The following text is from an email sent on behalf of the BFA Student Affairs Committee regarding the promotion of mental health and wellness during the COVID-19 crisis. This message was reviewed and approved by both the BFA Executive Committee and the CU Joint Information Center, and was sent to BFA members on 4/28/2020.
Beyond the usual end-of-the-semester stresses, these trying times and remote learning have created unique challenges to the mental wellness of students (and faculty)—challenges that may not be obvious even to faculty who are experienced with online learning and online learners. We have been thrust, in the middle of the semester, into a teaching mode that can be deeply isolating. But there are numerous reasonable steps that faculty can take to mitigate the negative impact on mental wellness, and as we embark on finals week, the BFA Student Affairs Committee encourages CU faculty to be mindful of and to strive to promote the mental health wellness of their students.
- Consider adopting some of following:
- Personalize deadlines for major writing assignments, schedule a few alternative exam sessions from which students may choose, and/or eliminate late penalties so long as the work is completed by the end of finals week.
- Adopt take-home-style exam formats that would permit students to complete their exams at their convenience (these can still be timed using platforms like Canvas).
- Be more flexible in offering incompletes, should your students need the extra time to complete the remaining coursework. Incompletes are not ideal (for both student and faculty alike), but they may be necessary to promote the success and ensure the retention of our students.
- Explain to your students that pass/fail options are available.
- Understand that currently many students are having to pack up belongings while trying to responsibly break their Boulder leases.
- Check-in with your students, individually if possible, and assure them that they are not alone and are still part of the CU community. If you detect signs of distress, please, share the wellness information with your students that is listed at the bottom of this page.
- Recognize the special circumstances of international students—as many governments are in the process of bringing their nationals home amid the global COVID-19 outbreak—and plan your final assignments accordingly.
- Students have little choice in which flight they take, which means they may be traveling during a deadline or exam.
- Be mindful of when you schedule exams and meetings, as students will be in time zones that differ 8-16 hours from ours.
- Keep in mind that some students will be quarantined for 14 days and tested on either side of the quarantine.
- Some students may request documentation from the university before traveling. Should you field any of these requests, please direct them to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Consider forwarding your students (and colleagues) information on the mental health wellness services provided at CU:
- Health and Wellness Services, whose different departments offer an array of services
- 24/7 mental health support through Counseling and Psychiatric Services and the Office of Victim Assistance. Students can reach out any time or day, including weekends. Students can be connected to a counselor the same day for telehealth session during the week. If they are out of state or out of the country, we can also assist with support and referrals.
- Medical Services: 303-492-5101 (24/7 nurse line)
- Wardenburg Pharmacy: 303-492-8553
- Disability Services: 303-492-8671
- For questions related to immigration or supporting international students, consider the following:
- International Student and Scholar Services: 303-492-8057—the best point of contact is Paige Progar, Assistant Director (Paige.Progar@colorado.edu and 303-492-2978)
- International Student Academic Success—the best point of contact is Roberto Arruda, Director (Roberto.Arruda@colorado.edu and 303-735-1987)
- Finally, the BFA is also concerned with the wellness of our faculty and staff during these stressful times, and encourages faculty to exercise self-care to ensure that you can help others. Some of the mental health wellness resources available for faculty and staff include
- Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP): 303-492-3020
- REAL Help Hotline (for 24/7 immediate crisis counseling and finding local resources): 833-533-2428
- SilverCloud Mental Health Online Tool (to support anxiety, stress, and depression)
Thank you for your dedication and for the support you give to our CU community.
BFA Student Affairs Committee"