March 30, 2021
It is hard to believe that one year has passed since COVID-19 completely transformed the life and operations of our University. It has been a year like no other. I want to congratulate and thank you for continuing to stay the course as we navigate the pandemic. Shared fate is something you often hear me talk about, and our community took this to heart. You have embraced our culture of care, vigilantly followed the guidelines, and looked out for each other. As a result, we have had the lowest per capita COVID positivity rate in the UNC System. Thank you for your resilience, your character, and Spartan pride.
As we complete the remaining weeks of the spring semester, we continue to manage quickly evolving circumstances in alignment with our governor’s executive orders; CDC, state, and county guidelines; and UNC System guidance. Based on current circumstances, we are also planning for a return to a nearly traditional fall semester. Our guiding principle has always been to provide our students a full return to campus as safely as possible. Given recent developments, including ample vaccine availability on our campus and throughout North Carolina, that goal is realistic and attainable. Our ability to provide the traditional college experience, including a robust residential life for our students, is also dependent upon a return to in-person work and in-person teaching.
The safety of our campus will continue to guide our planning. To that end, we will begin phasing toward a full return to campus according to the schedule and details below.
Expected Return Dates
Student and other customer-facing offices, while following public health safety guidelines, should currently be staffed and open during normal University hours (Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.), or their established standard operating hours.
All other offices are expected to return to pre-pandemic hours – meaning campus offices have an on-campus presence – no later than Tuesday, July 6, 2021.
Flexible Work Schedules and/or Teleworking
Per policy, supervisors may consider flexible work schedules and/or teleworking arrangements for employees. The stipulation is that the needs of the department and University are fully met and the policies are fairly applied across the unit. For additional information, consult the UNCG Teleworking Policy as well as the policy on Flexible Work Schedules. All teleworking arrangements require the approval of the unit/department head, the Dean or Vice Chancellor, and Human Resources.
In addition to supervisors’ ability to provide flexible work arrangements and/or teleworking, the University continues to provide reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). We understand that there may be employees with health conditions that prevent them from returning to campus, and the University will provide appropriate accommodations under the ADA. Any faculty or staff member who believes they qualify for ADA accommodations should consult Patricia Lynch, director of EEO and Affirmative Action, at [email protected] or 336.334.9725.
Continuing to Keep Our Campus Safe
Unless and until guidelines change, we will continue to follow our current safety precautions: face coverings are required, wash your hands frequently, and maintain 6-feet distance when inside buildings. For your safety, enhanced cleaning protocols will remain in place. We will continue to conduct contact-tracing and identify individuals who need to be in isolation or quarantine per public health guidance. The UNCG vaccine clinic will continue to operate as needed, and as vaccines are allocated to us. Student Health Services, Student Affairs, and University Communications are working together to promote awareness of the vaccine among our students, and will do the same for our new incoming students for the fall. Please continue to check the COVID website for the most up-to-date information.
Please continue to stay safe and vigilant this semester. Now is not the time to get complacent, but there is light at the end of the tunnel and we have reason to feel optimistic.
Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr.