March 16, 2020 - Remote Learning Update

Dear University Community,

These past few weeks have been challenging for us all as we collectively navigate the COVID-19 outbreak. While we are not the only university responding to this unprecedented situation, I can say with certainty that our response has been one of respect, compassion and empathy. Every decision made, every action taken, is to ensure the health, safety and well-being of our campus community.

I am grateful for each of you. Over the past weeks, I have witnessed the tremendous resilience of our students, the steadfast commitment of our staff and the collaborative focus of our faculty to make sure our academic mission continues. At every level of our university, we are working without pause to ensure that the support of our students and the safety of our community are at the forefront as we continue to transform lives.

I write today to provide important updates as we move forward, together.

On Friday, the University of Missouri System announced the suspension of all in-person classes for the remainder of the spring semester with courses moving to remote learning this week. Any exceptions to this – namely clinical courses in nursing and optometry – will be communicated to students by the academic units.

Understandably, this change requires ongoing and extraordinary efforts to move quickly into remote learning. While UMSL is uniquely positioned to lead in this area, as shared yesterday, we view this week as a soft launch to provide an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to familiarize themselves with these new tools and practices. During this week, there will be no penalties for missed connections, assignments, tests or quizzes. It is important for faculty to communicate with their students and for students to provide input to their faculty to address any situations that may arise.

Please know that we are dedicated to providing high-quality remote learning for our students and have already shared a number of key resources. Among them, the Center for Teaching and Learning has created a Keep Learning site for students and a Keep Teaching site for faculty to centralize these resources. We also strongly encourage students to login to Canvas and complete the Online Student Orientation this week.

It is important to note that, with the exception of the recreation center, the university will remain open and operational during this time. This includes computer labs, advising offices, student academic support services, tutoring centers, libraries, residence halls, dining services and all other student services, which will maintain normal hours of operation. We are also prepared to provide individualized support via phone, online and in person to eliminate any disruption in services.

We are committed to the success of our students and their ability to continue academic progress throughout the semester. If you have any concerns or need support during this challenging time, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Beth Eckelkamp, associate provost for student success, at

Finally, we are working diligently to limit the likelihood of transmission on our campus by normalizing social distancing. In addition to the transition of courses to remote formats, we have canceled a number of events and large gatherings including all activities related to intercollegiate athletics. We are also working closely with UM System Human Resources to provide supervisors and employees with guidance and flexibility for working remotely; more information is expected soon.

Please take care of yourselves and others. As always, we will continue to communicate timely information on the university and make continuous updates to our COVID-19 website.


Kristin Sobolik
Interim Chancellor and Provost


Additional Resources

Student health services: Health Services – 314-516-5671

Student services and support: Student Affairs – 314-516-5211

International student services/study abroad: UMSL Global – 314-516-5753

Questions regarding university-sponsored travel: Faculty: Academic Affairs – 314-516-5371, Staff: Human Resources – 314-516-5805

Equal employment/educational opportunity: Human Resources – 314-516-4538

Guideline on student or other participant international travel or study abroad: CRR 210.070

Faculty and staff insurance for authorized international business travel

Human Resources Manual Virus-Related Outbreak Concerns

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) international travel alert program