Thursday, March 12, 2020
Dear Bellarmine University faculty and staff,
I want to thank all of you for your professionalism and flexibility as we continue to grapple with changes necessitated by COVID-19. In particular, I am grateful to faculty who are leaning into the very difficult work of moving their classes online in an exceedingly short amount of time and to the Academic Affairs and IT staff who are supporting this transition.
I know that students are asking all of you many questions. We are developing regular email communications to students to provide answers, and we will add all pertinent details to the Bellarmine coronavirus website.
Please check that site frequently, as we are continually updating it with information for faculty and staff, as well as current and prospective students and their families.
I want to reiterate these important dates related to class delivery:
- Thursday, March 12: On-campus classes are suspended; online classes continue as usual
- Saturday, March 14: Students depart residence halls unless they’re granted permission to stay
- Wednesday, March 18: Classes resume via temporary online delivery modes
- Wednesday, April 1: On-campus classes are projected to resume
We should now begin preparing for the possibility that faculty and staff may need to work from home as the coronavirus spreads and local K-12 schools consider closing. I have asked all vice presidents to develop continuity plans regarding which functions must be staffed on campus, which may be completed remotely, and what resources will be needed for those working elsewhere.
In the meantime, the reality of social distancing has arrived. Whenever possible, please conduct meetings by phone or on the internet, even when you’re meeting with others on campus. In-person meetings with small groups in large spaces should happen only as a last resort. We will be following up tomorrow with information to help you with some of the tools available, including the videoconferencing function in Microsoft Teams.
Beginning next week, campus food service will be limited to the Palio and partial service in Café Ogle, and campus shuttle service will be suspended. Most university events, and rentals by outside groups, have been canceled or postponed.
You will find an FAQ below that addresses some issues related specifically to faculty and staff. If you have other questions, please send them along. I promise to provide frequent communication, including another email tomorrow, as we navigate this new territory together.
Susan M. Donovan, Ph.D.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Should I still come to work?
Yes, you should report to work on your regular schedule as long as you are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, have not been exposed to someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, and are not otherwise ill.
If you are ill, stay home. The university supports flexibility when staff need to stay home because of illness. If an employee self-isolates (upon return from travel, direction of healthcare provider, etc.), the university recommends making reasonable arrangements for working remotely if possible. Please contact your supervisor for review and prior approval. You should also notify your HR Business Partner (https://one.bellarmine.edu/facstaffresources/hr/Pages/default.aspx) so they can assist you with paid leave and timekeeping.
If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, contact your healthcare provider for guidance. You can also download the Humana app, Doctor on Demand, from the Apple App Store or Google Play for online, non-emergency care.
Our top priority is keeping our community safe and healthy. If you are sick, it is best to stay home. Supervisors should not pressure anyone who is ill to come to work.
What if my child’s school or regular care provider is closed?
Please notify your supervisor and discuss whether working from home is possible. If you are unable to work remotely, you should discuss with your supervisor whether you can work a flexible schedule (e.g., work in the evening or on a weekend). If these two options are unavailable to you, you will still be paid, as the university is committed to not allowing this situation to create financial suffering. Supervisors: Your HR Business Partner (https://one.bellarmine.edu/facstaffresources/hr/Pages/default.aspx) is available to discuss this with you.
How will I be paid during this time of uncertainty?
Bellarmine’s pay practices will continue as usual. Whether you are on leave due to your own COVID-19 illness, your child is out of school/childcare due to school/childcare closure, or the campus officially closes, you will be paid. If you are on biweekly pay (hourly), you will track your actual work time on the timekeeping system as usual. You should record virus-related absence as OPTO. Supervisors: Be sure you review and approve all timekeeping records by the payroll deadlines to ensure timely payments.
What if I supervise student workers?
Student employees who remain in Louisville may continue working on campus if they wish to do so. Those who leave Louisville or prefer to remain off campus are receiving instructions for work that can be done remotely. When student workers return, we encourage employees who supervise them to help them make up their hours, particularly when it affects work-study funds.
What if the university closes?
In the event the university closes, be on the lookout for additional communications. It is prudent to begin making plans for remote work.
Who can I see if I’m having anxiety or other concerns?
Please contact your healthcare provider or the Human Development Company, our Employee Assistance Program, at 502-589-4357. HDC counselors are available to help you at no cost.
Can employees wear a face mask if they choose to?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) does not recommend the universal use of face masks to prevent acquiring COVID-19. However, this is a personal health decision. A supervisor should not encourage or discourage wearing a mask.
What should I do if one of my employees comes to work with a cough or other concerning symptoms?
Only a medical professional can diagnose an illness and provide care instructions. However, supervisors can err on the side of caution by advising employees who are displaying symptoms of illness to go home and suggesting they contact their health care provider.
What should I do if an employee shows signs of illness but does not want to go home?
Please call your HR Business Partner to discuss the situation, as the circumstances will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.