Category: Staff Updates

Daily Employee COVID-19 Self-Observation Questionnaire

The CDC recommends that all individuals monitor their health for the symptoms of COVID-19. This is especially important if you are leaving your home for purposes of running essential errands or going to the workplace.  

To assist employees (faculty, staff, and student), the University has created a Daily COVID-19 Self-Observation Questionnaire. The purpose of this questionnaire is for you to self-observe your health prior to coming to work each day.

This is a measure put in place to protect yourself and others based on criteria from the CDC. This should be used as a personal tool to help track symptoms and temperature. This document does not need to be submitted to anyone at Lawrence.  

Once you begin your workday, continue to observe yourself for any changes such as fever, coughing and/or difficulty breathing. If you develop symptoms throughout the day, go home, review symptoms, notify your supervisor/department chair, and utilize the CDC self-checker system for further guidance at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html


Looking Forward to Fall: A Message from President Burstein | May 11

Dear Lawrentians,

I hope that you and your loved ones are well in your homes, on campus, across the nation, and around the world. Things are going well on campus. But I miss the energy that Spring Term brings when you are all here:  ensembles and theater performances, senior recitals, athletic competitions, research and art presentations, LUaroo and other community gatherings to attend. Most importantly, I miss the impromptu interactions I had with students, faculty and staff each day. I know I am not alone in a feeling of loss of these truly Lawrentian moments.

With midterms almost complete, we now turn our thoughts to fall and our hopes for gathering again as a community enriched by collaborations and supportive relationships among students, faculty, and staff, and by a campus culture wonderfully alive. We hope to welcome students back to Appleton this fall, if federal and state policies allow, even though we also need to develop contingency plans … just in case. If we are allowed to gather again in September, we will have rules in place that will foster a safer environment in response to the pandemic. We plan to make a final decision about the fall term before the end of July. 

Until then we will continue to make preparations for a reimagined re-union on campus, and a fall experience that embraces both community and physical distance. It is likely that fall term will begin two to three weeks later than our scheduled start date of September 7. This potential change to our academic calendar gives us more time to develop—in association with some of the state’s leading health care researchers and advisors—appropriate protocols to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff, as well as the greater Appleton community.

Lawrence’s leadership team, including the President’s Cabinet and COVID-19 Management Team, are currently working with the University’s shared governance to develop a spectrum of scenarios for fall term. The range of scenarios includes on-campus learning as noted above, a second term of distance learning, and a mixed model featuring both on-campus and home-based instruction. Each scenario will aim to provide our students with the best educational experience possible, no matter the circumstances. Last week we announced our plans for summer. You can find that information here. If you have questions about this or any other matter, please reach out to the appropriate office, faculty advisor, or supervisor. Communication is essential as we determine the changes ahead.

COVID-19 is not the first pandemic that Lawrence has had to endure and overcome. The 1918 influenza outbreak also brought with it public health concerns and operational challenges that reached us here in Appleton. While the circumstances 100 years ago might have been different, the impact on teaching and learning for our student body is in many ways the same. We must strive to keep our campus community safe, while also preserving the University’s mission and rich, inclusive learning environment.

Thanks to aggressive state-wide actions, the influenza outbreak took less of a toll in Wisconsin than in other areas of the country. We are also grateful that, just as in 1918, our own current efforts are making a difference in preventing the spread of COVID-19. This success, along with the ingenuity of our students, faculty, and staff, brings me hope. I promise you that the University’s leadership will continue to work to ensure that we keep our community safe and that Lawrence continues to share its light with the world.

Be well and make choices that keep others well.

Yours,

Mark


Lawrence makes residence hall available to city in COVID-19 fight | April 22

Lawrence University is donating the use of Trever Hall to the City of Appleton for the next four months to help in the fight against the spread of COVID-19.

Trever is being made available to the city from now until the end of August. It will not be used as a medical facility and will not house COVID-19 patients, but rather will be a space the city can utilize for its personnel as needed.

“All of us are in this fight together,” said Christyn Abaray, assistant to the Lawrence president.

“Providing Trever Hall to our city is a natural step we at Lawrence could take to support our community in this effort.”

No Lawrence students or staff will be in the building. The university has cleaned and prepped the hall and made key-access available to city personnel. The city will provide its own bedding and will be responsible for the ongoing cleaning of the facility. City personnel staying in the hall will have access to the kitchen and laundry facilities, and free wi-fi is being provided.

Trever is well removed from where students on campus during spring term are being housed.

“We purposefully chose a residence hall where there would be limited interaction with our own campus community,” Abaray said.


Important Update from Wellness Services

Dear Lawrence Community, 

 Last Friday, community spread—or spread of the COVID-19 virus for which the source of infection is unknown—was confirmed in Outagamie County and, more recently, in Appleton. With the news, it is even more important that we follow Governor Evers’ Safer-at-Home order and the guidance of our local health department and CDC in order to ensure the safety of our community and mitigate the spread of the virus.  

The most important thing of each of us can do is to practice social distancing. Every Lawrentian needs to continue to do everything we can to help “flatten the curve” by social distancing. As we continue to learn more about the impact of community spread, the ease of which the virus spreads, and the impact of spread from individuals who are not displaying symptoms, social distancing is crucial. 

  • 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.

These guidelines need to be followed whether you are at work, at home, on campus, or out in the community. We also encourage all members of the community to wear masks whenever they are outside of their home. Lawrence is currently in the process of procuring cloth coverings for students and employees on campus. In the meantime, people are encouraged to make their own out of scarves, bandanas, T-shirts, or other cloth materials. 

Please remember that it is imperative that you stay at home if you are ill.  It is critical that employees do not report to work—and students do not visit campus facilities outside of their residence—while they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath (information on symptoms including atypical symptoms, along with a self-checker, can be found on the Wisconsin Health Connect website). Currently, the CDC recommends that individuals remain at home until at least 72 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 or at least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.  

If you believe you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, please call your health care professional immediately. If you are a member of faculty or staff, or a student living off-campus, this means your local health care professional. Students living on campus can reach out to Wellness Services

 As was expected, our campus community is not immune from the impacts of COVID-19. As of this morning, 12 employees are currently self-isolating after potential exposure to the virus. Five students have been self-isolated since the original spread of the virus; one student currently remains in isolation and is expected to leave on April 10. None of the students exhibited signs of the virus.

We will share updates on the impact of the virus on our campus community as needed on the COVID-19 News blog. The blog remains the best source of information about the University’s response to this evolving situation, including a thorough FAQ and links to resources for our community.  

Thank you all for your support, resilience, and patience as we weather this unprecedented global emergency. Please continue to take care of yourselves and each other. 

Sincerely,
Rich 

Richard L. Jazdzewski, Psy.D., LP Associate Dean of Students for Wellness Services


Updates on Developments Regarding COVID-19

We are reaching out to provide an update on developments regarding the COVID-19 virus.

Lawrence health officials were notified on Sunday, March 22, that a parent who was on campus Thursday, March 19, to help their child move out has since tested positive for COVID-19. The parent was on campus for approximately 90 minutes (11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) and helped with a student move-out in Hiett Hall. The parent may have had brief interactions with staff members who were assisting with check-out process, and two students also reported they may have been in contact with the parent. The interactions were limited. Lawrence was awaiting confirmed notification of everyone who may have been in the vicinity of the parent before sharing this information more broadly. That notification process is now complete.

Public health officials from the county in which the family lives will be in touch with all those who may have had contact and will provide further guidance. Our local health department believes this is a low-risk situation; however, in an abundance of caution, we thought it best to notify the Lawrence community at this time. If you believe you may have been in contact with the parent, please contact Lawrence’s Health Services office at 920-832-6574 or email wellnessservices@lawrence.edu.

We wish the parent involved a speedy recovery and the rest of the family good health. Our thoughts and good wishes are with everyone in our Lawrence community as we do all we can to help mitigate the spread of this virus while ensuring our commitment to Lawrence students, faculty, staff, and extended family remain intact. As the history of this infection shows, it is proving impossible to halt its spread. Our goal now is to help slow transmission and to ensure the health and safety of those Lawrentians who remain on campus.

Lawrence continues to limit access to campus and follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in cleaning and sanitizing shared spaces. That has included limiting as much as possible access to residence halls during student move-outs. Many facilities on campus are closed, while others have restricted access to allow for more regular cleaning of areas where there is less avoidable traffic. See details here.

Take steps to avoid becoming ill: As a reminder, the following recommendations from CDC can help limit the spread of the virus: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.  
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. 
  • Stay home when you are sick. 
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. (If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.) 
  • Always wash hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty. 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

What to do if you think you might have COVID-19: Before going to your health care clinic, call your health care professional if you feel sick with fever, cough, or have difficulty breathing, AND have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19. If you are a member of faculty or staff, or a student living off-campus, this means your local health care professional. Students living on campus can reach out to Wellness Services. Your health care professional will work with your state’s public health department and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19. Information on health services at Lawrence can be found at www.lawrence.edu/students/wellness/health.  

A reminder: Wellness Services-Health is available for consultation to students from campus or home Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. If questions arise after-hours, call Nurse Direct (24-hour medical advice) at 920-738-2230. 

The University will continue to send updates as warranted. Also, please watch for updates on the COVID-19 news blog. Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we adapt to this fluid environment.

Sincerely,

Office of Communications, on behalf of the COVID-19 Management Team


Staff and Faculty Update from HR Director, Tina Harrig | March 18

Dear Colleagues,

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. 

University Operations

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.

Employee Necessities

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

Social Distancing

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.         

Personal Travel

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 websiteCDC 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.

Take care,

Tina

Tina Harrig

Director of Human Resources