Mar 23 Important Info for Employees and Students

Dear St. Thomas students, faculty and staff:

As our world changes rapidly around us, I want you to know that you are constantly in my prayers.  I am grateful to the St. Thomas community for being in this together.

With the evolution of the COVID-19 situation, state and local leaders around the country are issuing “shelter-in-place” orders to help slow the spread of the virus. Most of those orders permit college and university employees to come to campus only as needed to facilitate distance learning, serve remaining resident students, and maintain the campus. While we do not know if Governor Walz will issue a “shelter-in-place” order for Minnesota, we are moving forward with the following policies in order to stay prepared:

Working Remotely
Many St. Thomas employees are already working from home. Beginning no later than Wednesday, March 25 all university employees are expected to work from home unless they are considered an on-campus essential employee for this particular situation. Please read this additional information from Human Resources for more detail about which positions and functions qualify as on-campus essential.

If your role has an on-campus essential designation, please check with your manager for specific details regarding your schedule and work assignment. If your area is not listed and you think it should be, please contact your HR business partner. Some on-campus essential employees will need to come to campus regularly. Others may only need to come occasionally. Beginning Wednesday, on-campus essential employees may only come to campus to the extent their on-campus presence is necessary. 

Please note: Faculty members who need to be on campus to access the technology necessary to provide online learning will be considered on-campus essential employees. Faculty should respond to this survey as soon as possible about their technology needs. 

For all employees who are working remotely, please work with your manager to continue to work and maintain university operations to the greatest extent possible. This means you should create a remote work plan, be in touch with your manager whenever possible and think of tasks that you can perform that will help the university in the short-term and the long-term.

Paying Employees
We have received a number of questions about employee pay in light of the reduced on-campus operations. Our priorities are to maintain our strong workforce, serve our students, support our employees and satisfy operational needs. For those reasons, the following pay practices will be followed during this temporary period of reduced on-campus operations:

  • Faculty and regular salaried staff are continuing to work, whether remotely or on-campus. Accordingly, their pay will continue as normal.
  • On-campus Essential Hourly Staff will receive an additional $2 per hour on top of their regular pay for hours worked on campus, in recognition of their on-campus essential work. 
  • Regular Hourly Staff who are not on-campus essential will be paid their regularly scheduled hours and should do as much remote work as possible during those hours. Managers will be in touch with specific instructions.
  • Student Workers will continue to receive a bi-weekly payment equivalent to the average number of hours they have worked per week in the spring semester. Student workers who can work from home are expected to do so. We know that many of our student workers depend on their student work assignments to help pay for their education, and we want to support them.

These policies will be in place during reduced on-campus operations, and will be revisited by May 15, if reduced operations continue through that time. Human Resources will provide additional details about how these changes will be implemented in the next few days.

Resident Students
Resident students who plan to leave campus are asked to move out as quickly as possible. Because it will be very difficult for students to retrieve belongings once a stay in place order begins, students who plan to leave campus are asked to move out by Wednesday, March 25. We recognize this new date may pose a challenge for some students. You should contact Residence Life (reslife@stthomas.edu) if you cannot accommodate this request.  

We will continue to house a limited number of students on campus who have no alternative housing. Students can request to stay on campus if they are unable to return home due to travel restrictions or other extenuating circumstances, or if they have a family member at home who is immunocompromised. If you are granted permission to stay living on campus, please know that campus services, including dining services, will be very limited. 

Building Access and Hours
To align with reduced operations, beginning Wednesday all students, faculty and staff will need to use their St. Thomas identification cards to access buildings on campus.  Students remaining on campus will retain access to their residence halls at all hours and to Anderson Student Center from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. to receive meals. The Center for Well-Being and the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas will remain open. All other buildings will only be accessible to employees with card access.

Please continue to show each other compassion and understanding during this time of significant change and uncertainty.  I am so proud of how our community has worked to help our students continue to be students and our university continue to operate.  You have demonstrated great creativity, innovation, and determination.  I also am touched and inspired by the outpouring of support I see among members of our community.  My prayers are with you all.

Peace be with you,


Julie H. Sullivan, Ph.D.
President