April 6, 2021 - Campus repopulation plans and timeline
As I’ve shared before, our University of Missouri–St. Louis faculty and staff has responded exceedingly well to the changes and challenges brought about as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. You’ve all adjusted throughout this time to continue to advance our mission to transform lives. For that, your resilience is both commendable and appreciated.
The safety policies and procedures implemented throughout the pandemic have limited the number of active cases on campus. Regional conditions continue to improve as well and should be enhanced as vaccine availability expands to all adult Missourians on April 9. I do encourage each of you to register for a vaccine appointment as soon as possible to better protect yourself, family, friends and colleagues here at UMSL and beyond. Additional information on vaccine availability and registration is posted online at https://www.umsl.edu/staysafe/vaccine.html.
While many of you continued to work on campus throughout the pandemic, a majority of our faculty and staff necessarily remained off campus and have been conducting their classes and job functions remotely. As cases continue to decline and vaccines become increasingly available, I’m asking that all supervisors begin working with their direct reports on repopulation plans with an expectation that UMSL will be at its new normal in terms of operations by August 1.
These plans must include baseline safety requirements – including social distancing, face coverings and others as mandated by local health officials, the CDC and campus policies. Plans may also include remote work arrangements that allow units to expand services without diminishing the effectiveness of other units. Human Resources will conduct sessions with supervisors to provide unit-level guidance. The goal is that lights are on and people are in person for student support, remote work can expand hours of student support, and that students will have similar experiences and services across all campus units.
Therefore, I have asked our provost and vice chancellors to coordinate return plans with their respective unit leads and other divisions to better ensure plans are coordinated and effective across the university. Divisional plans are due June 1 to Chief of Staff Bob Samples, who will work with Unified Command and the Chancellor’s Cabinet on the review and approval process.
Nothing in this process precludes employees who can safely return to work in-person to do so prior to June 1 with supervisor and vice chancellor approval.
College, school and department leads will receive additional information about the planning process next week – including a template from our Unified Command team to inform return plans. We also will have an update on travel and events policies later this month.
You continue to be an extraordinary group of individuals going above and beyond to serve our students and community. There’s not a university to my knowledge which has responded to the challenges of this pandemic as quickly or effectively as UMSL. I know we will respond equally as we approach our repopulation. I look forward to telling you that in person in the not-too-distant future.
University of Missouri–St. Louis