COVID-19 Questions or Concerns?

Communication from the President to all employees

March 17, 2020

We are taking several significant new actions based on the evolving situation and informed by questions and concerns you have been sharing.

Dear Concordians,

We know you are following the fast-changing reports about the COVID-19 pandemic. Daily the CDC, federal government, and state authorities recommend new measures to slow the spread of this disease. We are fortunate that with your help we already have moved to teach our courses online, limit campus activities, cancel or postpone events, intensify cleaning and hygiene, and take precautions to protect students, employees, and the broader Concordia community.

New actions

We are taking several significant new actions based on the evolving situation and informed by questions and concerns you have been sharing. To fully implement each of these will take some time, but we will make information available as quickly as we can.

  • Temporary remote workWe have made the decision to implement home-based Temporary Remote Work procedures for non-campus-critical staff and faculty. Please carefully read the detailed information below and work with your supervisor in this transition. During this time, we will not make use of student workers.
  • Academic continuityWe have made the decision to finish the academic semester online. Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor suspended face-to-face instruction effective Monday, March 16. All courses (including labs) are being delivered online (Blackboard, Zoom, Panopto, etc.). This alternate delivery will continue through the end of the traditional spring term. The accelerated Center-based term slated to begin May 11 will be determined in the coming weeks.
  • GraduationStudents will be able to complete the semester and have their degrees conferred, thus graduating on time.
  • CommencementWe have not made a decision about how and when to celebrate Spring Commencement 2020. The new CDC guidance and the spread of the pandemic will certainly affect our planning. We will get back to you on this after we have taken care of the pressing issues associated with completing the current semester. It is our intention to make this decision not less than 30 days out from the current Commencement date.
  • Campus eventsOut of an abundance of care for our fellow community members, all campus events on Concordia’s campuses are cancelled and/or postponed through April 30, 2020. Many campus activities and events are transitioning to an online format. The “Falcon Flyer” (at Wisconsin) and “The Current” (Ann Arbor) will continue to be delivered by email each week with important updates for these activities. Please continue to use the Campus Calendar to schedule events so that we can continue to coordinate and promote your activities, even though they are happening online.
  • Campus toursCampus tours for prospective students and families will continue as scheduled for groups less than 10 people.
  • University housing
    • The majority of students living in residence halls left for Spring Break, but some did not or were unable to leave for a range of reasons (e.g. international students). For those who stayed in university housing, please be assured that we will continue to provide housing, food, and support as we work with each student to find a solution that fits their circumstances.
    • We will soon determine our plan for pro-rating refunds for university room and board. We are working through the complexities of how best to do this. We will not have a specific plan or answers for a couple of weeks.
    • Students who left university housing should not return to retrieve their belongings until we establish a safe and orderly process to do so. We have limited access to many places on campus in order to meet state mandated social distancing requirements and to protect the health and safety of those who are still living and working on campus. Residence Halls will be locked and belongings will be safe. We know this is important to students and we will have more information in the coming days.
    • Additional communication will be sent directly to residence students from Student Life with these specific details.
  • Campus buildings and centersMost buildings, including the library, the bookstore and recreational facilities will not be publicly accessible until further notice. Library resources and services will be available online to assist with studies and research. Items can still be purchased from the Bookstore online. While key-card access will still be available for those who may be in the office for work-related purposes only, we emphasize the need to exercise social distancing and hygiene as recommended in every location.
  • On-campus diningWe are working with our partners at SODEXO to provide food service for the limited number of students who may have to remain on campus. The cafeteria will not be open to the general campus population.

Working from home (temporary remote work): effective March 23

The work from home period will begin on Monday, March 23 and will continue until further notice. Upon the decision of the administration, all employees will be required to return to work as usual. We will be monitoring this situation closely.

We appreciate that this will be new for most of us. The transition will take patience and flexibility. Even at home, we urge you to practice social distancing and good hygiene to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

  • Supervisors should immediately work with their Vice President and HR to develop a consistent and coordinated approach across their department. Our goal is that most employees will be working remote as of Monday, March 23
  • Your Vice President and HR are ready to serve you with a set of guidelines that inform a consistent university response. Please contact them with any questions you have about this or about how COVID-19 may impact you personally (e.g., requesting a work accommodation).
  • Some of you will still be working on campus to provide services that are essential during this challenging period. We are grateful to you and want to reassure everyone that we will be following social distancing guidelines and have already taken measures to enhance cleaning and limit public access. Utilize Zoom meetings/telephone even while on campus.
  • Those at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 include those over the age of 65, those with severe chronic health conditions – heart, lung, or kidney disease, or immune suppression, and those who are pregnant. If you are an employee in this higher risk category and have concerns, please contact your personal health care provider and follow-up with your supervisor and Human Resources Partner to discuss your specific situation.
  • If your job cannot be performed from home, work closely with your supervisor and HR to determine the best next steps.

Supervisors, please use the remote work location agreement for each employee who will be working remotely:

We will continue to evaluate all of these plans as we understand more fully the extent of the pandemic. We understand there will be many questions regarding this plan and how it will work. Keep communicating with your supervisor, Vice President, and HR. We will do our best to answer your questions as best we can and as quickly as possible.

You can help us too by staying current with our updates. We will use these updates to announce new actions, answer common questions, and guide you to the best places to receive assistance on specific topics.

In closing

We understand that all of you are grappling with the impact of this pandemic on your families, work, health, and financial situations. Thank you for your patience in such difficult circumstances.

We Are Concordia; hearts together. Thank you for working together to ensure a safe, high quality, healthy environment for one another and for the students we so dearly love.

Rev. Patrick T. Ferry, PhD
University President

Categories: Faculty / Staff