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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

The health and safety of the Butler community is our highest priority. We are closely monitoring the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as campus leaders are meeting daily to manage the University’s response. This webpage, containing University Communications, FAQ, and links to External Resources, will be updated regularly to reflect the latest developments. Visit the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention for the most up-to-date information about the status of COVID-19.

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March 20, 2020

Dear Butler Community,

My sincere gratitude to all of you who have supported our students and their families as the COVID-19 crisis has necessitated student departures from residential units; faculty and students have shifted to online education; and many staff are working from home. We have received encouraging reports from faculty and students alike about their online courses in these first two days of the transition.

No doubt, the unfolding global crisis is taking an emotional toll on all of us. Even the occasional glance at social media can spark a roller coaster of emotions—from much-needed comic relief to heartbreaking stories about lives lost. Fortunately, we have incredible people in our midst who can be helpful during this difficult time. Daniel Meyers, Director of Butler’s Center for Faith and Vocation, for example, sent this message to the community earlier this week.

As I reflect upon Daniel’s words, I feel a sense of optimism about our students’ opportunities to grow and learn—not only academically, but personally—during this crisis. I feel the same optimism about all of us, as faculty and staff. This situation has forced us to redefine the manner in which we perform our work. And it has given us an opportunity to reflect upon our own vocations and roles in advancing Butler’s educational mission for the good of our students and society.

I have the incredible privilege of serving our community as president. Over the past week, this role has required me to stay quite busy, thereby focused on work as opposed to speculation about things I cannot control. I have found myself inexplicably energized as I strive to effectively lead during this time of crisis. Perhaps, to Daniel’s message, I am fulfilling my intended vocation.

As I have discussed this with friends and colleagues, both within and outside of the Butler community, many of them are energized as they dedicate themselves to efforts that will not only get us through this crisis, but will make us stronger in the long run. Doctors and nurses are caring for the sick in a situation unlike anything they have seen before; scientists are working hard to find a vaccine; innovators are pursuing new ways to address the world’s most critical needs for goods and equipment, and our faculty are finding solutions to unprecedented problems so that our students can continue to receive an outstanding Butler education.

This gives me confidence that we can each continue to use our energy and unique strengths for the greater good as we weather this crisis. In 1922, Katherine Merrill Graydon, recalling Butler amidst the double tragedies of World War I and influenza, observed, “The professors in true patriotic spirit met the demand of the occasion. Common thought, common activity, common experience, brought into close relationship all forces of the college. A spirit of devotion to duty, of sympathy in suffering, were great educative powers…”

We know that this pandemic will worsen before it improves. However, I believe that now, as then, a crisis can bring our community together for the benefit of our students and larger world. How would you like to contribute to Butler’s educational mission during this challenging time, according to your own personal vocation?

I’m confident that the answers to this question hold the key to our making a lasting and positive difference in the lives of our students and others. Together, we’ve got this!

Sincerely,

James M. Danko
President, Butler University

Media Inquiries:

Courtney Tuell, Senior Director, Marketing & Communication
Mobile: 317-908-2307
ctuell@butler.edu

Additional University Updates

March 24, 2020—Message from the Vice President for Finance and Administration

Dear Butler students, 

Recognizing the financial impact the COVID-19 crisis is having on our community, I am writing today to share an update on our progress in processing room and board credits to reflect the reduced usage of Butler University housing and meal plans.    

The University is working with our external housing and dining partners to finalize the amount of credits to be provided for unused housing and board plans. Credits will be applied to student accounts by April 8, 2020. 

We are extending student account payment due dates until May 31, 2020 (from the original April 2 due date as reflected on March e-bills). In addition, we are suspending interest on outstanding balances and late payment fees through May 31, 2020.

Once credits for housing and meal plans have been posted to student accounts, students can view their most current account balances via the following navigation:

  • Log into your my.butler.edu account.
  • Select Self Service Student Homepage then Student Center.
  • Navigate to FINANCES heading.
  • Click on Account Inquiry (under My Account)—All posted transactions can be viewed.

If you have further questions about housing and dining credits, email studentaccounts@butler.edu. You can also visit our COVID-19 webpage for the latest information.   

Please continue to take good care of yourselves and each other, and remember that Butler faculty and staff are here to assist you during this time.

 

Bruce E. Arick
Vice President for Finance and Administration

 

March 23, 2020—Message to Students from Student Affairs VP Frank Ross

Dear Butler Students and Families, 

Thank you for your patience and positivity as we are navigating this challenging time together. This is a lengthy email but it contains a number of important student life updates. Please remember that all of the latest information and updates are available on Butler’s COVID-19 FAQ page, which is being updated regularly with new information.  

New Mandates from the State and City
Today, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb issued a stay-at-home executive order, in effect through at least April 6. Indiana residents, and those in surrounding states, have been instructed not to travel except for essential needs. Following today’s announcement by Governor Holcomb, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and Dr. Virginia Caine of the Marion County Public Health Department issued a series of “stay-at-home” orders, which also remain in effect through at least April 6. 

Given these new state and city mandates, and in an attempt to keep you and our employees safe, we are asking that you do not return to campus at this time.

We are determining the process for students to return to campus—once it is safe to do so—to completely move out from campus housing, and will announce those plans as soon as they are developed.

Given the severity of this health crisis and the recent mandates, those students living in senior houses in the neighborhoods adjacent to campus should strongly consider returning home, unless for truly extenuating circumstances.

Sexual Misconduct
Please remember that the Sexual Misconduct Policy applies during this time. The policy applies not only to behaviors that take place in person, but also those that take place online. Resources and reporting options for those who have experienced sexual misconduct are available. Reports of sexual misconduct can be submitted through our online report form or via email to Maria Kanger, our Title IX Coordinator, at mkanger@butler.edu or titleix@butler.edu. Jules Arthur-Grable, our Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Specialist, is also available via email at jearthur@butler.edu or phone call/text at 317-910-5572. Jules is a confidential resource who has a limited obligation to report to BUPD when certain crimes are reported. She does not provide names to BUPD.

Housing Selection Process for 2020–2021
We realize that moving to online learning has been a transition for everyone, and Residence Life has taken this into consideration as we prepare for the housing selection process for the next academic year.  We have decided to delay the release of housing selection times to allow students time to review an informational video that will be released shortly, and to allow for virtual discussions and planning with possible roommates for next year.

Residence Life will be providing information on housing selection to students by email on Wednesday, April 1, with selection times beginning on Monday, April 6. Timeslots will be assigned randomly by class. Again, more information will be sent early next week regarding specific information for the housing selection times and an informational video to walk you through what this process will look like.

Staying Connected with SGA
Student Government Association remains committed to serving students through the transition to virtual learning. Your SGA leadership team is hard at work developing programming and initiatives tailored to our new online learning community, and are determined to keep you engaged with one another and our campus. Please continue to stay connected with SGA over their social media platforms (Instagram and Twitter: @butlersga) for the most recent updates, and reach out to sga@butler.edu or your Senators with any questions.

Faith and Spiritual Support
The Center for Faith and Vocation has developed a Spiritual Care Conversationresource. Members of the Butler community can click a link to request a Spiritual Care Conversation with CFV staff and advisors from various traditions and backgrounds who are available for care and support. These conversations are private and confidential.  Additionally, many CFV Communities are exploring ways to continue their community gatherings and spiritual practices in online formats. Go to the CFV Communities Page to find current student and advisor contacts to reach out and learn more. Further, the CFV is exploring how we can gather students into virtual conversations, gatherings, and wellness practices related to our current challenges as well as interfaith dialogue and vocational reflection. Please reach out to cfv@butler.edu for details on the virtual programs being offered. 

We are here to help
If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us at deanofstudents@butler.edu and we will respond. And again, please visit Butler’s COVID-19 FAQ page for all of the latest information and updates.

Please take care of yourselves and each other.

Frank E. Ross III, PhD
Vice President for Student Affairs

March 23, 2020—Governor Holcomb’s Stay at Home Order

Dear Butler Faculty and Staff,   

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb today announced an executive order (stay at home) to combat the COVID-19 health crisis. The purpose of the executive order is to “ensure that the maximum number of people self-isolate in their homes to the maximum extent feasible, while also enabling essential services to continue, in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 to the greatest extent possible.” The order is in effect from March 25 to at least April 6.

Our leadership team has been preparing for this scenario and many of our actions taken to date, such as transitioning to online learning and aggressively limiting the number of students and employees on campus, are already in compliance with the Governor’s executive order. 

The executive order deems universities as essential businesses and operations, meaning that throughout the stay at home order, we will continue to facilitate distance learning and provide the minimum basic operations to support the University including the faculty, staff, and students residing on campus at this time. Employees who are able to do so will continue working from home. We anticipate retaining the following on-campus services (subject to change):

  • Health Services is operating by appointment only. 
  • Campus housing is only for pre-approved students and for faculty/staff who currently reside on campus.
  • Dining service is available in the Atherton Union Marketplace only. 
  • Building maintenance, grounds, and custodial services are operating at reduced levels.
  • Laboratory access is limited to the upkeep of equipment.
  • Butler University Police Department remains operational.
  • IT is supporting University infrastructure and systems, including online learning, remotely and on campus, as needed.
  • Office mail is available but must be picked up at the mail center in Holcomb.

Please visit the Governor’s website for an FAQ document on the stay-at-home order and Butler’s COVID-19 website for the latest information. Thank you for continuing to be flexible as we adjust to these changing circumstances and for all you are doing to serve Butler University and our broader community during this challenging time.

Sincerely,

Brent Rockwood ’00
Vice President, Chief of Staff | Office of the President

 

March 18, 2020 Provost Message to Students

Dear Students,

I am writing to touch base with you as we transition from our extended spring break to online education for the remainder of the semester. This is a lengthy email—please take the time to read it for important information to support the transition to online education.

Let me begin by acknowledging that we are faced with a situation that none of us wanted, or even were able to foresee at the beginning of the semester. The public health crisis is unprecedented and has resulted in many significant changes to everyday life, including changes at Butler and other higher education institutions. It is deeply disappointing for many, if not all, members of our campus community that we will not learn and work together in person in the coming weeks. Yet, by and large, people in our community are coming together virtually to make the best out of a truly challenging situation—with YOU, our students, at the heart of our efforts. 

Faculty have just spent three intensive days preparing for this transition. They are working harder than ever to provide you with the same high-quality educational experience you are accustomed to at Butler. Faculty and staff, alike, have made preparations to ensure our academic support services remain intact during this time period. Just as you may have anxieties about how this will work and how it might affect your grades, our faculty and staff also have anxieties about the best way to support you during this transition.  

Let us keep one point in mind: we are all in this together. Let us go forward knowing that all members of our community enter this transition with expectations of academic excellence, hard work, and grace. I am confident we are up to that task.

The information included below my signature summarizes key pieces of information I want to share with you. These, and other points of information, are available on our FAQ’s, which I encourage you to reference regularly, as we are updating them on an ongoing basis in response to student questions coming forward. I hope this information is useful to you.

In addition to the general information listed below, I would like to address three topics that have received social media attention:

  1. The Butler Cultural Requirement (BCR) has been waived for May 2020 and August 2020 graduates. The requirement remains intact for December 2020 graduates and beyond.
  2. We have announced that Commencement on May 9 has been canceled. I realize how deeply upsetting this is, especially for our graduating students, to have a graduation ceremony canceled. At the time we made this announcement, we also stated that we will soon engage with representatives of the graduating class to discuss options for celebrating and recognizing our graduates. These meetings have not yet happened, but I imagine we will consider a variety of options, including a postponement of commencement to a later date or a major December Commencement ceremony for May and December graduates. Once we have a group of student representatives identified, I would encourage you to share our perspective with those representatives.
  3. I am aware there is a petition to change the grading scale for all classes this semester to pass/fail. Please know that your faculty and academic leaders have carefully considered this approach. There are a variety of reasons it is unwise to change all grades to pass/fail. Briefly, these reasons include inability to transfer P/F grades from one institution to another, lack of assurance of preparedness for subsequent courses, inability to count P/F classes in applications for certain graduate and professional programs. But most importantly, I want you to know that your professors take seriously the task of working with you to support your academic success, even in fully online course delivery. Please discuss your concerns with your professors and your advisors and take proactive steps to succeed by keeping up with your school work and regular attendance at virtual office hours and other academic support mechanisms (listed below). We have extended the deadline for electing the P/F grading option for an individual course, as well as the deadline for withdrawing from a class to April 6.  However, these decisions need to be made in consultation with your advisor to ensure you do not inadvertently compromise your financial aid, prerequisites, or academic plan for your major/minor.

Please remember, we are here to support you as you pursue your academic goals. Do not hesitate to reach out to your professors, your academic advisor, or staff in our various academic support units whenever you need assistance. Although you will be reaching out via email or phone, instead of dropping by in person, the result will be the same—you will find faculty and staff ready to assist you.

With all best wishes for a successful second half of the semester,

Dr. Morris

Kathryn A. Morris, PhD
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

____________________________________________
 

Communication Expectations of your Professors and Advisors

  • You should have heard from each of your professors today, Wednesday, March 18, regarding how online teaching and learning will work for your courses.
  • You should hear from your advisor by the end of the day on Friday, March 20 about how advising appointments will work.
  • If you do not hear from a professor or your advisor by these deadlines, please contact your Dean’s office.  

Academic Information

  • Well before this public health crisis and shift to fully online education, Butler has had a policy regarding expectations for online courses. Each 3-credit hour course should have 2.5 hours of active engagement per week (e.g. recorded or synchronous lectures, synchronous or asynchronous discussions, and other substantive engagement) and 5 hours of homework, for a total of 7.5 hours of student engagement per week.  
  • We realize that some of you may not have been able to retrieve your physical copies of readings and other course materials. Faculty are working closely with librarians and other staff on campus to get as many materials as possible posted onto Canvas. In addition, Follett (the company that runs the Butler Bookstore) is partnering with RedShelf, to provide free access to their digital library to students. This does not include all titles used on campus, but should help many of our students. To see if any of your books are available in electronic format for free for the rest of the semester, follow the directions below, using your @butler.edu email to gain access:
  1. Access www.shopbutleru.com.
  2. Click on the plus sign in the upper right-hand corner on the top banner which contains information regarding free eTextbook options and free shipping.
  3. Click on the link labeled follett.com/RedShelf.
  4. Students can search for ebooks by title or ISBN (ISBNs can be found under their class information on shopbutleru.com)
  • Students with documented disabilities remain eligible for accommodations. SDS has proactively reached out to the professors who are teaching all students with documented accommodations needs to let them know what to expect. Please communicate with your professors and with SDS personnel if you have any questions or concerns.   

Academic Requirements for Students

  • The Butler Cultural Requirement will be waived for May 2020 and August 2020 graduates. The BCR remains in effect for December 2020 graduates and beyond.
  • Faculty teaching Indianapolis Community Requirement courses are developing ways to allow you to complete the ICR requirement even though additional service hours are not possible. Talk to your professor if you have questions.
  • Students who were recalled from their study abroad experiences partway through the semester, but who complete at least 9-credit hours of coursework, will be waived from one semester of the GHS requirement.
  • The deadline for electing the pass/fail grading option has been changed to April 6. All policies related to pass/fail grading option remain effective: butler.edu/student-handbook/grade-policies
  • The deadline to withdraw from a course has been changed to April 6. Students and their advisors should consider the potential consequences of dropping below 12 credit hours: butler.edu/registrar/drop-add-withdraw

Office Hours, Advising, and Academic Support

  • Faculty will communicate to you how they will hold office hours.  
  • The Speaker’s Lab will schedule synchronous Online (real-time) appointments via Zoom. Students may schedule an appointment at speakerslab.appointy.com/
  • The Writers' Studio, which provides peer tutoring to student writers in all disciplines and classes, will be offering synchronous Online tutoring appointments, in which students will chat (through text or webcam) with a tutor, or asynchronous eTutoring appointments, in which they submit a draft for written feedback from a tutor, through the online portal, WCOnline
  • Tutoring services offered through the Center for Academic Success and Engagement and through academic departments remain available. Please reach out to the same individuals with whom you have worked in the earlier half of the semester to continue tutoring support. If you haven’t used tutoring before and want to now, talk to your professor about how to get tutoring.
  • The Career and Professional Success office continues to support students through virtual appointments with college-based career advisors. Career advisers will also hold drop-in virtual office hours. Virtual workshops are being developed. The office is communicating directly with students about their services for the remainder of the semester.
  • The Center for Faith and Vocation has developed a Spiritual Care Conversation resource. Students (and all members of the Butler community) can click a link to request a Spiritual Care Conversation with CFV staff and advisors from various traditions and backgrounds who are available for care and support. These conversations are private or confidential. Additionally, many CFV Communities are exploring ways of continuing their community gatherings and spiritual practices in online formats.  Further, the CFV is developing plans for virtual conversations, gatherings, and wellness practices about the current coronavirus challenges. 
  • Butler Libraries may be physically closed, but our librarians and staff are ready to help you.  
    • Virtual research support is available via LibChat (buanswers.butler.edu). Students can live chat with a librarian their research questions, database access issues, and questions about library services such as book renewals. The hours of the live chat service are Monday–Thursday 8:30 AM–10:00 PM; Friday 8:30 AM–5:00 PM; Saturday closed; Sunday Noon–10:00 PM.  
    • You can also contact the librarian who works with your major by consulting the listing of Subject Librarians.  

For your research needs, Butler Libraries have substantial collections of online databases that include articles and etexts; consult the Library’s online catalog for ebooks; and utilize the librarian-curated LibGuides for your major.  

March 17–COVID-19 Update from President Danko

Dear Butler University Community,

Based on the most recent information available, we have made the difficult decision to extend our online learning through the end of the spring semester. In addition, we are canceling all in-person events for the remainder of the semester, including our campus commencement ceremony scheduled for May 9, 2020.

I am sharing our decisions immediately, and as they are being made in response to new developments, so you can plan accordingly. For example, just in the past 24 hours, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced new restrictions related to events and Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett declared a disaster emergency in Marion County, including a watch-level local travel advisory. 

Given the concern for the well-being of our students, families, and campus staff as we support social distancing, we strongly discourage lengthy visits to campus or complete move-out of personal belongings. For those who have not already done so, students may come to campus to retrieve essential personal belongings and whatever is needed for online learning. Students will receive more information over the coming days about the process for moving any remaining possessions out of on-campus housing. 

This is not the way we hoped to finish the semester, especially for the Class of 2020. We share your disappointment, but we strongly believe this was a necessary decision in our new reality and consistent with our mission of serving the greater good.

We are fully committed to honoring and celebrating the Class of 2020. We are investigating ways to coordinate a virtual convening of representatives of the senior class along with relevant University administrators to recognize this milestone in their Butler career.

Thank you for your continued understanding and concern for one another as this situation unfolds. As always, our top priority is the health and safety of our Butler community and those around us. Please visit our website for the latest information, and we will be communicating further in the days ahead as the situation unfolds.

Best regards,

James M. Danko
President, Butler University

March 14, 2020 Update from President Danko

Dear Butler University Parents and Students,

I am writing to you late on a Saturday evening, after many hours of campus discussion and consultation with experts, regarding the latest developments on the rapidly evolving Coronavirus (COVID-19) health crisis. As a result of what we know at this point in time, I have reached the very difficult decision that it is in the best interests of our students and community, both campus and surrounding, that Butler close its residential housing until at least April 4, a date consistent with our announced move to online learning. I also recommend that students who live in Greek chapter houses or rental properties adjacent to campus return to their permanent residences during this time.

I recognize this decision may cause unexpected hardship and angst for those students who preferred to return to campus after the spring break. However, the situation has changed considerably, just over the past few days. A national emergency has been declared; local and statewide directives have restricted gatherings; and we have seen travel bans and population lockdowns, most recently in Spain.

There are numerous credible and scientific articles, based on what is occurring in other countries, predicting that the spread of COVID-19 will get exponentially worse over the coming days and weeks. The strain on the U.S. healthcare system will be enormous. I have had recent discussions with leaders across higher education, business, medical, governmental, and athletic organizations. There is now a consistent and shared belief that for the greater good, we need to take every step possible to reduce clusters of people. 

If you are a student who lives in campus housing and needs assistance or would like to request an exemption to continue living on campus through at least April 4 due to extenuating circumstances, please email deanofstudents@butler.edu and the Division of Student Affairs will contact you.

I regret the inconvenience this will cause for so many of you. However, Butler cannot provide the level of medical attention that may be needed for the size of our residential community if we have a significant outbreak or spread of the virus. In addition, any student who is diagnosed with COVID-19 symptoms would need to travel home or self-isolate elsewhere, which could be far more difficult later than it is today, especially if travel restrictions are enacted or transportation becomes limited.

Let me acknowledge there are financial questions regarding how we will handle prorated housing and board charges. While I do not have all the answers at this point, especially since we do not know if we will reopen yet this semester, I am committed to doing what is fair and right. I’d ask for your understanding as we resolve those issues. For now, my primary concern is for you and for the greater good of our campus, region, and country as we all do what we can to reduce the trend line of this dangerous virus.

We will continue to keep you apprised. Please visit our webpage for answers to frequently asked questions, ongoing updates, and additional information.

Sincerely yours,

James M. Danko
President, Butler University

 

 

Additional University Updates

March 15, 2020—Provost Morris Message to Students

Dear Butler Students,

As the Chief Academic Officer of the University, I am writing to share information with you as we navigate next steps in the semester. I understand this is a challenging time for the Butler community and for you as students. I am certain you have been receiving and are reviewing University communications related to the actions taken to keep the Butler community safe and contain the spread of the coronavirus, COVID-19. You may access the University’s webpage dedicated to this issue.

I want to assure you that, as always, Butler faculty, staff, and leadership are doing everything we can to continue to offer you the highest quality education. Faculty are working diligently to move all instruction online beginning on Thursday, March 18. We appreciate your patience as faculty work to ensure your learning continues in an online environment. What faculty have been asked to do under a very constrained timeline is not an easy task or one we would expect them to take lightly. If you have not heard from your instructors, it is likely they are hard at work, in your best interest. You should expect communication from each of your instructors by the end of the day on Wednesday, March 18 about how your courses will proceed in online format. 

In addition to your spring courses, you may be thinking about academic advising and registration for future courses. Faculty will proceed with academic advising on the published timeline, but advising will occur via phone or videoconference. You should expect communication from your academic advisor by the end of the workday on Friday, March 20. 

We have received many important questions from students, and we are working to respond to your questions in a timely and thorough manner. We have created a number of new FAQs about academic matters (see the Virtual Learning section). We are updating the FAQs on a regular basis as additional questions are posed to us, so please check them frequently.

These FAQs cover a range of topics, from learning how to use the technologies (Canvas and Zoom) faculty will be using to deliver course content to information about accommodations for documented disabilities to information about graduation requirements.  One of the most common student questions to date has been about the Butler Cultural Requirement (BCR). Please note that for all students graduating in May 2020 or August 2020, the BCR requirement will be waived. For all students graduating December 2020 or later, the BCR requirement will remain. Again, for more information about BCR and lots of other academic topics, review the FAQ page regularly.

If you have questions that are not answered on the FAQ page, please contact the following:

  • For questions about a specific course, contact the instructor of that course.
  • For questions about an academic requirement or about experiential learning (internships, rotations, student teaching, etc.), contact your college dean’s office.
  • For all other academic questions, contact deanofstudents@butler.edu

In closing, I want to acknowledge that the disruption we are experiencing due to the global health threat is challenging for you. Please know that Butler’s faculty, staff, and administration are working very hard to ensure you are able to complete your coursework this semester and make good progress toward your degrees.  

Sincerely,

 

Dr. Morris

Kathryn A. Morris, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

 

March 13, 2020—Message to Students from Vice President, Student Affairs

Dear Butler Students,

We continue to monitor the ongoing and rapidly evolving Coronavirus pandemic. Our top priority remains the health, safety, and well-being of the Butler community. As you have read in previous campus communications, we are taking decisive, informed action to limit the spread of COVID-19. The University remains open and operational with appropriate measures to protect the health of the Butler community.

The steps we are taking are intended to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Based on the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we are asking students to take steps to keep themselves and others safe, including maintaining distance from each other. This is imperative now, during our extended spring break, and as we transition to the period of online education.

In order for us to provide the best support for our students and keep our campus safe during this unprecedented time, it is important for you to complete this COVID-19 form which asks a few health screening questions and also let us know of your intentions to return to campus, or not, following the extended spring break.

Many of you have reached out seeking information about what to do in the weeks ahead as we prepare for online instruction. Answers to questions are available on this Student FAQ webpage that has been added to Butler’s Coronavirus resource page. It addresses returning to residence halls, getting access to personal belongings, dining information, and other non-academic related matters that have risen to the top of our conversations with students and parents.

Please take care of yourself and each other.

Sincerely,

Frank E. Ross III, PhD
Vice President for Student Affairs

March 13, 2020—COVID-19 Update

The purpose of this message is to provide an important update regarding additional steps we are taking in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

The updates are based upon recent directives from the Indiana Governor’s Office, the NCAA, the BIG EAST, and federal and state governmental health agencies as well as decisions made by Butler’s Crisis Management Team. We recognize the safety measures we are taking may be deeply disappointing, but our highest priority is the health and safety of our campus community. 

Listed below are the updates, effective immediately. 

  • All Butler Arts & Events Center Programs Are Canceled through at least April 4, as a result of Governor Holcomb’s new restrictions on “non-essential” gatherings of more than 250 people. This includes not only Butler-sponsored events, but also events at Clowes Memorial Hall and Schrott Center for the Arts. Ticket holders will be notified by email. Visit ButlerArtsCenter.org for more details.
  • All Butler Athletics Spring Competitions Are Canceled. The NCAA and BIG EAST have canceled Division 1 men’s and women’s 2020 basketball tournaments, as well as all other winter and spring championships. Butler practices and training sessions for all sports have also been paused through at least through April 4, and as a result, our athletics facilities will be closed during this time period. 
  • Health and Recreation Complex Is Closed through April 4. If you have a locker and need to retrieve your personal belongings, contacthrc@butler.edu. Meanwhile, Health Services (317-940-9385) and the Sexual Assault Response and Prevention (SARP) Office will remain open. 
  • A Work-From-Home Option is available through April 4 with supervisor approval. Supervisors should determine what a work-from-home plan will look like for individuals who work in their offices/departments, remaining mindful that the campus remains open and that departments/offices should be staffed during this time. Reducing the number of employees in the workplace is a critical step to protect the health of our colleagues whose jobs cannot be performed from home. If employees have a health condition that places them at greater risk of complications from COVID-19 as defined by CDC guidelines, they should contact Human Resources to discuss their situation. More information about our work-from-home option will be shared with department/division leadership on Monday, March 16. 

As you saw in an earlier communication, we are extending Spring Break through Wednesday, March 18 for all students. Then, classes will resume but will be conducted through virtual instruction on March 19 through at least April 4. Students will get information about those online classes by the end of day on March 18. The Division of Student Affairs will be contacting all Butler students via email today with more information relevant to student life, as well as the request for students to indicate their housing intentions during the online learning period.

Please remember that ‘social distancing’ is essential to controlling a viral pandemic. Avoiding contact with other people will reduce the spread of the disease. Social distancing means staying at least six feet away from other people (whenever possible), limiting social engagements, and avoiding crowds and mass gatherings. When going out, try to avoid peak hours. And, of course, be diligent about washing your hands and avoid touching your face.

As you know, we are experiencing an unprecedented situation that is fluid and changing daily. Nonetheless, we will do our best to make decisions, answer questions, and keep the community apprised. Please visit our webpage for answers to frequently asked questions, ongoing updates, and additional information. 

March 12, 2020 Message from President Danko to Campus Community

An Important Message to the Butler Community

From President James M. Danko
March 12, 2020

 

Dear Butler Community, 
 
I hope you have had the opportunity to read my message from last evening regarding immediate steps we are taking in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). If not, I encourage you to visit our website where you can find the message, along with other relevant and up-to-date information.

My sincere thanks to the dedicated people at Butler who have been working tirelessly as we monitor this public health crisis and developing plans for our campus. Our efforts are being done with the highest regard for the greater good of the Butler community as well as the people who live in the surrounding region and are also affected by this dangerous virus. 

The announcement yesterday was the first of many as we address a constantly changing situation involving significant uncertainty ahead. I am sure many of you have questions and, quite frankly, there are some that we are still contemplating as the situation unfolds. Nonetheless, we will do our best to make decisions and keep the community apprised. 

For the moment, however, I would like to simply take pause from the planning and logistics, and provide some thoughts on the current global crisis, our campus situation, and the impact it is having on each of us in a personal and emotional way.

Certainly the Butler community—along with other communities across the nation and the globe—is confronting some very serious challenges. I understand that the never-ending stream of disturbing news, cancellations, and changes to life as we know it weigh heavily on many of us. Indeed, the next few weeks, perhaps months, may be unlike anything we have experienced in our lifetime.

At the same time, I am confident that together we will reach the other side of this crisis and that campus life will return to normal. The preventative measures being taken by organizations such as cities, universities, and sports leagues are critical to confronting this health emergency. At this point, as medical experts work toward positive solutions—which I am confident they will—the best course of action in defeating this outbreak is to undertake aggressive public measures to slow the spread of the virus and to protect our health system from undue burden.

The steps that Butler is taking are intended to reduce the risk of spreading the virus and minimize the number of people sick at any one time. I recognize that young, healthy students who are at low risk comprise the largest population of our community. However, such individuals can still contract and unknowingly spread the virus, which threatens those who are at higher risk—including those students who are immuno-compromised by serious illness or medication.

To our students, especially those who participate in hands-on learning experiences, practices, performances, athletics, and many other activities that cannot be conducted online, I know the safety measures we have taken may be deeply disappointing. You have worked extraordinarily hard to engage in these opportunities, and I regret that this period of your college experience is subject to such uncertainty. As a parent and as your president, I wish I could prevent this. But my highest priority is to keep you safe. 

Unfortunately, you are now one of the generations of Butler students that has had to face a serious public crisis. Although today’s particular health emergency is unprecedented, previous crises faced by Butler students have included wars, illnesses, and disasters, all of which disrupted life and learning and necessitated sacrifices by our community.

You may hear from loved ones that the resilience you gain during periods of hardship will make you stronger in the long run. I can attest to the wisdom of this adage, but also appreciate the fact that hardship is quite distressing at the time it is occurring. Many of us from older generations who have lived through periods of crisis know that together, our Butler community will successfully navigate these uncharted waters. And by joining the effort to mitigate the spread of this disease, you are actually helping to save lives.

To our faculty and staff, I want to thank you for your support, flexibility, and willingness to roll up your sleeves as we do our absolute best on behalf of our students. I recognize that you are doing the great work of the University, in pursuit of our educational mission and the well-being of our students, all while you may be experiencing your own anxiety and uncertainty. I consider myself fortunate to be working alongside you through this challenge, and can’t imagine a group of academic professionals better positioned for success. I am committed to ensuring the University does everything it can to provide support to you and your families.

I ask all of you for your understanding as our plans evolve and change. We have caring and talented people assessing the appropriate course of action for Butler University, but I recognize that our plans may have unexpected ramifications and unintended consequences. I can assure you that while we do not have perfect vision of the manner in which this crisis will be resolved or when our campus life will return to normal, we are doing our absolute best to ensure the well-being of our campus and greater community. I ask for your patience and, as always, welcome your thoughts, questions, and suggestions.

Best regards,

James M. Danko
President, Butler University

March 11, 2020: COVID-19 Update: Extension of spring break, transition to virtual learning

Message to the Butler University Community

From President James M. Danko

March 11, 2020

 

As we all closely monitor the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), I am writing to share an important update on the situation and our plans for Butler University. Our campus leadership and incident response teams have been continuously assessing this unprecedented health crisis, which has resulted in the development of the action plan below. As part of the process, we have been in regular communication with local and state health departments and have monitored guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The steps I am announcing this evening are being taken with the highest concern for the health, safety, and wellness of our campus community, and I believe are most appropriate, given what we know at this point in time.

While there are currently no confirmed cases at Butler University, we have decided to extend Spring Break through Wednesday, March 18 for students (no classes) and all classes will be conducted through virtual instruction from Thursday, March 19 through at least Saturday, April 4.

  • The three-day extension of spring break for students (March 16–18) will allow faculty additional time to prepare for a successful transition to an entirely online delivery of instruction. Faculty will be hearing more regarding the plans for March 16­–18 from Dr. Kathryn Morris, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
  • Students will receive information about how online classes will be administered by the end of the day on Wednesday, March 18, and how their advising will be conducted by the end of the day on Friday, March 20. 
  • We will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation and will decide no later than Saturday, April 4 whether to resume in-person classes.

During this time, Butler’s campus will remain open.

  • We recognize that some students will elect to remain home to take their online courses, whereas others may choose to remain on campus. Student Affairs will communicate with students next week to learn of their intentions.
  • University services—including residence halls, dining facilities, academic support services, and Health Services—will remain open during this time. However, students should contact Health Services if they (i) are sick or experiencing symptoms of an illness; (ii) have been exposed to someone with COVID-19; or (iii) have recently traveled to a Level 3 country as categorized by the CDC.    
  • Our employees are essential to maintaining campus operations and should report to work as usual unless they satisfy any of the three criteria listed above. If employees have a health condition that places them at greater risk of complications from COVID-19 as defined by CDC guidelines, they should contact Human Resources to discuss their situation.

Meetings, events, and other gatherings will be limited.

  • Butler University-sponsored events of more than 50 people will be suspended until further notice. This includes campus lectures, meetings, conferences, admissions events, and student-run events.
  • We are working closely with the BIG EAST and the NCAA regarding Butler Athletics (practices and games). Athletics operations and non-Butler sponsored events, including those at the Butler Arts and Events Center (e.g., Clowes Hall) remain as planned unless otherwise noted.  
  • The University encourages community members to minimize social interactions in large groups, both on- and off-campus, and we are increasing preventative measures to clean campus facilities.  

University-related travel is suspended, unless deemed critical.

  • We are suspending all University-related travel, both international and domestic, until further notice unless deemed critical. Dean or Vice President approval is required for any travel.
  • The University has previously announced that it is not supporting University travel to countries with a CDC travel advisory of a Level 3 (China, South Korea, Iran, and Italy).
  • Anyone traveling for personal reasons is urged to closely monitor their destination and consult the CDC website for restrictions and quarantine information upon arrival or return.

Let me assure the community that I, personally, along with other leaders across campus, understand that these actions will cause inconvenience and disruption. However, we believe these precautionary actions are necessary to protect the Butler community. As you know, the situation is fluid and changing daily, so we will continue to actively monitor the situation and respond accordingly. Please visit our webpage for ongoing updates.

If you have questions not answered by the website, contact information is listed below.

  • For health-related questions, contact Health Services at healthservices@butler.edu or 317-940-9385.
  • For academic-related questions, students should contact their instructors, and faculty should contact their Dean.  
  • For study abroad questions, contact the Center for Global Education.
  • For general student-related questions, contact deanofstudents@butler.edu.
  • For questions related to student clubs and other activities, contact Student Involvement and Leadership at 317-940-9262 or involvement@butler.edu.
  • For staff questions, contact the Office of Human Resources at askhr@butler.edu or 317-940-9355.

Sincerely,

James M. Danko
President, Butler University

March 6, 2020 Message from President Danko to Campus Community

Dear Butler Community, 

Today, the Indiana State Department of Health announced that Indiana has its first presumptive positive case of COVID-19, found in a Marion County resident with a recent history of travel to Boston. I want to assure the Butler community that we have been actively engaged in preparing for this eventuality.

As always, the health, safety, and wellbeing of our campus community is our top priority. We remain in ongoing communication with local and state health departments and have been monitoring guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with careful attention to the impact COVID-19 could have on our campus. Our webpage and FAQs include information about how to keep yourself healthy, and updates on Butler’s response to the coronavirus situation.

Because this is a rapidly evolving situation, the University’s incident response team has been meeting on a daily basis to assess conditions and develop response plans for a variety of possible scenarios. To prepare for a situation that might disrupt campus operations, Provost Morris has asked faculty to consider ways to use technology for distance learning to allow our students to continue their studies. 

Despite the fact that we are preparing for various scenarios, at this time, our campus operations including classes, events, and activities will continue as normal. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will respond accordingly. And remember, please visit our webpage, and review CDC travel guidelines for more information.

As we always do, we will come together as a community to support one another through this situation. It’s The Butler Way.

Sincerely,

James M. Danko
President, Butler University

March 6, 2020 Message to Students

Dear Students,

As Butler’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, I want to touch base as we transition into Spring Break today after classes conclude. Regardless of whether you are going home, staying local, or traveling with a Butler program or on your own, I want to encourage you to exercise extra precautions over the next week to maintain your good health as the coronavirus continues to spread within the United States and elsewhere around the world. Our webpage and FAQs include good information about how to keep yourself healthy and updates on Butler’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.

There are not currently any known cases of coronavirus in Indiana, and currently we are planning for spring semester to continue as usual after spring break. However, and as our students who were studying abroad in Italy this semester know first-hand, when the virus surfaces in a community, efforts to curtail the spread of the virus can disrupt daily life and lead universities to cancel classes for a period of time. If this were to happen in Indianapolis and at Butler, we would do everything in our power to allow you to complete the classes you are enrolled in (e.g., through distance learning facilitated using technological tools like Canvas and Zoom), even if we were unable to hold class meetings on campus. Earlier this week, I asked faculty to begin preparing for the possibility of disruptions to our campus, including potential class cancellations—and to develop alternative ways to deliver class content in the absence of in-person class meetings. 

I am confident that if we find ourselves in a situation that requires extended class cancellations, we will come together as a community to get through that challenge while continuing to support your educational goals. And I am hopeful that our contingency planning will not ever need to be put into place.

With that, let’s go into Spring Break with an optimistic mindset, enjoy the downtime, and return on March 16 ready for a strong second half of the semester. And remember, if you have questions about how to keep yourself healthy, please see our webpage and FAQs.

All the best,

Dr. Morris

February 29, 2020 Update

We remain in ongoing communication with local and state health departments and have been monitoring guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) with careful attention to the impact the coronavirus could have on our campus operations and study abroad programs. As such, we have taken the following measures:  

  1. As of January 2020, we suspended University travel to China until further notice. South Korea, Iran, and Italy were recently included on the CDC list of countries to avoid for nonessential travel. Today we are announcing that we are no longer supporting University travel to these additional countries. At this time, please note there are no Butler students in these countries with the exception of Italy. 
     
  2. We have been in contact with our students in Italy to strongly recommend that they return home to the United States. The complexity of having our students on multiple study abroad programs, which are managed by outside providers at a variety of universities, will result in different situations that will be handled on a case-by-case basis. In most circumstances, the study abroad programs have distance learning opportunities available and we are working closely with the providers to ensure students are supported. 

    We recognize that students will be disappointed about having their study abroad programs cut short, but the health and safety of our students is our top priority. As a precautionary measure, the students returning to the United States from Italy will be required to self-quarantine away from campus for a period of 14 days before returning to campus. 
     

  3. We are closely monitoring guidance coming from the CDC and the U.S. Department of State regarding students currently studying abroad and those preparing to study abroad in upcoming academic terms. At this point in time, all future programs, including spring break and summer study abroad programs, are scheduled to move forward. However, this is a rapidly evolving situation and as relevant information becomes available, we will provide appropriate updates directly to affected students, faculty, and staff and to our campus community.
     
  4. Students who visit Butler Health Services continue to be screened to evaluate the likelihood of exposure to the coronavirus. 

Spring Break Travel Advice

With spring break around the corner, we urge that all students, faculty, and staff pay close attention to the CDC travel guidelines and remain vigilant in practicing precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. The University strongly discourages any personal travel to a location with a CDC Level 3 Travel Advisory (currently China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran). Personal travel to these locations could result in an assessment with a health care provider and a required 14-day self-quarantine upon return.

To help protect the campus community from the spread of coronavirus or any other illness, we strongly encourage employees or students who are not feeling well to stay home or in their residence and not come to work or class until symptoms have subsided. The CDC also recommends the following:  

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

We will continue to keep the campus community informed about any new updates on the coronavirus. In the meantime, please visit the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Indiana State Department of Health for more information. 

In order to help you better understand the coronavirus, how it is transmitted and precautions to take to help prevent the spread of the illness, we are providing a list of Frequently Asked Questions.

January 31, 2020

Butler University is committed to providing our campus community with important information regarding the status of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). 

While no confirmed cases of the virus have been reported at Butler University, we are taking proactive measures by:

  • Screening all student-patients who visit Butler Health Services. The screenings consist of a paper questionnaire to evaluate exposure risk. The exposure criteria that have been identified by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as risk factors for the 2019-nCoV include the following:
    • Fever AND cough/difficulty breathing within the last 14 days in persons who have traveled from Wuhan City, China, or have been in close contact with a person who is under investigation for Coronavirus.
    • Fever OR cough/difficulty breathing within the last 14 days in persons who have had close contact with a person with a laboratory-confirmed diagnosis of Coronavirus.
  • Temporarily suspending University travel to and from China for faculty, staff, and students, but we will continue monitoring the situation and adjust accordingly. No Butler students were studying abroad in China during fall 2019 and we do not have any students in China this semester. If there are any questions regarding future travel to China, please email Jill McKinney, Director of Global Engagement, at jsmckinn@butler.edu
What is Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)?

2019-nCoV is a newly identified Coronavirus that is causing an outbreak of pneumonia illness. It was first identified in December 2019 in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Since then, the virus has been identified in multiple other countries, including the United States.

What is the Risk?

The CDC considers the 2019-nCoV virus a public health concern based on current information. However, the immediate health risk to the general U.S. public is considered low at this time. The CDC and the World Health Organization are closely monitoring the situation and providing ongoing guidance that can be accessed here.

Prevention

There is no vaccine to prevent the 2019-nCoV, and the CDC advises that the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus.

Please remember it is the peak of cold and flu season, so follow these best practices to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

We will continue to keep the campus community informed about any new information about the 2019-nCoV.

For more information regarding 2019-nCoV outbreak, testing, and prevention, review the quick links to the right.