COVID-19 Update March 17 (Remote Working)
Dear members of the Saint Louis University Community,
We, at Saint Louis University, need to take active measures to “flatten the curve” of the COVID-19 pandemic. I have instructed University leadership to take prompt action to ensure that only those who are responsible for providing direct support to operations, students, faculty or patients remain on campus. I encourage each of you to have conversations with your supervisors tomorrow about what this means for you.
To be clear, if it is not essential for you to work on campus, don’t. If your supervisor has not started discussions with you on how you can work remotely, they will do so tomorrow.
The University is still open. In many areas this will be with reduced operations. The senior team is enormously grateful for those employees who our faculty, students, and other stakeholders depend on. There are many areas, however, where work can and should be done from home during this health crisis.
Here is what you should know:
- Supervisors will work with employees who do not need to be on campus and whose work
cannot occur remotely. They will try to find an accommodation – even if that accommodation
means a different set of tasks. We are committed to compensating those employees who cannot continue working on campus,
but also cannot perform their regular duties from home.
- The implementation of this work from home initiative will offer our employees greater flexibility to handle home obligations and reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus.
- We continue to listen to the concerns of our employees. Thus, we are immediately modifying our staff sick leave policy. During the period of this pandemic, we will provide our employees covered by our sick leave policy access to an additional 80 hours of sick leave in the event they exhaust their current sick leave balances due to COVID-19-related needs, including needs such as parent or guardian responsibilities.
- We will soon begin conversations with union leadership about ways to implement appropriate social distancing practices in alignment with their collective bargaining agreements and University needs.
- Expect an email tomorrow that outlines our expectations and guidance for in-person meetings and events, including limitations on size and intentionality when it comes to social distancing.
We are working to balance the urgency of doing our part to flatten the curve by having most employees work from home with the operational reality of not yet having every logistical detail and question figured out. There remain many more questions than answers in this rapidly changing environment.
We know this is stressful for all of us, we hear your concerns, and we expect to update
you with more details tomorrow. In the meantime, I ask you to start planning for what
makes sense for yourself and your unit.
SLU’s Human Resources Division is crafting a series of additional frequently asked questions (FAQs) for employees and supervisors to review as we navigate this next step together. Vice President Mickey Luna and his team hope to have those ready tomorrow.
Thank you all for your continued patience and willingness to be flexible. I am confident that together, we will do our part in making a positive impact to flatten the curve.
With appreciation for your dedication and the many sacrifices you are making,
Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D.