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Update on Return to Work

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*Published June 30, 2020*

Dear Faculty and Staff,

As we have discussed in recent weeks, the university is actively planning for a fall reopening with students returning to our campuses. As part of the planning, academic and administrative departments across the university are expected to be ready to enter Stage V and reopen by August 17 with staffing plans that enable senior managers to fully meet their respective business goals and objectives.

Each senior vice president has designated a point of contact who will work with managers to develop a staffing plan, taking into consideration both onsite and remote staffing in an effort to meet all area goals and objectives. For some departments, meeting business goals and maintaining a standard of excellence may require 100 percent of their employees to be on site. For other departments, a percentage of employees continuing to work remotely may be acceptable.

Following the latest public health guidance, the university continues to promote rigorous health and safety guidelines across all campuses, including maintaining healthy distancing. As a result, staffing plans that include a large number of employees returning to campuses may require reconfiguring workspaces to accommodate healthy distancing. 

Departments may also consider staggered arrivals and departures, alternating days on and off campus, or developing other solutions to maintain reduced density.

Important Dates

June 1 – July 6 Stage III
July 7 Deadline to submit Stage IV and Stage V staffing plans
July 7 – August 16 Stage IV: Space planning implementation and Stage IV employees return
August 17 – December 9 Stage V

Classes will resume according to the planned 2020-2021 university-wide academic calendar  

 Completing Staffing Plans

 Staffing plans should be completed and submitted by the points of contact by July 7 according to the steps listed below.

  • Each senior vice president has designated a point of contact who will work with managers to identify the necessary functions and staffing requirements.
  • The designated point of contact will submit a Stage IV and Stage V staffing plan that is then reviewed by Human Resources Management (HRM) and Campus Planning and Real Estate (CP & RE) to ensure it meets occupancy guidelines.
  • After the staffing plan is approved, the university’s space planning team will work with designated Authorized Requesters to submit a work order, complete a workspace reopening checklist, and make the necessary adjustments to office space, including signage, plexiglass, moving furniture, etc.

Any employees who have questions or who would like to request to return in Stage IV should speak with their division’s point of contact. For detailed information about space, health and safety considerations, managers and departmental points of contacts should also review Space Planning Recommendations for Managers.

What Happens During Stage IV? (July 7 – August 16)

Starting on July 7, university space planners will work to prepare the campus for employees planning to return for Stage V. Any employees invited to return to campus during Stage IV should do the following:

Remote Work Requests

As we start planning for the fall, the university welcomes questions and requests from those who may have specific challenges related to returning to campus in the fall. Any reasonable request will be honored. The goal is that returning faculty and staff feel comfortable doing so.

 

Faculty Request to Work Remotely Temporary Policy – According to the policy, faculty members who may have specific challenges related to returning to campus in the fall should feel free to discuss with their unit head or associate dean for faculty prior to making a formal request. Please note that any information shared related to a request will be treated confidentially. Any such information will not be shared or considered in tenure and/or promotion or reappointment decisions. 

There may be any number of reasons why faculty members might request not to return to campus. Requests to work remotely will be addressed on a case-by-case basis as follows. Please use the form to make your request before August 15. 

  1. If you have a medical or mental health-related concern, diagnosis, or illness, or if you are in a high-risk category per the CDC guidelines, and wish to request to work remotely, please choose Option 1 when you complete the form to send your request to ADA Program Manager Shana Feggins in Human Resources Management. Shana will work with you as necessary to review and evaluate your request.
  2. If you are requesting to work remotely for any other COVID-19-related reason, please choose Option 2 when you complete the form and select your unit head (department chair or director). In non-departmentalized colleges (Khoury College of Computer Sciences, School of Law, and College of Professional Studies), please choose the point of contact designated by your dean and listed in the form. Should you prefer to work instead with Human Resources Management, please select your HR Business Partner from the list on the form. 

 

Staff Request to Work Remotely Temporary PolicyAs a reminder, staff members will receive notification from their direct manager or supervisor about the need and timeframe to return to campus. Staff should wait until they receive that notification before they request to work away from campus.  

Requests to be away from campus will be considered on a case-by-case basis and should be directed as follows. Please use the form to make your request.

  1. If you have a medical or mental health-related concern, diagnosis, or illness, or if you are in a high-risk category per the CDC guidelines, and wish to work remotely, please choose Option 1 when you complete the form to send your request to ADA Program Manager Shana Feggins in Human Resources Management.  Shana will work with you to obtain documentation as necessary and to review and evaluate your request.
  2. If you wish to work remotely for any other COVID-19 related reason, please choose Option 2 when you complete the form and select your direct manager or supervisor to review your request. Should you prefer to work instead with Human Resources Management, please select your Human Resources Business Partner from the list on the form.

 

It is important to consider the extraordinary efforts underway at the university to promote a safe environment for students, faculty and staff, including following guidance from public health authorities. This will include instituting a variety of safety measures on campus including mandatory wearing of masks, healthy distancing, daily readiness checks for individuals to perform prior to arriving on campus, and managing density in the classroom to promote a safe in-person learning environment.

 Finally, because safety is paramount, the university is currently pursuing a COVID-19 viral testing and contact tracing process for its Massachusetts campuses. This will include Northeastern conducting its own testing on its Massachusetts campuses, and reviewing local public health and health care provider options for testing across our global network locations. Our global university campuses will be developing protocols based upon guidance from local public health officials.

 The latest information can be found at the university’s COVID-19 website and on the Faculty and Staff FAQ site. Please visit the website often for the latest updates. Being thoughtful and careful in these unprecedented times will serve students’ desire to be on campus and will promote safety for our community.  

 

Sincerely,

David Madigan
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Kenneth W. Henderson
Chancellor and Senior Vice President for Learning

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