A Message from Dean Hongtao Yu Concerning COVID-19

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A Message from Dean Hongtao Yu Concerning COVID-19
School of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences
March 24, 2020

Dear SCMNS faculty, staff and students:

As circumstances surrounding the spread of COVID-19 continue to develop, Morgan State University is taking active and aggressive steps to promote the well-being of our community members and to combat the spread of disease. Please continue to check the University’s COVID-19 website regularly and stay in frequent communication with your instructors and/or supervisors for important updates and directives. The information below provides a summary of communications and directives as of March 24, 2020.


Continuity of Operations:

  • Check your Morgan email frequently. This is our primary means of communication, and the University will continue to send updates and directives as circumstances evolve.
  • Telework:
    • At this time, the University remains open, although campus will be closed with limited operations.
    • All employees able to perform their duties remotely must telework. The telework form must be completed by non-faculty employees and it must be approved by the immediate supervisor.
    • Those unable to telework and who are not deemed mission-critical employees will be placed on administrative leave as determined in collaboration with the appropriate supervisors and the Office of Human Resources.
  • Research and Access to Facilities on Campus:
    • All undergraduate student workers and researchers should be given remote work assignments for the remainder of the semester to ensure no interruptions in their employment or adverse financial impact.
    • Graduate student workers and research assistants should be given remote work assignments by their supervisors for the remainder of the semester, unless circumstances warrant an exception. All exceptions must be submitted in writing by the supervisor to the Dean and approved by the Provost.
    • The majority of buildings and facilities on campus will be closed. Others will be accessible on a limited basis under mandatory screening protocols.
    • At accessible buildings, screening staff will control access at entrances. Faculty, staff and students requesting to enter must answer several screening questions. Those who answer "yes" to any screening questions or who refuse to participate in the screening process must be denied access to the building. Employees who refuse to answer screening questions may be placed on unauthorized leave without pay and may be subject to disciplinary action.
    • Research activities should be conducted remotely, unless laboratory experiments, animal care, and other research conditions dictate otherwise. Please be reminded, as per the CDC and State of Maryland guidelines, any meetings in the buildings should be limited to no more than ten people and social distancing guidelines must be adhered to at all times.
    • Open Facilities (subject to screening):
      • Library (accessible only to Morgan students, faculty and staff, M-F 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. only)
      • Washington Service Center (staff only)
      • Montebello Complex (staff only)
      • Rawlings Dining Hall (limited hours with ONLY "grab and go" food options available)
    • Facilities with Limited Access (subject to screening and by appointment only for faculty and staff):
      • Communications Building (home of WEAA)
      • Jenkins on the Academic Quad
      • Schaefer Engineering Bldg.
      • Mitchell Engineering Bldg.
      • Martin D. Jenkins Hall (BSSC)
      • Dixon Research Center
      • PEARL
      • Truth Hall
      • Alumni House
  • If you are ill, please stay home. Faculty, staff, and student workers who are not feeling well should notify their supervisors and use sick leave, or where appropriate, request permission from their supervisors to work remotely. Personal prevention tips are provided on the University’s COVID-19 website.
  • Wherever possible, hold meetings by teleconference. All Morgan faculty, staff and students have access to teleconferencing tools in Google Hangouts Meet and Canvas. See this guide for more information:
  • According to current University guidelines, in-person events through May 6, 2020 are to be cancelled or postponed. Spring 2020 Commencement will be postponed to a later date.
  • Residence Halls:
    • Students who have left campus for Spring Break are mandated not to return to campus. These students should contact the Office of Residence Life to schedule a time to collect their belongings from their rooms.
    • Students currently staying in residence halls should make arrangements with their families/guardians to move out of the residence halls for the remainder of the semester. If relocating would cause you extreme hardship, you my submit a request to the Division of Student Affairs to have your situation evaluated. Please review President Wilson's announcement for more information.

Classes and Instruction:

  • Faculty: review this message from Academic Affairs for important course management information.
  • Classes scheduled for March 11, 12, and 13 are all cancelled. All assignments (exams, presentations, etc.) are to be rescheduled.
  • Classes will resume online beginning March 23 (following Spring Break). Courses will now be held online through the remainder of the 2020 Spring Semester.
  • Courses must be conducted online using the University’s Canvas system. Click here for a guide to hosting your course online:
  • Classes are expected to meet at their regularly scheduled times using the Big Blue Button Conferencing feature in Canvas. (See the guide linked above for more information about setting up and using teleconferencing in Canvas.) Doing so will avoid scheduling conflicts.
  • If you are the instructor of lab course that cannot currently be conducted online, contact your department chairperson for information and assistance.
  • Grades and Registration Delays:
    • Midterm grades will now be due by April 3, 2020 at 11:59 pm
    • The last day to withdraw will now be April 17, 2020 at 11:59 pm
    • Priority registration dates have been pushed back by 2 weeks:
      • April 13: Seniors (90+ earned credits), Graduate Students, Honors, Athletes, Veterans
      • April 17: Juniors (56 – 89 earned credits)
      • April 21: Sophomores (25 – 55 earned credits)
      • April 24: Freshmen (0 – 24 earned credits)
      • April 28: General Registration for All Students

    During this challenging time, please continue to exercise safe habits to protect yourselves and one another from the spread of COVID-19. These protective measures being taken by the Morgan State community are no doubt disruptive, but they are also necessary and can help save lives.

    Let us work together in a spirit of kind, patient, and responsive cooperation as we continue our studies and promote our School’s mission to provide a comprehensive offering of undergraduate, master's and doctoral programs to educate and nurture the next generation of scientists, mathematicians and technologists; to advance the frontiers of science and technology through scientific research and innovation; and to serve the local, regional and global communities.


    Hongtao Yu, PhD
    Dean and Professor of Chemistry
    School of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences
    Morgan State University