Dear Twin Cities deans, department chairs/heads, and other unit leaders,
As outlined in our earlier message to Twin Cities faculty, staff, postdoctoral students, and graduate assistants, the resumption of some student-facing services planned for the month of September will necessitate having more jobs performed onsite.
To facilitate this broader return to our campuses in an efficient manner, we have developed a process to guide units (academic departments, centers, support units, and other offices) in gaining approval for their Fall return. This unit-wide process will run in parallel with existing processes that will continue to be required for individuals if their return is specific to clinical functions, on-site reopening of labs (including fieldwork, labs, and core facilities), consideration for return of work that can be performed remotely, and the process for engaged learning that occurs off campus.
The following principles should guide your planning on behalf of units:
- Our first priority is the health and safety of our University community. De-densifying the campus is an important contributor to health and safety, so your first consideration should be how to enable individuals’ work to continue in a remote work environment.
- We will offer high-quality education and service regardless of modality (onsite, distanced or other). Whenever possible, services will be offered in multiple modalities; core hours for in-person service, and mechanisms to reach instructors or staff outside those core hours should be available and extensively communicated.
- Whenever possible, individuals should be offered flexibility regarding the modality in which they work, subject to compliance with Executive Order 20-74. At the same time, there will be jobs that will need to be performed onsite to support student-facing services. Supervisors and unit leaders should have plans in place to ensure the safe return of employees for needed onsite work.
- All individuals on campus must follow University policies on physical distancing and other health behaviors, use of face coverings, and guidance on reporting and communicating illnesses.
- If individuals feel uncomfortable about being on campus, they should reach out to their supervisors; supervisors should be as flexible as possible regarding requests for remote work. The Disability Resource Center can work with employees whose job functions need to be performed on campus to determine appropriate accommodation(s) for individuals with an underlying health condition, including pre-existing conditions that mayke increase their risk regarding COVID-19, while maintaining health information confidentiality. Additional resources are available from the Office of Human Resources and OHR employee relations consultants are available if you have concerns about returning to campus that you feel may not be addressed in your unit. The Graduate School is an additional resource for graduate assistants and postdoctoral students.
Every unit should complete the Departmental Logistics Plan, which will route to the Dean or Resource Responsibility Center (RRC) leader (see a preview of this form here). The form includes specific questions for academic units, support units, and operational units. This form must be completed and approved before individuals not already approved to return to campus may return.
Rachel T.A. Croson
Executive Vice President and Provost
Kenneth E. Horstman
Interim Vice President for Human Resources
email sent to the Twin Cities administrative e-mail list, deans, department chairs/heads, HR leads and managers, and RRC leads on August 25, 2020