Center for the Advancement of Youth Development

Global Pandemic: Covid 19 Updates and Agency Changes

Dear CAYD staff, students and stakeholders,

Effective immediately, to minimize risk for exposure to the coronavirus all the University of Memphis School of Social Work Center for the Advancement of Youth (CAYD) services will be provided via on-line services or conference calls. This includes the Lifelong Initiative for Family Empowerment (LIFE) project, the Music Club Network services and The Trauma Healing Club groups. The changes are evolving and will be in place until further notice, with an update on April 13th, 2020. Staff and students currently utilize the LIFE app to communicate information and we will extend this service to in ways that will be include more email communication. The new Mothers, Men and Mentors Talking to Teens and Toddlers (MT3) app will be piloted during the next 30 days and will be utilized to help provide CAYD services. We will stay in touch via on-line applications, CAYD website, telephone and email with all families and CAYD partner agencies during the next 30 days. Feel free to email or contact me at 901/830-5180. Today's email from University of Memphis President Rudd is included below.

Best regards,


Dear Campus Community:

We continue to coordinate with local, state and federal entities regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus). In an effort to reduce risk on our campus and protect the health and safety of our community, we are taking a number of actions designed to help limit coronavirus exposure. To be clear, there are no confirmed cases on our campus. As reported by the City of Memphis, however, there are cases in the broader Memphis community.

Effective immediately, spring break is extended for students for an additional week, through March 22 with classes beginning again on Monday, March 23. The University will remain open. Recognizing that campus housing and dining are essential for a large number of our students, these facilities will also remain open. Specific cleaning and social distancing guidelines will be shared with those utilizing University housing and dining facilities. Guidelines are available for students returning from travel, including any indicated need for evaluation through our Health Center and any potential for quarantine. Guidelines and other FAQs are available on our website, FAQs related to Coronavirus, and additional information will follow.

As faculty and staff return to campus on Monday, March 16, the additional time will allow for preparation and transition to remote and virtual learning for the majority of courses and educational activities for the remainder of the spring semester. Any exceptions regarding some smaller classes with unique demands, laboratories and some performing arts instruction to continue with limited face-to-face contact are at the discretion of the Provost and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Instructors are expected to communicate with students in their courses via email and provide detailed instructions for next steps by close of business on Friday, March 20. These instructional changes will remain in place through the end of the spring semester. As classroom instruction transitions to online or remote alternatives for the remainder of the semester, students are encouraged to return home.

Consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, University-sponsored events (i.e. outside of academic instruction) with more than 150 attendees need to be postponed, cancelled or reconfigured as to minimize large gatherings. In cases where larger gatherings do occur, advance cleaning and other health guidance will be followed. This does not include intercollegiate athletics. Those events are being coordinated with guidance from the American Athletic Conference and NCAA.

The campus is not closing. Buildings will remain open, and day-to-day campus operations will continue. There will likely be some limitations in operations and services, however, as there will be a need for remote operations of some units.

Today, in a proactive step to ensure the safety of our students and staff, Shelby County Schools announced that all classes will be canceled for two weeks, beginning Friday, March 13, through Friday, March 27. Schools are scheduled to reopen on Monday, March 30. University Middle, Campus School and the Early Learning Research Center will adhere to this closure and our University Schools families, faculty and staff will receive additional information via email this morning.

Even though we do not have any active coronavirus cases on our campus, we believe the steps summarized are consistent with current local, state and federal health guidance and will help reduce risks and protect our community.

It is anticipated that summer sessions will occur as originally planned and scheduled. We will continue to provide regular updates. You can track all available information at the following link: memphis.edu/coronavirusupdates

We recognize that implementing these changes mid-way through a semester with limited notice will create an array of challenges, but we appreciate your patience and cooperation, recognizing the serious nature of the current circumstances. It has never been more important that we work together and appreciate that each of us are critical to achieving our mission. The safety and security of our campus community is our top priority.


M. David Rudd, Ph.D., ABPP


Distinguished University Professor of Psychology

The Center for the Advancement of Youth Development (CAYD) is funded by multiple sources that include Federal, state, and local organizations and is housed in the Department of Social Work at the University of Memphis. CAYD conducts important research and provides services to youth and families in low-income areas. 

CAYD promotes the advancement of youth development by building the capacity of youth-serving organizations through collaborating to design, evaluate, and implement culturally responsive and effective interventions. Our aim is sustainable interventions to improve the life outcomes of youth and families.

Features of CAYD

  • Accessible to grassroots community organizations
  • System of care values
  • Community based participatory research experience
  • Community engaged
  • Youth services focused
  • National network of affiliate faculty
  • Youth and community advisory boards
  • Empowerment driven