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University takes steps to address Coronavirus Disease 2019

Jacksonville University continues to closely monitor the outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and take action to protect the health and safety of everyone on campus. 

While there are currently no known cases of COVID-19 on campus, leadership is exercising heightened caution with proactive steps to allow the University to continue its important work and help prevent the illness from spreading to our community.

The University relies on and follows guidelines established by the Federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Among other guidance, the CDC recommends staying 6-10 feet away from others at all times in public spaces.

Additionally, the Governor of Florida, the Mayor of Jacksonville, the Superintendent of Duval County Public Schools and well-respected national health officials have strongly recommended “social distancing.“ That is, “people should avoid gathering in public places, people should be home as much as possible” to quote the Center for Public Health Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania.

Some of the University’s recent actions supporting the “social distancing” recommendations of the CDC include:

  • Online learning: Moved all classroom instruction to online learning through June 20.
  • Campus events: Cancelled or postponed all campus events, including commencement ceremonies scheduled for April.
  • Student living arrangements:  Strongly encouraged students to return home to their families as they complete this semester online and provided the option to remain on campus for students in extraordinary situations.  Planned to relocate all remaining students to a residence hall on the south end of campus, while still maintaining the recommended social distancing protocol to better position resources and residential space on campus in the unlikely event the University must respond to any COVID-19 cases on campus.
  • Study-abroad programs: Cancelled all study abroad programs through June.
  • Athletics activities: Suspended or cancelled all events involving spring sports teams including baseball, beach volleyball, golf, lacrosse, outdoor track, softball and rowing. Cancelled all out-of-season competitions. Suspended recruiting activities, per NCAA guidance.
  • Work from home for faculty and staff: Encouraged all faculty and staff to work from home until further notice.
  • Services for students remaining on campus: Directed essential personnel directly supporting the students who elect to remain on campus to work on campus as necessary to fulfill their responsibilities over the next three weeks.
  • Enhanced cleaning: Increased the frequency of cleaning, implemented deep cleaning of facilities, including classrooms, and implemented the use of medical-grade cleaning products.
  • Business travel recommendations:  Suspended all non-essential domestic and international travel associated with University responsibilities between now and May 1 and cancelled or postponed any University-related trips not critical to conducting business operations.
  • Personal travel recommendations: Urged all travelers to carefully consider their intended destinations for personal trips and check on restrictions or quarantine measures that may be recommended or required by the CDC upon arrival or return. Strongly discouraged personal international travel.
  • Expanded communications: Established a University website to collect and provide on-demand access to COVID-19 related information. Increased the frequency of email and text communications to the University community. Held several live online events on Facebook, Instagram and Blackboard to answer questions from the University community.

“We fully appreciate and recognize the uncertainty and anxiety that the COVID-19 challenge is presenting to all of us,” President Tim Cost ’81 wrote in an email to faculty and staff. “This is a serious, emerging global pandemic.”

In early March, the University assembled an experienced team of senior leaders with a wide range of expertise in human health, safety, communications, facilities, technology and student support. This team meets daily to monitor the evolving situation and implement guidance from the CDC, the World Health Organization (WHO) and our state and local health departments.

Dr. Kristie Gover, Dean of Students, continues to lead the University’s overall emergency preparedness efforts, and Dr. Chris Sapienza, our Provost, continues to lead Academic Affairs – especially decision-making around teaching, accreditation, and compliance with all expected academic protocols.

The senior leadership of the University will meet before the end of March to map out next steps for students, faculty and staff activities and interactions. Decisions made at that time will be communicated immediately to the University community.   

All questions and concerns related to the University’s coronavirus response should be directed to careteam@ju.edu.