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Message from Dean Parr on [Covid-19]

March 16, 2020

Dear members of the CAPPA community

Warm greetings from the Dean’s office.

As the COVID-19 outbreak numbers continue to climb nationally the situation warrants our serious attention. Proactive measures need to be taken by each and every one of us to help slow the spread and alleviate the strain it is already placing on the country’s medical system. Whilst we have no confirmed cases within our college, as you now probably know, we have one positive case in UTA. This is no one’s fault; at the same time, many in the college and the university have understandably felt alarmed and frightened by this latest development so close to home. 

With the illness having a presence in the university, as your Dean, it is incumbent upon me to do all I can to keep members of the CAPPA community out of harm’s way and to ensure the health and safety of all members of our community whilst at work and study, without causing unnecessary disruption to university operations. Following CDC recommendations this means restricting points of physical contact in an effort to flatten the curve of contraction. As such, we have decided to take precautionary measures and move all of the College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs operations off-campus for at least one week. We will reassess the situation on Sunday, March 22. The aim is to do our part in slowing the spread of the virus nationally and to provide members of the CAPPA community with the flexibility they need to stay healthy and/or care for loved ones who are at home.

We recognize these actions will present a series of challenges for the smooth functioning of our daily operations. That said, we have a fantastic team of people who are all committed to patiently and collaboratively working together. This is not vacation time or sick leave; college staff and administration will continue to perform their duties remotely. I will conference call with core members of the Dean’s team each day to ensure we maintain as close to 100% of our operations as possible.

Below is a list of precautions that are being implemented

Preparing for Online Instruction – Faculty need to move their classes to online or alternative delivery by March 23. Associate Dean Klahr has been in regular communication with faculty regarding preparations for remote teaching. He has provided a set of resources to assist faculty in online delivery. For further information please reach out to Douglas at klahr@uta.edu

Flexibility – We are asking all faculty to be flexible regarding attendance and assignment due dates, to accommodate students who are not feeling well, need time to seek medical attention, or who must self-isolate because they have the virus.

Work-Study and Graduate Assistants – have been instructed to continue their work remotely. Alan Klein has been working with the IUS GRAs to ensure they smoothly transition to working from home.

Events – All non-essential college-sponsored events, such as those involving external visitors, have been canceled for the remainder of the semester. Candidate campus visits have been postponed for one month. Committee Chairs will be asked to explore remote interview options through live streaming or other measures.

Shared Surface Cleaning Management Plan – Last week we crafted a pandemic management plan that included a 2 hourly cleaning schedule for high use shared surfaces and signs were distributed throughout the building.

This is an unprecedented situation that demands we take exceptional measures. That said, we are doing everything to be prepared but not to panic. We realize there are still many questions and concerns you will have and we can assure you that we are working diligently to keep you safe and informed as the situation evolves. For more information on the virus, how it spreads, symptoms, and testing visit: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/index.html  

We may be living through an extraordinarily difficult time, but we are living through it together and we are so deeply heartened by the ways in which it has brought out the best in us. In CAPPA we are meeting this challenge by leaning on one another to provide support when needed. As much as this situation introduces new burdens into our lives and raises feelings of uncertainty, it also reignites a shared sense of humanity as we are reminded of the fragility, vulnerability, and preciousness of life. We have a wonderful community in the college, one that recognizes we are all in this together and for that, we are tremendously grateful to each and every one of you for working collaboratively in our community’s best interests. 

Thank you for your cooperation and wishing you all good health.

Adrian Parr
Dean
College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs