March 6, 2020 - 4:06pm

Dear Colleagues:

Thank you all for the support of our students in their academic endeavors while also dealing with the stress brought on by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Our management of the COVID-19 threat requires daily adjustments as information and circumstances evolve.

In meeting the needs of our students, I want to encourage you to continue to do what so many of you are already doing:  be on the watch for students who may be feeling ill, express concern for their well-being, and suggest to them options for safeguarding their health.  You see our students daily.  As you so often do, please continue to refer them to health services if you observe they are showing flu-like symptoms and, by all means, alert us if they aren’t attending classes. 

To date, we have had no cases of COVID-19 in our community but we are closely following guidance from the CDC in order to prepare for what we hope is the unlikely need to cancel face-to-face classes and ensure the continuity of our classes and success of our students.

I would like all faculty to put together a plan for how they would continue the teaching of their courses in the event we need to cancel the face-to-face meetings. These plans should be shared with department chairs for review.

In order to facilitate the development of these academic continuity plans we provide the following information and resources.

  • Approximately two thirds of our faculty are currently using Blackboard in their face-to-face courses.
  • Others are using other online tools for information dissemination and their course activities.
  • All courses automatically have a Blackboard space created. Blackboard can be accessed through this link  using your Laker NetID and password.
  • If you're new to using Blackboard, there are substantial step by step instructions available on the campus Blackboard support page.
  • Lecture capture can be used to create instruction available on demand. A Panopto resource web site provides support and direction on how to get started. 
  • These resources from SUNY Purchase: Teaching during campus closure, and Stony Brook University:  Keep Teaching)
  • Blackboard is hosting a webinar on Tuesday, March 10, register at “Preparing to scale online teaching and learning during Coronavirus.” According to their e-mail invitation, the session will “provide suggested practices and share experiences from other institutions who have transitioned to online during times of crisis."
  • Stay tuned for information regarding upcoming workshops in the coming weeks. We have two workshops on Blackboard Collaborate scheduled for Tuesday (4-5) and Wednesday (1:50-2:50) both in the Library classroom 101. Faculty and staff have also been identified who will be working closely with those who wish to begin utilizing online tools and need assistance.
  • Our COVID-19 information site is at
  • As more resources become available, we will share these out.


This will not be the last update on the virus. Please be on the watch for communication from campus offices. If I can answer specific questions, please feel free to reach out to my office at 315-312-2290. We realize that there is a lot to process and we will continue to provide the most accurate information possible. Please know how much I appreciate your continued efforts to support our students.


Scott R. Furlong
Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs
SUNY Oswego