Thank you to our community, who has rallied to address the University’s needs as we navigate this difficult and ever-evolving situation.
I am writing today to provide some additional information about University operations in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, including information regarding telecommuting and flexible work schedules, personal travel, and other important information about our workplace.
At this time, the University remains open to support the students who are on campus for spring break and spring term and the academic enterprise. We also need to ensure that the University can execute its standard operations in this new environment.
While the University is open, we recognize that the physical staffing in many offices and departments will look different in the coming weeks, as individual staff members will need to make decisions about their personal work schedules. Supervisors will work with their staff to ensure that their area remains operational during University business hours, while addressing the needs of each employee.
In light of the changes to our student population on campus, responsibilities assigned to positions may change. Your supervisor will work with you as necessary to ensure that you are aware of any adjustments. You may also be asked to help support areas of campus where a greater need exists.
At this time, the University is working to limit access to the campus buildings and facilities to reduce the opportunity for community spread. Campus visitors such as business associates, non-Lawrence employee professional colleagues, and personal contacts should avoid coming to campus. It is recommended that necessary meetings transition to conference calls or video meetings. Discussions around access to campus buildings and other resources are currently underway and more information will be shared with you once it becomes available.
As personal circumstances arise in this fluid environment, the University will continue to be flexible. Work options will be different for individual employees depending on their position, and all employees are encouraged to talk with their supervisor about their specific needs. Potential flexible work options to consider include:
· Telecommuting (or working from home);
- Using accrued time off in either full- or partial-day increments;
- Temporarily reducing your full time equivalent (FTE);
- Adopting a flexible schedule, e.g. working hours or days of the week that are not routine for your position.
Other options may be suitable for your position as well, and again, we encourage you to work with your supervisor to create a plan that best suits your individual situation and the needs of the office and department. The timeframe for these flexible arrangements does not have a determined end date at this time and this may vary by office or department, however as the situation evolves we may have a better idea of what this will look like.
As the academic enterprise is the core of our mission, Information Technology Services is working around the clock to prepare our faculty and students for distance learning. They are prioritizing their time, services, and technology accordingly. That said, we also recognize that staff may need to work remotely and will potentially need assistance making these arrangements. If you do need assistance, please contact the Help Desk, and they will assist you when they are able.
If you do not have personal technology to support telecommuting, the University provides an interest-free computing device loan option that may be used to purchase necessary technology, including personal computers, tablets, or related equipment to facilitate distance work. The loan request form detailing this process can be found here.
We want to support our global efforts to reduce community spread of the coronavirus, which includes efforts to minimize individual contact with each other. For those individuals who are unable to work remotely, either because of your job responsibilities, you are essential personnel, or your personal situation, you may continue to work on campus at this time while also practicing these social distancing measures:
· Maintain at least six feet between you and another individual.
· Avoid public transportation whenever possible.
· Limit non-essential travel.
· Limit social gatherings and avoid crowded venues.
· Practice good hygiene, disinfect surfaces you touch, and avoid touching your face.
While these times require physical distance to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we still remain a community. It is more important than ever that we remain connected to one another, even through virtual means. The LU Insider will continue on its regular schedule and strive to connect us all, wherever we may physically be.
Health & Wellness
We strongly encourage you to be informed and observant of the symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath. It is critical that employees do not report to work while they are experiencing these symptoms. Currently, the CDC recommends that employees remain at home until at least 24 hours after they are free of fever (100 degrees F or 37.8 degrees C) or signs of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.
For the most up-to-date information, you are encouraged to review the information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Wisconsin Department of Health Services . If you have questions about your health you are encouraged to discuss those with your personal physician. For individuals covered under the Lawrence University medical plan, the Teledoc service allows you to consult with a doctor 24/7 to evaluate your risk and help with any next steps when necessary all without leaving your home and for a $5 copay. Information on Teledoc can be found in the 2020 benefit guide.
We strongly advise you to reconsider non-essential personal travel, as documented cases and areas with community spread are growing rapidly. Should you decide to travel, be aware of the risks. Please continue to closely follow the CDC website, CDC travel alerts, and WI Department of Health Services website for updated guidance. Following your travel, you may not be able to return to campus and may be required to self-isolate. You should inform your supervisor of personal travel plans and if you experience any symptoms of COVID-19. Your supervisor will work with Health Services and Human Resources to assess campus risk.
Employee Assistance Program
In times of uncertainty, such as we are currently experiencing with the coronavirus, there are often many questions and concerns about how what is happening will affect you and your loved ones. These situations can often lead to heightened feelings of stress and anxiety. Remember that your employee assistance program (EAP) is available to you, your dependents, and immediate household members. Our EAP provider can be contacted at 1-800-222-8590 and additional information can be found online.
As we all know, this situation is fluid and is changing daily, even hourly. We will keep you informed of any new developments as soon as possible, and we encourage you to visit the COVID-19 News blog for the most recent updates.
During this challenging time, I encourage us to reach out and support each other. Lawrence has always been a community that takes care of one another, and I know that, together, we will meet the challenges that lie ahead.
Director of Human Resources