We continue to see little evidence for COVID spread in campus workplaces despite high case levels in the community and the increased transmissibility of the Omicron variant. Faculty and staff deserve credit for maintaining good mitigation practices, including masking in shared spaces, receiving the booster shot, and staying home when feeling ill.
The start of the spring semester is two weeks away and certain populations of students have already begun returning to campus. Yesterday, we announced our plans for a first week of remote instruction.
As always, our students will need in-person staff support within our academic, student services, and administrative departments as we near the first day of classes. Also, many university activities, including facilities, research, development and admissions are fully active in this period, and may require in-person work and support. However, for the coming week of January 10, we will continue to allow managers to approve remote work arrangements for staff beyond previously documented Flexplace agreements where these arrangements do not impact performance or effectiveness.
Once again, we want to remind you of some important steps that we all can take to minimize risk to our campus community:
1. If you have any symptoms of illness, don't come to work. Omicron symptoms are somewhat different from previous COVID-19 variants and include a cough, sore throat, runny nose, fatigue and muscle aches. Loss of taste and smell seem less likely with Omicron.
2. While at work, wear a mask whenever you are around others. If possible, consider wearing a disposable surgical mask, a KN-95 or a KF-94 mask, rather than a cloth mask, as these masks may be more effective.
3. Avoid gathering in large groups. Exercise good judgment, follow the current campus protocols in place for gatherings and avoid holding large in-person meetings where the virus may spread to many people, especially during the post-holiday return.
As we have seen over the last two years, the situation with regard to the virus is fluid and circumstances can change quickly. Communication between managers and staff members is crucial in our efforts to protect each other and prepare for the semester ahead. Thank you for your continued commitment to our community.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Vice President for Finance & Administration
Associate Vice President of Human Resources