Campus closure and access updates
The university remains committed to ensuring the safety of the TWU community and will continue sharing timely updates regarding the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation. In light of recent developments, the university is modifying its operations with an aim to minimize the impact of the virus.
Access to TWU-Denton is now limited to those needed for essential operations in support of students still residing on campus.
Access to TWU's Houston and Dallas campuses is now restricted.
May Commencement updates
Follow up message about May Commencement (March 24, 2:55 p.m.)
This is a follow-up email to the message that was sent last week about COVID-19 and May commencement. First, my hearty congratulations to those of you who are nearing the completion of your degree! Many of you have had to overcome personal challenges and adversity and were very much looking forward to walking across the stage to celebrate the achievement of finishing your degree. Not having the May in-person ceremony is a disappointment. We all agree that there is something very special about walking across the stage and celebrating this accomplishment.
Some of you have written to me and others in university administration to request that we offer the option of an in-person ceremony at a later date. We have to wait to see how the situation with COVID-19 continues to unfold before we can share definitive plans for an in-person ceremony. However, we are looking at options for August ceremonies in addition to the planned December ceremonies. Please know that we very much want to celebrate this achievement with you in person.
Some of you have told me you would prefer an in-person ceremony rather than a virtual ceremony. To clarify, we are moving forward with plans for a virtual ceremony as an addition and not a replacement for an in-person ceremony. May graduates could participate in the virtual ceremony, and then walk across the stage when we can safely have an in-person ceremony – hopefully in August.
As we work through the logistics of alternative options, know that the faculty and staff are committed to your success and looking forward to honoring your achievements!
My warmest regards,
CAROLYN A. KAPINUS, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Professor of Sociology
Texas Woman's University
Update about May Commencement (March 18, 2020 at 12:15 p.m.)
Dear TWU community,
In light of the CDC recommendations regarding COVID-19, we made the difficult decision not to have May commencement as we originally planned. This is disappointing for all of us, especially for our graduates and their loved ones. We certainly want to celebrate our graduates and their accomplishments! Thus, we are considering having a virtual ceremony and/or an August Commencement for our spring and summer graduates. We hope to make that decision during the next few weeks.
You may be wondering about the graduation fee. The $40 graduation fee is not associated with the commencement ceremony. It is a fee that everyone pays, whether they attend commencement or not; and it is associated with the personnel and processing costs of conferring the degree, including the costs associated with the professional printing of the diplomas and shipping in special protective containers. Since the graduation fee is not related to the commencement ceremony, it is not refundable.
Regalia that was purchased at the book store can be refunded. If you ordered your cap and gown online, we are getting the link to use for refunds and that will be made available to you shortly. Unfortunately, if you ordered invitations, those cannot be refunded.
We realize many of you have questions that may not be answered in this email. TWU has created a Coronavirus website specifically focused on providing additional information to the university community: twu.edu/coronavirus. Be sure to check out the Frequently Asked Questions section regularly for updates.
The faculty and staff of TWU are committed to our students and their success. Faculty are working hard to move their courses online so that students can finish the semester, students can graduate, and we can keep everyone safe.
The TWU community is strong. We work together. We will make it through these challenges. We want to honor our graduates and we will find an alternative solution to celebrate their academic achievement!
CAROLYN A. KAPINUS, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Professor of Sociology
Texas Woman’s University
What TWU is Doing
- Courses have migrated online effective March 23 and will continue to be delivered in that format through the end of the spring semester.
- All clinical experiences including internships will be done online as much as possible. Students should check with their professors for guidance.
- All TWU buildings on all campuses are now limited to restrictive access for essential personnel only.
- All TWU athletic events, as well as other major events such as homecoming, have been canceled through the spring semester.
- May commencement ceremonies will not be held on campus. We are moving forward with plans for a virtual ceremony as an addition and not a replacement for an in-person ceremony, which will be held later this year.
- The change in commencement does not affect the awarding and posting of degrees; All students who have applied for Spring 2020 graduation and successfully complete degree requirements will have their degree posted to their academic record.
- Students and employees who have traveled to ANY international location within the past 14 days are requested to complete a self-report form.
- Employees and students who have traveled internationally since February 29, 2020, must self-isolate for 14 days after returning to the United States, and are required to report to TWU Risk Management (email@example.com).
- Decal parking has been suspended through April 30, meaning you do not need a decal to park in any non-reserved spaces on the Denton and Dallas campuses; Denton shuttle services are suspended.
For Current Students
As we move to all online delivery of courses, you may need to submit a request for academic accommodations.
TWU will complete the remainder of the semester via online courses. This decision will create new challenges for many of our students, and we are committed to helping you complete the semester within the context of this new normal. Staff members from across the university are working to support the university’s priorities. The Dining Hall will offer to-go service for student residents only.
Please practice social distancing at all times, keeping six feet between you and others.
Students concerned about medical symptoms or underlying health conditions should seek medical advice from their healthcare provider or Student Health Services at 940-898-3826.
TWU's Campus Bookstore has resources available to assist you with online learning.
Housing and Dining
Student Life has provided information for residential students regarding prorated credits for housing and dining.
Lone Star Conference Athletic Events
The Lone Star Conference has canceled all athletic events until the end of the semester.
For Prospective Students
The university is suspending all campus tours starting March 17 until further notice. This includes individual tours, group tours, Pioneer Preview Day and the Grad Program Showcase. Virtual tours will be available soon. To speak to an admissions counselor: firstname.lastname@example.org | 940-898-3188
For International Students
You will remain in compliance with F-1 regulations while finishing the semester online. The Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP) has provided a mechanism for TWU to notify them of the course delivery changes TWU has made in an effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Contact email@example.com if you have additional questions.
Employees are required to telecommute unless deemed as essential personnel. If you become ill during the quarantine period, you are eligible to use sick leave and rest rather than telecommuting. Prior to resuming any TWU related activity, employees must contact TWU Risk Management (firstname.lastname@example.org) —see form.
- Please refer to URP:V.14.d Staff Attendance Vacation and Sick Leave Policy and URP:V.14.e Faculty Sick Leave for the university’s sick leave policies
- Employees concerned about medical symptoms or underlying health conditions should seek medical advice from their healthcare provider
Resources for telecommuters
ITS has put together a Google site that provides information to TWU employees on how to work remotely: https://sites.google.com/twu.edu/twu-remotework/home. Call technical support at 940-898-3971or email email@example.com if you need assistance.
Among the steps, think about the files and applications you need at home. Ensure your work-at-home computer is updated and secure. VPN is not required for email or access to Google Drive files. Plan ahead for phone calls and voicemail messages. Voicemails will be sent to your email, and in many cases, you can respond to them from a personal phone. Phones can be forwarded to an off-campus number in many cases.
- Based on CDC recommendations and travel restrictions, all TWU students and employees who have traveled to ANY international location within the past 14 days are requested to complete an international travel self-report form.
- In addition, employees and students who have traveled internationally since February 29 must self-isolate for 14 days after their return to the U.S. These employees and students should also report to TWU Risk Management (firstname.lastname@example.org) to obtain approval prior to returning to campus. During the isolation, students and employees should monitor their health.
- If you develop any illness symptoms during your self isolation—not just a confirmed case of Covid-19—seek medical care, fill out the COVID-19 Reporting Form, and self-isolate until fully recovered.
TWU has suspended university-related international travel in accordance with U.S. State Department guidelines
If you have questions regarding upcoming or proposed international travel, please contact International Affairs at email@example.com.
University travel and travel between campuses
- All non-essential university travel – both domestic and international – is restricted until further notice
- Please use videoconferencing or other virtual means, when possible. In addition, social gathering of groups of more than 10 people should be avoided, in accordance with Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s order on March 19, 2020
Supervisors are responsible for ensuring employees working in a temporary telecommuting arrangement are effectively performing the functions of their position. Duties may be modified as determined by your supervisor based on the current operational needs of the department. Daily reports of work duties/tasks performed are expected to be submitted by employees to their supervisors.
Temporary telecommuting arrangements may be modified or discontinued any time at the department head’s discretion. Telecommuting approvals are to be maintained at the department level.
Self-isolating requirements for international travelers and those who are sick
TWU students and employees MUST stay home and notify TWU by completing the COVID-19 Reporting Form, if any of the following COVID-19 conditions are present.
- You, someone you live with, or someone you have been in close, prolonged contact with is sick and exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms (can include cough, fever, shortness of breath)
- You, someone you live with, or someone you have been in close, prolonged contact with is considered a Person Under Investigation (PUI) for COVID-19
- You, someone you live with, or someone you have been in close, prolonged contact has tested positive or been diagnosed with COVID-19
- You, someone you live with, or someone you have been in close, prolonged contact has been instructed by Public Health Officials to self-isolate due to COVID-19
Close is generally defined as within 6 feet, and prolonged is any exposure greater than a few minutes, according to the CDC. If any of the situations described above apply to you, complete COVID-19 Reporting Form. For further information, contact TWU Risk Management.
- Based on CDC recommendations and travel restrictions, all TWU students and employees who have traveled to ANY international location within the past 14 days are requested to complete this self-report form.
- In addition, employees and students who have traveled internationally since February 29 must self-isolate for 14 days after their return to the U.S. During the isolation, students and employees should monitor their health.
- Anyone who is exhibiting any illness symptoms—not just a confirmed case of Covid-19—should self-isolate until fully recovered.
- If you are experiencing any illness symptoms, including fever, cough or difficulty breathing, and you have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or have traveled from an area where the spread of COVID-19 has been reported in the last 14 days, call ahead before going to your doctor’s office or emergency room to prevent any potential spread.
Virtual training for transition to online instruction
Teaching & Learning with Technology is offering online Canvas training from March 17 to 20. This interactive workshop replicates the experience of taking a Canvas online course. It is facilitated by an instructional designer, and interaction between participants is encouraged. Please consult the My Courses page and click on the Transition to Online link to find registration information.
TLT also has two webinars available:
- Basic Canvas Course Design - This interactive workshop introduces instructors to the foundations of Canvas.
- Instructional Design in Canvas – This workshop follows Basic Canvas Course Design and introduces instructors to the tools in Canvas that will enhance student learning. In this hands-on training, you will learn how to moderate a Quiz; use Student View to review a course; and use Grades and SpeedGrader.
Canvas Training also offers instructor training webinars. Follow these steps to set up an account and register for a Canvas Training:
- Log Into Canvas using your TWU Username and Portal Password
- Click Help > Training Services Portal from the Global Navigation Menu
- On the "Training Portal is requesting access to your account" page, click Authorize
- On the Canvas Training Portal Tutorial page, click Start Tutorial
- At the end of the Canvas Training Portal Tutorial, click Complete
- There will be a second request for the Training Portal to access your account, click Authorize
- Begin with the Higher Education: First Day Ready program (a collection of 4 courses) from the Learning Library OR
- Register for a course from the Training Calendar; once you register the course will be listed in My Learning:
- You will receive an email confirmation that includes a link to access the live training
- Canvas recommends you log into the Adobe Connect webinar in one browser window and your Canvas Sandbox course in a second browser window. This will allow you to switch between the Canvas training webinar and the interactive activities
Panopto Lecture Capture in Canvas
If you cannot attend in person training for Panopto, you can find a useful Panopto guide in the TWU Knowledge Base. While there, you can also access these two videos: Getting Started with Panopto Part 1 and Getting Started with Panopto Part 2.
- The Chronicle of Higher Education published a special edition on the topic of moving instruction to a virtual environment this morning. You may find some of the articles particularly relevant to your situation.
- The Keep Teaching Resources for Higher Education community facilitated by the Kansas State Global Campus has become a repository of teaching ideas including those specifically for subject areas (health-related, humanities, science and mathematics, etc.) and ways of teaching such as labs
The university is implementing additional social distancing measures to slow the spread of the virus while supporting educational goals. These modifications align with recommendations from regional, national and international health organizations and are consistent with actions by other universities in Texas and the nation.
All media inquiries contact Matt Flores at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Page last updated 3:32 PM, March 26, 2020