Gallagher announces plans to further shutdown campus

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Sarah Cutshall | Visual Editor

Chancellor Patrick Gallagher

By Jon Moss and Mary Rose O'Donnell

Chancellor Patrick Gallagher announced in a Wednesday email that the University will further reduce its operating presence in the coming days, due to the global SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. The changes will take full effect by Friday at 5 p.m.

Gallagher previously announced that classes would move online indefinitely beginning Monday, and other University administrators urged students to “not return” to campus and move out of residence halls. The ACC cancelled the spring season on Tuesday.

“I realize that these changes are significant — and that they limit or eliminate many of the things that we associate with being a university community,” Gallagher said. “We face an unprecedented challenge, and we have a responsibility to do everything we can — both as individuals and as an institution — to slow the spread of this pandemic.”

Gallagher said in the email that Rob Rutenbar, the senior vice chancellor for research, will issue an announcement shortly regarding a plan to reduce research-related activities on campus. Research leaders and faculty members will work with their respective schools and campuses to identify which research projects are essential and must be retained. Pitt will restrict access to labs and other research facilities to those with a specific need to be on campus.

Kenyon Bonner, the vice provost and dean of students, announced in a separate email that students choosing to remain on campus in residence halls will face numerous new restrictions. These include possibly being asked to relocate rooms or residence halls, as well as restricting residence hall access to students who have registered with Panther Central to remain on campus.

Bonner also said in the email that multiple on-campus support facilities will reduce their hours. These facilities and their hours are:

 

  • Panther Central: Will be open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. this Thursday and Friday, and then operate Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Hillman Library: Will close to visitors Wednesday at 5 p.m.
  • Food services: Available for carry-out dining only
  • Student Health Services: Available by phone, and a medical professional will provide medical advice and appropriate local referrals to students
  • University Counseling Center: Available by phone or email, and counselors will provide appropriate online support and referrals to students

 

Most faculty and staff will work from home after these changes are in effect, and University faculty and staff will continue to be paid as usual. David DeJong, the vice chancellor for human resources, will provide information to faculty and staff to assist in this transition.

The University will also take measures to ensure that employees who are identified as essential and must remain on campus will be supported and are working in a safe environment. These measures include minimizing staffing, staggering schedules, requiring minimum distances between individuals, disinfection and personal protective equipment.

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