Latest updates

July 23, 2020

To the University of Miami Community:

The University continues to prepare for the start of fall classes, working closely with local, state, and federal officials to adapt and respond to the evolving circumstances of COVID-19. The following is the latest in our series of weekly updates provided to keep you informed about the University’s preparations for the fall. You may review last week’s update here.

Earlier this week, President Frenk shared a video message outlining the “why” and “how” of our adaptive and responsive strategy, which can be viewed here.

Health and well-being

Behaviors:

  • Face coverings are mandatory at all times while in public spaces on our campuses, whether indoors or outdoors. Failure to follow this requirement will result in disciplinary action for students, faculty, and staff. This is a matter of public health in which the entire community must act in concert to help one another. The CDC does not recommend use of face shields for normal, everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth face coverings.
  • All students, faculty, and staff will be required to complete the “We Are One U: COVID-19 Safety Principles” online module, which will be available the last week of July. The module must be completed by Aug. 10.
  • Students, faculty, and staff on all campuses will be required to receive the seasonal flu vaccine, as already required for clinical employees on our Medical Campus. We will grant exemptions for legitimate health and religious reasons. Additional information will be shared in September.

Before returning to campus:

  • All students should limit their activities and self-quarantine prior to their arrival to campus.
  • An online health screening is required for all students, faculty, and staff before they return to campus.
  • Once cleared, all students, faculty, and staff will receive a wellness kit when they return to campus.
  • All residential students as well as students who live in fraternity houses or in on-campus religious houses will be required to complete a COVID-19 test prior to move-in day. Resident students have received information regarding testing requirements and instructions will be sent directly to affected students. Answers to frequently asked questions can be found at www.miami.edu/housing.
  • Students who test negative and successfully complete the attestation will be cleared to return to campus, and will also be expected to continue to follow CDC guidelines for physical distancing, use of face coverings, hand washing, and limiting contact with others.
  • Students who test positive will be asked to self-isolate at home in accordance with CDC guidelinesand will need to contact Student Health Service to obtain clearance prior to returning to campus.
  • Students living off campus are encouraged to get a COVID-19 test in their community of residence prior to the start of the semester. Those with a positive test result should seek care in their community of residence and complete the Student Health Service COVID-19 Self Report Form.
  • Faculty, staff, and students returning to campus will be required to use a daily symptom checker and respond appropriately to the guidance it provides. It takes no more than two minutes and provides an easy way to keep the U healthy. More information will be shared soon.

Asymptomatic:

  • Starting next month, we will initiate voluntary testing of randomly selected University faculty, staff, and students to monitor the prevalence of infection. This will help us to identify and respond quickly and decisively to any observed uptick in disease in certain areas of campus or groups. If you are selected for testing, as a public health matter, you are strongly encouraged to participate.

Symptomatic:

  • Faculty and staff who are experiencing COVID-19-related symptoms or believe they have been exposed to the virus, are not to come to campus, and should call the employee hotline at 305-243-8378. The employee’s exposure risk will be evaluated, and a test will be scheduled if indicated (based on CDC guidelines). If an employee is directed to a campus location to receive the COVID-19 test, they are to remain quarantined until the results of the test are known. They are not to return to work until informed to do so by the employee health office and their manager.
  • Any students with symptoms of COVID-19, or those who are a close contact to a known positive person, will have access to timely testing at an on-campus testing facility by calling 305-243-8378 and selecting option #3. For more information, please visit the Student Health Service website.

Positive tests and isolation:

  • Any faculty, staff, or student who tests positive will be required to self-isolate for up to 14 days, and all positive persons will be asked to identify their close contacts, or those individuals with whom they have spent more than 15 minutes of time within less than 6 feet of space in the 48-72 hours prior to the onset of symptoms. We will be providing testing to close contacts as symptoms develop and/or based on personal risk. More information about this process will be shared soon.
  • Resident students who test positive for COVID-19 will be placed in an isolation room, either on or off campus. Residents will receive support by a home health agency and designated University case manager. The student’s room and surrounding areas will be sanitized.
  • Students who live off campus and who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to self-isolate at their place of residence before returning to campus.     

Facilities:

  • Our facilities and operations teams are working to maintain a healthy environment for our University community. View the latest facilities actions update.
  • Protocols to assess the prevalence of COVID-19 in the wastewater for all three campuses have been developed and will be implemented shortly. Similar to random testing, this information will help us map and respond to any potential community spread.
  • Access to common areas on the Coral Gables and Marine campuses will vary depending on the space. Some spaces will be closed, others, if conditions allow, will be rearranged to decrease density on campus.

 

Teaching and learning

  • Fall 2020 classes will begin on Monday, Aug. 17, and on-campus instruction will conclude on Friday, Nov. 20. Final exams, which will be conducted exclusively online, will take place from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4.
  • Fall courses will be provided in three modalities: In-person and on-campus; hybrid or blended; virtual/remote in synchronous (live) and/or asynchronous (recorded) formats.
  • The tuition rates will remain the same regardless of course modality; however, certain fees will not be charged to students who are entirely virtual/remote for the fall semester.
  • The final Fall 2020 class schedule will be posted online the week of July 27.
  • The Course Grid and Reduce Campus Density Committee has worked to reduce the density of students within every teaching space. The committee has focused on two critical areas—room inventory and course grid offerings—to offer the greatest opportunity for the face-to-face (F2F) and hybrid instruction.
  • Spaces were converted to instructional spaces (Watsco Center; Shalala Student Center ballroom; Fieldhouse; Hurricane 100 room; Newman Alumni Center multipurpose room; Lakeside Village expo hall, auditorium, pavilion, and multipurpose room; Kislak Center; Toppel Career Center loft; Founder’s Hall; Casa Bacardi), and three large air-conditioned tents will be installed on the Coral Gables Campus as additional classroom space. As new spaces were identified, courses were converted from remote to face to face or hybrid modalities. At this time, the committee has assigned rooms to 98 percent of all courses where schools requested a larger space.

 

Travel

  • All University-related international travel is prohibited. University-related domestic travel must receive prior approval by a supervising dean or vice president. See current University travel guidance. Anyone who has traveled internationally must quarantine for 14 days prior to returning to campus.

Virtual/Remote Learning

  • The deadline for students to request virtual/remote learning has been extended to July 27. Use the online form. Visit miami.edu/information-for/students/ for additional information about how this status impacts on-campus housing and fees.

 

International students

  • The U.S. government rescinded the July 6 policy that limited international students’ participation to only on-campus academic programs. The government will return to the policies established in the March 2020 guidance. Therefore, students in F-1 status will be allowed to engage in full-time online study during the Fall 2020 semester regardless of whether they are currently in or outside the U.S. In either case, their SEVIS record will remain active as long as they are taking a full-time load of online classes during the Fall 2020 semester.
  • The Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) can provide assistance with questions regarding quarantine, travel restrictions, visas, and other issues.

 

Residential life

  • Move-in for new students will take place Aug. 9–11 by appointment only. Move-in for continuing students will take place Aug. 13–16 by appointment only. Family members accompanying students in this process will be limited to a maximum of two.
  • No outside visitors will be permitted in the residence halls, there will be restrictions on off-campus activities, and students will have a nightly curfew. More details will be provided soon.

 

Dining

  • Residential dining and retail locations are expected to resume regular schedules in a reimagined and redesigned format. Each facility will have limited seating capacities, distancing requirements, enhanced cleaning protocols, signage to help guide students within the spaces, and expanded outdoor seating.
  • Faculty and staff meal plans will continue ​to be honor​ed ​at residential dining locations.
  • A robust dine-in and take-out dining program providing nutritious and healthy options will be available for both residential and commuter meal plans. All-you-can-eat will continue, however there will be no self-serve stations.
  • Visit the UM Dining website for the latest updates or email diningservices@miami.edu with specific questions.

 

Faculty and staff

  • Work-from-home arrangements remain in place for staff. Please log in to Workday and continue to complete the COVID-19 Telecommute Arrangement for each week that you work from home. For assistance, please review the COVID-19 Telecommute Arrangement in Workday Tip Sheet.
  • Only with explicit approval from your school/college dean and/or administrative vice president and manager should a staff member return to campus.
  • The COVID-19 Return to Onsite Work Policy has been developed to establish expectations for effective and appropriate workplace standards related to COVID-19.
  • Staff at UHealth and the Miller School of Medicine should continue to follow guidance shared by Medical Campus leadership and review the latest Medical Campus advisories and information here.
  • Programs eligible for employee tuition remission benefits prior to COVID-19 will continue to be covered under the tuition remission policy regardless of the modality, in person or online, and are subject to normal enrollment limits and existing admission processes. Programs ineligible for tuition remission prior to COVID-19 continue to be ineligible for tuition remission. For additional information, please visit the tuition benefits webpage or call 305-284-3004.
  • Starting this week, faculty will be able to schedule a walk-through to become familiar with new technology in the classroom. Details on how to make an appointment will be provided by the Office of Classroom Management.

 

Research

  • Faculty should continue to follow the Research Standard Operating Procedure, which is based on our robust, evidence-based strategy to reduce disease transmissibility, devised by UHealth clinical leadership and public health experts, and relies on five Ts—testing, tracing, tele-vigilance, tracking, and teamwork—to minimize new exposure and spread of infection.

Our careful and thoughtful approach to reopening campus is rooted in the Four Pillars to help slow the spread:

  • Testing, tracing, tele-vigilance, tracking, and teamwork
  • Cleaning and disinfecting
  • Protecting personal space
  • Vaccinating

We are committed to communicating with you regularly to provide the latest information you will need to succeed and stay healthy.

For more information about our plan for a safe return to campus, please visit the coronavirus response webpage, which is updated regularly and includes frequently asked questions.

Together, we will work toward a safe, engaging, and productive academic year. We are One U.