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COVID-19 planning and preparedness

The College of Science is working in concert with University leadership to monitor the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and provide guidance and resources for students, faculty and staff within the College. 

Supporting our community

As we work to provide remote learning experiences during this public health challenge, we are practicing a culture of care. We want to be sure our students are supported in this new, rapidly evolving world of COVID-19. If you or anyone you know who is a College of Science student is experiencing financial hardships related to COVID-19, please reach out to us through this form so that we can find ways to help support you or them.

The Science Success Center is open — remotely!

Join us on Zoom!

The Science Success Center remains a source of support for science students, delivering care by staying open remotely. Please email sciencesuccess@oregonstate.edu or reach us with Zoom – Meeting ID 607-574-630 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. We are available to answer your questions, help with registration needs, academic resource guidance, and other student service needs.

Daily student updates

Dear College of Science students,

Today I would like to update you on a few developments regarding Spring term instruction at OSU. As we work to create a positive remote-learning experience for you, I want to reemphasize that we will do our very best to handle the inevitable challenges alongside you.

Some of you experienced frustrating Canvas and Zoom issues today and yesterday. Let me offer an explanation and some solutions that should help. The problem stems from a recent update of OSU's previous Canvas URL (https://oregonstate.instructure.com/) to a new URL (https://canvas.oregonstate.edu/). This change is causing a lot of confusion. Going forward, when you login to your canvas sites, please use the second URL, which should connect you correctly to Zoom meetings. Also, make sure you update your bookmarks for this change. Be assured that instructors are also working on the issue and moving their Zoom meetings to the new URL.

I know some of you are facing unexpected financial challenges. I want to draw your attention to OSU’s Human Services Resource Center (HSRC) where you can seek help for several non-academic issues. The center has resources to help students in financial stress and in need of textbook support, laptop loans or food assistance. You can request help by filling out the Spring 2020 HSRC Assistance form.

Another potential resource, as I've shared recently, is the College of Science Equity Promise Scholarship. This scholarship is intended for students who have experienced sudden, extreme circumstances or life events that threaten their progress to continuing or completing their education in the College of Science.

I hope you know by now that we are all in this together. We are working hard to ensure you have access to resources that will help you succeed this term. If you have questions or ideas about we can make this sudden remote environment better for you, let me know!

Sincerely,

Henri Jansen
Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs

Dear College of Science students,

Spring break always goes by so fast. By the time grades are out, it’s almost time to go back to classes. So here we are already – about to start the new term in only a few days. If you have any concerns about your academic progress or the grades you received winter term, please connect with your advisor as soon as possible!

I have received several questions about fees for spring term for remotely delivered Corvallis courses and other local fees. A number of students noted that fees were already collected by OSU. Be assured the university is now examining all fees and assessing which fees are no longer appropriate. I know they are working on this now as I have personally been approached to provide information about lab fees. Once they sort everything out, they will reimburse students for inapplicable fees. This process will require several weeks. Please stay tuned.

As far as I know, tuition and fees charged by Ecampus will remain the same for spring term as they normally were. The administrative structure of Ecampus is independent of the College of Science.

There also has been confusion about labs for Science courses in spring term. Our plan is to deliver all labs remotely, in one form or another. You should not incur additional new costs for such delivery. Different departments are bringing different solutions. In some cases, you will watch a video of a student performing the lab that will enable you to collect data needed for your analysis of the experiment. In some cases, instructors will use computer simulations. I am impressed with the creativity of our instructors in finding solutions that really promote learning even in these circumstances. If you are in a lab that you believe fails to deliver the intended learning experience, please let the instructor know, and be reassured that we will all work together to make it work!

Sincerely,

Henri Jansen
Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs

Dear College of Science students,

I want to thank you again for your help in making finals week a relatively smooth process and for offering your understanding as we worked through glitches. As far as I know, in all cases in our College where there were problems, students were able to work successfully with instructors to find a solution.

I skipped sending a message yesterday because I was converting to home office use. We are all required to do so. Students, too, should not go to classrooms and offices in university buildings the same way they did last week. There were allowances during exam time, but now we should all stay home, whether home is a dorm, an apartment, or a place outside Corvallis. There are some exceptions, for example, when students are part of research teams taking care of animals. But even in these cases, check with your research advisor and department head to see if it is safe for you to come in.

Our next focus is on spring term classes. I know, it is still break. But your instructors are working very hard to get everything ready for a whole new delivery world starting Monday. At this point, Canvas sites for all your courses should be open. You should have word from your instructor telling you what to expect on the first day of classes. If that is not true, write to your instructor!

Also, please realize that the abrupt need to switch to remote delivery will create some uncertainty. Normally, a syllabus states the rules of the course explicitly, but less so this term. As we realize opportunities to improve, we may need to adapt course delivery methods and our approach to assessing your work. We want to get it right, and so we ask for your understanding if some procedures, including the delivery of midterms, need to be modified during the term. Our ultimate goal is to provide a great education, and we need to pursue that goal, even in the face of uncertainty.

Sincerely,

Henri Jansen
Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs

Dear College of Science students,

It is the end of finals week. Yay! I believe that at the moment I am writing this you have all finished all your finals!

Just a reminder. The Science Success Center remains a source of support for science students, delivering care by staying open remotely. Please email sciencesuccess@oregonstate.edu with your questions or to get help with registration needs, academic resource guidance, and other student service needs. Your advisors also remain accessible remotely.

I want to share a request from our peers. People are leaving messages on the College of Science voicemail with their phone number, but when the peers call back people aren’t picking up – probably because they don’t recognize the number. So, please leave your email address if you need feedback!

I hope you all have a good next week, where you can recharge and regroup before the spring term starts. You all deserve it. Next week I will probably not send out a message every day, but that will not mean I have forgotten about our students.

Sincerely,

Henri Jansen
Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs

Dear College of Science students,

The big news, of course, came in yesterday. Effective Monday, March 30, and throughout spring term, all OSU campus instruction will be conducted remotely. This includes academic labs, testing during the term, and final examinations. Ecampus instruction remains unchanged.

University residence halls and student housing on the Corvallis and OSU-Cascades campuses – and at Hatfield Marine Science Center – will remain open during spring term. Student residents who choose to engage in their remote academic learning from their home community will be able to cancel their OSU residence hall contract without penalty. If a student chooses to return to their home community during spring term, their housing fees will be refunded on a prorated basis.

The university is reviewing all fees for spring term. All fees that are not applicable anymore will be refunded.

We should all be aware of the fact that interactions between students, staff and faculty will be different next term. They will all be remote, but beyond that, there will be many variations. We are all still working out how all these interactions will take place in spring term, so we ask for your patience while we seek good solutions. Just to let you know, our college advisers are still meeting and working on procedures for the coming term.

With closures of restaurants and some service jobs disappearing, there will be a number of students in financial need. If you are aware of any student who is running into financial problems because of the current situation, please let us know here.

There is still an open question about which level of undergraduate research will be possible. Currently, the OSU research mission has not been suspended, but special health protocols have been invoked. Think about repeatedly wiping table surfaces and washing hands. If the public health situation deteriorates there will be more restrictions. We are following closely what is happening in the state of Oregon. Nevertheless, we are continuing with the process of evaluating SURE applications for this summer and, for now, we still plan to award these scholarships.

Sincerely,

Henri Jansen
Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs

Dear College of Science students,

Many of you have questions about visits to companies next week during spring break. Due to social distancing measures to slow the spread of Covid-19, all College of Science tours to companies are canceled. We will be in touch in the future when they can be rescheduled.

Several of our courses charge lab fees for things like glassware and chemicals. OSU will do a census of all courses with lab fees and check which fees are still appropriate even with remote delivery. If the lab you have signed up for is found not to qualify for lab fees, thesefees will be returned to you. Please be patient, with so many things going on, this might take a few weeks.

Over half of final exams have been taken now, and I am happy to report that in our college there have been only a very small number of unfortunate issues. I have followed up in all cases I was made aware of. Instructors are doing their best to find solutions that are fair and equitable. But please do inform me of any problems that you encounter, so I can help straighten things out.

I thank you for all your patience while we do our best to help you in this new environment!

Sincerely,

Henri Jansen
Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs

Dear College of Science students,

Today’s message is much shorter! Many of you have questions about spring classes being taught on-campus, not remotely. While it’s possible that some colleges still plan to hold on-campus classes, all spring-term classes in the College of Science will be offered only remotelyeven labs, and even seminars. We are still looking for guidance on undergraduate research activities, so stay tuned for more information about that.

We also received questions from students who did not finish their eSET forms on time. That system is now closed. If you did not submit all eSETs, the only effect for you is that you will see your grades when OSU officially releases all grades, but not before. There are no other consequences.

Final exams seem to be going well. Undoubtedly, there have been issues, as always. But to our knowledge, students have not been prevented from taking exams because of the change in delivery mode, and the inevitable challenges have been resolved with instructors. Please let us know if this has not been your experience or if you are still facing unresolved issues.

Spring break is near, and as I said yesterday, think carefully about your travel plans. There are still students traveling to the standard spring break destinations as if nothing is happening. Their reasoning is probably that they are young and will only get minor health effects. What they forget is that when they are ill, they can transmit the disease to others who are much more vulnerable. In a difficult time like this, let’s encourage one another to be more unselfish, more community-centered, and more compassionate with others!

Sincerely,

Henri Jansen
Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs

Dear College of Science students,

I would like to remind you that the Science Success Center will remain a source of support for science students, delivering care by staying open remotely. Email sciencesuccess@oregonstate.edu for answers to your questions, help with registration needs, academic resource guidance, and other student service needs. The peer advisors will be available on weekdays from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. starting today. To reach them live, log in to Zoom and input the code 607-574-630.

Person-to-person meetings with instructors and advisors are still possible, just not in person. Check with your instructor or advisor if they want to use e-mail, slack, zoom, telephone, or carrier pigeon.

There is a lot of confusion about the difference between online and remote delivery of a course. Online delivery refers to Ecampus and follows all the rules that are prescribed by the Ecampus environment. Remote refers to Corvallis campus classes, where during the scheduled class times, students do not meet in a normal classroom but via some electronic set-up. There will be a very small number of exceptions for very special classes.

What is the difference between remote and online? First of all, cost. The remote classes are cheaper for in-state students. Second, the classes delivered remotely will still follow the scheduled blocks of time – unless the instructor makes more time available. For example, an instructor might decide to deliver their material via zoom at the scheduled time. Or another instructor with access to the right technology might decide to record that material and make it available for a longer time. Many classes use active-engagement techniques that involve group work. The instructor can require those groups to engage during the scheduled times, but if the class structure allows, time can be extended. Check your syllabus carefully, and discover what applies to your course.

Students who are working with the Disability Access Services (DAS) office will still be covered by the agreements that were made. If you are concerned and want to know that you will still receive the accommodations you need, please contact DAS for questions. The DAS office can help you best in this matter!

Many students are wondering howlong spring courses will be delivered remotely during the term. The official word now is that on April 30, OSU will re-assess the situation. This leaves many students and faculty members confused about whether or not they will be required to switch back to face-to-face delivery when things return to normal. I do not have an answer for you yet, but I am pushing for answers.

Students are also wondering if they should go home for the whole spring term or stay here? Consider the following questions to help guide your decision: Where am I more protected against getting the disease? Does my journey back home potentially expose me to the disease? Where will I receive better care if I need to isolate myself? The answers to these questions will be different for all of us. One thing to consider is that if you plan to be on campus spring term, think carefully about whether returning home just for spring break is wise. Definitely, do not buy one of those cheap tickets to far away.

If you are studying abroad, or know others who are studying abroad, Oregon State has required that students who are studying abroad return home as soon as possible. However, if a student abroad determines that remaining in the program location is in their best interest, they may submit a request for an exception to OSU.

This week, of course, we are subjected to many changes in final exam procedures. I would like to remind you of the following, though. Ecampus formulates it best: Integrity is a character-driven commitment to honesty, doing what is right, and guiding others to do what is right.  OSU students and faculty have a responsibility to act with integrity in all of our educational work, and that integrity enables this community of learners to interact in the spirit of trust, honesty and fairness.

If you know any students for whom all these changes create severe hardship, either financially or emotionally, please let us know right away. In the College of Science, we recognize that stress levels are high now, and we want to very mindful of all issues, and help wherever we can.

Sincerely,

Henri Jansen
Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs

Dear College of Science students,

During this public health crisis, I want to assure you that in the College of Science we will do everything possible to encourage your wellbeing and offer the support you need to continue your education this year.

Navigating a pandemic is uncharted territory for most of us, but we are all working hard to curtail the difficult effects. Oregon State University is taking important steps to provide solutions and guide processes. For the latest OSU developments, visit here.

As a science student, many of your needs and challenges will be specific to the College of Science, and we want to keep you updated on new developments in the College daily. We are gathering information and making informed decisions every day, while at the same time planning ahead proactively. Every weekday afternoon, I plan to send updates to inform you about College-specific advising, instruction and student support resources.

The Science Success Center will remain a source of support for science students, delivering care by staying open remotely. Email sciencesuccess@oregonstate.edu for answers to your questions, help with registration needs, academic resource guidance, and other student service needs. Your academic advisors also remain accessible remotely. The peer advisors will be available on weekdays from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. starting next Monday. To reach them, login to Zoom and input the code 607-574-630,

As most of you know, most OSU final exams will be delivered remotely. In the College of Science, there will be no in-person final exams. Your instructors will share information about alternatives in each of your classes. I recognize that there will be inconveniences and also some impossible situations. If you have any concerns about one of your classes and cannot resolve the matter with your instructor, you should contact the department head for that course right away. If you cannot resolve the issue with the department head, please contact me. This sounds a bit bureaucratic, but in many cases, the department head is more familiar with the situation than I am and can offer a good solution more easily.

All instructors of classes to be offered in Spring Term are working hard to make their material available remotely, as well. Specific details will be course-dependent since methods that work in physics, for example, might not have a counterpart in zoology. All instructors are making sure that learning outcomes for their courses can be met. Because this new mode of delivery will have a learning curve for all parties involved, we are trying to create the best possible solution for each course given where we are now. It will not be perfect, but it will give you the opportunity for the learning you need to demonstrate that you are able to fulfill the learning outcomes.

Please note that in a very small number of cases, remote delivery is not possible, in which case other solutions are needed. Once we know which courses that will involve, we will announce that.

If you are a graduating senior at the end of Spring Term, please work closely with your advisor. I have asked all advisors in our College to look very carefully at your schedules and to create alternatives for required courses that are not offered because of the pandemic. My directive is that for a student who would normally be able to graduate at the end of Spring Term, a plan should be made that will stillallow graduation at the end of the term.

I wish you all a good weekend, and I hope you are able to study effectively for your finals.

Sincerely,

Henri Jansen
Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs

Dear College of Science students,

As I’m sure you are aware, OSU Provost Edward Feser announced yesterday that in light of the need to reduce the risk of COVID-19, most OSU final exams will be delivered remotely. In the College of Science, I have decided that there will be no in-person final exams.

I am making this decision in light of the unprecedented public health emergency we are facing and the need to offer you clarity about how the College is moving forward. For the health of our community, we must move to increase social distancing in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. Restricting in-person exams in Science will help that. For this reason, I have directed the whole College to move forward with offering all final exams only remotely. Specifically, these are all classes in Biochemistry and Biophysics, Biohealth Sciences, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Microbiology, Physics, Statistics and Zoology at either the undergraduate or graduate level.

Please watch for instructions from your instructor.

In keeping with our goal of limiting the gathering of students, if you have a final exam, you will be taking it without a proctor. These are special circumstances, and I thank you for working with us. In the circumstances of a global emergency, I know that I can count on you to conduct yourselves according to OSU’s student code of conduct.

We didn't reach these decisions lightly. Your safety and the health of the larger community is our greatest priority. I know this is a stressful time for many. Please be assured we will do everything we can to encourage your wellbeing and provide the support you need to continue your education this year.

Sincerely,

Roy Haggerty
Dean, College of Science

Dear College of Science students,

Well, we have completed our first day of remotely delivered classes. It seems that OSU did not have major bandwidth problems today, which is a good sign. But that does not mean you did not experience issues at your own location. To help you troubleshoot when you run into problems, I have collected some resources that may be helpful:

A number of you are planning to graduate at the end of this spring term, and we will do our very, very best to make that possible. All COS advisors have looked at their students’ degree plans, and have checked which courses you still need for degree completion. There will be cases where certain courses are not available, and I have asked the advisors to create alternatives for such cases. Although it is always good to have a plan B, today that is even more important! Even a plan C makes good sense now.

If you are a graduating senior, it is advisable to be proactive, as well. Please connect with your advisor to make sure you are on track or if you encounter any problems. We also have created a collegewide e-mail account where you can send all your questions. Sending inquiries to COS.Graduation2020@oregonstate.edu will reach me and our college advisors. Note that there is a period after COS!

Ending with a poem stolen from the OSU Physics Slack channel, adapted from Dr. Seuss:

I will teach you in a room,
I will teach you now on Zoom,
I will teach you in your house
I will teach you with a mouse
I will teach you here and there,
I will teach you because I care,
So just do your very best,
And do not worry about the rest!

Sincerely,

Henri Jansen
Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs

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