NSHE Chancellor Thom Reilly Issues Memorandum on COVID-19 – March 19, 2020

To:  The Nevada System of Higher Education

From:  Thom Reilly, Chancellor

CC: The Nevada Board of Regents

Date:  March 19, 2020

Re:  Memorandum on COVID-19

This week has been unprecedented in the history of Nevada and Nevada’s public higher education system. The Board of Regents and I want to start by thanking you for all of your hard work and efforts as we move into uncharted territory to keep our students, faculty, staff, and campus communities safe and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

For weeks, the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) has worked swiftly and diligently to switch to remote instruction and halt face-to-face business operations.

These transitions have been difficult, challenging, and disruptive. But I am confident we will meet these challenges head on, and the benefits cannot be understated. The move to remote instruction will allow our students to not lose credits. I want to remind students and faculty to remain in touch with their institutions for support for remote instruction.

And by temporarily halting face-to-face business operations, non-essential employees working from home or remotely are still getting paid, which will help our economy keep moving and eventually recover.

We have heard from many of you who have voiced concerns about these changes and disruptions, and I want you to know I value your input. I realize the speed and magnitude of what has occurred over the last few days can be unsettling and frustrating.

We have made these extraordinary decisions to ensure the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, staff, and campus communities.

NSHE and the Board of Regents will continue working collaboratively with the Office of Governor Sisolak and all county, state, and federal health officials regarding COVID-19.  The health and well-being of Nevada’s public higher education community continues to be our utmost priority in this evolving situation.  And we continue to encourage everyone to follow the guidelines and advisories issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and state authorities.

Rising to challenges is what higher education is truly about.  The challenges we have faced over the past several weeks have impacted our classrooms, workplaces, homes, and all of our daily lives.  In a short amount of time, we have had to cancel plans, postpone trips, and rethink how we learn, teach, work, communicate, and live.  But I would like to thank all students, faculty, and members of the entire NSHE and Nevada community for rising together and meeting the challenges we are facing.

In a time span of only a few weeks, we have transitioned the delivery of higher education of more than 110,000 NSHE students and the work place of approximately 12,000 NSHE employees to remote instruction and home-based work.  We’ve done this to protect the health and safety of students, faculty, and the communities we live in and serve.  This move is unprecedented in our State’s history.  While we have many issues left to resolve, I am proud of the tremendous hard work from each of our institutions that has occurred.

On behalf of the Board of Regents, I want to thank you. Working together, we will do our part to keep our communities safe and Nevada strong.