For Faculty and Staff
Community of Care
Now more than ever, the university needs all community members to adhere to best practices for protecting their own health and the health of others. As such, all faculty, staff and students on campus will be expected to follow health and safety protocols. Managers will be responsible for implementing these protocols in their areas.
While this website provides an overview of the key elements of the Campus Preparedness Plan, faculty and staff should read the full PDF version of Preparedness Plan to understand the entire scope of expectations.
Information for Employees
Consistent with the governor’s executive orders, until April 15, employees who can effectively work remotely should continue to do so. Remote work resources are available on OneStThomas. A manager’s decision about whether an employee can work remotely must consider business needs. While students are on campus and campus is open, the on-campus presence of more faculty and staff will be necessary. Managers are expected to consult with their Human Resources Business Partner on staffing levels and plans.
Starting April 15, 2021, employees who can effectively work from home are encouraged, but no longer required, to work from home. Consistent with current practice, employees may be required to work on campus based on business needs. Between July 1, 2021 - August 2021, the University expects to return all employees to on-campus work, except those who have been approved to work from home under the remote work program. Managers should consult with their Human Resources Partner about return-to-work-plans.
Managers are encouraged to consider staffing approaches that accomplish department objectives while limiting potential for virus transmission and minimize the number of employees on campus, such as staggering shifts and days working on campus and encouraging employees who do not work directly with students to continue to work remotely. So long as department objectives are met, employees who can work from home are expected to work from home until April 15, 2021. Managers should also consider business continuity and make staffing plans that allow continuity of operations if multiple members of the department are sick or in quarantine.
Employees who are in a high-risk group for COVID-19 or who live with someone or otherwise have significant contact with someone in a high-risk group should contact the HR Benefits Office to discuss a request for reasonable accommodation. Individuals should consult with their health care providers about their level of risk and need for an accommodation. The Benefits Office will work with the employee and their managers or deans on appropriate accommodations, which may include remote work. Faculty who would like to seek an accommodation to teach online may speak to the Benefits Office (which will work with the faculty member’s dean) or may contact their dean directly.
COVID-19 has led to a loss of childcare for some employees. Employees with childcare needs should consult with their manager (staff) or department chair and dean (faculty) and their HR partner about possible accommodations that will meet both the employee’s and the university’s needs.
Faculty and staff meetings will be conducted electronically whenever it is feasible to do so; if meetings or activities need to be held in person, participation will be limited to the posted Common Good Capacity for the room, and social distancing must be maintained.
As faculty prepare their courses for new modes of delivery for J-Term and spring semester, please note the availability of faculty training and instructional support services:
- STELAR and the Faculty Development Center are coordinating on a variety of essential workshops and training experiences for faculty and making them available online. A new four-week course titled “Improving Your Online Course” is available over J-Term, along with two of the online teaching certificate courses, and a new series of one-hour workshops designed for adjunct instructors is also scheduled for J-Term.
- A STELAR instructional designer has been assigned as a liaison to each of the academic departments; these liaisons are available for departmental presentations, training, course template development, online course quality reviews, and other instructional support needed as identified by department chairs and faculty.
- STELAR instructional designers and instructional technologists are available for 1:1 online consultations with faculty Monday through Friday on a wide range of topics, with appointments available through Bookings. Faculty Peer Teaching consultants are also available through Faculty Development for help with a range of teaching questions.
- The new ITS Knowledgebase contains many articles on instructional technologies and techniques, and online teaching workshops from summer and fall 2020 are archived on the Faculty Development website.
- Online workshops for infusing/strengthening DEI themes into online instruction will be delivered by Faculty Development and the HHMI program during J-Term and spring 2021.
- The Center for Faculty Development also has prepared a curated set of teaching resources for faculty aimed specifically at teaching during the 2020-21 academic year.
Faculty and academic leaders alike recognize the importance of in-person teaching and learning experiences for our undergraduate programs and for many of our graduate programs.
We also recognize, however, that not all faculty will be able to return to campus. St. Thomas is committed to providing accommodations for faculty who themselves are, or who live with someone, in a high-risk group. Additionally, COVID-19 has led to the loss of childcare for some employees. Section V of this plan provides guidance for accommodations relating to St. Thomas employees.
Teaching virtually is one reasonable accommodation available to faculty members who meet the criteria for a formal accommodation due to risk, and deans have sent guidance on requesting an accommodation. Priority for remote work will be given to faculty who themselves are, or live with someone, in a high-risk group. Additional documentation may be required through the Benefits Office.
Faculty members who are not seeking an accommodation due to elevated risk but who would prefer to teach fully online should consult with their department chair and/or dean to discuss options that balance their preferences with the needs of their program and their college. Guidance and process for making these requests will come from deans.
St. Thomas has numerous paid and unpaid leave options in place for all employees who are not able to work due to illness or quarantine. Employees who are quarantined but able to work from home are expected to do so. Employees who are not able to work may use available leave time.
- St. Thomas will provide faculty, staff and student workers up to 80 hours of paid COVID-19 emergency leave, which may be used for illness or quarantine. Leave amounts will be prorated for part-time employees based on FTE.
- After COVID-19 emergency leave is exhausted, employees may also use short-term disability (if applicable), paid leave time (PLT) (hourly staff), sick and safe time (faculty, exempt staff and student workers), vacation (exempt staff), and may apply for family emergency leave.
- Employees who need additional leave may request unpaid leaves. Where applicable, Family and Medical Leave Act leave will run concurrently with other leaves. A grid containing leave options is available on OneStThomas. Employees are encouraged to contact the Benefits Office.
As of May 6, 2021, we have relaxed restrictions on university travel. New guidelines for faculty, staff and student groups are listed below:
- Restrictions on domestic travel have been lifted. Approval for domestic travel will revert to the process followed pre-pandemic.
- All international travel will require provost approval. International travel requests must be submitted to Tim Lewis, chair of the Travel Risk Advisory Committee. That committee will make a recommendation to the provost.
- All travelers are required to follow CDC travel guidance on vaccinations or testing.
- Further information is available on the Travel Risk Management OneStThomas page.
The university’s shuttle service will adhere to the recommended operating instructions. Measures that will be adopted include:
- Limiting bus capacity to 20.
- Electrostatic cleaning units will be used on our shuttle coaches daily.
- The shuttle will follow the university’s masking/face covering requirements. Individuals who do not have cloth face coverings will not be allowed to board.
- Drivers will regularly sanitize high-touch point surfaces.
- Seats will be marked so that alternate seats are available to be used at each stop and cleaned after use.
- Riders will enter and exit from the rear door only to minimize contact between the students and driver.
- The windows to the buses will remain open at all times – weather permitting.
NOTE: All information on these Campus Preparedness Plan webpages comes from the Preparedness Plan document. If you have questions about what you read on this website, please refer to the latest version of that document.