Office of the Provost
Spring 2021: Important Information for Employees
The following message is sent on behalf of Carl Lejuez, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs; Scott Jordan, Executive Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer; and Chris Delello, Associate Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer.
Please note that this guidance applies to UConn Storrs and the regional campuses only. Due to the clinical needs at UConn Health, employees working for or assigned to UConn Health should continue to work with their managers on telecommuting requests.
As we round the mid-point of the fall 2020 academic semester, we write to you about two important issues: extending UConn’s work-from-home practices into 2021, and the importance of remaining vigilant in protecting your health, and that of others, as the pandemic stretches on.
Right now, a substantial number of our professional staff are working remotely, with the agreement of their supervisor, as we do all we can to limit density on our campuses. The University previously communicated that this practice would continue for these employees at least through the end of the calendar year.
Today we are confirming that staff who are working remotely should plan on continuing to do so through the spring semester, pending some change in the status of the virus and the tools we have to combat it.
The university arrived at this decision based on a few factors: the continued prevalence of the virus in our state, which has risen as of late; uncertainty regarding the future, including the potential for COVID-19’s continued spread; and the availability of a vaccine.
For faculty, teaching and research activities will largely determine your need for on-campus presence. The same general principles apply for preserving density and protecting the health of yourself and others: Wear a mask in common and public areas; maintain social distance; and work that does not require your physical presence on campus should be conducted remotely when possible.
It is clear that we will not be able to return to normal as a workplace until circumstances and public health guidance change to a level where the University believes that we can return to working on-site on a large scale. As always, we will adjust to the state of the pandemic and will explore different options, including employees potentially returning at different times depending on certain factors, such as vaccinations. We will have more updates and are committed to keeping you informed as we know more, and will work to give you as much advance notice as possible to help your planning should circumstances change.
The existing caveats for staff working remotely will all continue to apply: While some employees must be on site to do their work, others can effectively work from home. Where an employee works is subject to an agreement between each individual employee and their reporting organization. In general, no employee is barred from coming to campus if necessary, but no one should be coming to campus on a regular basis if they are not on the Human Resources registry.
Every employee (staff, faculty, and graduate students) who works on campus full time, part time, or rotationally must be on the Human Resources registry and should take a COVID test, some more than once. For additional information regarding working remotely, click here. The Office of Human Resources will be issuing Spring Semester Registry and testing information by the end of the month as a follow-up to this message.
In Connecticut, the pandemic is approximately in its seventh month and it is not surprising that a certain fatigue can set in. No doubt some have slowly begun to relax the precautions we have been practicing to help keep ourselves and others healthy. But as a community that cares for each other, we must remain vigilant. Though infection rates among employees have remained very low, we have seen a recent uptick. The virus is as present and potentially as deadly today as it was in March, April and May. And it will continue to be in the months ahead.
We urge you to do the simplest and best things: wear masks, stay distant from others outside of your family unit, wash your hands, and don’t take any needless risks. Nothing is more important than your health and our community’s health – please do all you can to protect it. Thank you for your continued support of these efforts.
Executive Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Associate Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer