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  • Home / News / Ursuline adds measures to limit coronavirus spread | Ursuline - Liberal Arts College in OH

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    Ursuline adds measures to limit coronavirus spread

    March 13, 2020

    An Update from Ursuline College President Sister Christine De Vinne, OSU, PhD

    You have received many emails from the College in recent days as we respond to the coronavirus outbreak. We hope that these messages have been an effective way of communicating with you in the face of a rapidly shifting situation. Students, faculty and staff who are logged in to the College's intranet, MyUrsuline, may read all of them in one place on here.

    Today’s message responds to the need to minimize social contact, by providing temporary guidelines for working from home. It also provides:

    Remote Work

    In the light of our state’s efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus by limiting human contact, we are implementing a work-from-home policy for employees whose job functions can be handled remotely. Our guiding principle is that we continue to provide essential services so that students can meet the goals for their instruction.The College remains open, and those who choose to work on campus can still do so.

    This policy will go in effect as close to Monday, March 16, 2020 as possible, based on communications through area VPs/supervisors, while plans are made for any needed remote access. It will remain effective through Sunday, April 5, 2020. We anticipate that regular on-campus expectations will resume Monday, April 6; we will evaluate again prior to that date. (Similarly, based on evolving information, we will be evaluating the time period we have announced for online student instruction.) The work-from-home policy will apply to all employees, both exempt and non-exempt, full-time and part-time, for those able to work remotely.

    We recognize that some functions needed on campus must be provided by workers on site. We can assure you, for example, that Maintenance, Security, and Res Life will still be staffed on campus. We are grateful to Metz Culinary for continuing to provide services to us, subject to change as warranted.

    In order to provide for our students, we need to maintain partial coverage across campus. Not only will Besse Library be important in supporting instructional needs, but other offices must maintain at least some level of staffing, such as Student Affairs, Financial Aid, Business Office, Athletics, and Admissions. Likewise, administrative offices, for example offices of deans, VPs, and the President, require staffing on site.

    With these principles in mind, here are two models:

    • In areas where there are multiple staff members, split up the week so that there is daily coverage on campus.
    • In areas where there is only 1 staff member, come to campus 2 days/week.

    For specific plans, employees need to confer with their supervisor, who will in turn work with the area VPs. Please see these HR guidelines regarding remote work. Remember that our overarching goal is to provide seamless services to our students, all of whom are still under instruction.

    We have created this policy in response to an immediate need. As communities across Ohio deal with the coronavirus outbreak, we hope to keep our students, staff, and employees safe while enabling our Ursuline education to continue. As a new policy, I know it has some rough edges and it will prompt some puzzles that you’ll need to resolve with your supervisor. It’s not perfect, but it gives us a plan in time to meet the governor’s directive suspending K-12 schools for three weeks beginning on Monday.

    Housekeeping and Campus Cleaning

    Our Facilities staff and our housekeeping vendor, All For You, are committed to disinfecting the campus to keep it coronavirus-free. The College has employed additional workers to wipe down and disinfect door knobs, light switches, faucet handles, and other surfaces people touch. They will do power cleaning/disinfecting in all restrooms, and they will super-clean and seal each classroom beginning next Monday when students are off campus. The Facilities staff and our vendors are doing the best they can to make the living spaces (res halls), academic buildings, classrooms, library spaces, dining hall, and fitness center germ free during this pandemic. Read more about housekeeping here.

    IT Support for Academics

    In this rapid transition to online instruction, our entire campus community is working in unison (though often not in the same physical location) to support the students and one another among faculty and staff. The most important thing faculty can do is remain in contact with students. There are many tools available to enable faculty to work and teach remotely. Read a letter to faculty from Vice President for Academic Affairs Kathy LaFontana here. Read about faculty workshops set for March 16 and 17 here.

    Athletics

    The Great Midwest Athletic Conference (GMAC) has cancelled all spring semester competitions and spring GMAC championships. The conference has also suspended all practices through 6 April and will re-evaluate prior to that date. This decision was made in the best interest of protecting student-athletes and the entirety of campus communities.
    Read the full announcement here.

    We keep the good of our students uppermost in our minds as we adjust, on a daily basis, to the effects of the coronavirus outbreak. United as a campus community, we know that we can count on each other even in the face of a widespread threat to human health. And we continue to pray for healing in our world.