In the news
Earlier this summer, we created the Pandemic Medical Advisory Team – comprising nine of the region’s top medical doctors and public health officials – to help inform our decisions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the primary tasks of this team is to develop a data-driven decision-making framework to shape decisions regarding campus operations in a way that prioritizes health and safety. I write you today to share this decision-making framework.
I want to share some information and updates with you now that we’ve reviewed some initial results from our testing efforts as our community returns to campus.We have posted initial results from our community COVID-19 saliva testing. The results show the total tests administered and positive results for both students and faculty/staff, along with positivity rates for each group.
We are creating the Task Force on Community-Responsive Public Safety. This new task force will be charged with reviewing KU Public Safety policies, practices and procedures; examining best practices and proposals for change; and making recommendations regarding potential improvements to ensure respectful, transparent and community-responsive public safety services.
An important part of a successful fall semester is helping to keep our KU and Lawrence community safe by minimizing exposures to the COVID-19 virus. One way to do this is to identify those among us who have the infection, even without symptoms, as we all return to campus. We will accomplish this by using a simple, non-invasive, saliva-based test for students, faculty and staff on re-entry to campus.
I am writing to let you know we have ruled out the possibility of hosting a Commencement ceremony during the fall semester. Instead, we will target spring 2021 to celebrate the 2020 graduates with a Commencement ceremony on Mount Oread.
Yesterday, Provost Bichelmeyer shared with you a new federal policy regarding fall enrollment for F-1 students in the Student and Visitor Exchange Program. I write today to assure you that the University of Kansas joins peer institutions nationwide in strongly condemning this new federal policy. Moreover, I want you to know we are coordinating with our peers in both the Association of American Universities and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities to encourage federal lawmakers to reconsider this truly mean-spirited and unworkable policy.
Today I write to share two new components of our reopening plan. First, we have published the first iteration of what we are calling the Protect KU plan, which will serve as our roadmap for a thoughtful, science-based return to campus. Additionally, we are creating two new planning teams – which will include faculty, staff and students – to help inform decision-making in the weeks ahead.
Today we are announcing our latest steps to address this unprecedented budget challenge. Our decisions continue to prioritize equity and reflect our commitment to protecting KU’s most vulnerable populations. As a result, we believe these are the appropriate next steps to ensure KU’s health, limit drastic impacts to employees, and allow KU to continue its mission well into the future.
Last month, we shared with you a document titled Guidance on Reopening Campus, which detailed our guiding principles for reopening campus in a measured, stepwise fashion. Today we write to share the newest components of our plans for the fall semester on the Lawrence and Edwards campuses.
For the rest of the summer I will host weekly Zoom updates during which I will share the latest news regarding our work to reopen campus for the fall semester. These weekly discussions will be pre-recorded and shared with campus each Wednesday via email and posted on our Chancellor’s Weekly COVID-19 Update page.
We, the Chancellor and Provost of the University of Kansas, are emerging, as many of you are, from a week of heart wrenching conversations about the toxic impact that racism has on all of our communities.
We join many across the country today as we recognize and reflect on many issues in our society that result in challenging and difficult times for our underserved and marginalized populations.
Diane Goddard, our chief financial officer and vice provost for finance, will be leaving KU after a 36-year career in various roles across the institution.
In recent weeks, Provost Bichelmeyer and I have communicated with you regularly, and we have appreciated your feedback. With your help, we continue to plan for various scenarios that position KU to resume on-campus operations in some capacity this fall. Today, I write to share additional updates regarding KU’s situation and the challenges we face.
We have created a new document titled "Reopening of KU campuses in the era of COVID-19." This document summarizes steps we’ve taken so far and explains guiding principles and next steps for reopening campus for the fall semester.
Today I write to share updates about KU’s situation and the financial challenges we face.
The University of Kansas will distribute $7,594,823 in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding directly to students who have significant need and are facing financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
I write today to invite you to join me and other KU leaders for our next virtual University Update on Thursday, April 16 at 4:30 p.m. This discussion will focus on healthcare in our region, including the work our KU Medical Center and The University of Kansas Hospital are doing as part of the regional response.
I am pleased to announce Dave Cook, vice chancellor of the Edwards campus and dean of the School of Professional Studies, will become our new vice chancellor for public affairs and economic development.
In the spirit of continuing to stay connected and informed, I invite you to join me, Provost Bichelmeyer and other university leaders for a virtual University Update on Thursday, April 2 at 4:30 p.m.