American Association of University Professors at the University of New Hampshire
Dear Fellow Wildcats,
As we continue to closely follow the latest developments with COVID-19, our decisions are guided by our first priority: the safety and well-being of our faculty, staff and students. Accordingly, UNH will suspend all in-person classes for the remainder of the spring semester, extending our previously announced two-week transition to non-face-to-face, remote learning. For the vast majority of our faculty and staff, this means continuing to work remotely and not coming to our campuses. In addition to the health and safety of our community, we are committed to supporting our students so they can complete their spring semester.
We made this decision to significantly reduce the population density of our campuses and the towns and cities our campuses are located in, as a preventive measure to enable more social distancing at a time when many new infections and even deaths are being reported daily. While we regret the inconvenience and lack of on-campus life for our students this will cause, the health and safety of our community must come first.
We recognize that this decision comes with many subsequent questions which we are actively working on addressing. Among the questions:
Is the university closing? UNH is not closing. UNH has suspended all in-person classes for the remainder of the spring semester, extending the previously announced two-week transition to non-face-to-face, remote learning. To the extent possible, faculty and staff are working remotely in order to reduce the density of people on campus and enhance social distancing. Offices will continue to provide student services via web and phone. A number of on-campus facilities are closing, including student housing, with approved exceptions for exceptional circumstances only.
Will I receive a refund for room and board for the rest of the semester? Please know that we recognize the financial impact on students and families and we are working on refunding room and board costs on a pro-rata basis for the remainder of the year for all students leaving campus and completely vacating housing at the request of the university. Adjustments will be posted to the student's existing account and will reduce the amount owed. If the adjustment results in a credit balance, students will be informed on how to receive refunds. Additional information on account adjustments will be made available by April 15.
How and when can I come back to my campus housing? Undergraduate and graduate students should not return to Durham or Manchester campus housing after Spring Break. All students residing in housing on the Manchester or Durham campuses will be contacted to make arrangements to move their belongings out of their residence hall or campus-owned apartment.
How long will remote work for faculty and staff continue? It is expected to continue to the end of the semester. Regular communications will be sent to your UNH email address to update the timeline. Please watch for updates. All UNH campuses will identify personnel who need to report to work and ask all others to work remotely until further notice.
Will there be commencement ceremonies? UNH is reviewing contingency plans for university events and activities with health and safety as the top priority. No decision has been made yet.
As I said in my video message on Monday, I recognize how unsettling and unnerving life is right now. I am deeply grateful for the patience, dedication and good will of our entire university community during this historic crisis.
We will be in touch very soon with more information. Please continue to visit our COVID-19 site for the latest information and answers to many additional questions.
Finally, a number of people have asked how they can support our students who are most in need during this crisis. As I mentioned in my video message on Monday, a Student Emergency Fund has been created and you can make a gift to that fund by clicking here. Thank you for standing beside UNH’s students as we all move through this together.
Sincerely,James W. Dean Jr. President
Dear Colleagues, UNH Lecturers United-AAUP, AAUP-UNH and the administration of The University of New Hampshire are committed to the health and well-being of every member of our shared community. With this in mind, we have been working closely to best address the rapidly evolving situation presented by the outbreak of the novel corona virus, COVID-19. Because of the unique characteristics and requirements of the various courses we offer at UNH, there simply cannot be a single or uniform manner to address our temporary need for non-face-to-face instruction. Be assured that the university has put its trust in each of us to determine the best possible student outcomes considering the situation, and each of us should feel empowered to find an appropriate balance between our own welfare and the need to deliver educational content for our students. Department Chairs and College Deans are aware of the flexibility required to make the sudden pivot to non-face-to-face instruction. The university is making extensive resources available to faculty in order to facilitate this transition. Each member of the faculty has the right to find the type of delivery that best suits them and their courses. Some faculty have already developed the skills needed for this transition; for some it will be a challenge and steep learning curve. It is entirely OK that our approaches to instruction may range from email to complex uses of the available digital learning tools. The next weeks will be less than ideal, but we will navigate them together. Presently, UNH is planning on resuming in-class instruction on April 3rd . However, if you or anyone with whom you share close personal space is considered at risk through exposure or because of existing health concerns, then it is understood that you will continue to conduct your class in a non-face-to-face manner. We have been assured that there will be no negative repercussions for doing what is right in regard to your health. UNH will be making it easier to communicate your teaching arrangements, but please stay in close contact with your chair about your individual needs and teaching plans. You can also reach out to the Instructional Continuity Hotline (603) 862-2467 if you have specific questions or needs. We will get through this together; we cannot stress this enough. The situation is evolving rapidly, and it is a lot to suddenly be asked to reconsider how you might conduct your course. Please don’t feel as if you need to take on any of this solely on your own, and please take advantage of the resources that are being made available to ease this transition. Your faculty unions have been hearing your concerns and bringing them to the administration. Working with the administration and senior leadership has played an important role in shaping policy. Be Well, Wayne Jones, Provost Molly Campbell, President UNHLU-AAUP Michael Carter, President AAUP-UNH