Dear CU Boulder Faculty and Staff,
I am writing with an update on our next steps in CU Boulder’s COVID-19 response as we all adapt to a new normal during this pandemic. From professional and financial impacts to our personal lives, to concerns about friends and family members impacted by the virus, we are all processing these changes on a daily basis.
While we continue to keep our physical distance this spring, tightening our social and emotional connections and maintaining our own self-care are more important than ever.
In less than one month, our university made the transition from a largely residential campus experience with large-scale research operations and dozens of weekly events to a remote learning and working model that—despite its challenges—is enabling our academic mission to proceed.
On behalf of our leadership team, I want to thank all of you for your extraordinary efforts to sustain our operations both in support of the critical services of our physical campus and in enabling us to operate remotely. Because of you, we continue to teach, research, create and support the needs of our students and stakeholders near and far. Your collective courage, resilience, optimism and flexibility are inspiring, and I am certain we will continue to support each other as we address the next phase of decisions for our campus.
At the April Board of Regents meeting last week, an update was shared regarding potential impacts to our operations and finances due to COVID-19 and a pause on our CU system-wide budget and compensation plans. I want to acknowledge the anxiety and stress that the uncertainties of our current situation are causing for our campus. As more input is gathered from the state and federal government to help inform our next steps, we will share new information as it becomes available.
Our campus leadership team is working on a number of ongoing academic and operational decisions, including:
- The status of our summer programming through July, including course delivery, events and university-sponsored travel
- A temporary pause on most new hiring, with exceptions for mission-critical faculty and staff needs given the financial impacts of the COVID-19 virus
- Milestones, contingencies and decision points for fall semester based on current public health modeling, enrollment projections and other logistical considerations
- Potential budget balancing measures based on scenarios we may face in the fall as new information emerges and we gain clarity regarding our financial situation and operating model
These scenarios involve a number of potentially difficult decisions our team will need to make in the coming weeks. This week, based on the need for us to gather more information and better understand the road ahead, I have asked for input via our deans and university executive leadership team regarding specific issues we need to address to help inform our collaborative decision-making process moving forward.
Additionally, Provost Russ Moore, COO Pat O’Rourke and I will be engaging our campus with the following next steps:
- Continuing to provide ongoing announcements regarding timely academic and operational decisions as they are made
- Building a roadmap of decision points in April and beyond, based on the input we gather and our modeling of fall semester scenarios
- Providing a regular Friday update to you on new information we have received, the decisions we are making and the next steps in our process, which will come directly to your inboxes and be shared via CU Boulder Today and our coronavirus webpage.
Through it all, we remain committed to the health and safety of every member of our community and to the mission and values of our university. We will maintain our academic quality and integrity. We will continue to live our values and pursue our strategic priorities in service to the public good. And we will emerge from this challenge as a better CU Boulder for having navigated this crisis as Buffs together.
Until then, please continue to reach out, to support each other and to be well.