Mar. 12, 2020

AUSTIN, Texas— 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.

Sincerely,

George E. Martin, PhD
President