Message from the Chair regarding Coronavirus

March 27, 2020

Dear Biology Majors,

We live in challenging times.  As you deal with your changing schedule and way of life, I wanted to give you some updates and information that may be of value.

Life priorities:  This is a time to prioritize yourself, family and friends.  Set up a daily schedule that includes time for exercise and taking the time to obtain resources safely.  Family and friends over 60 may need help shopping.  Maintain social distance and be logical about cleanliness issues.  Here is an excellent link detailing how to grocery shop safely.

Research and Career issues:  At this point, undergraduates are not allowed in the Rankin Complex.  Please talk to your mentor and/or advisor about virtual research opportunities.  Proceed with applications for internships, but maintain a “plan B” to deal with extension of the crisis into the summer.  Use this time to work on self-improvement projects that you have had on the back burner.  Figure out how to turn lemons into lemonade.  Here is a good article on COVID19 with some speculation about how long this will continue.

Food insecurity:  I wanted to make sure you were aware of resources on campus to assist you.  The Dean of Students office has a Case Management capability (see ) and other resources that may be useful.  Below is a link to a list of resources in the Boone area (best to call before going to check for hours).  Please pass this information on to fellow students.

If you have difficulty finding resources, let me know.  Thanks.

Drop date for classes:  The University had decided to allow undergraduate students to drop courses in a different way this semester than other semesters. The university is:

Changing the last date to drop to May 12 at 11:59PM.  This is the day after final grades are due.  Students may go online and drop any course at any time between now and then.  These drops will not count as career drops.

All drops this semester after March 9 will be judged as to have been impacted by COVID -19 so will not count as career drops. 

Administration is working on an IT solution to make sure that grade forgiveness repeats of courses taken this semester do not count towards a student’s 4 grade forgiveness repeats.  Be alert if you repeat one of these courses to be sure it works correctly.

Mental and emotional health:  Be intentional about maintaining your mental and emotional health.  Reach out to friends and family using virtual tools like Zoom and Skype.  The University is maintaining virtual counseling services. 

Please remember that the Department of Biology is your academic home.  We are here to help you, but you will need to let us know what help you need.  Please let me know if you have questions or concerns.



Zack Murrell

Chair, Department of Biology

Office 828-262-2674