3-11-20 Message to Community


There is a lot of information to share so here is a quick summary of today's update:

Quick Summary
  1. Miami is RISING to the challenge. Celebrate and share early wins!
  2. Good individual decisions will determine the course of the COVID-19 outbreak;
  3. Essential domestic and international travel only;
  4. FERPA still counts! Make sure materials in Canvas do not expose confidential information;
  5. Classes are still in session; the university is still open. Continue holding office hours and doing everything you need to do, but use Canvas and WebEx where possible;
  6. Labs should be transitioned to remote delivery where possible. They cannot be mandatory for students to attend in person;
  7. Internships and similar placements;
  8. Please direct questions of your immediate supervisor. Avoid emailing the president directly;
  9. Good news.

Miami is RISING to this challenge!

Yesterday we had a series of meetings with many members of the Miami University community, and I was heartened and impressed with the level of commitment and collaboration that we are already seeing around campus. I have heard of faculty working together to help each other, of departments we thought would be facing substantial challenges working to overcome them, and of our support centers making heroic efforts to quickly ramp up support. I am not surprised, but it is gratifying to see the depth of commitment we as a university have to continuing our high level of performance regardless of circumstance. As a reminder, there is a Continuity of Education website where you can find all the resources we currently have available.

We need to make good decisions to slow the spread of COVID-19

I want to pause and review how we have arrived at this moment, facing this particular set of ever-evolving challenges. First, let us acknowledge that none of us expected to be in this position even a week ago. We are faced with an unprecedented and unwelcome but nevertheless grave public health situation. Our public health partners, our health system friends, and our state officials have been frequently communicating recommendations based on the best information we all have at any given moment.

We are making the best decisions we can at any given moment. Many decisions we have to make are disappointing or disruptive, but our public health officials have said that limiting social contact is critical to slowing or stopping this virus. If we can drastically limit transmission for a period of a few weeks, we may be able to stop the threat and get back to business as usual. Every unnecessary gathering, whether at the university or socially, risks transmission of the virus to new hosts which then extends the time we need to be taking these drastic actions. We must eliminate any non-essential gatherings or events immediately. We can reschedule them after the crisis has passed, hold them remotely, or cancel them.

Essential Domestic and International Travel (President Crawford's 3.11 statement)

Following Governor DeWine’s recommendations- the University is announcing the following new travel restrictions and reporting requirements:

University Sponsored or Supported Travel

  • All University sponsored or supported international travel for students, faculty and staff is suspended for the balance of the spring semester.
  • All University sponsored or supported domestic travel is limited to essential travel and must be approved by the divisional vice-president.

Personal Travel

  • All Miami faculty, staff and students are urged to closely evaluate the risks of all personal travel (domestic, international or cruise ship) and to change or cancel personal travel plans as appropriate.
  • Those employees and students who do decide to travel internationally are required to report their travel to the University, before departure, at the following email address

Academic Affairs must curtail all but the most essential travel, either domestically or internationally. By essential, I mean where significant harm will come to our enterprise or to an individual by delaying or cancelling the travel. If someone is inconvenienced, or if a research project is delayed by a few weeks, that does not rise to the level of essential. Anything deemed non-essential should be rescheduled, moved to remote delivery like WebEx, or cancelled. Any travel must be approved by the Provost or another vice president in the reporting chain.

FERPA still needs to be honored
As we work to provide remote instruction for our students, please remember that the University rules and policies must be adhered to in all circumstances, including those governing the privacy of student education records. The federal Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act, commonly referred to as FERPA, requires that we maintain the privacy of all education records, which are broadly defined to include any information we maintain about our students. This includes course schedules, grade reports, bursar’s bill, student financial aid, academic information and disciplinary records.

Posting grades by name, social security number or Banner ID# using any medium or method in which students can view the grades of other students is a FERPA violation. In an online environment, you can be FERPA compliant by posting grades by using the Canvas gradebook. An overview of using the Canvas Gradebook is a great place to start

Continue doing everything you routinely do- just try to do it remotely

We remain open and classes are in session. However, in the hope of serving the public health needs of the moment, we have attempted to move as much to remote delivery as quickly as possible. You still need to hold office hours, but consider holding them with WebEx, phone call, email/chat options, etc. Our students need you as much or more than before!

Guidance for labs and similar sections

I apologize for generating confusion around labs, studios, etc. We have told students that we are taking our operations to remote delivery.  Some will opt to leave Oxford. Thus, we cannot mandate that students attend face-to-face labs, studios, etc. We need to quickly transition to remote delivery of these experiences as best we can, or provide alternative pathways to mastery of course objectives, as quickly as possible. We appreciate your efforts and collegial collaboration in sharing with each other what is possible and what works. Keep up the sharing!

Internships, clinical placements, etc.

Governor DeWine has indicated today that we need to be very protective of facilities like assisted living and nursing homes. It is highly likely that these internships and placements will be discontinued and it is probably time now to prepare for this eventuality. Other internships are subject to decisions based on the organizations and companies hosting these experiences. Companies may become more strict about having people gathering in person.

Please do not email the President directly!

I know our President is accessible and works tirelessly to remain engaged with the university community. That does not mean he is best equipped to respond to questions about specific situations. Please ask your direct supervisor if you have questions; they will take questions up the reporting chain until a definitive answer is received. Students, please start with your instructors, advisors, etc. Faculty, please start with your department chair,etc.  They are best equipped to make good decisions based on the particular realities of the local conditions.


We have seen the best come out of our impressive faculty and staff during these past few days. I have heard that our Chemistry department is already to go with remote delivery. Our English department has been working collaboratively to help each other with their particular challenges. Nursing has been keeping me informed of how they are serving their students in their unique situation. Some of us visited the call center last night to provide guidance and thank them for working endless hours often fielding questions for very angry members of our community. There are hundreds of individual stories of Miamians showing leadership and doing good things. Please keep doing the right thing, and helping each other serve our mission in this challenging time.

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne