Important Message for Staff and Faculty Regarding College Operations

By IC News staff, March 13, 2020
A message from campus leadership.

Dear Staff and Faculty:

We have been working on a detailed communication and set of frequently asked questions and answers (FAQ) that is scheduled to go out on Monday, March 16, related to the anticipated impacts on our employees as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and our plans to alter the campus schedule over the next weeks.

Given the announcement late Friday, March 13, that Tompkins County has declared a state of emergency, which will result in the closure of public schools in the county and potentially other services in the future, we wanted to send a brief message in the interim. The school districts will be communicating directly with families regarding their closures.

Our communication on Monday will include initial information and resources about working remotely, as we continue to develop plans for departments and units to implement remote work policies and procedures for the majority of college operations not directly supporting the small group of students remaining on campus. Those policies will also identify the core essential employees who will be required to work on campus during the extended spring break and period of remote instruction.

We understand that this unexpected news of school closings will create disruption for many of our employees. We want you to know that you have our full support as we work through these issues together, so you do not have to face the sudden option of having to choose between the needs of job and family.

Options for this Monday

Employees who typically would not be able to work from home should not feel obligated to report to campus on Monday, March 16. You will continue to receive your regular pay and not have to use Paid Time Away while we develop further operational plans for individual units. Employees who are currently able to perform their duties from home should do so beginning Monday, or as soon thereafter as possible.  All employees should be in communication with their supervisors about their plans for next week.

Though the state of emergency has only been declared in Tompkins County at this time, these guidelines also pertain to our employees who live outside of Tompkins County. While we must maintain the college’s operations, we also have an obligation as a critical community partner to aid in preventing the spread of COVID-19. This includes providing opportunities and incentives for social distancing, self-quarantining when necessary, and enhanced hygiene protocols.

Please note that we are also engaged in an assessment of student employee positions and will be communicating with students next week regarding the positions they hold and options that may be available, including under the Federal Work Study program.

This is certainly an unprecedented situation we are facing as a campus, and we will continue to work together to meet challenges as they unfold. As difficult as these times are, this may also provide an opportunity for the college to identify ways that we can work differently, and focus our energy on actions that are critical to the goals of our strategic plan.

While we may be physically separated for some time as we go about our daily work, let’s look for ways to continue to support one another. This includes reaching out to those who may be personally impacted by this pandemic or who may be struggling for other reasons. The Employee Assistance Program will continue to be available to support all faculty and staff by calling 1-800-327-2255, and we welcome you to reach out to the Human Resources team if you have questions or concerns.

Take care,

Hayley Harris
Vice President of Human Resources and Planning

La Jerne Terry Cornish
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs