Dear UNCG Employees,
Last week, North Carolina moved into Phase 2 of its COVID-19 recovery plan, signalling a new stage in the process of reopening businesses and service across the state. For UNCG, this means we are moving forward in our own efforts to bring our faculty, staff, and ultimately our students back to campus. This is a complex process, and it will take a diligent, thoughtful, detail-oriented effort by every UNCG employee to ensure we prepare our campus and protect each other.
After this transition week, we will see a phased return to campus of our employees. Coming back will feel different. But there are clear, tangible actions each of us can take to help make campus safer during this process. Our faculty and staff have put together detailed guidance in conjunction with colleagues from across the UNC System and in alignment with CDC and ACHA recommendations. It is vitally important that you review these materials before coming back to campus. This includes:
- Our “Shield our Spartans” Return to Work Guidebook which provides detailed direction to address many of the critical changes that we must embrace together as we come back. Key points include:
- Expectations around wearing face coverings.
- Importance of regular, proper hand washing.
- Recommendations around social distancing and related workplace modifications.
- Processes to ensure people do not return to work if sick and can effectively report symptoms.
- Emphasis on our commitments to each other to be accountable, diligent, and help keep our community members safe.
- The launch of a new “Return to Work” section of the COVID-19 website where we will provide updates on materials, answer questions, and share any new, relevant information as practices, procedures, and protocols evolve – which they will – over time. There is also information here about a series of information sessions open for all employees to learn more about processes and protocols as we move toward the fall and to ask questions. You are encouraged to attend.
Additionally, managers in each department are working on specific plans for a measured, phased return to work – we do not want everyone coming back at once. In line with Human Resources policies, managers have maximum flexibility to continue teleworking for some employees, operate with flexible hours to manage office traffic and capacity, and make workplace adjustments as needed to help create a safe, healthy environment.
Our health and safety upon return is dependent on a community effort made up of thousands of individual actions and decisions. The primary way COVID-19 spreads is from person-to-person contact. That means our best hope of preventing its spread is by changing the way we behave so that we make it that much harder for the virus to infect others.
Some people in our community are particularly at risk of both getting COVID-19 and experiencing complications from it – this includes our own employees, a good number of students, our neighbors, local business people, and visitors who come our way. As you prepare for work each day, keep these people top of mind. We owe it to them to be especially diligent and careful.
There will come a time when our campus becomes more open. I know that will bring new challenges and some uncertainty. But we will be prepared. We have a tremendous team of staff and faculty working on the issues. We have trust in each other to make upholding our community standards and expectations a priority. Let’s start now with what we can control – our actions as faculty and staff. Read the materials. Take the directed actions. Do what is right every day. That’s how we will make progress and move forward with confidence.
Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr.