Hopefully you have all been able to enjoy some restful or refueling activities in the recent days filled with either sunshine or some much-needed rain. My therapy garden (as my husband likes to call it because I don’t really produce much, but I sure do enjoy being out there) seems to be thriving. Soon we will be watching our summer days turn into early autumn and, as such, will be seeing additional planning on the parts of many (e.g., schools, campuses) for return to classes and programming. We have recently initiated the in-person programming exemption process to help facilitate the time-critical and essential programs which cannot be achieved virtually. I urge you all to think about what job functions, programs, and meetings can still be accomplished effectively via telework; and balance the need for time at the office and time involved in face-to-face meetings or programs with the majority of your work time still engaged virtually. Again, telework should still be the primary approach for the majority of us through the end of the year.
As school districts and campuses are trying to figure out how they will approach student learning and engagement, we will need to continue to be flexible and responsive to employee needs. I urge you to consider frequent reviews of your office plans to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our clientele and communities, as well as our colleagues. As a reminder, there are a variety of factors to consider around telework and office scheduling, including individual health factors, responsibility for caring for spouses or parents, and childcare availability. The Office of Human Resources will work with employees who may require accommodations that are not currently being addressed through our local return-to-office planning. Please familiarize yourselves with the university COVID-19 Related Work Accommodations site to learn more about additional resources or accommodations for working remotely. They offer an excellent FAQ section to help answer common questions about eligibility, resources, and the process.
We will continue to pay attention to the evolving COVID-19 situation and make adjustments to expand or contract as needed. Much of the local decisions for programming, in particular, should reflect the updated county-level public health advisory system, available here. Please reach out to me or our leadership team if you have additional thoughts or concerns as we navigate through this season and through the pandemic. I appreciate all you have done to meet the needs of our clientele, while keeping them and yourselves safe and healthy.