April 23 Message to Faculty/Staff: Preparing for Return to Campus

To Our Faculty and Staff:

Even before Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced last week that the state would start a “phased-in reopening” May 1, we have been preparing for members of our community to return to campus.

As we assessed the factors involved, however, we recognized that we needed more information to complete the careful and deliberate plan required for that process to begin.

Not only do we want the opportunity to study details that Ohio’s leaders release next week, but we also must have clearer answers regarding additional public health risks that may emerge.

Given this context, we expect to bring people back to campus gradually, starting later in May. We will continue to gather essential guidance from the state and our own health experts, as well as lessons and knowledge drawn from across the country. 

For now, though, I want to share some of our efforts and thinking. Our first steps have involved establishing protocols, procuring supplies, and evaluating spaces for potential first-phase launch. 

Among our initial decisions:

  • We will start with fewer than 100 individuals, all in self-contained university general units (i.e. not spread across multiple buildings, and not schools);
  • Their areas will have ample sanitizer and, if needed to limit exposure risk, adjustments to arrangements of furniture and equipment;
  • Health and facilities leaders will consult with supervisors regarding all protocols, including recommendations for staggered schedules and, in select cases, continued remote work; and
  • Our health services and human resources staff will provide advance virtual orientations to explain protocols and answer questions.

We recognize that the university’s transition from remote work will also involve new arrangements and adjustments for many of you. We will update you as planning progresses, and provide as much advance notice as possible of upcoming developments. 

As always, I am deeply grateful to all of you for demonstrating such remarkable resilience during this time of profound disruption and uncertainty. Please continue to follow safe health practices, including wearing masks in public settings (including on our campus) and practicing social distancing. 

Thank you again for all you do for Case Western Reserve.

Barbara R. Snyder