Dear Staff Colleagues,

First, I would like to take a moment to thank everyone for your individual and collective efforts to support the education and wellbeing of our Lawrence students, as well as the greater mission of the University during these challenging times. The resilience during this rapidly changing and unpredictable environment has been inspiring. 

Lawrence’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has, and will continue to be, focused on the health and safety of our students, staff, and faculty. We are committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace for all members of our community. We recognize that the threat from COVID-19 is not over, and it will continue to affect our community in different ways, including how, when, and where many of us are able to work.

Beginning on Monday, June 15, 2020, Lawrence University will begin returning non-essential staff back to campus in a gradual and controlled manner based upon determined University guidelines. We anticipate the return of non-essential employees to be a multi-phased process. Phase one is outlined in the Return to On-Campus Work for Non-Essential Staff.

In alignment with recommendations from the CDC and Wisconsin Department of Health, Lawrence requires that all employees returning to campus in Phase 1 wear masks when they are in interior public areas or when gathering in a group both indoors and outdoors.If any employee is in need of a cloth mask, the University will provide one. To request for a cloth mask, please complete the request form here. Masks will be sent to your office via the University campus mail.  If you do not have a cloth mask to wear on your first day back to campus, a scarf, bandana, disposable mask, or other face covering can be worn until you receive your mask. Our appreciation goes out to the Costume Shop and the Lawrence alumni who have been making the cloth masks for our community.

The Wellness Services team is currently finalizing COVID-19 training, which will be required for all returning employees. Training will include a general overview of COVID-19, symptoms and transmission, prevention, sanitation practices, and effective use of masks and face coverings, among other topics. Watch for additional details to be shared in the LU Insider in the coming weeks.

The guidelines for future phases are still being determined. Predetermining the specific time frames and lengths of each phase is not something we will be able to do. University decisions will be informed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, and community health partners in both northeast Wisconsin and the City of Appleton. In all phases, the health of our community and the University’s business needs will be considered.

A final note, as the end of the academic year is in our sights and summer approaches, the University has historically provided information regarding flexible summer hours for staff employees. In light of the modifications to our work brought on by COVID-19, many colleagues have already made adjustments to their work schedules to address the changes and new responsibilities in our personal lives. As a result, the University is not issuing specific guidance regarding flexible summer hours this year. Instead, we ask that you please make arrangements with your supervisor to adjust your hours or request time off.  

As we have all experienced over the past two months, this is a rapidly changing situation. Our guidance today is based on current conditions and could change during the coming months. We expect the guidance from federal, state, and local health authorities will evolve. We all have an important role to play in keeping our Lawrence community safe and healthy, and building on our current actions and adhering to these new guidelines will be vitally important. Please keep informed by reviewing the COVID-19 blog for regular updates. Thank you again for your dedication to Lawrence, and I wish you and your loved ones the best during this time.  

Take care,