Update #3: Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Tuesday, March 17, 2020, at 7:33 p.m.
Consistent with new guidance issued by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis today, Jacksonville University is extending the period of online teaching and learning for the remainder of the Spring semester and through the first Summer term, ending June 20th, as we practice social distancing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For highly specialized fields with applied learning requirements, such as aviation, the fine arts, graduate and undergraduate health care programs and orthodontics, Provost Sapienza and the Academic Affairs team are working closely with Deans and program directors to develop a safe path forward for students to continue their training. As decisions are finalized in the coming days, the University will communicate next steps with students, faculty and staff.
Students are now strongly encouraged to return home to their families as they complete this semester online. We recognize there may be barriers that prevent some students from returning home, particularly students from cities and countries with widespread community outbreaks. Therefore, students have the option to stay on campus. You should know that we will relocate all remaining students to a residence hall on the south end of campus, while still maintaining the recommended social distancing protocol. This allows us to better position resources and residential space on campus in the unlikely event we must respond to any COVID-19 cases on our campus.
The University recognizes the inconvenience this decision may cause our students and their families. We have calculated the estimated savings from variable costs per student and have decided to go beyond our contractual obligations, in the spirit of good faith, by offering a special room and board credit to students who choose to move out of the residence halls. Residential Life will send an email with more instructions on this special credit, check-out procedures and options for collecting personal belongings left in the residence halls.
The decision being announced today to complete the spring 2020 academic term fully online means that several traditionally on-campus events will be postponed. To help keep everyone safe and healthy, we are announcing today that the commencement exercises currently scheduled for April 23 (graduate) and April 25 (undergraduate) are postponed. We wanted you to know this information as soon as the decision was made. While we understand this is disappointing to many of our seniors and their families, the health and safety of everyone on our campus comes first, and we are hard at work creating a memorable celebration of the Class of 2020 at a later date for students who choose to participate. More details will be forthcoming.
As students complete their spring studies remotely, the University has also activated online access to services that support students, including tutoring, advising and mental health counseling. For a full list of these resources, how to access them and where to direct questions, please visit this webpage. The University will also host a virtual town hall with senior leaders and experts via Blackboard Thursday at Noon.
For general questions related to the University’s COVID-19 precautions and how they impact you, please email CareTeam@ju.edu. We have a team of professionals from various areas of campus ready to assist you.
Jacksonville University is taking this global pandemic very seriously, and encourages you to do the same. Your safety comes first in everything we do. Let us also practice respect and compassion for our neighbors and colleagues, as we all navigate tremendous uncertainty in the weeks ahead.