Dear members of the TC community:
This is an unprecedented moment – in local, national, and global public health, and for institutions of higher education. As we continue to respond to evolving information about the COVID-19 pandemic in such a way that preserves our institutional mission to the greatest extent possible while prioritizing the health of all within our community and around us, I am writing to provide important updates. First, both of our students who had been in isolation due to possible exposure have now tested negative.
As President Bollinger indicates in his message below, our campuses remain open and functioning, albeit with many accommodations to ensure that we are doing all that we can to mitigate the risk of transmission of this virus given the best information available from the CDC.
Online Coursework through the Spring 2020 Term
Beginning yesterday, all classes at Teachers College have moved online. We are now planning to continue to teach virtually through the rest of the Spring 2020 term. Please visit the Learning Online @ TC site for support related to online teaching and learning. Students who live in our residence halls may continue their online studies while residing on campus; we will be sending a communication to all residents later today with more information and a request about your plans.
Work & Placements
We are also continuing our remote-work pilot through the end of Spring Break (March 22nd). All employees who are able to work from home should do so. Please continue to work with your manager, and to consult as needed with central Human Resources. Students who participate in off-campus placements should plan to discontinue those placements through the end of Spring Break.
Travel & Events
All College-related travel is now suspended until further notice, regardless of destination. Our previous guidance that all non-essential events be cancelled for a period is now extended through April 30th.
Early Childhood Centers
Our early childhood centers are also closed until further notice, and likely until the end of the semester.
I know that you have many questions about the implications of all of these changes, which we feel compelled to share as quickly as possible in the interest of public health. I assure you that we will continue to work around the clock to answer them as quickly as possible. We will continue to communicate by email and also to keep information updated on our preparedness site.
I have never been as proud to be a member of this community as I am in the midst of this challenge. The combined expertise and care of our faculty, staff, and students gives me hope and optimism as we do all that we can to get through this time together.
President Thomas Bailey
---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Lee C. Bollinger <officeofthepresident@
Date: Thu, Mar 12, 2020 at 10:44 AM
Subject: Update on COVID-19
Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:
As promised, I am writing with an update on how the University needs to respond to the outbreak of COVID-19. We all know this is a rapidly evolving and very challenging situation. Yesterday afternoon, the World Health Organization officially declared this to be a pandemic. Thus far, we continue to have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on our campuses. Just to be clear, the principle that has guided us up to this point is to maintain the mission of the University as much as possible consistent with preserving the health of every part of our community. To that end, as of yesterday, we launched nearly 2,000 classes online and continue to prepare to teach classes virtually for the remainder of the semester.
In light of the spread of the virus, especially in the New York metropolitan region, we now need to take further steps. Specifically, in order to reduce the density of our residential environment, while respecting the interests and needs of students who have reason to continue to remain in residence on campus, we are instituting three critical decisions: (1) The University will remain open and functioning; (2) All classes for the remainder of the semester will be conducted online; and (3) We encourage any students who are able to move out of undergraduate residence halls for the rest of the semester to do so, and we are ready to help in that process. The Office of University Life and your school will follow up with more information.
It is worth repeating that our campuses will remain open. However, we have restrictions in place for those who have traveled to severely affected areas, as per guidance from the CDC. We will, as indicated previously, actively discourage congregations in large numbers. We also strongly discourage holding any events with over 25 people, at least through April 30th. All Columbia business travel, both international and domestic, is now suspended for all affiliates.
This is a hard time for all of us. We are concerned about every student, colleague, friend, and neighbor. Clearly, balancing all of the interests of all parts of the institution is an extraordinarily complex undertaking. I am so grateful to all of you and especially to those who daily help us chart the right course for Columbia through this crisis.
Lee C. Bollinger