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UMass Lowell Extends Virtual Learning Through End of Semester

By Joseph Hartman

Chancellor Moloney wrote to you yesterday about the speed of change surrounding our response to COVID-19 and today that change continues to accelerate.

UMass Lowell will now extend virtual learning through the end of the semester. While this doesn’t alter the extensive preparations already under way by our faculty, students and support staff, we hope this announcement will create a clearer long-term timeline as we all work to deliver high-quality education and service in a challenging environment.

Please regularly check our coronavirus webpage. The page is updated many times a day with the newest information on our response and current campus operations.

This extension of virtual learning also changes our plans for students living in the residence halls. Only students with extenuating circumstances will be able to continue living on campus. Residence Life will be communicating with residential students today about a move-out process that minimizes the number of students on campus at any given time.

We know that faculty are busy transforming their classes to a remote learning environment.  Resources are continuously being added to the Continuity of Learning website. With classes starting Wednesday, faculty are reminded to please contact their students (via Blackboard or SiS) as soon as possible about their teaching plans for the remainder of the semester, even if the details are not yet complete.

While faculty are moving their courses to remote learning formats, students should prepare for learning in this new format. We have created a webpage dedicated to technology assistance for students and will add more tutorials and videos as we move forward. Students can access their new/existing on-campus Blackboard course at Previously on-campus courses should follow the “On-Campus Course Login” link while previously online courses should follow the “Online & Continuing Education Login” link.

During this challenging time, students can reach out to faculty and professional advisors for support. Students can find their advisor by logging into the NOW dashboard and going to Academics. Students can also email the Centers for Learning for general advising questions at Please note that Disability Services and the Libraries remain open and available.

We are also moving CLASS tutoring services online with ZOOM video sessions starting on Wednesday. Offerings will be added as they are developed. Students can also request tutoring assistance to allow us to respond to individual needs.

While no decisions have been made regarding Commencement exercises in May, we also recognize that we will need to review its status in the weeks ahead.

At this time, there is no change to our current plan for staff that the chancellor announced Friday afternoon. Staff, working through their supervisors, who are able to work from home should continue to plan to do so through at least Friday, April 3. We will reevaluate our plan for staff remote work at that point.

As the Chancellor wrote yesterday, the campus is not closed. Faculty and staff who need to access the campus to gather resources or belongings may do so, but please coordinate with your supervisor. The measures we are taking are part of our continuing effort to follow Centers for Disease Control and Massachusetts Department of Public Health guidance to minimize our population density on campus, maximize social distancing and ensure we continue to deliver a high-quality education to students.

In the days ahead, I ask for your patience as we all work through some false starts and good ideas that just don’t pan out. Be supportive of each other. Everyone is doing their best to turn a difficult situation into a success and I have no doubt we will quickly adjust to our temporary new reality. Thank you all for your incredible work.