Dear UWest students,

Many of you are waiting to have important questions answered. Thank you for your patience and attention during these trying times. Please take some time to read through this information. Also note that currently we continue to have no presumptive or confirmed cases of novel coronavirus on our campus.

I would like to go ahead and address your most pressing questions now. More messages and details will certainly be coming. As always, the university’s main concerns are for your health and well-being as well as your learning and academic progress.

Classes online until end of semester

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 health emergency, UWest classes are going online as of today (Wednesday, March 18) and will remain so until the end of the semester. Your faculty have been working very hard to shift to this alternative mode of instruction. Please bear with them as they make the transition, and keep checking your email. You will still earn credit for courses/degrees/certificates as long as you pass the requirements of your courses.

Global reach

If you have internet access you can connect to uwestonline.uwest.edu from anywhere in the world. If you are an international student or a student who is not from the local area, you may be planning to return to your home or another place away from the campus. You may, of course, do so. Please keep in touch with Registrar jeanetta@uwest.edu or lorenag@uwest.edu and your professors if you do so, just so they know that you might be spending some time traveling and are unable to access your classes during that time. If you’ve already left, please check in with us, too!

Problems accessing courses

Be in touch with your professors if you have any problem accessing your online courses remotely. If you do not have internet access or lack the technology needed to continue to pursue your classes online, please let us know right away. You can respond to me or let any of your professors know and we will support you and guide you on how to proceed. You may also be able to receive free household internet access.

On-campus residents

Our residence halls and the cafeteria remain open. All residents are expected to comply with the interim housing safety measures that were announced on Monday, March 16. Those include that residence halls may be accessed by current residents and staff members only until further notice. No non-resident guests are allowed. If you plan to move out, you must go through the required check-out procedure. This is important so that we have a record of when you left and so that we can remain in touch with you and provide you up-to-date info and support. As before, if you are ill with fever and/or cough, inform the Housing Staff or Eddie Escalante or me right away while staying in your room. Keep a look out for more updates via email or Line.

International students

SEVIS is allowing all schools with F-1 students to keep in Active status the I-20s of students who leave the US to finish the semester online from outside the US. When you return, you can use that I-20 and a valid F-1 visa to re-enter the US. But you must get your travel signature first. Of course, re-entry is never 100% guaranteed because the officers of Customs and Border Protection make the decision about entry. Also, as long as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues, there may be travel restrictions that prevent entry to the US. You should consider all of these things when making your decision to leave or stay. Muge Meisenholder and I are here to help you with specific questions. You should, of course, prioritize your safety and well-being above all else. In any case, don’t leave without letting Muge mugem@uwest.edu know so that you can get the travel signature and Muge can add your travel info in SEVIS. You can just email her or call 626.571.8811 ext. 3322 for help. She will continue to update you with important info.

Exchange and 2+2 students

Your home schools would like to be informed of your plans. We can help pass that information to them. Again, Muge is a good contact person. She will make sure the appropriate people at UWest and at your home school are informed.

Don’t forget

Finally, continue to practice deep social distancing and limit your direct contacts with others as much as possible. Follow the guidelines of the CDC for safe behavior during this pandemic. The best advice we can give at this point is for everyone to limit their direct contact with others to the most essential needs. Do as much as you can remotely.

UWest remains open for business with deep social distancing measures in place. Note that the Café and Fitness Center are closed. Access to the Residence Halls is limited to current residents only. Various UWest offices will continue to reach out to you with important information and support services. Email or call them if you need assistance with anything.

Finally, please stay tuned and be well! Keep yourself informed but don’t overload. Eat, stay hydrated, exercise appropriately, relax, and get your rest. And look out for one another by staying connected via social media, phone, and text. I will do my best to respond to any messages you send me as soon as I can and know that my colleagues will do the same.

Thank you very much!

Best,

Vanessa R. Karam

Chief Student Services Officer