For Faculty and Staff
Community of Care
The University is relying on all employees to uphold the policies, plans and protocols related to mitigating the spread of COVID-19. The St. Thomas mission and convictions call on us to care for others and to give special attention to those who are most vulnerable. Each member of our community must take personal responsibility to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and we must help keep each other accountable to these community convictions.
Remember The Center for Well-Being is your on-campus resource for health-related questions. And please ensure you are familiar with the Individual Health and Safety Protocols, including our newest, most-important practice - stay home if you feel sick.
Information for Employees
Employees who can continue to work remotely should continue to do so. As more campus operations resume, the on-campus presence of more faculty and staff will be necessary. A guide to determining who is an on-campus essential employee is available to managers. During the summer of 2020, staff and faculty will gradually return to campus in a phased approach consistent with operational needs and state and local directives.
Managers should develop a return-to-campus plan for their departments, following guidance in the full Preparedness Plan and consulting with their supervisors and Human Resources partners. Return-to-campus plans should consider staffing needs as well as facilities and operational needs. For academic units, department chairs and program directors will work with their deans and Human Resources partners.
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.
While faculty and academic leaders recognize the importance of in-person teaching, not all faculty will be able to return to campus in the fall. Teaching virtually is one reasonable accommodation available to faculty members. 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.
Faculty members who are not seeking an accommodation due to elevated risk but who would prefer to teach fully online in fall 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.
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.
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.
Several efforts are underway now to help support faculty as they prepare their fall 2020 courses:
- STELAR is working with academic units in developing cohort-based summer training to prepare for fall 2020. Instructional designers are assigned to each school/college.
- STELAR and the Faculty Development Center are coordinating on a variety of essential workshops and training experiences for faculty and making them available online.
- STELAR will support faculty who are developing “master courses” for fall 2020.
- A large number of staff members across the university are being trained to assist faculty in creating high-quality Canvas sites to support the mix of in-person and remote learning required for fall 2020 courses.
The Center for Faculty Development has also prepared a curated set of teaching resources for faculty aimed specifically at preparing to teach during the 2020-21 academic year.
All university-sponsored travel has been suspended until further notice. Community members who are considering personal travel should read the CDC’s travel health notices and be prepared for isolation or quarantine before returning to campus. Students who travel internationally or who are coming to the U.S. from a foreign country are expected to follow CDC and/or State Department guidance on quarantine.
The Campus Shuttle service began on Aug. 24, 2020; 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.
Additional safety measures are being considered at this time, including hand sanitizing, shields for the drivers, rear door use and load capacities.
NOTE: All information about Returning to Campus in 2020 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.