To members of the Teachers College community:
I am writing to you with several updates that follow from my Sunday evening message.
We have received the good news that the early test has come back negative for the Columbia community member who had been quarantined as a result of possible exposure to the novel coronavirus COVID-19. Further, in the last day, we have learned that two members of our TC community may have been exposed to COVID-19. One of these individuals has already received word that they have tested negative, and the other is currently in quarantine awaiting test results. We are following all guidance from the medical, public health, and environmental health and safety experts in order to ensure that all of our spaces remain as safe as possible. We continue to implore everyone to take prescribed measures and precautions in everyday hygiene in order to keep themselves and everyone around us safe.
As you know, classes will begin online tomorrow. Faculty and students will receive further information from us today about what more can be done to prepare, and who to contact with questions or for help. In the email below from Columbia University President Lee Bollinger, he announces that Columbia’s classes will continue online through the week after Spring Break, allowing for more time to assess “if and how the virus is spreading and how we will need to adjust accordingly.” In accordance with this, Teachers College courses will also be online for the week following Spring Break, with more information about future plans to come in the days ahead.
While moving classes online has been deemed to be prudent in order to minimize the number of groups of people meeting in enclosed spaces, and while we have been advised that normal workplace practices do not put healthy individuals at significant risk of exposure to COVID-19, we know that many staff are concerned about commuting to work each day, particularly given Mayor de Blasio’s recommendation to avoid crowded public transportation. In an effort to ensure that we would be able to move our operations online as much as possible should that become advisable in the future, we are planning a two-day remote work pilot this Thursday (March 12) and Friday (March 13). For these two days, we are asking all employees whose work may be carried out remotely to do so. We would like all such employees to work with their managers (who will, in turn, be working with the College’s leadership and with Human Resources) to plan for this pilot. Unless otherwise communicated, we will resume normal operations following this two-day pilot. Separate from this pilot, individuals who fall into groups that the CDC has determined to be at a higher risk if exposed to COVID-19 should contact their Human Resources representative to determine appropriate plans.
The College Remains Open
The College remains open and our day-to-day operations will continue, guided by the travel and events restrictions we have announced (now extended through March 29th), even while we move courses online and pilot more extensive remote-work possibilities.
We will continue to keep you updated through this fluid situation, and we remind you that you can always access information about our efforts on the College’s preparedness site. I am so grateful for our community’s willingness to step up and support one another during this challenging time.
President Thomas Bailey
From: "Lee C. Bollinger" <officeofthepresident@
Date: March 10, 2020 at 2:32:28 PM EDT
Subject: Update on COVID-19
Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:
I am writing to update the community on the matters I raised in my message from Sunday night. I am very pleased to report that the person from our community who was exposed to the virus has been tested and the early results are negative. This is good news, indeed, but, out of an abundance of caution, the individual will remain in quarantine through the full 14-day period.
Tomorrow, we will resume classes virtually. Your departments and instructors will be in touch with you directly with the details for individual classes. Virtual classes will continue through the week after Spring Break. This extended period will give the University time to understand if and how the virus is spreading and how we will need to adjust accordingly.
For the week following Spring Break, all of our campuses will be open and courses will resume virtually as scheduled. I will stay in touch with you about the remainder of the semester. I remain deeply grateful to everyone for being sensitive to the complexities of this difficult situation and for having a sense of determination to continue our work while taking care of each other.
Lee C. Bollinger