Message from the University – Update on COVID-19 Situation


MESSAGE FROM THE UNIVERSITY - APRIL 3


Message to Students and Faculty — University to Implement Pass/Fail Option for Courses


Due to the ongoing disruption caused by the situation surrounding COVID-19, the University is making changes to the grading system for this semester. Following approval by the Senate on Thursday, we are offering a Pass/Fail grading option to Bachelor of Arts students. If students are considering the Pass/Fail option, it is very important that they read through the entire memo on Pass/Fail to fully understand all the implications of opting for Pass/Fail grading. 

Students will have until Thursday, April 9, 2020 at 5:00 pm to let their professors know if they wish to receive Pass/Fail grade. If they do not indicate wanting a Pass/Fail grade, the default will be to assign a letter grade. 

>> Full details on Pass/Fail grading option here.


Thank you,

Dr. Kim Fenwick
Vice-President (Academic and Research)


MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT - MARCH 23


Message to Students, Faculty, and Staff – Postponing Spring Convocation 2020

 

Due to the on-going situation around COVID-19 and overall direction from Public Health of the Government of New Brunswick on public gatherings, we have made the decision to postpone and reschedule our Spring Convocation.

 

Our most important objective at St. Thomas is to complete the term so that our students will earn their academic credits and our graduating class will earn their academic degrees or certificates. Our current, collective focus will remain on that objective.

 

In the coming period, we will be examining different alternatives for Convocation and we will then report back to the community.  Other universities in Atlantic Canada and across Canada are facing a similar challenge and making a similar decision to postpone.


I have been struck by the patience and understanding demonstrated by our students through this unprecedented period.  I am confident that our graduating students understand the reasons for this decision and that they trust, as well, that we will find an alternative way to celebrate this important milestone for them.


Sincerely, 


Dawn Russell

President and Vice-Chancellor

 

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MESSAGE FROM THE UNIVERSITY - MARCH 20

 

With classes resuming online/remotely on Monday, March 23, it is important to keep checking your STU Email, WebAdvisor, and Moodle accounts.  Faculty have been working to restructure their courses for the remainder of the term to ensure that their students are not disadvantaged further by the COVID-19 situation and the disruption to the term.

 

How to Start Your Courses Online/Remotely

 

Course Delivery/Platform
If you haven't already, you should receive an email from each of your professors regarding how the remainder of your class will be delivered.

 

Moodle
If your class will move to the Moodle platform, you will need to log into Moodle (all students already have access, even those who've not yet used it):  

  • Log in at moodle.stu.ca with your STU email and network password.
  • Find your course in Course Categories and click it to open the course home page.
  • On the left-hand menu find and click Enroll me In this Course.

Computer/Internet

ITS will be monitoring and responding to requests sent to the helpdesk@stu.ca this weekend on Saturday and Sunday from 1 pm to 6 pm. 
 

Change to Academic Dates

Due to the exceptional circumstances, we have made a few changes to our dates and deadlines.   

  • The last date to hold term tests shall be Friday, April 3, 2020 (unless special permission is given by the Registrar).
  • Students may withdraw from Winter courses and full-year courses via WebAdvisor, without academic penalty up to and including the last date of the Winter term, Thursday, April 9, 2020.  (There will be no tuition reimbursement for withdrawing from a course.)

We certainly understand that this is not the end-of-term that you expected and that, for some, these changes are not as easy to navigate.  With only a few weeks left in the term, we know that faculty and students can work creatively, patiently, cooperatively.  If you have concerns specific to your ability to complete the term or your courses, please send your concern to ask@stu.ca.  

 

Thank you. 

Dr. Kim Fenwick

Vice-President (Academic and Research)

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MESSAGE FROM THE UNIVERSITY - MARCH 19


Consistent with the decision of the Province of New Brunswick to declare a State of Emergency due to the COVID-19 situation, St. Thomas University will be closing its buildings effective immediately.  

 

As part of the declaration, “Schools, colleges, universities and private schools must be closed to students. Institutions which have students in residence are permitted to allow them to remain in residence until they can safely return home.” It also indicated that we can continue with our online course delivery.

 

Given this new directive, our buildings will be locked with the exception of dining halls to accommodate students remaining in residence. If faculty or staff need to access their building to retrieve work materials, please do so and do not remain in the building.  This also means that students will not have access to computers and printers on campus.

 

Please note that all employers have been directed “to take every reasonable step to ensure minimal interaction of people within 2 metres of each other and carry out advice to minimize risk.”

 

As we continue to follow recommendations from Public Health who are advising people to stay home and to practice social distancing, we thank everyone for their patience, understanding, and cooperation. We will monitor our operations and adjust as needed to the circumstances and keep you apprised of any additional changes.

 

Thank you. 

Lily Fraser

Vice-President (Finance and Administration) 

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MESSAGE FROM THE UNIVERSITY - MARCH 17


I want to update you on several developments at STU related to our response to the COVID-19 situation.  

  • We are delaying the start of online/remote delivery of our courses until Monday, March 23.  This is to allow time for several things to happen:  for residence students who are able to move out of their residence, professors to restructure their courses, and our move to an essential services staffing model on campus. This is also in line with other universities in the province. 

  • The Harriet Irving Library at UNB is moving to on-line service delivery only.  

  • We are scaling our on-campus staffing to an essential services model with offices staffed to a minimum and with a number of employees working from home.  This is at the direction of Public Health and is to practice social distancing and prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Campus offices will remain open for essential services only.  

  • As a reminder, the Athletics Banquet, Grad Dinner, T-Ceremony are being cancelled.  

  • We will be communicating shortly more detailed information on how you can access the Registrar’s Office, Academic Advising, Accessibility Services, Writing Centre and Counselling Services online.

We know there are still many questions outstanding in this evolving situation.


Please make sure to check our FAQs at www.STU.ca/covid19FAQ. You can also continue to send your questions to ask@stu.ca.


Thank you.

Dr. Kim Fenwick

Vice-President, Academic & Research 

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MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT - MARCH 16

 

I am sharing a communication that we received from the Government of New Brunswick’s Public Health Services about presumptive cases of coronavirus disease in the University of New Brunswick community (Read Here). Those individuals are self-isolating and their cases are related to the first travel-related case in the province. The tracing work by Public Health has identified individuals who have been asked to self-monitor.

 

I have also just spoken with Dr. Cristin Muecke, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Health. Given the close nature of our university communities, similar to UNB she has asked that STU move to an essential services model. To that end, Lily Fraser, Vice-President (Finance and Administration), is communicating with our Administrative Directors to determine what essential services would involve based on contingency planning in the past.

Students Living in Residence

As well, based on the recommendation from Public Health, we will be asking students remaining in our Residence System to return home if they are able.  We would certainly accommodate international students and out-of-province who are unable to travel. Most importantly, Public Health is advising that any student exhibiting symptoms should not travel and should take steps to self-isolate.  Ryan Sullivan, Associate Vice-President Enrollment Management, and his staff in the Residence Life Office, will be working with our residence students directly. The Residence System and Food Services will continue to operate for those who cannot go home.

Gatherings

Lastly, Public Health is advising that any celebrations or gathering of groups be curtailed and that any gathering be as small as possible. 

 

We should also work to reduce in-person contact as much as possible and move to other forms of communication where feasible.

 

We have reached another significant point of change in this fast-developing situation and we will keep you informed as information becomes available. We will be communicating more detailed information tomorrow on essential services. 

 

If you have questions, please make sure to check our FAQ at www.STU.ca/covid19FAQ.  You can also continue to send your questions to ask@stu.ca 

 

I want to thank you for your support and co-operation.  

 

Thank you.

Dawn Russell 

President and Vice-Chancellor 
 

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MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT - MARCH 13 (updated March 16)

 

I am writing you with an important update regarding the COVID-19 situation and St. Thomas University.

 

As you can appreciate, the situation is evolving throughout society and the impact on public institutions is starting to be profound and widespread. Over the past three weeks, we have been taking direction from the Chief Medical Officer of Health/Public Health Website and we will continue to look to them for general guidance. At the same time, there are issues specific to our university that we need to address — keeping our students safe and secure while delivering our education is paramount.  

 

While the national and provincial health authorities continue to assess the public health risk in Canada and New Brunswick as low, we believe that our students have specific concerns that should be addressed as quickly as possible.  Over the course of today, we have consulted within the university leadership, the Faculty Association, STUSAU (St. Thomas University Support and Administration Union) and STUSU, and have made the following decisions:

 

  • As of the end of today, Friday, March 13, all in-person classes at St. Thomas will be suspended for the remainder of this teaching year.

    UPDATE: Our Professors are currently working to determine what this will entail for each class. Professors in the Schools of Education and Social Work are also developing their specific contingency plans. Please check your email or Moodle often about class work for the remainder of the term.

  • Any international or domestic students who wish to travel home can do so.

    UPDATE: If you are moving out of residence, please let your Residence Advisor know in person/through email and coordinate your move through them. Starting Monday, the Residence Life Office will be open 8:30 am – 8:00 pm. Outside of that time, please see your Residence Advisor on duty if you wish to check out.  

  • In order for students to return home and for faculty to determine alternative ways of delivering their course content, and, if necessary, restructure their course syllabus, all instruction will be cancelled from March 16-18 and will resume on Thursday, March 19.

    UPDATE: Test, papers or assignments scheduled between March 16-18 will be rescheduled. Please await notice/coordinate these details with your individual professors/classes. The School of Education and School of Social Work students should wait to hear directly from their respective programs about how program will continue.

  • Professors will communicate any course changes and deliver course material on-line where feasible or by alternative means according to the professor and the nature of the course.   

  • We will continue with the dates set for the term, including the exam period dates. The term will end on April 9 and take-home exams will replace sit-down exams and will be due the day the exam is scheduled.

  • St. Thomas University will remain open for operations, and all buildings and services will be open to students and faculty, including ITS and the Computer Labs.

    UPDATE: If you have an appointment with one of the Student Services Offices, please coordinate directly with that office about whether or not you are able to keep in-person appointments. Offices will be working to determine how to deliver services online/remotely to students who want/require services.

  • The Residences and Aramark Food Services will continue to operate.

    UPDATE: Starting Monday, March 16, the Dining Halls will move away from buffet style to full service. The Great Hall Coffee Shop will be closed. The Tim’s and Subway in JDH will move to reduced hours closing early at 3:30 pm (Tim’s) and 2:30 pm (Subway). If there are further changes, we will notify you.

  • Staff and faculty will continue to report for work. If there are circumstances requiring faculty and staff to be away, they should address the issue with their department chair, director or supervisor. We will soon provide more direction on this issue.

  • All discretionary campus events scheduled up to April 9th are being cancelled, such as the Long Night Against Procrastination. The planned early graduation events, such as the T-Ceremony and Grad Dinner, are being postponed. Events scheduled after April 9th will be assessed at a later date. 

  • UPDATE: An FAQ page has been developed and launched to help answer the many questions about how these changes will affect the term and regular operations. Please find this FAQ at STU.ca/covid19FAQ

This is a decision taken with the best interests of our community in mind and in light of both the public health situation and growing anxiety. This will also create time and options so that the term can be completed.  Public Health continues to recommend that educational institutions take the same precautions recommended for the cold and influenza season. If you are sick with a cold or flu, we would advise that you stay home to avoid spreading any illness to others.

 

We recognize that there are many other questions in this evolving situation so we have set up a dedicated e-mail address for students — ask@stu.ca.  We will do our best to answer any questions that you may have based on the information available to us.  The Chief Medical Officer's website is at www.gnb.ca/coronavirus

 

Thank you for your patience and co-operation through these difficult times. We will continue to update you as circumstances warrant and as we reach decision points.

 

Dawn Russell

President and Vice-Chancellor

March 13, 2020

 

Previous Updates

Update #1 (March 4, 2020)

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Update #2 (March 9, 2020)

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Update #3 (March 12)

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