April 4, 2020

UMW announces new work protocols for all employees

Following the announcement of further Virginia guidelines and restrictions to manage the impact of COVID-19, effective today, March 16, 2020, UMW is implementing new working protocols for employees, whether their roles may be fulfilled virtually or must be done on-site. Please read this communication in full for further details as to how these protocols may affect your role.

First, and most importantly, the safety of the entire campus community is a top priority for UMW and the Commonwealth. The steps described in this email are being taken in an abundance of caution and because it is our public and social responsibility to help diminish the potential spread of COVID-19. Self-quarantine by a few members of our community is a safety precaution, not an  indication of a COVID-19 diagnosis. Please help reduce anxiety or fear by correcting and refuting rumors. There have been no reported or confirmed cases of COVID-19 on our campuses.

At this time, several hundred students have registered to remain on the Fredericksburg campus; however, this number is fluid and changes day by day. Even as we continue to encourage students to go home, remaining on campus is the safest or only feasible option for many. We will continue to serve them to the best of our ability, providing for their physical, emotional, and academic needs. This said, UMW may need to modify the services we have provided to this point. If your department was previously designated to remain open, please consult with your supervisor as to any changes that may affect your work.

UMW is continuing with plans to begin online and virtual instruction today for all students. We have a duty to ensure that students can successfully complete their spring classes and make appropriate progress towards graduation.

Staff and Supervisors

Given the lack of clarity on how long Virginians will need to practice social distancing, supervisors will be expected to identify optimal ways to work with employees remotely and to be available for all typical guidance and direction.

In addition to establishing telework protocols and accountability, supervisors are encouraged to think creatively about new means of accomplishing core functions. Supervisors may also use this time to have employees work on strategic and tactical plans, complete professional development and training, participate in virtual meetings and team activities, or other duties as assigned. Supervisors will work with employees to make sure deadlines are met, duties are fulfilled, and responsibilities completed, albeit remotely.

Please read below for additional information on continuing our work and mission:

Supervisors should take steps immediately to contact their employees to notify them whether they are considered:

  1. Essential personnel—physical presence on campus,
  2. Essential personnel—physical and/or remote presence,
  3. Non-essential personnel—no telework option or
  4. Non-essential personnel—telework only.

Wherein possible, we are starting the process of redeploying all those employees who may work remotely, both essential and non-essential, to telework status. Decisions related to your designation or where your work may be completed are subject to change as circumstances evolve. Your supervisor will reach out as things change, so pay attention to your email and phone.

Supervisors (in consultation with their division VP) should be moving, as appropriate, all eligible employees to telework. Supervisors should consult with their employees about assignments and challenges to working remotely. Supervisors will email HR (Debra Wander – dwander@umw.edu) with a list of employees, job titles, brief summary of what each employee will be doing, while teleworking in their unit.

Supervisors will document telework assignments as follows: email each employee their telework status (see above for the four options), the nature of their remote work assignments, and procedures and dates for checking in with their supervisor or other team members.

All employees will continue to work, but the nature of different roles will require varying campus availability. In most cases, employees will be expected to work their normal shifts and/or complete their full hourly requirements whether remotely or on campus. Employees who need scheduling flexibility to address family or personal needs should contact their supervisors.

As usual, non-exempt employees should complete their time cards to reflect their actual working hours. If you cannot complete your timecard electronically via MyTime, submit your hours to your supervisor in written form via email or text. Employees will be fully compensated at their normal pay rate, assuming they are meeting their onsite or telework assignments and requirements as well as their standard number of working hours per pay period.

Further, employees, whether working on site or remotely, essential or non-essential, should expect to assist wherever needed during these extraordinary circumstances. Many or all may be expected to complete tasks outside their normal job description.

Resources about telework and working remotely can be found at HR’s site and the Help Desk’s advice on working remotely. Additional links will be added as available.

Faculty

Faculty will continue with remote instruction. Department chairs, associate deans, and deans are available to help assist with your general academic questions. The Center for Teaching, Digital Learning Support, Digital Knowledge Center, the Library, and other support centers remain available to assist faculty and students.

All Employees

This transition to telework, where possible, will support the social distancing strategy recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and will follow guidance from the Virginia State of Emergency declared by Governor Ralph Northam.

The UMW community’s response to this fast moving and ever-changing situation has been professional and positive, and we are grateful for the way all of you have put the needs of students above personal impact. Your flexibility and agility have been evident, and we will continue to call upon them and your best nature. In times like this, the strength of our community is truly demonstrated, and we thank you for your commitment.

Paul Messplay
Vice President for Administration Finance

Nina Mikhalevsky
Provost

In keeping with ASPIRE, we are committed to a learning environment that supports the wellbeing of all students, staff, and faculty free from harassment, discrimination and unfair bias. If you who have questions or concerns are encouraged to report a bias incident or may contact Terri Arthur at tlockhar@umw.edu or Sabrina Johnson at sjohnson@umw.edu, directly.