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COVID-19 Updates

View the latest information regarding the University’s response to the COVID-19 here.

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All areas of university operations are continually being assessed, including student support and resources.

The University Emergency Operations Policy Group is meeting every morning, at a minimum, and more frequently if needed. Our priority is to continually assess all areas of university operations and to make responsive and timely decisions

Provost Dr. Mike Perry and Student Life Vice President Dr. Randy Worden are staying in regular contact with our students to offer support and resources. One example is preparing for the critical advising and registration period for next fall that will open on April 1. Current processes are being adapted so advisors, and in particular, first-year advisors can work with students remotely through Zoom and other technologies. Another example is ramping up services for all students to have access to online tutoring and supplemental instruction services through our Center for Learning Strategies and the Writing Center.  Beyond learning, staying actively engaged with our students is also very important. While gatherings and activities may be halted, our Student Life staff are finding innovative ways through social media to interact with students and reinforce that we care deeply about our RU community and will get through this together.  

Please continue to refer to this page for updates. Stay safe, stay well.

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COVID-19 Updates: March 20, 2020
Stay At-home Order issued by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker

Rockford University Students, Faculty and Staff:
Governor Pritzker announced today, March 20, 2020, that a Stay At-Home order for the State of Illinois will go into effect beginning at 5 p.m. tomorrow through April 7.

As such:
Students living on campus
Students who are currently living on campus are expected to adhere to the Stay At-Home order and remain on campus except for essential purposes as defined by the State of Illinois. You will still be able to go outside, pick up groceries, gas, food or medicine, but you are expected to stay on campus and leave only for those essential needs.
Visit https://www2.illinois.gov/Pages/news-item.aspx?ReleaseID=21288 for more details on what the Stay At-home order includes.

For students who are not living on campus and would like to retrieve items from their rooms, residence halls will be open from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 21.
Residence halls will close to at 5 p.m. and be accessible only to students who have registered to stay.
Online instruction will begin on Monday, March 23 as planned and is scheduled to continue at least through April 10.

Faculty and staff
Most employees are expected to work from home during this period. Some employees will need to come to campus during the Stay At-Home period (safety and security, residence life, some student life staff, and select others as designated by the Executive Council.) If you are in this category, you will hear from your supervisor.  All employees will be paid through April 7 regardless of your work schedule. More specific details will be communicated next week.

Faculty and staff may retrieve materials from their offices before 5 p.m. tomorrow, March 21. Buildings will remain unlocked from 8 – 5 p.m. for this purpose.
Academic learning spaces will be locked and not available for use by faculty, staff, nor students during the Stay At-Home order.


Dear Faculty & Staff,

As we transition to on-line learning on Monday, currently scheduled to last through April 10, we are also altering the way offices are covered.  Each supervisor, in partnership with his or her vice president, is developing work from home and rotating staff schedules for physical presence to continue student support and business continuity functions.

Should a shelter-in-place order be issued for our area, we will transition as many staff as possible to working remotely. We will ask that only those staff whose physical presence is required in order to fulfill their job duties (essential staff) to report to campus.  Essential staff include police and security, residence life, some student life staff, and select others as determined by the Executive Council.  If you are not sure whether or not you need to report to campus in the event of a shelter-in-place order, please check with your supervisor.

A lot of information has been shared over the course of the past week to communicate important operational and procedure changes. The situation continues to be fluid, and more changes will inevitably come. I urge you to do your best to stay informed. Information is shared via portal announcements as well as posted on the University’s COVID-19 Updates page in the portal – my.rockford.edu. A button taking you to the COVID-19 page is located on the Marketing and Communications or Lang Health Center department pages. Information for the public differs slightly from our internal needs and is available on a separate rockford.edu COVID-19 page.

Thank you for all you are doing to support our students and the University during these unprecedented times. You have done an amazing job this past week to adapt to our new reality and your efforts and dedication are deeply appreciated.

Eric W. Fulcomer, President

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The University’s Emergency Operations Policy Group is meeting daily as well as convening additional meetings via Zoom or conference call when needed to stay on top of the latest developments surrounding COVID-19. As this virus deepens its hold on our nation, we must continue making changes to the way that we live and work in these unusual times.

We are prepared to move to online instruction beginning Monday, March 23. The March 18 campus update has specific information for students about moving to online courses. (https://www.rockford.edu/covid-19-updates/)

We also continue to stress the importance of preventative measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, particularly in being diligent with social distancing.

Social distancing measures everyone can take include:

  • Staying home as much as possible
  • If gatherings are necessary, limiting the number of people to 10
  • Calling to check on family, neighbors, and older adults instead of visiting
  • Checking with your health care provider about telehealth options

The following will be in effect during the period of online delivery from March 23 – April 10

Howard Colman Library
Our library resources have shifted from primarily print to a primarily digital format over the last several years, and now, during this challenging time, that shift will be a blessing as our teaching and learning also shifts to an online response. Information has been posted on the Library’s portal page and can be referenced here.

Events and Athletics
Difficult decisions have been made regarding the continuation of events and athletic competitions on virtually every campus. The NCAA and our NACC conference have mandated the cancelation of all spring athletic practices and events, ending all spring sports.
In accordance with the Winnebago County Health Department, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and strong guidance from the CDC to strictly limit the number of people at gatherings to less than 10 and to practice social distancing. All other events on campus, both internal and external, will be canceled through April 12. This date may be extended as needed. This includes all student clubs and organization events of more than 10 people, performances, Forum Series events and any other special events on campus.

Forum Series
This semester’s Forum requirement has been canceled. All full-time students currently enrolled in the Forum course (CLFS 050) will receive the grade of P (pass) regardless of how many Forum events they attended.
For those who failed previous semesters of Forum, the Forum Committee will not accept any additional make-up essays this semester, due to the fact that the library is closed, making Forum recordings unavailable. Make-up essays submitted after today will be read beginning in Fall 2020. If you’re a graduating senior who owes make-up essays, please watch your email for more information.
If you have any questions, please contact Forum administrator Dr. Kyle Stedman at kstedman@rockford.edu.

Admissions and SAS
In support of the University’s transition to online instruction and out of an abundance of caution for the well-being of our students, faculty, staff, and prospective students; Rockford University has transitioned the student support provided by Student Administrative Services, the Office of Global Affairs, and the Office of Admission to e-mail and phone support. Staff members will be available to assist you from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and will return e-mail and voice mail messages as soon as possible.
SAS remains open and is encouraging communications via phone and email. Students are asked to contact the office ahead of time to schedule drop off or pick up of paperwork.

Buildings Protocols and Access
Beginning on March 20, 2020 – Academic Buildings (Scarborough, Starr Science, Clark Arts, Howard Colman Library, Puri) will be locked.  Any faculty or staff member who plans to use one of the buildings must notify Security in advance of arriving to the building.  If one does not have a key, security will unlock the door.  Please bring your Rockford University ID card.
If faculty wish to have their students utilize learning spaces within these buildings, they must be supervised by a faculty or staff member, the number of students must be 5 or less, and social distancing guidelines must be followed. Before leaving, use cleaning materials provided by facilities, if available, to wipe down used areas. If none are available, email facilities to notify them of what space has been used.

Seaver Gymnasium is completely closed to everyone until April 13.     

Eric Fulcomer, Ph.D.
President

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Beginning Monday, March 23, Rockford University will transition all courses to online delivery. This will continue through Friday, April 10, and face to face instruction is currently set to resume Monday, April 13. As this remains an extremely fluid situation, the University will communicate in a timely fashion any necessitated changes to these dates.


During the extended Spring Break of this week, faculty have been working diligently to translate current course offerings into online formats. As part of this preparation, several training sessions have occurred throughout the week, wherein faculty and staff volunteers helped colleagues prepare. Moreover, departments met to address unique offerings, such as labs, studios, and activity courses, all of which require new creative and innovative approaches. Throughout the process, we have been committed to retaining continuity of instruction through the end of the spring 2020 semester.

Alongside the work done with our course offerings, The Center for Learning Strategies and the Library will also be available in an online format. Peer tutors, professional tutors, and supplemental instruction services will be delivered online. In addition, the Library will no longer be physically open and will move to operating remotely. Students will still have full access to our digital collection. Detailed information on both services is forthcoming.

Be assured that faculty understand our students did not anticipate participating in this level of online instruction, and that there may be varying levels of comfort with moving so quickly to this new method of instruction. Indeed, many of your faculty are in the same situation. Together, with patience, kindness, and teamwork, each class will find its way to continue and complete the good work that began during the first half of this spring semester.

Faculty will be notifying students via email as well Canvas on next steps. As such, it is now more important than ever that you regularly check your Rockford University email. Indeed, check your inbox, and if it is full, make sure that you clean out old emails and open up space in your inbox. Furthermore, check-in regularly on your Canvas course shells and establish a consistent line of communication with your advisors and professors. Now, more than ever, we need to remain in constant contact. 

I state the obvious when I mention that none of us asked for this, expected this, or in all honesty, are fully prepared for this. But together, we can make it through this, learn from this, and come out on the other side with an experience that will see us all grow in ways we had never anticipated.   

Sincerely,

Michael A. Perry, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs