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Further and updated information about educational continuity at UMB


Corrected 3/18/20, 2:00PM

Dear Colleague,

Things are changing quickly, so we want to share with you additional information that we gathered from various sources and from a meeting some of the executive committee members had with the Administration yesterday.  We asked many of the questions members have been asking, so see the answer to your questions below. 

Preparations for teaching/research/work for the semester

  • Although the campus is currently open, in the event that there is a shelter in place order by the Governor, Mayor, or university, the university is advising that faculty and librarians pick up materials they may need from their offices and labs for this semester by 12 noon this Friday, March 20
  • Faculty and librarians who need a computer loan should contact their Deans and IT.  There are enough loaners for all faculty and librarians who need these loans to receive these.
  • Given the need for remote access, the copyright rules are being relaxed so that any materials on library reserve can be scanned and uploaded to your online shell, including entire books
  • The university foresees culling down the number of staff on campus so that a skeleton crew only remains. 
  • At present, mail is being delivered on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays but this may whittle down to less frequency and even termination of mail once admissions no longer needs mail service.  Final determination has not yet been made. 
  • Given the need to now prepare for an entire semester, we asked for time to do this, especially next week.  The Administration responded that they expect faculty to teach although they understand if things don’t quite work as expected. 
  • Given the above, the FSU reiterated the needs to allow for faculty to opt into teaching evaluations, but the administration said that student written evaluations must be completed, but worse-than-average evaluations from this semester because of the disruption to teaching and problems teaching online would be examined in the context of overall teaching evaluations. 
  • The FSU also reiterated the need for flexible pass/fail/withdrawal options.  Since this (and the teaching evaluation issue above) is a faculty governance issue, the Faculty Council will visit this on Thursday, tomorrow, 1:30-3:30. For those wishing to participate in the Faculty Council meeting tomorrow, the best way to do this is to email your college representatives (you can find them here) and give them your input regarding moving to pass/fail option for this semester so they can adequately represent your views at the meeting. 
  • Faculty can select the teaching platform mentioned in the Provost email (Blackboard, Zoom, etc.) or one that the faculty member chooses. Or teach in whatever method faculty deem appropriate.
  • The Administration will search for where ‘best practices’ are posted online for teaching remotely. 

Refunds for Services Purchased

  • The university is in talks system-wide with the other UMass campuses about refunds on semester parking passes for all campus members, as well as dorm fees and meal plans that students purchased.

Student and Other Employment

  • All (including graduate) students will be paid through April 3.  The university is unsure of what will occur beyond that date; this may be extended, but students (graduate, work study, etc.) may have different payment scenarios. 
  • Discussions are ongoing about payment to outsourced employees--Sodexho, janitorial, and shuttle bus staff.

Student Services

  • The food pantry is currently operating, but if the university shifts to a skeletal staff, this may change.  More information on this is on the coronavirus website. 
  • Approximately 40 students remain in the dorms, and there are staff there to service and feed them.  Students who have special circumstances and obtain special permission can remain in the dorms. 


  • Communications about the coronavirus to students can be seen online on the coronavirus website.  See
  • The university currently is planning to hold commencement and is publishing the commencement booklet for this, but circumstances can change. 


Caroline Coscia, Vice President

Katie D’Urso, MTA Field Rep

Marlene Kim, FSU President

Jeff Melnick, FSU Executive Committee, Tenured Faculty Representative

Joseph Ramsey, FSU Executive Committee, Non Tenure Track Faculty Representative

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