members are working tirelessly to provide students with the best online experience possible.
At this time, there are no plans to extend the temporarily expanded "Pass/No Pass" policy into the summer semester. However, the deans, faculty, and provost will continue to monitor progress in remote instruction courses and update academic policies as necessary. [This FAQ addresses specific questions about the Summer semester -- https://www.stedwards.edu/news-center/alerts/covid-19online-spring-2020-updates-faqs#sum]
Housing is closed for students and summer conference use. As needed, emergency housing extensions have been provided on a case-by-case basis.
Summer Experiential Learning
All experiential learning classes and internships will take place remotely. Summer for-credit internships will be limited. If students are planning a for-credit internship with an organization other than the university, they should work with faculty members to communicate the remote requirements to offsite supervisors.
Summer Study Abroad and Other Travel
All study abroad programs have been canceled for the summer, including service projects and mission trips.
Summer Orientation for New Undergraduates
In an effort to limit personal interactions on campus and prevent the spread of COVID-19, we will offer a series of online orientations during the summer. Orientation leaders should work with their supervisor to continue to plan for summer orientation duties.
Our prayers for peace and health go out to each of you and your families during this Easter season.
Update: April 1, 2020
IMPORTANT CORONAVIRUS UPDATE
Dear Campus Community –
We have confirmed that a member of our Hilltopper community tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. This is the first known presumptive case of the virus associated with our campus.
The student who disclosed this health information to us is a commuter student who lives off campus and is self-isolating at home. The student’s last interactions on campus were on March 12, and contact with other members of our campus community have been limited. As a reminder, on-campus classes were suspended beginning March 13, making this case very low risk for our campus community.
The unfortunate likelihood is that additional positive coronavirus cases associated with our campus may be discovered and confirmed in the days ahead. This developing situation underscores the importance of our Remote Operations Initiative which began on March 13 and includes the following measures: closing of residence halls, online instruction for the remainder of the Spring semester, remote employee operations and everyone’s cooperation in remaining off campus.
If you believe you have been exposed to the coronavirus, you should call your health provider. If you are concerned about your well-being or that of another student, please complete the Student Concern Reporting Form.
We are taking every precautionary measure to limit the spread of COVID-19, and I greatly appreciate your cooperation during this challenging time. This message is part of the university's commitment to provide information in compliance with the notification requirement within the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act or, Clery Act, as it is commonly known.
Vice President, Student Affairs
Update: March 24, 2020
Dear Campus Community –
Today, Austin Mayor Steve Adler announced a shelter-in-place order for the city that takes effect today through April 13. The “Stay Home – Work Safe” order is an important step in preventing new cases of COVID-19.
Here’s what the shelter-in-place order means for our campus:
The University’s Remote Operations Initiative for faculty and staff will be extended in alignment with the City’s new order. President George E. Martin will provide additional details for employees in the next few days.
Students should continue to move out of residence halls as planned and directed last week. The shelter-in-place order does not disrupt instructions already provided for move-out. Students who are still living in residence halls and apartments will continue to receive updates from Residence Life through StarRez.
As this situation evolves, we continue to limit which essential employees are necessary on campus. Those employees who must be on campus will be provided a letter to verify their status in traveling to and from campus. Generally, essential personnel includes:
- University Police and dispatchers
- Residence Hall Directors
- Facilities personnel
If you have questions or concerns about how the Shelter-in-Place order affects your decisions at home, please see these resources:
Austin American-Statesman video outlines details:
Stay Home – Work Safe Order from Mayor Adler:
We are grateful for your ongoing assistance to help promote the health and safety of our community and recognize how disruptive the COVID-19 pandemic is for everyone. Our ability to work together as a community, and bring our Holy Cross values to bear, even in a remote and virtual setting, will help us to come out of this stronger than ever! Thank you for what each of you is doing personally to keep yourself and those around you healthy.
Vice President, Finance and Administration
Vice President, Student Affairs
Update: March 18, 2020
Dear Campus Community,
I write this letter with much sadness and disappointment. Spring ordinarily is a time of renewal; festivities; presentation of completed research; academic, athletic, and service awards; and celebratory hugs and handshakes. Instead, this year it is a time of social distancing, fear of the COVID-19 virus, and anxiety created by economic uncertainty throughout the world.
There are, however, reasons to feel encouraged. I am heartened and deeply grateful to the faculty, staff and students who have worked so diligently to assist in our adjustment to the difficulties presented by the extraordinary events we are experiencing. Their contributions are outstanding examples of the university’s unwavering commitment to the education and wellbeing of our students.
As part of our efforts to serve students, assure that they complete their academic goals for this year, and provide for their health and safety, we are introducing several changes to university operations. All instruction is now online for the entire spring semester. Spring Break is extended until Sunday, March 29, to allow faculty more time to convert to online instruction and refine their presentations. Deans and faculty are also working on ways to best accommodate students in internships, labs, studios, and other experiential learning courses. On-campus student housing is closed beginning Sunday, April 5. The vice presidents for academic and student affairs are preparing additional details to be sent to students later today, and the university remains open with faculty and staff working remotely during this time period and available via email and phone to support our students.
Due to government restrictions on public gatherings, our usual graduation ceremonies at the Frank Erwin Center will not be possible this year. We are developing alternative plans, including a virtual commencement that would provide for a celebration that could include family and friends. We will also continue to explore ways to hold a traditional commencement at a later date.
Tragedy and serious disruptions are not new to St. Edward’s. Our community has endured fires, devastating tornadoes and other major disruptions in the past. Through reflective prayer, trust in Providence, and unfailing resolve fueled by the hope inspired by our Holy Cross mission, our St. Edward’s University community has emerged from each challenge stronger and better than before. We shall do so once again.
George E. Martin, PhD
Update: March 16, 2020
During university remote operations, a limited number of students, faculty and essential staff will be on campus from today until April 4. Faculty and staff will be working remotely during this time period and available via email, phone and online services. Select campus buildings will be open. Online instruction for students is scheduled from March 23 to April 4. Please see the Frequently Asked Questions for more details.
Update: March 12, 2020
Changes to Campus Operations – Online Instruction
Letter from University President George E. Martin
Dear St. Edward's University Community,
In these deeply challenging times, we are reminded daily of how we are called by our Holy Cross mission to reach out to every member of our community with encouragement, warmth and supportive concern and assistance. In this spirit, the university has been providing information and aid to members of our Austin campus and to students studying abroad. This message is being sent to address any concerns you might have about Spring Break and the university’s plans for the remainder of the academic year.
As Spring Break quickly approaches, many of you are eager for well-deserved rest and time with family and friends. Whether you are staying in town or planning travel, I urge you to take precautions to keep yourself safe and healthy. Please make informed decisions about your travel and interactions with others. The university has initiated this alerts webpage with frequently asked questions to provide timely information regarding health advisories, canceled programs and new procedures during this time of heightened health concerns.
While there are no known cases of coronavirus, COVID-19, on our Austin campus, we are enacting preventative measures to safeguard the health of our campus community. As we continue to follow recommendations from local health and safety agencies, the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization, we are taking the following actions:
- Following our scheduled Spring Break, there will be no on-campus instruction in Austin from March 23 to April 4. All classes will be conducted online during this time period.
- Students, please watch for information from professors on course requirements. We encourage students who leave for Spring Break not to return to campus during this time, but instead, take their classes remotely. Accordingly, when departing for Spring Break, students should take all necessary items essential to continuing their education, such as laptops, textbooks, and study materials.
- We understand that a limited number of students will need to remain on campus during Spring Break and the two weeks of online instruction. Modified campus services, including the residence halls, Recreation and Athletics Center, Health and Counseling Center, the library, and dining halls will remain open.
- All university-sponsored events, on and off-campus, between March 16 and April 5, are being evaluated. Some may continue or occur online, while others will be canceled or postponed until a later date.
- Staff will continue on-campus operations.
- Faculty members may choose either to teach from campus or from another location.
- All remaining spring-semester domestic and international university-related, non-essential travel for students, faculty and staff is being evaluated by university vice presidents and deans.
The university’s Risk and Emergency Management Team (REMT) has guided all of these decisions while following advice and protocols from government agencies. The REMT has activated workgroups to manage the details of study abroad programs and to prepare for how we will continue business operations if the coronavirus impacts our city and our campus more directly.
Our Office of Information Technology is sharing information about how to teach, learn and work remotely. They are also assisting faculty members as they shift their curriculum online.
The university will continue to monitor what is happening locally and regionally and make decisions that are in the best interests of our students, faculty and staff members. We will communicate with you by March 31 to confirm our plans for resuming on-campus classes. For ongoing details and resources, we encourage you to first visit this alerts webpage and then submit additional questions online.
George E. Martin, PhD
Update: March 10, 2020
Spring Break and Other Personal Travel
There are currently level 3 and 4 travel advisories for traveling to China, Iran, Italy and South Korea. Travel to those areas is restricted for university-affiliated travel and strongly discouraged for personal travel. Please check the Centers for Disease Control’s webpage for the most up to date travel advisories.
While individuals are free to make their own choices regarding personal travel, we encourage everyone to follow all recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and the Austin Health Department, including recommendations for personal hygiene, self-monitoring,and travel advisories. You do not need to notify the university of your personal travel plans. If you do travel, please follow recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization for how to limit exposure to the virus.
- Avoid travel to affected areas.
- Wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
Guidance for students:
- Students with fever and/or respiratory symptoms with or without fever who have recently traveled to affected areas with known COVID-19 cases or who have had contact with an individual known to be infected with the virus should call the Health & Counseling Center (HCC) at 512-448-8686 for instructions before coming to the HCC.
- If you need urgent medical assistance after business hours and over the weekend, please call your local urgent care clinic, emergency room or 911.
Guidance for employees:
- Employees with fever and/or respiratory symptoms with or without fever who have recently traveled to affected areas with known COVID-19 cases or who have had contact with an individual known to be infected with the virus should call their medical provider for instructions before coming to work.
Alternative Spring Break Trips Canceled
In an effort to minimize health risks to our students, faculty and staff members, all Alternative Spring Break experiences have been canceled. Campus Ministry staff members are working directly with students to address the financial and logistical repercussions of cancellation. Students who live on-campus and choose to stay in Austin during Spring Break are able to stay in their residence hall/apartment.
Update: March 6, 2020
Health & Counseling Center - ATTENTION, New Procedures for Students
Students needing medical services due to any symptoms of respiratory illness including shortness of breath, fever, cough and sore throat should call the HCC first at 512-448-8538 for further instructions before coming in. We will make a determination about what level of medical care you need and either schedule your appointment with us or refer you accordingly. This new protocol is essential in making sure we can efficiently treat students and limit the spread of any virus.
If you have other medical needs such as STI testing, physicals, well-woman exams, immunizations, allergy shots, etc. please call to schedule your appointment. If you need medical assistance after business hours and over the weekend, please go to your local urgent care clinic or emergency room. As a reminder, students also have access to telehealth resources. Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) member and non-member students can access remote services for both medical and counseling needs.
- To learn more about telemedicine resources, call 1-855-870-5858 or visit telehealth4students.com.
- For counseling, go to counseling4students.com.
- SHIP members are not charged for consultations of either service.
- Non-SHIP students who use telemedicine resources can work with their insurance companies for billing.
Non-Essential Travel for Employees – ATTENTION, New Procedures for Employees
Vice presidents and deans should review business travel plans for the remainder of the semester for their teams and strongly reconsider non-essential business travel. If travel is canceled, please make every effort to recover as much of the associated costs as possible through refunds, although there may be some expenses that are not recoverable if a trip is canceled.
With Spring Break approaching, there will likely be many questions about personal travel plans and attendance at local events. Individuals remain free to make their own choices with regard to personal travel and attendance at large events, but we encourage everyone to follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and the Austin Health Department, including recommendations for personal hygiene, self-monitoring and travel advisories.
Spring Break and Ongoing Travel – ATTENTION, New Restrictions
Regarding domestic travel, please remember that the situation is changing quickly and the Centers for Disease Control is constantly monitoring the spread of the coronavirus across the country and re-evaluating its recommendations accordingly. The university is restricting university-affiliated travel for students, faculty and staff to locations within the United States where a state of emergency has been declared related to the coronavirus. This includes the states of California, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland and Washington. Additional states and cities may be added to this list. Anyone returning from locations where a state of emergency has been declared may be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. (Please see March 9 Update and FAQs for new guidance.)
Regarding travel abroad, there are currently level 3 and 4 travel advisories for traveling to China, Iran, Italy and South Korea. Travel to those areas is restricted for university-affiliated travel and strongly discouraged for personal travel. Please check the CDC’s webpage for the most up to date travel advisories.
While individuals are free to make their own choices regarding personal travel, we encourage everyone to follow all recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and the Austin Health Department, including recommendations for personal hygiene, self-monitoring and travel advisories.
Update: March 3, 2020
St. Edward’s University is actively monitoring impacts of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and we are continuing to take the necessary precautions to minimize negative effects to our campus community.
The university’s Risk and Emergency Management Team (REMT) guides the university’s risk management program, approves all campus-wide emergency plans and directs the university’s preparedness in all types of situations that may have adverse impacts on the students, faculty and staff of the university. REMT is communicating on a daily basis to make timely decisions and recommendations regarding this issue. Workgroups focused on business continuity procedures and support of study abroad programs have been activated. Additionally, all university-sponsored employee international travel planned for Spring or Summer 2020 will be reviewed to determine coronavirus impact at the destination(s) and assess safety considerations.
The coronavirus has become an epidemic with global reach and news about the spread of the virus is changing rapidly. In light of this uncertainty, St. Edward’s University has taken the following steps to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff members:
Suspension of some study abroad programs
The Study Abroad Office is working with students and faculty members whose plans for international study are affected by COVID-19. Staff members are focused on the health and safety of participants and mitigating academic disruption to the extent possible. Regular updates from the Study Abroad Office are available on the university’s website.
University programs in China and South Korea have been suspended for spring 2020. Students have been redirected to other appropriate programs or have delayed their travel to a later semester.
Due to the heightened level of travel warnings by the U.S. State Department for the Lombardy region of Italy, students studying abroad in Milan have been recalled from their study abroad experience.
Given the level of uncertainty related to travel and the likelihood of disruption to scheduled in-country programming, the travel component of a graduate business course to Japan has been canceled. The on-campus portion of the class will begin as scheduled.
Support from the university’s Health & Counseling Center
The Health & Counseling Center is sharing all recent advisories and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization. Staff members are helping our university community manage anxiety and concern by providing disease prevention tips and working to set the proper perspective on news reports about the virus.
Through the university’s partnership with United Healthcare, students now have access to telehealth resources. Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) member and non-member students can access remote services for both medical and counseling needs.
Students are provided access to flu shots. Students can get vaccinated at the Health & Counseling Clinic by calling 512-448-8686 for an appointment. Faculty and staff can get a flu shot from their healthcare providers or most large retail pharmacies.
During this time, it is especially important that all students, faculty, staff and campus visitors remain informed of university recommendations and expectations regarding disease prevention and to follow prevention tips given by medical professionals. As a reminder, the CDC advises following the same precautions for all types of respiratory viruses:
- Keep your hands clean. Wash your hands with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap is not available.
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow or sleeve.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick and don’t eat, drink or smoke after others.
It is critical that employees do not report to work if they are experiencing respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose or body aches. Students who are ill with these symptoms should communicate with their professors about completing work outside the classroom so as not to infect other students. These precautions, along with getting sufficient sleep, managing stress and maintaining a healthy diet can keep our campus well.
As a reminder, there are several steps recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) that students should take to help limit exposure to the Coronavirus, which include:
- Frequently/consistently clean hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.