March 19 Message to Faculty: Your Health is Our Highest Priority

Dear Deans, Program Directors, Chairs, and Faculty:

I would like to take this moment to clarify an issue about working remotely from the faculty perspective (inclusive of adjuncts, instructors, and emeriti). Please know that our faculty, staff, and students are our first priority, and part of keeping everyone safe and healthy is to move as many people off campus as possible. As such, we have provided guidance to our staff to begin working remotely from home, as well as our student body. We want to clarify that we would like to apply that same standard for our faculty, as we are deeply concerned for your health and well-being. We know transitioning to remote work is a challenge, but we are hopeful we can continue to be productive from a distance.  

We recognize, however, that there are times when faculty MUST come to campus due to their laboratory research or other extenuating circumstances. Below is guidance on such circumstances:

  • For those engaging in laboratory work: Please consider staggered work schedules where no more than one to two faculty/staff are in the lab/facility at a time. This is inclusive of post-docs and graduate students. We would advise our program directors/chairs/deans to help coordinate schedules to reduce the overlap of PIs/staff in a single department and/or program/institute.
  • For those with offices on campus: Consistent with the above guidance regarding research and laboratories, you should only use your office in limited means in support of the research enterprise. For tasks that can be performed remotely, it is important to move to that direction immediately.  
  • For those who still need assistance in transitioning their classes to remote status, or for those who are coming to campus to use classrooms for their teaching: Based on data provided by the faculty, we will extend the availability of classroom usage for preparing to go to remote learning until Friday, March 27, at 5 p.m. After that time, the rooms will not be available. Until then, please ensure that no more than two faculty are in a room at one time, coordinating schedules to reduce the amount of overlap that faculty may have in your buildings
  • For those faculty who will need the assistance of our staff: Given the guidance we’ve issued to staff, please be aware that they are likely working from a distance. Please try to accommodate their work schedules, and help them minimize the need to be on-site.

If any exceptions or special accommodations need to be made, or if feel you must come to campus for another valid reason, we ask that you engage your chairs/program directors so they may send requests to your deans (or, depending on your structures, go to the deans directly). We know this step represents not only an inconvenience, but a departure from usual campus practices. Please know that, in these extraordinary times, we must value your health as our highest priority. We need you.


Ben Vinson III
Provost and Executive Vice President