As we wind down the spring semester, I am mindful that the fall semester is just around the corner. I know the current year has been challenging and appreciate the contributions each of you has made to ensure that we can continue to deliver on our mission throughout the pandemic. Through your efforts, we have been able to help students continue making progress to degree completion and to limit the financial impacts to the university. I hope you will all find some well-deserved time to relax a little this summer as we prepare to resume normal operations in the next academic year.
I am excited to see our students return to campus and resume many of the activities that make UNC a special place to learn, live, and work. Ensuring a complete in-person experience in the fall requires an on-campus presence for most of our employees—and we have a lot of work to do between now and then to prepare. Whether or not your role is significantly student-facing, the quality of the educational experience our students receive is impacted by the work you do. Your presence plays an important role in UNC providing an engaging, dynamic campus experience that our students are accustomed to.
The lack of predictability this past year has made bringing most of our employees back to campus difficult, but we are confident that we can safely begin to do so as summer begins. As of yesterday, 42 percent of Coloradans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and we will see that number increase in the coming weeks and months. With more employees returning to campus this summer, we will continue to comply with all local and state requirements and notify you of any changes in our plans if the need arises.
I recognize that returning to work in person, after over a year when many of our employees have worked from home, will take time for some of you to readjust. While the shift to working from home last March was abrupt, it is important that we provide an adequate amount of time to allow our employees to prepare to return to work on campus and make any arrangements needed for their families. We also want to have our staff return to campus prior to the start of the fall semester to allow time for everyone to get reacclimated with their routines, schedules, and in-person work environments. This will allow for the transition to a full in-person experience, when students return in August, to go more smoothly.
Below is an outline of our re-entry phases, particularly the implications for employees’ return to campus. The attached table includes additional details about what each phase means for safety protocols, meetings, events, and more.
Phase 1 – Current
- University at 50% capacity and begin moving toward 80% capacity.
- It will be left up to each division to determine which employees will be returning to campus during this timeframe and what their on-campus schedules will look like. Employees are encouraged to talk to their supervisor for more details. During this transition supervisors are encouraged to give appropriate time to employees to make necessary arrangements to return to campus.
Phase 2 – June 1, 2021
- 80% of staff return to campus
- For questions about your specific return to campus, please contact your supervisor.
- Existing or future flex workplace agreements need to be renewed if they are to continue beyond 6/1/2021. All flexible workplace agreements need approval of the supervisor and vice president in the area.
- Safety protocols, including face coverings, will still be in place. Social distancing will be six feet and reduced as guidance allows.
Phase 3- Fall Semester
- All staff return to campus on 8/2, all faculty return on 8/16
- UNC will move to 100% capacity.
- Safety protocols, including face coverings, will continue as recommended by public health officials.
Flexible Workplace Agreements
While we’re excited to see everyone back on campus, we do recognize that individual circumstances may require additional flexibility. Decisions to extend telework arrangements or flexible workplace agreements that were not already in place before the pandemic will be made on a case-by-case basis with an employee’s supervisor. All flexible workplace agreements will require approval of the area vice president.
Vaccinations and Mitigation
Vaccinations are now available to all Coloradans above the age of 16 and appointments are readily available. We have not yet made a determination on whether vaccinations will be required for the fall semester, but strongly encourage all students and employees who are able to be vaccinated to do so. We do expect that some of our current strategies for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 will persist in the fall semester and will announce those plans and requirements as they are finalized.
Questions and Concerns
I know this is a lot of information to digest and realize you may still have questions. Please reach out to your supervisor to ask questions or discuss your concerns. You may also email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about COVID-19 protocols or view information at unco.edu/coronavirus.
There is so much to look forward to in the coming months and I’m so excited that we will be able to see each other once again on our campus as we prepare for the start of the fall semester. Thank you for all you continue to do to support each other and strengthen our community.