Update on furloughs/reduced hours, COVID-19 safety requirements, COVID-19 testing, and employee assistance resources

December 8, 2020

To:  Faculty, staff, and administrators
From:  Michelle Rogers, Vice President for Administration, and Kathy Ogren, Provost
Subject:  Update on furloughs/reduced hours, COVID-19 safety requirements, COVID-19 testing, and employee assistance resources

We recognize this has been a difficult time for all University of Redlands employees, especially those who have been furloughed or who have a reduced schedule, as well as for colleagues who have taken on many additional responsibilities to fulfill our mission to offer students an engaging, personalized education.  As we respond to the latest COVID-19 developments and prepare for next semester, you remain key to the University’s success.

As we communicated on December 4, in response to the governor’s latest “Regional Stay At Home Order” the Redlands campus is currently limited to personnel with essential functions that cannot be performed remotely. As of Sunday night, the order is in effect across the Southern California region. Bay Area counties, including Marin, jointly announced on Friday that they are implementing the order right away, without waiting for available intensive care unit beds to fall below 15% available capacity. Questions about how to report to work should be directed to your supervisor; other questions can be sent to covidresponse@redlands.edu.

How does the new order affect our plans for the spring semester/sessions, which begin next month? The Schools of Business, School of Education, and Graduate School of Theology are already planning to start classes in January online, with an eye to reevaluating in-person and hybrid options as opportunities arise. The School of Continuing Studies plans to offer its courses online through August.

In the College, our ability to offer in-person academic coursework is dependent on conditions in San Bernardino County. As described in our November 19 memo, as long as the county remains in Tier 1/purple, in-person “lectures” (i.e. academic coursework) are prohibited; we plan to provide another update on the status of classes in the College by January 5, 2021.

Current State and County guidance, however, continues to permit us to offer opportunities for CAS students to live on campus and participate in experiential classes in the spring, with an array of important health and safety precautions in place. These include reduced density, physical distancing, and face coverings.

Given this context, we would like to provide updates for employees on furloughs/reduced hours, COVID-19 safety requirements, COVID-19 testing, and employee assistance resources.

Some return to work from furloughs and reduced hours

While we had hoped conditions would be such we could bring back all furloughed employees at the beginning of the new year, unfortunately we are not yet at that point. However, plans for the CAS spring semester, including modified residence life, provide the opportunity to reinstate work for some furloughed and partially furloughed employees. Because every area of the University will have different needs during this transitional period, the decision about which employees will return to work and when will be made by each department and approved by the respective Cabinet member; wherever possible, assignments (even if outside the scope of regular duties) will be found for furloughed employees so they can return to work.

Supervisors will contact each furloughed or partially furloughed employee sometime before December 18 about the employee’s individual situation.

Acknowledgment of COVID-19 safety requirements

All of us have the responsibility to help keep each other healthy and safe, and our compliance at all times with health and safety protocols—including physical distancing, face coverings, daily health assessment, and hand washing, as well as reporting of potential COVID-19 symptoms—is critical to the health of our community.

In anticipation of the upcoming semester, every staff member, administrator, and faculty member who will be on any U of R campus for any period of time during the coming months must read, sign, and return to their supervisors a COVID-19 Safety Requirements document (attached). (Likewise, students are required to complete training and sign the COVID-19 Safety Pledge and Expectations document.)

Staff members, administrators, and faculty members will also be required to watch a 25-minute COVID-19 return-to-campus training video offered through EVERFI, Inc. Look out for an email from automated-messages@foundry.net with further details.

Those who do work on-site at a U of R campus are asked to carry their University ID (also available on the University of Redlands app) to help facilitate COVID-19 visitor restrictions; lanyards will be provided.

We appreciate your adherence to these important health and safety measures as we meet the challenges of the pandemic together as a community; questions can be directed to your supervisor or to Human Resources at 909-748-8040. If you have questions about whether to report to work remotely or in-person, please also reach out to your supervisor; additional guidance is available in the Interim Telecommuting Policy.

Regular COVID-19 testing

While our behavior remains the foundation of containing the spread of the virus, testing can also help reduce the number of infections by identifying COVID-19-positive individuals, who can then isolate to protect others.

The establishment of a County of San Bernardino COVID-19 testing site on the main Redlands campus has provided a convenient way for members of the University community who are on-site in Redlands to check their COVID-19 status regularly free of charge. While details are still being determined, all members of the U of R community living, learning, or working on the Redlands campus in the coming months will be required to participate in regular COVID-19 testing. The goal is for every on-site member of the community to be tested at least once a week (more frequently for athletes and Athletics faculty and staff). Look for a future communication for additional details.

Flu shot

We strongly encourage all employees to get a flu shot. By getting a flu shot, you protect the community, reduce demands on health care facilities, and decrease illnesses that cannot be readily distinguished from COVID-19 that would therefore trigger public health measures.

Employee assistance

Because these are challenging times, we would like to remind employees that a variety of resources are available through the University.

  • The U of R Employee Assistance Fund was initiated this year to provide financial support for employees whose households face urgent, unanticipated needs. To submit an application, please complete a short questionnaire. More information, including on how to donate to the fund, is available on the Employee Emergency Fund web page

  • Health Advocate, the University’s Employee Assistance and Advocacy Program (EAP), provides support for employees and their immediate family members experiencing issues that affect their personal or professional lives. Available at no cost, EAP is a confidential, 24/7 service providing help related to stress, anxiety, depression, anger, family problems, substance abuse, grief, loss, and more. For more information, visit www.HealthAdvocate.com/members, call (866) 799-2728, or email answers@HealthAdvocate.com.

  • Anthem Blue Cross provides a variety of services for its members. (U of R plans include Anthem Blue Cross HMO (CACare), Anthem Select HMO, and Anthem Blue Cross PPO (Prudent Buyer)). Benefits include behavioral health; log into Anthem’s website at https://www.anthem.com/find-care to find a mental health care provider near you. LiveHealth Online also provides an easy, quick, and convenient way to see a therapist, psychologist, or physician using your smartphone, tablet, or computer with a camera to connect; to make an appointment, call LiveHealth Online at (844) 784-8409, sign up at www.livehealthonline.com, or download the Anthem mobile app to get started. 

  • Kaiser, the health care provider for U of R Marin employees, also provides behavioral health services to its members; visit the Kaiser Mental Health Services website to find care near you or call 1-800-390-3503. In addition, Kaiser members can access two apps from the Mental Health and Wellness web page—the myStrength app offers a no-cost, personalized program to help improve your awareness and change behaviors with interactive activities, in-the-moment coping tools, community support, and more; a new app called Calm provides resources for meditation, mental resilience, and sleep.

  • The U of R Wellness Program in collaboration with The Energy Lab provides yoga classes for employees via Zoom every Wednesday from 12 to 1 p.m. (https://zoom.us/j/2560078896; meeting ID 256 007 8896; password “energy”); please email The Energy Lab at info@energylabfitness.com to confirm your attendance prior to the start of the class. U of R employee discounts are also available on other activities from The Energy Lab; reach out via email or call (909) 798-1800 for details.

  • The Meditation Room, in collaboration with the Office of Alumni and Community Relations and the Wellness Program, provides employees with the opportunity to engage in meditation on Wednesdays from 4:30 to 5:00 pm. For information and registration for the fall series, which runs through Wed., Dec. 16, visit http://bulldogconnect.redlands.edu/meditation_fall2020.

Additional information

As we all continue to navigate the various demands of the pandemic, an updated U of R COVID-19 website at www.redlands.edu/urready, with video, FAQs, and interim COVID-19 policies, aims to help you find information as you need it. Questions can also be directed to new email dedicated to responding to COVID-19 topics, covidresponse@redlands.edu. 

Again, thank you for your efforts on behalf of the University and its students.