Delta State University's response to Coronavirus

Coronavirus Update #5 – March 17, 2020:

TO: Delta State University
FROM: DSU President William N. LaForge
UPDATE #5: Coronavirus Update from President LaForge – March 17, 2020

[NOTE: This is the fifth and another MAJOR update on the university’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, and includes students, faculty, and staff.]

As we announced yesterday, in an effort to reduce the number of people gathered on campus on a daily basis, while still maintaining the core functions of the university, Delta State will remain open, but with a significantly modified schedule.

Please read this update in its entirety because it affects all students, faculty, and staff.

Beginning tomorrow, March 18, and effective until further notice, Delta State will implement new guidelines for employees reporting to campus, as well as those who will work from home.

The Vice Presidents, working with Deans and Directors, have determined the categorization—essential and non-essential—of all staff, as related to campus services needed during the period of time that we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Before close of business today, every supervisor will notify his/her employees of their categorization, assignments, and work schedule. If you have not heard from your supervisor by end of day today, please contact him/her as soon as possible.

To be clear, supervisors will advise all of their employees whether they are: 1) to report to campus for work, 2) authorized to work from home, or 3) included in rotational duties.  If you have concerns or questions, please raise them with your supervisor.  This modified schedule affects staff only.  Regardless of the configuration of your individual work schedule, you and all employees will continue to be paid.

Essential Staff

Employees who are designated as essential personnel, and who are able to work remotely, may be allowed to do so. Or, they may be required to work on campus, depending on unit needs and circumstances, as determined by the supervisors.

Non-Essential Staff

Employees who are designated as non-essential personnel will be asked to stay at home until contacted by their supervisor to report to work.  Because the University will still be open, each department will need a limited number of employees to report to campus in order to remain operational.  We have asked all supervisors to reduce the number of personnel to the bare minimum, and to rotate, to the extent possible, those employees who must report. All non-essential staff will be on-call during this time period, meaning they must be able to report to work, or work from home, as needed and when called upon.  Please understand that the University is operating under unprecedented circumstances, and we need each employee to remain flexible.

Faculty

  • Recognizing that many students may not have not taken an online class before, and that this new instructional/learning method may be intimidating and worrisome to some students, we ask that you provide any special assistance/encouragement needed by those students.  For students who show early signs of deficiencies, whether substantively or with the new instructional/learning method, we ask that you be proactive in utilizing the Student Success Center’s S.O.S. Early Alert system to promote success for all students.
  • As announced earlier, faculty will spend this week preparing to transition their classes to an online format. Resources will be available both on campus and online to provide the necessary training.  If faculty are able to access the online training, we ask that they please do so, and that they work remotely to the extent possible.

Schedule and Closure Updates

  • The Jimmy R. Williams Bookstore will be open from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Only 10 customers will be allowed in the store at one time.
  • The U.S. Post Office (located in the Nowell Union) will be open from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday.  For those offices that have campus mail delivered/picked up, the service will be provided once per day (in the morning).
  • The Charles W. Capps Archives building and the Bologna Performing Arts Center will be closed. However, personnel will continue to answer phones and respond to emails.

Student Support

  • We recognize that many students may not have taken an online class before, and that this new instructional/learning method may be intimidating and worrisome.  Challenging times like these also present great opportunities. Please engage fully in this new learning method, be open to learning in a new way, and be sure to ask for help, if needed.
  • For technology/technical questions, contact the Office of Information Technology at 662-846-4444 or email helpdesk@deltastate.edu.
  • For questions/concerns about a particular course, contact the instructor.
  • For other assistance associated with your coursework, contact the Student Success Center at 662-846-4574 or email studentsuccess@deltastate.edu.
  • The Counseling Center (located in the O.W. Reily Health Center) will remain open for regular hours. Also, the staff will be available remotely to assist and support students.  The phone number is 662-846-4690. To contact a counselor by e-mail: Deidre Byas – dbyas@deltastate.edu, Kashanta Jackson – kjackson@deltastate.edu, or Paula King – pking@deltastate.edu.

We continue to receive updates from a variety of sources on a regular basis, so I emphasize again that it is imperative that all students, faculty, and staff closely monitor the university’s website (www.deltastate.edu/coronavirus), official social media accounts, and their email for updates.

For campus-related additional questions, contact the campus Police Department at 662-846-4155.