After First Week of Fall 2020 Classes

From: “Nina Mikhalevsky (nmik)” <>
Date: Friday, August 28, 2020 at 4:10 PM
To: “Nina Mikhalevsky (nmik)” <>
Subject: Message from the Provost

Dear Colleagues,

I hope that your first week of classes went well and I know that our students are excited and energized about being back in class, if not on campus. I want to give you some brief updates, reminders, and information.

As you identify students who face challenges participating in your remote classes or completing their work because they have issues which involve hardware, software, or internet connectivity, please pass their names and your understanding of the issue to Jeff McClurken and Tim O’Donnell. So far, we have been able to support dozens of students through a number of different approaches and will continue to do so to the extent possible.

If you are teaching a class listed as synchronous in the course schedule, it is imperative that your students have a schedule with the specific classes that are meeting synchronously, if not all the class periods are meeting. This information needs to be on the syllabus and posted in Canvas. If you have to cancel a scheduled synchronous class, that is no different than cancelling a regularly scheduled in-person class and requires the same kinds of notifications.

Please make sure all your course information continues to be up to date in Canvas whenever you make changes and adjustments. Even if you email all the students in a class about changes, it is important that your Canvas site also be up to date.

Unfortunately, this week we had an instance of a class disrupted by a “zoombomb” when an unauthorized person gained access. As you know, these actions have occurred at many other institutions and all faculty should make sure they have the appropriate security settings. There are ways to secure your Zoom meetings as well as techniques you can employ to deal with Zoombombing and the disruptions they can cause. Digital Learning Support has created this guide to help everyone understand the Zoom security options available by default, ways you can increase security if you choose to do so, and steps to take if you have a Zoombomber in your meeting.  DLS staff is also available to help any faculty member that has questions about Zoom security settings – just contact them at

Finally, please remember that all faculty and staff must do the Eagle Health Survey. For clarification about when you must do it, please see the weekly update from the COVID-19 Implementation Team. For those of you teaching morning classes, please also remind your students to do the Eagle Health Survey.

Do not hesitate to reach out to me if you need information about something or have any questions or concerns.  I hope you all have a restful weekend.

Best wishes,


Nina Mikhalevsky
University of Mary Washington
Fredericksburg, VA 22401