UB President Kurt L. Schmoke sent the following message to all UB students, faculty and staff on May 29, 2020:
To the UB Community:
University System of Maryland Chancellor Jay A. Perman has announced an overall plan for the USM institutions, including the University of Baltimore, to host classes in a variety of ways this fall. As you will note from his statement, the institutions are being given a good deal of latitude about how to achieve this goal, safely and effectively, and without any real certainties regarding the impact of the pandemic in the months ahead. As we have seen, the more we learn about COVID-19, the better we can respond from a public health perspective.
Earlier, the USM received our operations plan for the upcoming academic year. As you will recall, UB will run predominantly online for the fall semester, with some classes conducted in a hybrid fashion in order to ensure a quality experience for our students. Issues relating to compliance with ABA standards in the School of Law and their impact on the UB plan remain under discussion.
As our faculty and staff prepare for the start of classes, they will deliver solutions that are flexible yet robust, academically grounded yet innovative in approach. Much of what you'll see at UB this fall will be based on the enormous amount of learning that we, as a community, undertook these past months regarding the online environment. And, it should be said, UB already offered many of its classes and degree programs online—the pandemic simply broadened our reach and strengthened our resolve.
Thanks to your efforts, UB's overall expertise in online learning is something of which we can all be proud. That base of knowledge continues to grow. The USM has recognized our expertise, and supports my decision to stay primarily online, with necessary exceptions. Our operational arrangements, as well as plans we must make for spring 2021, are now being worked on by the Campus Planning Group, which will present me with recommendations soon. In turn, I will share with you more details of our plan in the coming weeks.
In these times, the provision of a quality education is more important than ever. It is education that will help us to combat what I think of as "twin pandemics": the pandemic of the coronavirus, and the pandemic of racism. Today I am reminded of the important words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: "Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education."
There will be bumps in this process. A glitch in a video, an overburdened laptop—I know it can be frustrating sometimes. But in class after class, in every school at UB, we are finding success. While the world awaits an end to this public health crisis, we are not waiting—to teach, to learn, and to reach our goal of achieving a great University of Baltimore education.
Stay safe and healthy this summer.
UB President Kurt L. Schmoke sent the following message to UB students on May 8, 2020:
To All UB Students:
As you may be aware, federal funds have been directed to help support college students who are in need of financial assistance. Today we are announcing the availability of these funds through a grant program for qualified UB students.
The University of Baltimore's goal is to maximize these funds, as allocated through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), to provide direct emergency financial aid grants to eligible students. The act requires that support go to students for their expenses relative to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care expenses.
UB is mindful of each student's socioeconomic circumstances in the delivery of the UB CARES Grant program. The Office of Financial Aid will send a communication and the application link to potentially eligible students beginning today. You can find detailed information for the UB CARES Grant on the UB CARES Grant webpage.
In addition, UB has established the UB Student Emergency Assistance Fund. This resource is made available through the generosity of the University System of Maryland Foundation and the UB Foundation, and consists of gifts made from the UB community, including alumni and supporters. Detailed information for the UB Student Emergency Assistance Fund is available on the Office of Student Support webpage.
We hope that these assistance plans are helpful during our challenging times. Please continue to practice social distancing and stay healthy as we work our way through the pandemic.
UB President Kurt L. Schmoke sent the following message to the UB community on April 20, 2020:
To the UB Community:
As younger students would note, "back in the last century" the rock band Fleetwood Mac offered us these words of advice:
Don't stop thinking about tomorrow
Don't stop, it'll soon be here
It'll be better than before
Yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone
Now is time for higher education institutions to heed this advice.
Although the coronavirus has challenged our institution and the entire country in so many ways, this pandemic presents the University of Baltimore with new circumstances that we cannot ignore. We know that this moment is a chance for all of us to pass along a message about the excellence of UB and our ability to meet our community's needs during turbulent times. As people rethink their approach to obtaining a college degree and to improving their communities, this is the time to highlight UB's strengths and the invaluable ways that our campus uniquely serves its students and society. Among those strengths are:
- UB's outstanding faculty are experienced in online education. For example, UB led the nation in establishing an accredited online MBA in 1999. Many of our top programs are available online, and a number of others offer a hybrid experience and web-assisted elements.
- UB is acknowledged as a leading public institution, both in Maryland and nationally, for social mobility. This means that earning a UB degree has a direct and positive impact on a student's economic prospects and an assurance of gainful employment.
- UB's commitment to civic engagement is second to none, as seen in our impressive programs in the arts and sciences, public affairs, law, and business, such as the B.A. in Community Studies in Civic Engagement in the College of Public Affairs and the Litigation and Advocacy concentration in the School of Law.
- UB concentrates on educating serious-minded adult learners with a particular focus on transfer students and community college graduates. This has been our focus for nearly 100 years.
Clearly, there is much more to our story. The point I wish to emphasize is that UB is ideally positioned to serve the needs of citizens facing the social and economic obstacle of these times. While we recognize that we have our own issues, the University is working hard to address these impediments by focusing on enrollments, managing our budget matters, and expanding fundraising efforts with alumni, friends and supporters. We've come a long way already, even as the pandemic presents us with many more things to plan for and put into effect at a moment's notice.
My ask of you today is that we all, as our own extraordinary community, commit to letting the world know that UB is "thinking about tomorrow." I've seen it, and I can assure you that when we work together, things will be "better than before"—and UB will lead the way in delivering an impactful, meaningful education for years to come.
UB President Kurt L. Schmoke sent the following message to UB students on April 7, 2020:
To the UB student community,
Recently, our lives changed in many ways, and I send my greetings and best wishes to you during these dynamic and challenging times.
At UB and nationally, one of the changes has been the move to a fully online educational environment. This change was made to protect the health of you, our faculty, and our staff in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. I know UB faculty and staff remain committed to delivering the outstanding educational experience that has served our students and alumni well.
I am pleased to share that we have reviewed the mandatory student fees you were charged for the spring 2020 semester, considering their applicability in the fully online environment implemented on March 23. The Office of the University Bursar will credit a portion of these fees to your UB student account this month. Pro-rated refunds for students with prepaid parking plans will also be issued this month through a separate process coordinated by the Auxiliary Enterprises department.
UB President Kurt L. Schmoke sent the following message to UB faculty and staff on March 30, 2020:
Dear Faculty and Staff:
Thank you for your outstanding efforts to respond to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 virus pandemic. Shifting to remote teaching and teleworking mid-semester was indeed disruptive, but you are doing a fine job to further UB's teaching and scholarship agenda in this new environment. The pandemic situation has definitely shown UB’s resilience and ability to adapt well to change.
Prior to the pandemic, I had asked the Strategic Planning and Budgeting Committee to evaluate models to realign UB's academic structure to a three-college model (Feb. 5, 2020 email). This action is necessary for the University to thrive and endure the transformation that is happening in higher education nationally. Our plans for academic restructuring and program realignment must occur, and I thank the SPBC and the faculty workgroup for their excellent work. I want to make clear that UB's restructuring activities will take time and ultimately its implementation will extend over many months and throughout the academic year.
For now, while we settle in to online teaching and teleworking, our priority is to provide a collective focus and unified action to complete the spring and summer terms successfully. Let’s continue to work together to solve problems, innovate and keep our students engaged and informed. What we discover during this period of enormous change may be useful to us going forward. We will return to the restructuring effort in the coming months.
Many thanks, and stay well.
UB President Kurt L. Schmoke sent the following message to the UB community on March 23, 2020:
To the UB Community:
We have just learned that a professor in the School of Law has been confirmed as having contracted the COVID-19 virus. This individual is currently receiving treatment. The professor was last on campus on March 11. We are working to ensure that anyone on campus who was in contact with this person can take appropriate steps to self-isolate for a two-week period and stay alert for possible symptoms.
It is vital that every member of the UB community stay vigilant about the spread of this disease. We urge you to be watchful of symptoms and avoid contact with others.
If you may have been exposed, self-observation is an important first step. Be alert for symptoms. If you feel feverish or develop a cough or difficulty breathing during the self-observation period, you should take your temperature, self-isolate, limit contact with others, and seek advice by telephone from a healthcare provider or the local health department to determine whether medical evaluation is needed.
As much as possible, stay away from other people in your home. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
The University of Baltimore is working proactively to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Every member of our community plays an essential role in this effort. For more information, visit ubalt.edu/coronavirus.
UB President Kurt L. Schmoke sent the following message to the UB community on March 20, 2020:
To the UB Community:
In this time of rapid and immense change, I want to update you on the latest developments as we modify operations at the University of Baltimore to follow social distancing protocols and offer our students a quality education in an online environment. The presence of the COVID-19 virus has complicated our lives in many ways, and our response is under way. I am incredibly proud to be part of a community that works together with a unity of purpose to get through this highly unusual time in our lives. Beginning next week, we will move forward with online learning. Several aspects of our plans will take time to settle, so not every question can be answered today. But rest assured that every item will be resolved, and your continued support is appreciated.
As I previously shared, UB has taken action to protect the members of our community, and we will continue to follow the Governor’s Executive Orders and University System of Maryland’s directives and guidance concerning the COVID-19 virus. These directives were upgraded in the past 24 hours. Therefore, the University is putting in place additional proactive measures that adhere to strict social distancing protocols through the spring semester. The following information aligns with these protocols, and is relevant to all members of the community – please read carefully:
Spring Semester: At this time, adhering to the USM Board of Regent’s decision, we will extend the University of Baltimore’s remote-educational environment for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester. Remote education begins on Monday, March 23 and continues through the end of classes and exams in mid-May. Many of you are prepared already to use our learning management systems (Sakai and TWEN for Law) and Zoom, our videoconferencing platform. These are our primary tools for continuing all of UB’s classes online. UB’s team of professionals are available to support your ability using these online tools: Office of Technology Services, RLB Library, and CELTT for faculty. If you need technology to supportyour online learning experience, including a loaner laptop, webcam or Internet access, University resources may be available. Please visit here for more information. As we extend the virtual instruction through the semester, the University will provide regular updates, as needed. If you have an issue related to your participation in the remote environment, let us know so that we can make your UB online experience a positive one.
Events: All campus events, including sponsored on-campus and off-campus events, are cancelled through June 1, 2020 and no new events will be scheduled until further notice.
Commencement: With the cancellation of all events, the University’s May 2020 traditional Commencement ceremony is also postponed. The rescheduled date for commencement will be determined and announced as soon as possible. It is our full intention to celebrate the accomplishments of the Class of 2020 as only UB students can, when it is safe for all of us to gather together again. Although there will be a delay in the Commencement ceremony, there will not be any delays in degrees being conferred. Students who complete their degree requirements and who have been cleared for graduation will have their degrees conferred at the normal time and will be considered UB graduates (May 2020 for May graduates).
Teleworking: Employees should continue to telework until further notice. We recognize that you may have questions about access to your offices. Decisions about long-term management of on-campus access by employees will be announced in the coming days.
Building Access: While the University will continue to be operational, the campus buildings will only be accessible to the list of employees that have been designated as “Essential for Pandemic Circumstances – On Campus.” Students and employees are not to come to campus for class, study or to visit any office until further notice.
Support for Our Community: We are providing support for students and other members of the UB community who require assistance, especially regarding their educational needs. Information about student assistance is available here, and information for employee assistance is here. Now more than ever, it is critically important that you continue to take the necessary safeguards to protect your health. To our students, as you continue your studies and further your education goals, know that UB faculty and staff are here to assist you. We ask that you check our website, our social media, and your ubalt email for important updates and resources.
The changes we are going through, all across the country and around the world, are disruptive to our lives. But we are a strong, courageous and compassionate UB community. Your health, and the health of families and friends – these things are paramount. Thank you for doing your part to keep UB, our state and our nation moving forward, together, during this historic public-health emergency.
UB President Kurt L. Schmoke sent the following message to the UB community on March 13, 2020:
To the UB Community:
Governor Hogan and University System of Maryland Chancellor Jay A. Perman have announced significant steps for our state and universities, respectively, to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 virus and limit exposure to our community members and our facilities. The University of Baltimore adopts these measures (click here: guidance). Therefore, in addition to the steps that we have already taken to move to remote education for our students beginning March 23, 2020, effective immediately the University has cancelled or postponed all campus events from March 14 through April 5, 2020 and will move all non-essential employees to teleworking status, including student employees.
The week of March 16-20, the campus will be open only to employees for the purposes of completing necessary tasks to transition to a telework environment, until further notice. UB buildings will be closed on March 23, limiting campus access to personnel identified as Essential for Pandemic Circumstances – On Campus. Employees with this designation will be notified of this designation by Monday, March 16.
The details and other vital information on all changes to the University’s operations are provided at this UB webpage (click here). UB employees are strongly urged to visit this Office of Human Resources webpage for a teleworking explanation.
As UB manages this transition from its normal operations to functioning remotely, we appreciate your patience and understanding of all the nuances involved in making these temporary changes. The University’s top priority is to keep our services fully operational and to maintain a healthy and safe environment – and that takes the efforts of every member of our workforce. In doing so, we will continue to follow the guidance of the state, University System of Maryland (USM), and other public health protocols for dealing with COVID-19. We are in close contact with these officials as we create contingency plans for the continuity of operations. The situation is rapidly evolving, so we advise you to stay informed, read all communications, and visit the University’s webpage frequently for updates and resources.
Thank you for your cooperation and efforts during this time of unease as we manage this public health emergency. We will continue to keep you informed as the situation unfolds.
UB President Kurt L. Schmoke sent the following message to all UB employees on March 12, 2020:
To All UB Employees:
University System of Maryland Chancellor Jay A. Perman, following Gov. Hogan’s announcement this afternoon, has issued guidance (please click the link) to all USM institutions regarding measures to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus. UB’s plans for implementing these efforts will be sent to you on Friday.
To learn more about UB’s COVID-19 mitigation efforts, click here.
UB President Kurt L. Schmoke sent the following message to the UB community on March 11, 2020:
On March 10, the University was made aware of a new member of the UB community who just arrived from overseas and was on campus. The University informed local and state authorities who confirmed that the University should continue to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention travel advisory related to COVID-19 protocols. This individual was in contact with a student, four staff and one faculty member while on campus having visited two offices. All of these individuals have been advised by the University to self-quarantine for 14 days, out of an abundance of caution. The offices were closed temporarily and have since been thoroughly cleaned and reopened. To our current knowledge, no member of the UB community has reported a confirmed case of COVID-19.
Please note the University’s Personal Travel Guidance: All University of Baltimore employees and students are urged not to travel to any country with a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention travel advisory related to COVID-19. “Any employee or student who is returning to the U.S. from one of these countries must refrain from coming to campus—and be symptom-free—for 14 days before returning to campus. Similarly, community members who have had contact with someone who has traveled recently to these countries will also be asked to delay their return to campus.”
We will continue to keep you informed.
President Schmoke sent the following message to the UB community on March 10, 2020:
Today, in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, University System of Maryland Chancellor Jay A. Perman and the USM presidents have agreed to prepare for students to remain off campus following spring break. Each institution will establish its own plans to respond to the USM’s guidance. UB will plan to suspend all in-person classes and move to online instruction. The situation is moving quickly, and our decisions are aligned with the state’s and the USM’s guidance. I urge you to stay informed via the University’s webpage – this is our main source for up-to-date campus information. The University’s plans may adjust as the situation evolves. Our plans are based upon the best current thinking from our state and national public-health professionals on managing this public health crisis.
Following my message of March 5, this email is to update you on the steps that UB will take in the coming days in response to COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus on our campus. It is important that you read this information:
- Continuity of Classes and Campus Operations
- University Events and Activities
- Travel Guidance: University-Sponsored
- Travel Guidance: Personal
- Reminders on Prevention of Viral Illness
We are making adjustments to operations as it relates to academic and campus activities. Since my last email, there are still no known cases of COVID-19 among UB community members. If a confirmed case of COVID-19 virus has impacted you directly, please report to the University immediately (UB-EMT@ubalt.edu or 410.837.4444).
Continuity of Classes and Campus Operations: The University will remain open for now. However, in an abundance of caution, the University will plan to move all classes to remote (online) class sessions. All in-person (on-campus) instruction will move to a virtual environment as early as March 23 and continue for at least a two-week period. Details can be found here. UB will work to ensure minimal disruption to student learning and continue operations.
University Events and Activities: Pending further guidance from public-health authorities or the University System of Maryland, we are assessing on a case-by-case basis whether to hold currently scheduled large-scale university events or UB-sponsored external events. However, effective immediately, new requests will not be approved for large-scale events to be held on campus, until further notice.
University-Sponsored Travel: We continue to evaluate all university-sponsored trips and to coordinate with the University System of Maryland regarding travel decisions. We have cancelled all university-sponsored international student travel through June 30, 2020. While we are not issuing any specific prohibitions against domestic travel for employees, we are recommending against university-sponsored domestic travel for students. Students opting to participate in a previously approved trip will be required to sign a travel waiver; consult with your faculty adviser. Until further notice, no new student travel will be approved.
Personal Travel Guidance: All University of Baltimore employees and students are urged not to travel to any country with a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention travel advisory related to COVID-19. Any employee or student who is returning to the U.S. from one of these countries must refrain from coming to campus—and be symptom-free—for 14 days before returning to campus. Similarly, community members who have had contact with someone who has traveled recently to these countries will also be asked to delay their return to campus.
If you are returning from a country with a CDC advisory or have been in contact with someone who has traveled recently to these countries, you must contact the Office of Human Resources (employees) or Office to Student Support (students). If you are planning to go to a destination that is not on the CDC travel alert list, you should still consider the potential for:
- Isolation or quarantine while you are away
- Flight cancellations and public transportation disruptions
- Screening, isolation, and/or quarantine upon return to the U.S.
- Denial of reentry to the U.S.
UB advises against domestic travel, except travel related to your regular commute. Employees and students should continue to monitor and follow the guidance of public health authorities related to your destination area.
Teleworking: The University is considering teleworking protocols for employees to work remotely, if need be. A separate message will be sent to all employees.
Preventing the Spread: Please continue to follow the guidelines provided for staying healthy, including washing your hands frequently and social distancing when possible. Visit UB’s webpage for more information on public-health guidelines for care and precautions.
I thank the UB community for your understanding and patience as we work through the details of handling this major public-health emergency. It is natural for individuals to have their own views on how our institution should respond during this time of uncertainty. At UB, we value your opinions and needs. In that spirit, let’s work together to implement these measures to keep our campus healthy and as safe as possible.
President Schmoke sent the following message to the UB community on March 5, 2020:
The University of Baltimore is taking action in response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) alert. We have activated the UB Emergency Management Team to prepare our campus for contingencies involving this disease. As we approach Spring break, I ask that campus community members follow public-health guidelines for care and precautions, such as: remaining at home if you develop flu-like systems; washing your hands often, and reporting to the University immediately (UB-EMT@ubalt.edu or 410.837.4444) if a confirmed case of COVID-19 virus has impacted you directly.
The situation is changing daily. The University's response to, and planning for this international public health crisis is consistent with UB's Emergency Operations Plan (EOP), the organizational structure for handling a variety of crises or emergencies. The UB Emergency Management Team and a special coronavirus subcommittee are meeting and communicating frequently. The team is actively finalizing contingency plans, policies, and protocols for action, as well as preparing for various scenarios that we may encounter. These actions include planning for any potential disruption of classes, preparing active measures for disease prevention and spread, and confirming the employees who will respond first when situations arise. The University has implemented UB-related travel restrictions; a number of states have declared an emergency, which may also impact your travel. We are participating in regional information sessions, and I am convening a meeting of key administrators to ensure that our operations are effectively coordinated across the University.
Be assured that the University is preparing for the possibility that COVID-19 will be a potential public-health emergency in our area. Your adherence to public health guidelines is an important part of our efforts. We are monitoring the situation closely and will keep you informed.
President Schmoke sent the following message to the UB community on Feb. 27, 2020:
The University of Baltimore is closely monitoring developments in the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus, as well as reports on this year's flu virus. As a precaution, here is a web page with helpful hints for you to stay healthy during these indoor months. Click on the links on this page for more information and updates.
Be a practitioner of good health habits, and help keep UB a safe and welcoming place.