Dear Campus Community,
I can’t remember any situation that has changed so quickly and so frequently as our current efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. You have performed heroically, and I know you will continue to do so in the days and weeks ahead.
Beginning Monday, March 16 through at least Friday, April 3, UMass Lowell will shift to a remote work environment for all employees who do not need to be on campus to fulfill their duties. While all of our employees are essential to UMass Lowell’s success, the challenge of COVID-19 and the move to online instruction has created new categories of employees who will need to continue to work on campus.
These employee categories include, but are not limited to, those supporting:
Students still living in the residence halls,
The technology needs of faculty during the move to virtual education, and
The security, safety and maintenance of campus, including research facilities.
Senior Cabinet will continue to report to work and will let employees know who is expected to work on campus and who may work remotely. Please be aware that this list may be modified as the needs of the campus change.
The campus is not closed. Employees who need to return to gather resources or documents may do so in coordination with their supervisors, as needed. The goal is simply to reduce the population density on campus.
I want to be clear. While coronavirus feels ubiquitous, the individual risk of COVID-19 remains low whether employees are on campus or working remotely. There are no known or suspected cases at UMass Lowell or in Greater Lowell. However, the most effective way to combat its spread is to maximize social distancing while ensuring we are able to provide essential academic and support services to students.
During this time active communication between employees and supervisors is crucial. Managers and employees should overcommunicate and set clear goals, deadlines and expectations. Extensive business continuity software
is available through IT to improve your coordination. At the same time, we must all recognize that many employees will have family and childcare responsibilities. Managers, please be flexible and clear as employees work from home, use accrued time, or use a combination of both to meet their family and work responsibilities.
This is a deeply unsettling time for all of us. I know you will have many questions and we may not always have immediate answers. Please work with your supervisors, make suggestions and recommendations and continue to visit uml.edu/alert/coronavirus
. As we develop answers, resolutions and guidelines, we will post them there. We continue to follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health as we make decisions.
There is no more important resource for us to successfully overcome the challenges we face than the faith and trust we have in each other. We will get through this together thanks to our mutual support for each other and our deep affection for this university and all our River Hawks.
I am so proud of all of you.