This message was sent on March 14.
I hope that each of you is finding a way to get some rest this weekend and take care of yourself and your families as we respond to the evolving COVID-19 situation in NC and beyond. Nothing is more important than the safety and health of yourself and your loved ones.
Below you will find a message that I just shared with our staff colleagues related to their work and associated HR policies. I am sharing it with you so that you are aware of some of the dynamics that our staff colleagues are facing during this time and understand how changes to their work routines may impact you and your students.
To give everyone an opportunity to hear about our ongoing COVID-19 mitigation work, we plan to hold a virtual faculty meting on Thursday (3/19) at 4pm. More information about the meting will be forthcoming.
Finally, allow me to take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude for the extraordinary work that each of you is doing to support our students and colleagues as we adapt the academic and other operations of the School to the rapidly changing conditions around us. During the past few days, I had the opportunity to talk with several of you about the challenges you are tackling and I am very appreciative of the care, creativity, commitment and resourcefulness you are bringing to the task under some very challenging conditions.
Please let me know if there is anything that our leadership team or I can do to support your work. And thank you again for everything you are doing to support our academic continuity efforts and be there for each other and our broader community.
Dean, School of Business
I hope that you have had a chance to review the most recent university-wide messages that were sent yesterday. The news about COVID-19 is constantly evolving which means patience is needed from each of us, as we carefully work to make decisions that best address the impact of this crisis on our community. We are in an unprecedented situation which necessitates making difficult choices on a daily — even hourly — basis. I am grateful that each of you is working hard to continue meeting the needs of our students, programs, alumni and partners. It is helpful to remember that Wake Forest is part of something much bigger than us in this moment. We are joining together with many others to curtail conditions that make it easier for COVID-19 to spread. In short, we are participating in an international partnership to quell the spread of a pandemic virus.
I recognize that each of you has personal and family concerns and obligations that are core to who you are, and during times like these the health of yourselves and your loved ones is our most important priority. This commitment has guided the updates you will see below and will continue to guide us as we move forward as a caring community.
Our Students: As you know, our students received messages this week indicating that they should not return to campus if at all possible, and our faculty will deliver their courses remotely beginning March 23rd. Both the School and the University are developing resources and activities to support the success of our instructors. Students have been advised that they should not come to Farrell Hall or the Charlotte Center if their needs can be met remotely. Meetings between students and WFUSB staff/faculty should therefore be planned remotely. If students must be in WFUSB spaces, we recommend that they meet in larger areas and practice social distancing measures at this time. Undergraduate and graduate students who remain in campus housing or in Winston-Salem or Charlotte communities should be aware that access to many campus facilities and services will continue but may be limited.
Our Staff: Wake Forest continues to operate and staff and faculty will continue to work on campus at this time. As we continue our work, please remember the practical things we can all do to avoid getting sick. Although public health authorities have not required workplace social distancing measures for us at this point, I encourage you to continue to plan for and practice such measures. For example, you may want to consider working in larger or more private spaces in Farrell Hall or the Charlotte Center (living room, enclave rooms, study rooms, etc.) if you prefer, and holding some of your team meetings virtually instead of in person. For colleagues requesting to work remotely (due to self-quarantine measures, preexisting health concerns that put them in the vulnerable population category, or a family member is impacted by the virus, etc.), please refer to the HR policies outlined on the coronavirus website for guidance. We are aware that local schools and daycares are beginning to announce remote teaching arrangements or closures, and we recognize that these changes impact the ability of some staff members to successfully work on-site. We will continue to work through remote work considerations and explore how we will establish strong continuity in the event that we need to move to a completely remote work model. We hope there is some innovation here and I invite you to share your ideas with Keith or myself.
Our Work (Meetings and Events): We are moving our March 20th staff meeting to a virtual format and we request that everyone participate as we will be sharing critical information and taking questions. If critical, face-to-face meetings may continue as long as attendance is kept under 50, a venue is chosen where members can spread out, and colleagues can join virtually if necessary. We encourage work activities to be conducted via available web platforms and are evaluating other ways we can engage constituents remotely with relevant programing and/or group connections. Please remain sensitive to inviting visitors to campus, including students, prospective students, corporate partners, and vendors at this time, and follow the University guidelines. It is important to note that all indoor on- or off-campus gatherings of 50 people or more must be postponed, canceled, or continue virtually.
Our Travel: The University has prohibited all non-essential institutional travel for Wake Forest faculty and staff, and any exceptions to this policy must be approved at the vice president/dean level. These restrictions will remain in place through at least June 30, 2020. Information about travel cancellations, refunds, or other change needs can be found online at https://finance.wfu.edu/policies-procedures/ (see “travel”). As you complete any travel (including personal), please remember to attend to your reporting and self-care responsibilities under the “Travel Reporting Requirements & Guidance” section of the WFU Coronavirus site at https://coronavirus.wfu.edu/.
Our Facilities: We have enhanced the cleaning of our facilities and increased focus and frequency on tactile locations and hard surfaces (door handles, stair rails, tables, countertops, etc.). Stronger disinfectant and faster setting cleaning solutions are also being used, and hand sanitizer will be installed at all building entrances once the units arrive.
Moving forward, we know that the situation will continue to evolve. Thank you for your resilience and characteristic ability to support one another in our community. Our WFUSB COVID-19 Working Group, which is led by Matt Imboden and John White, remains active and welcomes your continued questions or items in need of consideration. As University guidance continues to be refined, we know that many members of our organization will be involved in responding to the emerging needs of our constituents, in both foreseen and unforeseen ways. We will keep the lines of communication open, with a plan to continue these messages on a regular basis.
I hope that you will be able to get some rest this weekend. Please take care of yourself and your family.
Dean, School of Business