Dear Students, Faculty, Staff, and the entire Sul Ross State University community,

You are all aware of the local, statewide, national and international implications of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, alumni, supporters, friends and visitors will always be our top priority and will drive each decision we make. Thus, I am announcing proactive measures designed to help limit the risk and the impact on our four campuses. Following the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we are implementing a number of actions to help protect our community:

• SPRING BREAK EXTENDED FOR STUDENTS: Sul Ross State University is extending Spring Break for students until March 22. No classes, including lectures, seminars, discussions or presentations, will be held March 16 through March 22.

• CLASSES: Beginning March 23 through April 12, organized lecture, seminar and laboratory courses will be conducted remotely. Course delivery methods will be appropriate for the individual course requirements and may be provided on-line, through ZOOM conferencing, conference calls, e-mail or in chat rooms. Exceptions for individual instruction will be communicated by the instructor. Faculty members are encouraged to be flexible in meeting student needs. Faculty will notify students by March 19 with information on how each individual course will be taught.

Remote course delivery may extend beyond April 12, if deemed necessary for community safety. Otherwise, on April 13, remote course delivery will end, and face-to-face instruction will resume, unless the instructor provides other direction. Advanced notification will be provided by the University. The final exam schedule will follow the published calendar, unless otherwise notified.

The Executive Vice President and Provost and the Deans will provide additional guidance to faculty members next week on how to plan and proceed for these changes in instructional methodology.

• STUDENTS ON CAMPUS: Students are encouraged to stay at home, but university on-campus housing and dining services on the Alpine campus will be open for students deciding to return. Residential student services will be available and protocols regarding sanitization and hygiene are being followed. Students who do choose to return to campus after the extended Spring Break will be strongly encouraged to practice social distancing and prevention practices recommended by the CDC. Students who work on campus should consult with their supervisors for guidance on work schedules.

• CAMPUS OPERATIONS: Sul Ross State University campuses and all offices will open on Monday, March 16 as scheduled. Faculty and staff who are on leave during Spring Break will return to work March 16 to continue preparing for remote instruction and the continuity of courses and business operations of the university.

• FACULTY AND STAFF: Per policy, faculty and staff may work from home to the extent that they are able to perform their functions remotely and only with permission from supervisors.

• UNIVERSITY SPONSORED EVENTS: All university sponsored events that involve a gathering of 50 or more people and involve people traveling to our campus from beyond our local community are cancelled through April 19. Specifically, the 2020 Alumni Gala and the Museum of the Big Bend Trappings of Texas events are cancelled. Large gathering events beyond the April 19 date will be evaluated and determinations will be made and announced in advance. All events scheduled to be held on campus next week are cancelled.

• TRAVEL: All university-funded international and domestic travel is cancelled until further notice. Per policy, any personal travel internationally to countries with a CDC Travel Warning Level 2 or 3 will be required to self-isolate for 14 days before returning to campus. The university strongly encourages everyone to evaluate personal travel and avoid areas in the United States with active community COVID-19 transmission. Those traveling to an affected area in the U.S. are required to contact Student Health Services (432.837.8102) to receive guidance before returning to campus and may be asked to self-isolate for 14 days. More information will be provided next week.

• ATHLETICS: In consultation with American Southwest Conference Staff and university Athletic Directors, all ASC athletic events are suspended for the weekend of March 13-15. They will reconvene on Monday to consider additional factors and take necessary steps for the remainder of the semester.

• BEST PRACTICES: You can help prevent the spread pf COVID-19 as follows:

-Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
-Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
-Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
-Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
-Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
-Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
-Practice social distancing and avoid large gatherings.

• STAY TUNED FOR UPDATES: Updates from Sul Ross may be found on the homepage at www.sulross.edu – look for the banner on the top of the page. Sul Ross will frequently post updates on the SRSU website and in university-issued e-mail and via socials. Please checks these resources frequently for updates.

We understand that implementing these changes with such limited notice will present challenges to us all. However, if we can all work together and communicate we will work through it. I sincerely appreciate your patience and cooperation.

Sincerely,

Bill Kibler
President