Tarleton State University president James Hurley announced earlier this week that in response to the growing outbreak and concern over the COVID-19 virus, the university would be switching to online learning after spring break.
"We are taking additional steps in our efforts to enhance social distancing and response to federal, state and Texas A&M University System recommendations/regulations to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic," Hurley said in a news release on the school's website. "The safety and well-being of our Texan Family are the most important factors in our decision-making process."
As of March 15, many Texas city agencies and municipal governments — including Stephenville — have established social distancing and visiting restrictions per CDC guidelines. Mass gatherings are being banned to slow the threat of local and regional exposure of novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19.
After careful deliberation, university officials made the decision to act to protect the "well-being of those on our campuses and to do our part to protect the health of our region and those who may be especially vulnerable to this highly contagious virus.," the news release states.
The following list contains Tarleton’s next steps in creating and maintaining safe living and learning environments:
• Effective March 23 until April 10, all instructional activities and office hours will utilize online platforms. [This means all face-to-face instruction, including lectures, seminars, labs and other classroom settings, will take place virtually.] This period may be extended based on continued developments of federal and/or state authorizations.
• The university will remain open, including food service, student support services, residential housing and academic support facilities. Students are encouraged to call the appropriate office and allow staff to assist in addressing their need(s).
• Social distancing guidelines will be followed throughout campus.
• All campus events from March 23–April 10 are canceled/postponed.
• All residence halls, dining facilities and academic buildings are being disinfected regularly following CDC guidelines for colleges and universities.
• The Lone Star Conference has suspended all intercollegiate athletics events for the remainder of the season.
The most up-to-date, verified information can be found on the university’s COVID-19 webpage, including answers to frequently asked questions. There’s also an online form to submit new questions.
This situation is being monitored on a daily basis, and additional guidance, changes and recommendations will most certainly be forthcoming, Hurley said.
Canvas provides assistance via live chat for students who need help with learning resources, and a Canvas support hotline — 1-833-444-2087 — is available around the clock.
Additional questions or needs by students, family members or university employees can be submitted via an online form included on the university’s COVID-19 webpage.
"As we continue to navigate this global pandemic, let’s do our best to be kind, encouraging and uplifting to one another, especially during difficult and uncertain times such as these," Hurley said.