Campus Communications

Communication and updates from the University of Cincinnati will be posted on this page with the most recent updates appearing at the top of the page. 

Recent Updates


June 11, 2020

Dear UC Community,

We write to share our plans to welcome back our students to campus on August 24 for the start of the fall semester. We believe a thoughtful blend of in-person and virtual offerings, in addition to enhanced health and safety measures, will provide our students with the best collegiate experience possible in this new era of living and learning.

On May 20, we outlined a multi-phase approach to returning faculty and staff to campus over the summer in preparation for the fall semester. We are pleased to report Phase One has been launched successfully. Preparations for the start of Phase Two and Phase Three remain on track. Before sharing details on Phase Four, which includes the safe return of students to campus, let us reiterate the health and safety measures that underpin our endeavor.

Until we know enhanced health and safety measures are no longer needed, we will continue to err on the side of caution in protecting our campus community. Safeguards include facial coverings, proper handwashing, physical distancing, frequent cleaning, reduced density in certain spaces and required reporting of symptoms, among others. Our testing and tracing protocols will be shared in the coming weeks. Additional information on our health and safety policies as well as mental health resources can be found here.

Bringing our students back to campus will necessitate several adjustments to academic life and the student experience. For instance, we will adjust the academic calendar to finish in-person activities by Thanksgiving Break. To provide enhanced flexibility and properly manage the density of campus, we will offer a blend of in-person, online and hybrid courses. Our housing and dining options will be adjusted to incorporate enhanced health and safety measures. And we will provide additional direction on campus events and activities.

To learn more about planning for the fall semester, including more details on academic life, housing, dining, transportation and athletics, please click here.

We want to underscore our admiration and appreciation for your understanding and support as we navigate these uncharted waters. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it is the need for us to have contingency plans for our contingency plans. Given the tremendous amount of work that still must be done, we realize plenty of unanswered questions remain. We ask for your continued patience as we allow our various representative working groups across campus to finalize their planning efforts. We will share the full version of our Return to Campus plan by early July.

Thank you for everything you do to make UC an amazing place to live, learn and grow.

With gratitude,

Neville G. Pinto

President

 

Kristi A. Nelson

Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost


June 4, 2020

Dear Colleague,  

I am writing today to update you on work being conducted to best position the university for a successful 2020-2021 academic year. However, I would like to first acknowledge the unrest and social discourse occurring throughout our city and nation. I join President Pinto in recognizing the sadness and grief it brings to our country. Central to our educational mission, and in keeping with our values of inclusion and excellence, it is ever more important that we protect the dignity of all individuals. It is the diversity of people, perspectives, and voices that will bring us together as a just UC community.

As President Pinto communicated last month, we recognize that many of you are eager to know how UC will start the fall semester. This is a decision we are not taking lightly and it cannot be rushed. Even though other institutions have announced plans, we are being deliberative and want to ensure that our plans are informed by data and the progression of COVID-19. The health and safety of our faculty, staff, and students is paramount. Ensuring the well-being of our university community will continue to guide each and every decision. As Dr. Fauci has stated in a recent interview, quoted in The Chronicle of Higher Education: "I don’t think it’s going to be one size fits all. I think it’s going to depend on the location of where the particular university or place of higher education is, what the demography of the students is, where they’re coming from. All of these things have to be taken into account."

Urban Research Universities like UC have to plan around the needs of significant numbers of graduate, international, out-of-state, in state, and local students. With 46,000+ students and over 15,000 faculty and staff, we are like a small city. 

To assist in the decision-making process, and help determine how our return in the fall will be structured, I have formed eight working groups to gather data, input, and review recommendations from colleges and academic affairs units. The working groups, led by our vice provosts, are:  

  • Undergraduate Studies/ELCE: led by Gigi Escoe, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies, Dean of ELCE 
  • Graduate Studies/Research: Raj Mehta, Vice Provost for International Affairs and Interim Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School (in partnership with Vice President Pat Limbach Dean and Xuemao Wang)  
  • International Students – Raj Mehta, Vice Provost for International Affairs and Interim Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School 
  • Clinical Activities/Education/Licensure Programs/Community Partnerships – Chris Lewis, Vice Provost for Academic Programs 
  • Remote/Online Teaching – Jason Lemon, Vice Provost and Dean, Cincinnati Online (in partnership with CET&L and IT)   
  • Faculty Affairs – Matt Serra, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and Academic Personnel 
  • Student Life – Debra Merchant, Vice President for Student Affairs  
  • Enrollment Management – Jack Miner, Vice Provost for Enrollment Management  

Additionally, each college has been asked to submit a report detailing course offerings. Throughout the next two weeks, the working groups will carefully review the detailed reports to determine if the university can safely provide face-to-face courses while strictly following health precautions outlined by our medical experts, the state, and the CDC.

It is imperative that we manage social distancing while balancing both curricular and co-curricular experiences for our students in the best way possible. This could mean offering many courses in an online modality with flex options for students looking for face-to-face experiences. This may also allow courses, such as those in the arts, music, labs, seminars, and clinicals, where face-to-face learning creates better outcomes for our students, to be held in-person on our campuses.  

The working groups will help us determine the best path forward, as they have been charged with creating a final report outlining key recommendations for review and consideration. The report will be shared with the university community for input and we anticipate reaching a decision regarding the structure of the fall semester in mid-to-late June.  

It is important to recognize that the upcoming academic year will be very different, and this is something for which we must all carefully prepare. It will not be easy, but I am confident we can rise to the challenge. With your continuous input and support, we can ensure that UC will remain a special and renowned institution. 

Kind regards,

Kristi Nelson
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

 


May 20, 2020

Return to Campus: Provisional Planning

Dear UC Community,

I know when and how we plan to return to campus is of keen interest to our community. Many of you have indicated a desire to preview our tentative planning, while knowing much can change from week to week, much less from month to month.

Although the ideal scenario would be to share a fully vetted and finalized plan, the reality is we are not yet there. Nevertheless, I understand and appreciate your need to have a better sense of our shared horizon, even if it is subject to change. With this aim, let me share where things stand at this time.

Thanks to the tremendous work of several leaders across campus, I am pleased to report we are developing a provisional, multi-phased plan for your safe return to campus. Before outlining the general framework of this Return to Campus (RTC) plan, I want to say a few words about trying to define certain goals in uncertain times.

This plan is, by design, open to change. If the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) issues new directives, we will comply. If our medical experts identify new or different ways to safeguard our community, we will follow the science. If something is not working as well as originally intended, we will correct our course. If your ongoing feedback enables us to upgrade this plan, we will integrate the input. In short, we will learn every step of the way and adjust our efforts accordingly with your safety and health top of mind.

Nevertheless, it is worth underscoring the obvious: none of us have done this before. We must therefore rely on each other—and our mutual patience, understanding, cooperation and support—to see this plan to success. It won’t be straightforward or stress free. But our community has proven, time and again, its uncanny ability to rise above the adversity at hand and deliver extraordinary results.

Below are the building blocks of our RTC plan. Given it is still a work in progress, we would benefit greatly from your advice and assistance. The RTC Task Force, comprised of stakeholders from across campus, will continue to build out this provisional plan in the weeks and months ahead. If you have thoughts or questions on how to better our planning efforts, now or in the future, please send your ideas to publichealth@uc.edu.

Safety Protocols

In implementing our RTC plan, these safety protocols will remain in effect until further notice.

  1. Before returning to campus for the first time, all employees must successfully complete a brief online information session administered by University Health Services to ensure awareness of CDC and ODH guidelines. The tutorial can be found here.
  2. Before returning to campus for the first time, all supervisors and lab leaders must complete a health safety assessment of their workplace setting. Find more information, including deadlines for completion, here.
  3. Before coming to campus each day, all employees must complete a self-administered wellness check based on CDC and ODH guidelines. The wellness check can be found here. All employees who have symptoms that may relate to COVID-19 should contact University Health Services immediately at COVIDWatch@uc.edu.
  4. All employees must wear facial coverings on campus, except while eating or alone in a private space. For more information on facial coverings, including exemptions to this requirement, click here.
  5. All employees must adhere to social-distancing requirements detailed here.
  6. All areas must clean and sanitize their workplace settings throughout the day. These efforts will supplement cleaning and sanitizing activities that will occur after hours by our facilities staff. Click here for specific directions.
  7. All employees must continue to abide by restrictions on travel detailed here.
  8. All employees who meet the CDC’s definition of individuals at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 may continue to work remotely. CDC information on risk factors is available here. Please contact Human Resources to submit a request to work remotely due to being at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
  9. For more information on mental health resources, please click here.
  10. For more information on maintaining a safe work environment as well as wellness and support resources, please click here.

Phase One

We plan to commence Phase One on June 1, presuming safety protocols are followed. At this time, our researchers will begin a gradual, stepwise return to campus. The Vice President for Research and his team have been working diligently over the past several weeks to prepare for this phased-in approach. More direction on Phase One can be found here.   

Phase Two

Based on our learnings from Phase One, we plan to commence Phase Two on July 1, presuming safety protocols are followed. At this time, portions of our employee base will return to campus. Supervisors will determine the employees to include in Phase Two based on institutional needs as well as on the health safety assessment for their respective area. In the days ahead, we will provide more direction on Phase Two.

Phase Three

Based on our learnings from previous phases, we plan to commence Phase Three on August 3, presuming safety protocols are followed. At this time, other portions of our employee base will return to campus. To effectively manage the density on campus, employee groups will work alternating schedules. Supervisors will determine the best alternating schedules for their respective areas. In the weeks ahead, we will provide more direction on Phase Three.

Phase Four

Phase Four will coincide with the start of fall semester on August 24. At present, we cannot say with finality how the fall semester will be structured for our students in terms of their on-campus experience. Our hope is to have enough data points in hand to make this decision by no later than late June. Once this decision is made, we will provide more direction on Phase Four.

Conclusion

I realize this plan will be received differently within our community. Some will want us to get started sooner on the transition. Others will want us to wait longer until we know more. Both views are valid and must be balanced.

Yes, when it comes to planning for your safety, we will err on the side of caution. And, yes, we know it is critical for us to pursue our mission, vision and values the best way we know how—on campus and in person. Our leadership imperative is to build a safe and nimble framework to accomplish both. In sum, we believe this provisional, multi-phase plan—with your continuous input and support—has the ability to do just that.

On behalf of a grateful University, thank you for all you do to make UC such a special place.

With gratitude,

Neville G. Pinto

President


May 5, 2020

To: Deans, Directors and Department Heads

From: James Whalen, Director, Public Safety

Re: Requirement for employees and students to wear facial coverings

Out of care and concern for all members of our campus community and in accordance with a recent directive from the Ohio Department of Health, the University of Cincinnati will require all essential employees currently working on campus and during the summer term that begins May 11 to wear facial coverings in the workplace setting.

This requirement begins upon any essential employee or worker’s next return to the campus workplace and is in place for at least the summer term and may be extended further.

In addition, any students living on campus or coming to campus for any reason are also required to wear a facial covering.

Facial coverings must be worn at all times except while eating or alone in a private room or office.

Employees or workers may seek an exemption from the requirement to wear a facial covering. Requests for exemptions may be emailed to Tamie Grunow, chief HR officer, at tamie.grunow@uc.edu

Students may seek an exemption from the requirement to wear a facial covering by emailing University Health Services at COVIDWatch@uc.edu

Exemptions will be based on those listed in the current State of Ohio directive:  

  • Facial coverings in the work setting are prohibited by law or regulation;
  • Facial coverings are a violation of documented industry standards;
  • Facial coverings are not advisable for health reasons;
  • Facial coverings are in violation of the business’ documented safety policies;
  • Facial coverings are not required when the employee works alone in an assigned work area; or
  • There is a functional (practical) reason for an employee not to wear a facial covering in the workplace.

The facial covering mandate may be found in the May 1 “Stay Safe Ohio” order

At minimum, a facial covering should be cloth / fabric and cover the nose, mouth and chin. Facial coverings can also be made with a bandana. See more advice from the CDC on how to wear and position a facial covering.

 


April 1, 2020

Dear UC Community,

We continue to monitor the COVID-19 crisis with your safety, health and well-being as our highest priority. We have the following updates to share:

  • Summer Session Moves to Remote Learning: For Summer Session 2020 (May 11-August 8), we will continue our suspension of face-to-face instruction, lectures, discussion sessions, seminars and similar classroom settings and will conduct classes via remote learning only. Instruction that involves labs, studios, music lessons and clinical experiences may meet at the discretion of the dean provided that national and/or state regulations do not preclude such activities and that social distancing is observed and respected.
  • Remote Working Extended: Our current practice of remote working will continue until further notice. Employees should use university-supported technology (e.g., WebEx, Microsoft Teams, etc.) to assist with remote work. Other platforms not supported by IT@UC present unnecessary privacy, security and support risks to the university. To clarify, the university remains open and all essential services will be maintained on all campuses.
  • Residential and Dining Halls: Residence halls and dining halls will continue to be closed for Summer Session, except for students who have waivers.
  • International Travel: We are extending our suspension of all university-related international travel through June 30, 2020. As previously indicated, this prohibition applies to all faculty, staff, postdocs and students, and includes any travel associated with scholarly activities as a UC employee, including travel funded by a government grant, foundation, company or other university. We continue to strongly discourage all personal international travel by any UC community members.
  • Study Abroad: All study abroad is canceled and prohibited for the entire Summer Session. 
  • Domestic Travel: University-sponsored domestic air travel will continue to be limited to business essential until June 30, 2020. Approval will be given on an as-needed basis. We strongly urge extreme caution and judgment for your personal domestic travel, with particular attention to known outbreak areas.
  • Reporting Requirements: Please report to University Health Services by emailing COVIDWatch@uc.edu with your name and cell phone number if you meet any of the following criteria: Anyone returning from international travel, returning from travel by cruise ship, returning from the Greater New York metropolitan area or other “hot spot” of the COVID-19 epidemic, having had close contact with an individual confirmed to have COVID-19 by laboratory testing or with a presumptive diagnosis of COVID-19, or living on campus in University Housing and having symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (including flu-like symptoms with chills, muscle aches, and diarrhea, cough, shortness of breath, or fever). In addition, the sudden loss of the sense of smell or taste can be an early sign of COVID-19 and should be immediately reported. For more information on the reporting process, see Remember to Report details.
  • 2020 Spring All-University Faculty Meeting and President’s State of the University Address: The Spring 2020 All-University Faculty Meeting and State of the University Address scheduled for Thursday, April 9, can no longer take place in person due to the restrictions on large gatherings. A new date for the meeting will be identified for an online All-University Faculty Meeting to take place later in April. My State of the University report will be delivered via email in an upcoming message. Faculty Senate Chair Cynthia Ris will notify relevant faculty with additional details regarding the online Faculty Senate meeting that will still be held as scheduled on April 9. 

I am enormously proud of the way our Bearcats community has demonstrated its understanding, flexibility, care and resilience during these unimaginable times. As we have all learned over the last few weeks, the circumstances surrounding the coronavirus global pandemic can change rapidly. Please continue to watch for updates on our COVID-19 website.

With appreciation,

Neville G. Pinto
President


March 31, 2020

Dear UC Community,

I am writing to inform you that we received notification of the first confirmed case of coronavirus within our university community. The person affected is hospitalized and is receiving treatment.  I want to express to them my best wishes for a full and speedy recovery. I will not be sharing any information on this individual’s identity out of respect for their right to privacy.

We are collaborating with local, state and community health officials to identify and notify any people who may have been in close contact with this individual. In line with health protocols, health officials will give those individuals instructions and guidance.

In light of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and personal health information (HIPAA) laws, please be aware that if you know this individual’s identity, take care to respect their anonymity and privacy, including in the use of social media.

Be assured that your safety and health remain our highest priority. Our Public Health Response Team continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and updates are posted on our coronavirus website.

We ask our UC students, faculty, staff, and visitors to self-report COVID-19 confirmations, pending tests and exposures to a dedicated email account:  COVIDWatch@uc.eduIf you experience fever or symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, please seek advice by calling your health care provider or University Health Services at 513-556-2564 (Uptown, West Campus) or 513-584-4457 (Uptown, East Campus).

Please remain vigilant in following the guidelines for prevention outlined by the CDC. Our collective health will only be as good as our individual resolve.

Finally, I want to again express my appreciation to all of you for your understanding, compassion and patience in these unparalleled times.  Best wishes for good health and wellbeing to you and your loved ones.

Warm regards,

Neville G. Pinto
President


March 23, 2020

From: Kristi Nelson, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Robert F. Ambach, Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance

As the local, national and global spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 grows we understand the uncertainty of today and the potential challenges ahead. The university is here to support you during this unprecedented time and is working diligently each day to reduce potential impacts on you, your family, and our university community while continuing in our educational mission.

Due to the transition from face-to-face instruction to remote learning, we have developed new policies about refunds and credits for room and board, the university’s general fee, campus life fee and parking.

Room and Board

As referenced in President Pinto’s message to the campus on March 13, the university will reimburse students on a pro-rata basis for room and board. This applies to student residents of university housing who do not have an approved waiver to remain in UC housing. In order to receive this reimbursement, all student residents of UC Housing who do not have an approved waiver to remain for the remainder of the spring term must completely vacate their housing. Room and board will be reimbursed on a pro-rata basis from March 25, 2020, through the end of the spring semester.

General Fee

Because the general fee supports non-academic activities as well as some campus spaces – often related to student groups – and due to the fact that students will be unable to access most student groups, the General Fee will be returned to students on a pro-rata basis from March 25, 2020, through the end of the spring semester.

Campus Life Fee

Similarly, the Campus Life fee supports various recreational and entertainment facilities and programming, and since spaces including Tangeman University Center and the Campus Recreation Center are closed, the Campus Life fee will be returned on a pro-rata basis from March 25, 2020, through the end of the spring semester.

Parking

Finally, since the campus community – students as well as faculty and staff – is unlikely to make further use of purchased parking permits, the university will return a pro-rata share of the cost of parking permits that have been previously purchased in full for the current academic year or semester. The pro-rata basis reimbursement for those already paid in full for parking will extend from March 25, 2020, through the end of the spring semester.

In terms of the room and board, general, campus life and parking fees, transactions related to refunds or credits will be posted by the end of the spring semester.

We hope these updates are helpful as you make the transition to online learning during this global public health crisis. Our goal is to enable you to continue your studies, earn full credits for the semester’s work, and graduate on time – even in the face of these unprecedented events.

Please remember to engage in social and physical distancing and practice frequent hand washing and hygiene as the most-effective ways to prevent the spread of infection.

We will continue to keep our community informed on the University’s response to coronavirus via our dedicated website at uc.edu/publichealth

In addition, the university has a dedicated COVID-19 hotline at (513) 556-7200 or you may send queries to publichealth@uc.edu


March 20, 2020

President Neville Pinto's message to prospective spring 2020 graduates:

As we have been closely monitoring the evolving COVID-19 outbreak, we have had to make many hard decisions that have greatly adjusted our standard campus operations and procedures. Throughout the decision-making process, we have had one primary goal in mind – maintaining the strongest and most authentic Bearcat experience possible while prioritizing the health and safety of our community.

Some of our most celebrated and anticipated Bearcat events are our Commencement ceremonies. As the coronavirus outbreak progresses, it has become increasingly clear that we must postpone our Spring 2020 commencement events in accordance with CDC guidelines on eliminating large gatherings to combat the coronavirus. This restriction impacts the undergraduate ceremony, doctoral hooding and master’s recognition ceremony, and professional degree ceremonies.

Graduation is a day you have worked toward since your first day on campus. We join you in your disappointment about this necessary change. Even if you were anticipating this decision, we know that doesn’t necessarily make it any easier. Throughout this time, I encourage you to reflect on all that you’ve accomplished as a Bearcat and that there is still so much to be celebrated.

Your Commencement is a celebration that UC faculty, staff, and I look forward to sharing with you and your loved ones. And yet, we know postponing is the right decision to ensure everyone’s safety and health. In the coming months, we hope to join together to mark this momentous milestone as one Bearcat family. We will be in touch with updates when more information is available.

In the meantime, I want to acknowledge the many sacrifices you are making in this time of unprecedented crisis. Please stay safe and know I wish you and your family the very best in the weeks ahead.

With gratitude,

Neville G. Pinto
President


March 16, 2020

Dear Faculty & Staff

Due to rapid developments in the spread of COVID-19, as well as further guidance from the State and the CDC on enhanced mitigation strategies, the University will transition to remote operations for faculty and staff, starting on March 17 and remaining in effect until further notice.  

Our aim is simple: To fulfill the ongoing mission of the University, while protecting the health and well-being of our employees and meeting our civic responsibility for the public good.  

Supervisors will proceed as follows:

  • If parts or all of your unit can work remotely, do so until further notice.
  • If parts or all of your unit cannot work remotely, determine what functions are required for the University to deliver core services. If the function is critical, provide employees with greater flexibility for their on-campus work arrangements—with the goal of maximizing the effectiveness of social distancing. If the function is not critical at this juncture, partner with our central Human Resources team to develop alternative solutions for the employees affected.
  • For additional guidance and support, contact our central Human Resources team at 556-1015 or 556-9966. For updates, reference our employee FAQ page.
  • In addition to these modifications at work, we realize many employees are experiencing life-altering changes at home. Accordingly, we are asking supervisors to be as supportive as possible.
  • Human Resources has information on the University’s Employee Assistance Program.

For our researchers, be advised that more restrictive measures for on-campus access to research areas will be implemented. The Office of Research has provided updated guidance to assist with contingency planning, including efforts to recalibrate on-campus research activities.  

In terms of facilities, the University will limit open access to buildings on campus. (Should you need assistance in accessing a campus building, please contact our Access Control unit at 556-4925).

In addition to the closing of TUC, West Pavilion and both Campus Recreation facilities announced last week, University Libraries (except the Health Science Library) will be added, effective today, to the list of building closures for the foreseeable future. Learn more about the University LIbraries online services or seek assistance during this time. 

For more information on the University’s response to coronavirus, as well as for future updates, please visit our dedicated website at uc.edu/publichealth.

To confirm: The University remains open. If the State provides further direction for public institutions, the University of Cincinnati will adapt accordingly. Thank you for your flexibility, patience and understanding. I know that we, together, will successfully navigate these unchartered waters.     

With gratitude,

Neville G. Pinto
President


March 13, 2020

Dear UC Community,

Based on recently confirmed cases of COVID-19 within our Cincinnati region, the University of Cincinnati will activate the following protective measures for our campus community.

  • Remote instruction for classes will extend through the end of the semester.
  • Spring Break will extend through Wednesday, March 25. Classes will resume on Thursday, March 26.
  • University housing and dining facilities will close for the remainder of the semester. Students must check out of University housing by day’s end on March 25. On March 16, students will receive detailed information on the process, timeline and safety precautions for retrieving their personal belongings. For those students who cannot return home to permanent residences or have extenuating circumstances, we will work with you to identify alternative housing solutions.
  • The University intends to reimburse students on a pro-rata basis for room and board agreements. Detailed information will be forthcoming.
  • Tangeman University Center, West Pavilion and both Campus Recreation facilities will close until further notice.
  • The University will abide by Governor DeWine’s new order restricting gatherings to no more than 100 people.

As of now, the University remains open. Faculty and staff should consult with their supervisors on the applicability of the University’s Alternative Work Schedule policy. Again, supervisors are urged to consider CDC guidance regarding individuals at higher risk for COVID-19. 

These are unprecedented times. None of us should apologize for feeling scared, confused, frustrated or overwhelmed. More than ever, we must rely on each other for compassion, care, support and understanding. I want to thank all Bearcats, near and far, for leading the way in your respective communities.

In closing, be assured that your health, safety and well-being remain our highest priority. For more information on the University’s response to coronavirus, as well as for future updates, please visit our dedicated website at uc.edu/publichealth.

With gratitude,

Neville G. Pinto
President


March 10, 2020

Dear UC Community,

To date, the University of Cincinnati does not have any confirmed cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease). However, the outbreak of coronavirus continues to rapidly change. In response, President Pinto has gathered members of the Public Health Response Team to review and discuss updated guidance following the confirmation of three COVID-19 cases within the State of Ohio. The team, along with our university health experts, reviewed the latest information from the U. S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), as well as our local and state health departments. After much consideration, and in response to the continued spread of COVID-19, we are enacting new policies and practices based on the concept of social distancing.

UC Classes and Instructional Meetings

  • Effective Saturday, March 14, 2020, UC will suspend face-to-face instruction, lectures, discussion sessions, seminars and other similar classroom settings, and move to remote instruction.  Face-to-face instruction will resume Monday, April 13, 2020. Instruction that involves labs, studios, music lessons, clinical experience, e.g., may meet at the discretion of the dean provided that social distancing is observed and respected
  • While completing classes remotely, students may choose to return to their permanent place of residence or return to campus where appropriate social distancing and enhanced preventative public health and hygiene measures will be actively encouraged. Students should make the choice that is best for their own personal situation.
  • Residence and dining halls will remain open
  • Deans are working with their faculty to develop remote teaching approaches best suited for their college and its curricular programs. UC’s Center for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning has developed a toolkit complete with resources and tools needed to conduct remote instruction. This information will be available at publichealth@uc.edu and uc.edu/cetl beginning March 11, 2020.

Remote Work

The university’s Alternative Work Schedule policy permits UC employees to telecommute with approval from their supervisor. Although this policy is not new, supervisors are urged to consider CDC guidance regarding people at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19. Additional guidance may be provided from Central Human Resources.

International Travel

  • All university-related international travel is suspended through May 31, 2020. This applies to all faculty, staff, postdocs and students, and includes any travel associated with scholarly activities as a UC employee, including travel funded by a government grant, foundation, company or other university.
  • All personal international travel is strongly discouraged by any UC community me
  • Travelers returning from CDC Level 3 countries (currently China, Iran, Italy and South Korea) are required to observe a 14-day period of self-quarantine and monitoring.  During this period, faculty, staff, and students are not permitted to come to work, attend class or participate in any other campus or community activities.
  • All UC employees and students returning from international travel must register with University Health Services (UHS) via UHSTravel@ucmail.uc.edu, and receive specific guidance from UHS before returning to campus.

Domestic Travel

  • University-sponsored domestic air travel will be limited to business essential travel and will be approved on an as-needed basis. A process for requesting an approval of domestic travel will be shared shortly. This includes new travel as well as any currently booked trips between now and May 31, 2020.  We will reevaluate these guidelines and share updates as more information becomes available.
  • We strongly urge extreme caution and judgment for your personal domestic travel, with particular attention to known outbreak areas.
  • Until May 31, 2020, we strongly encourage everyone in the UC community to register with UC Travel prior to their trip.

Visitors on Campus from Outside UC

  • All visitors returning from CDC Level 3 countries (widespread sustained ongoing transmission of COVID-19) must complete a 14-day self-quarantine prior to entering any university facility or attending any event or meeting on campus. Additionally, all persons traveling from any foreign country should register with University Health Services via UHSTravel@ucmail.uc.edu prior to entering any university facility or attending any event or meeting on campus.

UC Events

  • Effective immediately, any in-person UC events (on-campus or off-campus) with more than 150* attendees scheduled to occur between now and May 31, 2020, must be rescheduled, canceled or “virtualized.”
  • Certain events, such as athletic contests and performances, may be modified to decrease the need for a crowd or audience. Details on these modifications are under development and will be shared once finalized.
  • The Public Health Response Team has not yet made a decision regarding commencement ceremonies.

* A threshold of 150 people was chosen to help reduce risk of transmission without calling a halt to all activity on campus. However, group size is only one factor to consider in planning an event – our success in managing the risk of COVID-19 depends not only on the existence of these policies, but on your cooperation and common sense.  If a member of the UC community thinks an exception is warranted for a large event, the request must be submitted through a dean or vice president at publichealth@uc.edu

As always, please practice social distancing to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases. Keep a distance of at least six feet between yourself and another person; practice proper hand washing; avoid touching your face; cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue; and stay home if feeling sick. Please reference the CDC website for additional prevention guidelines.   

Information updates and resources can be accessed at uc.edu/publichealth.  Please continue to check daily for email updates regarding this very fluid situation.  If you have a question please email publichealth@uc.edu.

Many thoughtful decisions will be forthcoming in the days ahead, and we ask for patience and understanding as we navigate through this difficult and fluid situation. Your health and safety is, and will always be, of the utmost importance to us.

Kind Regards,

Kristi Nelson, PhD
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

Andrew Filak, MD
Senior Vice President for Health Affairs, Dean of the College of Medicine


March 5, 2020

Dear UC Community:

The University of Cincinnati continues to monitor the global outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and its potential impact. Our top priority is to ensure the health and safety of all faculty, staff and students. Although there have been no documented cases of COVID-19 in our region, we are making needed preparations to be able to quickly respond if COVID-19 is detected. To lead this effort, President Pinto has convened a Public Health Response Team, comprised of senior university leadership, and has created a website (uc.edu/publichealth) to share information with the UC community. For planning purposes we will reference the university’s Public Safety Emergency Operations Plan:  Emergency Operations Plan

The university continues to follow CDC recommendations and prohibits any university related travel to countries that are CDC Warning Level 3. As of today, university travel is restricted to China, South Korea, Italy and Iran. Any member of the UC community returning from a restricted country must: 

  1. Report to University Health Services (UHS) via UHSTravel@ucmail.uc.edu before returning to campus, AND
  2. Self-quarantine for fourteen (14) days. 

UHS will respond with appropriate health guidance. Please check uc.edu/publichealth for updates, as restrictions may change over time.

All Spring Break study abroad experiences are being canceled out of an abundance of caution. Additional details will be shared with faculty and students who have upcoming academic trips. 

Please be assured we continue to assess this fluid situation and will make decisions regarding travel as needed. As a reminder, it is very important that all faculty, staff and students who participate in university travel, particularly international, register with UC Travel.

Please help mitigate the spread of respiratory diseases. The CDC recommends everyday preventive actions including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask. CDC does not recommend healthy people wear a facemask.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol may be used.

Again, we encourage you to check uc.edu/publichealth for information and travel updates. Situations like this often cause uncertainty. Please know that we are working diligently to maintain your health and safety. If you have questions or concerns regarding COVID-19 at UC, please email publichealth@uc.edu. We will have the most appropriate office and/or individual respond to you in a timely manner.

Warm Regards,

Kristi Nelson, PhD
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

Andrew Filak, MD
Senior Vice President for Health Affairs, Dean of the College of Medicine


Feb. 19, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff,

I am writing to ask for your thoughtful consideration towards the numerous members of our community from China. Many are concerned about the health and safety of family and friends in their home country who are directly impacted by the Coronavirus and associated health emergency. Additionally, reports within higher education are being shared detailing instances of students who have faced questions about their health or whether they might have been exposed to the virus. We want to ensure members of our community do not have similar experiences and feel supported at UC.

Please note that students are entitled to keep their medical information private. We should not assume that a student is sick if she or he is wearing a mask.

I want to assure you that University Health Services continues to work closely with the Ohio Department of Health and Cincinnati Health Department to properly monitor anyone who has recently traveled to China. No cases of actual or suspected Coronavirus have been identified within the UC community. I cannot express how impressed I have been with the prompt, compassionate, and conscientious way Health Services, Housing and other service units have worked with state and local authorities to handle these situations.

For updates regarding the university’s on-ongoing efforts, as well as travel restrictions, please visit the University Health Services website.

Thank you for your help in supporting our students.

Kristi Nelson
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost 


Feb. 3, 2020

To: Faculty, Students and Staff

From:

  • Kristi A. Nelson, PhD, Executive Vice President and Provost
  • Andrew Filak, MD, Senior Vice President, Health Affairs, and Dean, College of Medicine
  • Debra Merchant, JD, Vice President, Student Affairs
  • Raj Mehta, PhD, Vice Provost, UC International
  • Kim Miller, MD, Executive Director, University Health Services
  • Re: Travel restrictions due to Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

We write to provide an update related to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, including new university travel restrictions and reporting recommendations.

While the spread of the virus within the United States is still considered to be low risk, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) have recently issued new travel guidance regarding China. The CDC currently recommends avoiding non-essential travel to China (Level 3), and the DOS recommends avoiding all travel to China (Level 4).

While there are no confirmed cases of 2019-nCov in the campus community, out of an abundance of caution and care for our community, the University of Cincinnati is enacting restrictions on university-sponsored or university-funded travel, as this aligns with current CDC and DOS guidance. The university is also enacting reporting recommendations to proactively protect the health and well-being of our community.

Details are as follows:

Temporary travel restrictions

In accordance with guidance from the CDC and DOS, UC will temporarily restrict university-sponsored or university-funded travel to China by all faculty, staff and students — effective immediately and in place through at least Friday, March 27, which aligns with current travel bans recently put in place by some airlines.

We will continue to monitor guidance from the CDC and DOS, and will share plans prior to March 27 to either end the restriction on that date or, if needed, extend it. Also, please continue to check the University Health Services web site for updates.

For personal travel, we strongly advise all students, faculty and staff to follow travel alerts from the CDC and DOS. Again, currently, the CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China. The DOS recommends reconsidering travel to China altogether.

Reporting recommendations

For any members of our campus community returning from either university or personal travel to China or for any campus visitors traveling from China, reporting is recommended so that we can offer proper resources, guidance and support to immediately assist any member of our community or visitor who may become ill. This is recommended out of care and concern, public health needs as well as the uncertain nature of potential future events. Geographical areas, regions or cities affected by this reporting recommendation may be modified depending on the future course of the outbreak.

Any and all information gathered through this process will remain confidential. The reporting recommendation will allow University Health Services to provide education, guidance and care monitoring.

We recommend that students, faculty and staff travelers or any visitors traveling from China report to UHSTravel@ucmail.uc.edu under the following circumstances:

  • If you have returned from or traveled from China within the past 14 days, please consider reporting within 24 hours of receiving this email. (If you have returned from China in the past 14 days AND you have a fever above 100.4 orally as well as respiratory symptoms including cough and shortness of breath, please immediately report your symptoms to UHSTravel@ucmail.uc.edu and go directly to the nearest emergency room. UHS will check in with you after the emergency room visit to provide additional guidance and support.)
  • If you or your department know of any upcoming visitors from China, whether on university business or on personal business, we recommend any visitor report via University Health Services within 24 hours of arrival to campus.
  • If any member of the campus community has personal travel to China planned between now and March 27, please consider reporting within 24 hours of your return.
  • If you are being actively monitored or observed by any local, county, state or federal public health agency due to risk of Coronavirus, please report within 24 hours of being notified.

All reports should include name and a cell phone contact number.

Questions about the reporting process can be directed to UHSTravel@ucmail.uc.edu

To reiterate, no changes are needed for day-to-day behaviors on our campuses at this time.

At this time, state and federal health officials are not restricting activities for travelers returning from China without symptoms — nor are they recommending testing for those without symptoms.

We continue to closely monitor the guidelines and recommendations from local, state and federal agencies. University Health Services works closely with and maintains coordination with city, county and state departments of health. UHS is able to screen for symptoms and follow all public health protocols should anyone with potential Coronavirus need care.

Students in need of immediate medical care for any reason should contact University Health Services at 513-556-2564.Any faculty and staff who believe they may have or been exposed to Coronavirus should also contact University Health Services.

As always, the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, patients and visitors is our top priority. We will continue to keep our community informed — and we encourage everyone to practice routine hygiene etiquette as this is the best way to prevent the spread of infection.

For more information, visit the University Health Services web page or see this recent campus news release.