January 6, 2021
To: Faculty, staff, and administrators
From: Michelle Rogers, Vice President for Administration
Subject: Update on personnel, business operations, and upcoming virtual town hall
Happy New Year! Like most of you, I am happy to leave 2020 behind and greatly look forward to 2021 and eventually coming out on the other side of the coronavirus pandemic.
Currently, Southern California remains under an extended State “Regional Stay at Home Order” as demand for intensive care unit beds outstrips supply. We continue to maintain only essential operations and personnel on-site (see memo of December 4). Additional information is provided in the “Business Services and University Operations” section of this memo.
At the same time, our operations are shifting as State guidelines permit us to house a reduced number of students in our residence halls. Residential facilities will begin reopening this month with numerous health and safety precautions (including single occupancy rooms at a less-expensive double-occupancy rate, entry quarantine and testing, a weekly COVID testing requirement, and COVID-safety behavioral mandates). The regular College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) requirement to live on campus has been waived, so only students who desire to do so will join our reduced-density residential communities.
As described in yesterday’s communication, CAS students are choosing to return to residence life for a variety of reasons. Human connection, even when physically distanced, is important; for some of our students, family circumstances make living on campus a preferred option; others require reliable access to technology or desire to have a more traditional college experience (albeit with safety modifications).
For the University, residential education, even with classes in an online modality, increases a student’s connection to the campus community, aids in retention, and minimizes employee layoffs and furloughs. In addition, we have spent the past several months addressing risk and implementing mitigation strategies based on what we learned from campuses that have succeeded in offering residential life during the pandemic and from our own operations. We will continue to require behaviors that reduce the spread of COVID-19; to maintain healthy environments and operations; and to act quickly when learning of positive cases, exposures to positive cases, and those who are symptomatic.
To support the reintroduction of residential life, we are pleased to announce that 37 employees who have been furloughed since August are being recalled as of Monday, January 4, 2021. In addition, 23 employees who have been working reduced hours since August will return to their regular schedules, also beginning January 4. For some who will not have full-time duties for their positions, they are being given temporary assignments that will help us to support our COVID-19 management efforts and assist areas of the University that are currently understaffed. Thirteen employees will continue with their furlough and/or reduction in hours.
As described in our December 8 and December 23 memos, we continue to ask all employees to take health and safety measures, which include: following physical distancing, face covering, daily health assessment, and hand washing protocols at all times; immediately reporting potential COVID-19 symptoms, exposure, or positive test results; and, for those coming on-site, engaging in weekly COVID-19 testing beginning the week of January 17.
As we communicated in response to the governor’s “Regional Stay At Home Order” on December 7, the Redlands campus is currently limited to personnel with essential functions that cannot be performed remotely. However, we will continue to provide all essential business services with limited staffing plans utilizing physical distancing protocols, limited hours, and staggered staffing during the COVID-19 stay-at-home period.
Here is updated information on operations of various units that have changed since the publication of the December 7 memo.
Additional information about on-campus services and more detail about the testing protocol will be provided in separate memos.
We recognize we have been sharing many important messages via University email memorandums, and the inability to be with you all in person limits our ability to engage as a community in the ways we typically do. While we are not yet together on our campuses, we will be hosting a virtual town hall for staff, administrators, and faculty on Friday, January 15, at 1:30 p.m. to share information, answer questions, and gather as a community. Login details will be sent out before the event.
We look forward to seeing you there and to working with you to continue to strengthen the University. Thank you again for your ongoing contributions to the University and to its mission to provide students with a meaningful, personalized education.