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COVID-19 Updates & Preparedness


Interim President Teresa Hall Bartels and other staff and faculty address the impacts of COVID-19 on Newman University and its students.

Campus Announcements

Newman University has announced that it plans to resume in-person classes for the fall 2020 semester.

During the past month, several university groups have worked diligently on plans for the safe return to campus for students, faculty and staff. Currently, two task forces are nearing completion of the university’s mitigation and success blueprint for the restoration of its face-to-face education. The teams are ensuring that all classes will be responsive to the needs of community and public health and flexible enough to adapt to the needs of a rapidly changing environment.

Interim President Teresa Hall Bartels is excited to welcome students back to campus. “With the health and safety of the Newman community as our top priority, and flexibility to adjust to future pandemic realities, we’re confident we can deliver the in-person academic excellence that our students desire and deserve this fall.”

Inspired by its namesake, St. John Henry Newman, the university has a special mission—to create an environment of academic excellence available to a diverse range of students and to empower those students to transform the world.

“The best way to accomplish our mission is with in-person learning experiences within a nurturing community,” Bartels said.

With this fall’s implementation of Newman’s new student support program, Navigator, undergraduates will have access to additional resources and experiences to enhance their success. Noting a student’s higher education path is never a solo journey at Newman, Navigator is also designed to help students who may feel increased stress heightened by these unprecedented times.

While specific details are still forthcoming on most of the plan, a decision has been finalized to make all on-campus housing single room occupancy.

Additionally, for this coming academic year, the university has waived the requirement that all freshmen and sophomore students live in the residence halls if their home address is more than 30 miles from campus.

In this update from Interim President Teresa Hall Bartels, you will learn the latest on Newman's focus for the future regarding​ COVID-19 challenges and details on how you can help. She also shares about the new Navigator program and gives you an update on the Newman presidential search.


HELP US HONOR THE CLASS OF 2020

Faculty and staff have the opportunity to be a part of the 2020 Virtual Commencement ceremony!

Please record a video message and/or submit a picture to congratulate, provide words of inspiration or otherwise thank and recognize members of the soon to be graduating class.

Visit the Video Submission Form

Message to Newman University staff and faculty from Provost Kimberly McDowall Long, Ph.D:

Greetings,

We have been asked to clarify what will happen with the time originally set aside for Scholars Day since the vote at Academic Assembly on March 27th to waive the Scholar’s Day projects for students intending to graduate in May or August 2020. The issue was recently brought before Deans Council. After discussion and consideration, it was determined that the time originally set aside for Scholars Day will now be a study day and should not be used for additional instructional time.

Please let your students know and make any necessary adjustments to your teaching schedule. Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

Message to Newman University staff and faculty from Provost Kimberly McDowall Long, Ph.D:

Dear Faculty and Staff,  

For all of us, the past month has been fraught with challenges related to the current public health situation. We’ve made some hard decisions rapidly, and each of you has risen to the extraordinary challenges we face. I know that each of you have made many difficult adjustments to your daily lives. My sincere thanks to each of you for your efforts.

As we have all learned, in the face of this pandemic one of the earliest strategies recommended to community leaders was to close the schools at every level to reduce the exposure to the virus. It remains a high priority in the management of the public health crisis. Therefore, after close consideration by the academic leadership and consultation with faculty, all summer 2020 courses at Newman University will be offered via distance education modalities.

Additionally, there will be no international learning experiences this summer and academic summer camps for students on campus will also be cancelled. Coaches, I know that you are already working with Coach Pryor to address planning for your summer camps, and that good work there is already underway.

I know you are all working very hard to set reasonable objectives for students facing unprecedented changes to their education. I know that you, too, are experiencing unprecedented changes to your working lives. Thank you.

Each day I am surprised by how many of you report that despite these disruptions and despite the inconveniences and hardships, it is “business as usual” for you. Thank you. In a time of extraordinary change, many of you have created a sense of stability and normality for those around you. Thank you.  

Faculty and staff, please note that additional resources have been made available to facilitate shared practices across disciplines and they are available on the COVID 19 libguide.  As we continue to learn together, please share what is working well with your colleagues.  For all faculty and staff, your supervisors, chairs, deans, and administrators remain committed to supporting you to the best of their abilities. Please reach out to them as needed. If you would like personal assistance, the Employee Assistance Program is available to you as well; please contact the department of Human Resources if you need more information on this service.

We continue to monitor what is happening locally, nationally, and world-wide. Be well, stay safe, and appreciate each day even though these aren’t the days we had planned.

Wishing all of you a blessed Holy Thursday,

In light of COVID-19, the Newman Studies Program committee has met and determined that it is not possible to have students successfully complete the Scholar’s Day requirement in the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester. Students anticipating graduating in May or August will have the Scholar’s Day requirement waived so as not to prohibit graduation. At this time, all students have been dropped from the Spring 2020 Scholar’s Day class. Please consult with your academic advisor to re-enroll in Scholar’s Day in the Fall 2020 semester, or discuss a future time when you will complete the requirement.

Dear Faculty Sponsors,

Just in case you were not at the Academic Assembly this afternoon, it was voted and approved that the Scholars Day requirement for May and August 2020 graduates will be waived. Whether or how the students should complete the research project will be up to the requirements of each program and the discretion of the faculty sponsor or academic advisor. For students who will graduate later than August 2020, their enrollment in Scholars Day will be dropped by the registrar’s office. They will do Scholars Day in future semesters. This decision was made after very careful and thorough discussions by the Scholars Day and Newman Studies Program Committees and submitted to the Academic Assembly for voting today. Hopefully, this decision will help reduce some of the stress on our students during this special time. Thank you for your continued support of Scholars Day and our students.

Best regards,

Huachuan Wen

 

From Interim President Teresa Hall Bartels

Dear Newman Students, Faculty and Staff,

As you have undoubtedly witnessed, we are experiencing extraordinary times right now. The pace of changing developments regarding the COVID-19 virus is unsettling. We can draw comfort in knowing there is calm in the chaos -- thanks to our God, who tells us “Be not afraid.”

Despite this unprecedented situation, I am confident that our community will remain strong through the challenges and our best will shine through, as we will help one another along the way. We are all in this together.

Our team, led by Provost Kim Long, Dean Christine Schneikart-Luebbe and others, has been working around the clock to stay on top of the news and guidelines issued by local and national organizations. With their input, and that of presidents of other private Kansas universities, I want you to know that Newman University has made a decision NOT to return to in-person instruction this spring semester. As of March 30, all face-to-face classes will resume in online delivery ONLY.

This approach to reduce in-person exposure to the virus is being implemented to help reduce the potential spread within the Newman community and beyond. It also aligns with direction from Sedgwick County health professionals and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mandate to limit gatherings for a minimum of eight weeks. 

Additionally, officials of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) met Monday afternoon and decided to cancel the spring sports season. The league will also continue the suspension of all related athletic activities, such as practice, weights, conditioning, etc. indefinitely. Director of Athletics Joanna Pryor and the coaches will reach out to the student-athletes impacted by the decision.

With the plans noted above, students currently staying in the residence halls will be permitted to remain on campus should they choose to do so. For those students who elect to move off campus, you will receive notification from the Office of Residence Life regarding the amended checkout process and information about prorated housing and board credits to student accounts.

As we continue to monitor the situation, please remember all of this is subject to change given the fluid nature of this situation. Remember, for updates and the latest COVID-19 information and resources, including tips on taking online courses, you can visit https://newmanu.edu/covid19-updates .

Regrettably, a number of spring events have been cancelled or postponed. We will follow up in the coming days with additional information as more decisions are made.

Our hearts go out to all of our students impacted by these difficult decisions, especially our seniors.

As St. John Henry Newman reminds us, “Learn to do thy part and leave the rest to Heaven.”

God bless you and your family. Stay safe and healthy and may St. Maria De Mattias and St. John Henry Newman watch over and intercede for us.

“Have no anxiety at all…in everything, by prayer and petition,

With thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.

Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding

Will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

-Philippians 4:6-7

All staff, faculty, and students are encouraged to reference the COVID Screening Tool daily to determine if you should stay at home.

COVID Screening Tool

Human Resources Update: All changes below are effective immediately.

  1. Sick Leave –We will be allowing unlimited sick time and encouraging any employee that is experiencing symptoms to stay home until they have been symptom free without medication for a minimum of 24 hours.
         a)    Student and Part-Time Employees will be eligible for sick time.
  2. We will not require a doctor’s note to verify illness.
  3. Remote Work – Remote work may be a possibility for some employees. Supervisors will work with their VP/Cabinet Member to coordinate approval through Human Resources.
  4. Employee Recruitment will be placed on hold. If you are on a Search Committee I highly suggest that you log into jazzhr.com today to review applications and contact your top candidates to let them know that we are suspending the hiring process but we may reach out to them at a later date. I will change the status of each job in jazzhr.com to “hold” status at 4:00 P.M. today. All data (applications, resumes etc.) will be saved in the system and accessible.

Intercollegiate Athletic Association's decision to suspend all sports indefinitely, after 11:00 pm on March 12, all sports at Newman will be prohibited to practice or play games until further notice. 

Newman, MIAA to suspend all sports indefinitely

March 12, 2020, 4:00 p.m. - Response to Frequent Questions

To Newman University students from Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Rosemary Niedens:

As you have already heard, Newman University is responding to the COVID-19 outbreak (see email from Tracy McGarey on behalf of Interim President Bartels today at 9:45 am.)  As we negotiate an ever-changing situation, several questions have been asked multiple times.  This email is to answer those questions and to provide information.  However, IT IS CRITICAL THAT YOU CONTINUE TO MONITOR YOUR NU EMAIL AS THE SITUATION WILL CONTINUE TO CHANGE!

Here are the questions we are fielding now as well as information that you need:

Regarding student workers—Student workers who want to continue working should discuss work needs with their immediate supervisors.  Students should consider their own health and should not come to campus if there is the potential of illness.  A self-evaluation form will be sent to everyone soon.

Regarding engagement in online classes:  Engagement in online classes is critical and requires substantive interaction on a regular basis.  What are the expectations for academic engagement?

  • Students are expected to continue academic engagement in all courses.
  • In the event, you are unable to continue with your courses, you should reach out to your advisor and to the financial aid office to determine the impact withdrawing will have on your financial aid awards.
  • A guide to growing skills in the online environment will be sent to you within the next week.
  • Students receiving financial aid must continue academic engagement to ensure there is no impact to their Spring 2020 financial aid eligibility and awards.

Are you a student in the School of Nursing and Allied Health?  Students in the School of Nursing and Allied Health will be receiving an additional notice from Associate Dean Jane Weilert regarding labs and clinicals which may continue during the extended break.

Regarding Personal Counseling Services for Students:  If you have a scheduled counseling appointment, please call the counselor at 316-247-7377 to make arrangements for your appointment.  Referrals can still be given by calling 316-942-4291 Ext. 2318 or 2137. 

A message from Interim President Teresa Hall Bartels:

Dear Members of the Newman University Community,

Since the initial news of COVID-19 became public, Newman University officials under the direction and leadership of Provost Kim Long and Dean of Students Christine Schneikart-Luebbe have been monitoring information regarding the spread of the coronavirus. Over the past few days, the developing situation has been changing at a rapid pace.

Given the growing COVID-19 concerns, the university administration, with input from various internal and external stakeholders, has been focusing on how to best protect the health and safety of Newman community members, while also considering the greater good of the communities we serve.

Although there are no reported cases of coronavirus at Newman and just a few cases in Kansas, I am writing now to let you know that we have made a decision to extend the upcoming spring break - for students taking face-to-face classes – by one week. The recess, which starts upon completion of classes Friday, March 13, will now extend through Sunday, March 29 for in-person classes.

Students currently enrolled in online programs will not be affected by the break extension and are expected to attend their scheduled courses during the week of March 23.

Students in the School of Nursing will be receiving an additional notice from Associate Dean Jane Weilert regarding labs and clinicals, which may continue during the extend break.

At this time, our plan is to resume face-to-face offerings on March 30, although there is a possibility that some, if not all, of our courses could be adapted to an online or an alternate mode of delivery. Faculty will be working during the extended break to prepare for this possibility. This approach limits in-person exposure after spring break to align with the estimated COVID-19 incubation period, and allows faculty members a modest amount of time to prepare and begin the transition to online instruction. It also keeps the university functioning and helps students continue toward their educational goals.

In the coming days, please monitor your email and Canvas for further updates.

At this time, all students who live on campus will be allowed to stay in the resident halls through the extended break. As in the past Mabee Dining Center will be closed during the original spring break week but will provide food service during the second week of the recess on a brunch – dinner schedule.

To recap: 

  • Spring break has been extended by one week for students taking in-person classes. The recess will run from March 14th to March 29th.
  • Students in online classes ARE EXPECTED to attend courses as scheduled the week of March 23-28.
  • All university staff and administrators will report to campus offices as usual until further notice. Note campus is closed March 20.
  • If you are experiencing symptoms tied to COVID-19 you are encouraged to reach out to medical professionals. Click HERE for more information about COVID-19.

With the exceptions noted above the university will continue to operate business as usual until further notice.

There is certainly much to learn about the COVID-19 disease, and we know two things are evident. The first is that social distancing is one of the best protections against the spread of the virus. The second is that the virus has the potential to spread rapidly in communities. Both of these realities are a challenge for Newman, and other college campuses.

I thank Newman community members for all you do daily to make a positive impact for our students. Know that I am humbled by the work that has been completed thus far during this challenging time and for the long hours and hard work yet to come, as we focus on keeping our students safe and provide for their educational needs.

Please keep those who are suffering, or will suffer from the virus, in your prayers. St. Maria De Mattias and St. John Henry Newman, pray for us.

Blessings,

Teresa

Due to health safety concerns for students, Newman University has announced an academic trip to Italy, originally scheduled to depart March 12, is postponed until later this year.

Newman University postpones academic trip to Italy