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March 18, 2020: Email from President Arthur to Employees

Posted Wednesday, March 18, 2020 | Announcements to Employees

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Yesterday afternoon Chancellor Malhotra asked all Minnesota State College & University presidents to create alternatives to our current service delivery. Campuses were asked to allow for alternative work schedules for employees, including remote work where it is feasible. Employees, for instance, who have underlying conditions will be accommodated, and we may staff that functionality in an alternative manner. The Chancellor has also asked all campuses to keep libraries and essential services operational. Plans are underway to provide all student support services in a remote manner for the rest of the semester.

This situation is changing daily, so please continue to read emails thoroughly. The Metro Pandemic Planning and Response Team met this morning and we would like to clarify the Chancellor’s memo and what this means for Metropolitan State University employees:

  • Metropolitan State University’s goal is to have as many employees work remotely as possible. There will need to be some individuals on campus. We will distribute the on-campus work so it will not fall to a small group of individuals.
  • We are working to solidify open building hours so faculty and staff can access offices. You will receive a message about building hours and services at our locations soon.
  • Work with your supervisor to schedule needed hours on campus.
  • If you have concerns about not having enough work to do at home for 40 hours a week, please contact your supervisor. Human Resources and the President’s Executive Cabinet is working on a list of projects from other departments that can be done remotely.
  • Employee work schedules and assigned duties will continue to change over the next few weeks.
  • Governor Waltz signed a new Executive Order (PDF) that suspends, for the duration of the peacetime emergency, provisions of public employees’ collective bargaining agreements regarding work schedules, work locations, assignments, and reassignments.

Remote working:

  • Yesterday, the Metro Pandemic Planning and Response Team, completed the review of all requests for laptops and software needs to enable employees to work remotely. We are able to fulfill all the requests we received. ITS is re-imaging the devices now and installing needed software. Individuals who have been approved for laptop distribution will be notified when a laptop is ready for them directly by ITS. Please do not call ITS with inquiries. We expect all laptops to be distributed by the end of the day on Friday, March 20.
  • In some cases, employees working from home will have to use their own equipment. This allows us to stretch our available resources further and support more remote working arrangements. Please do not take office desktops or monitors home.
  • Remote working or working from home, usually requires a telework agreement. Given the urgency of allowing as many people as possible to work from home, we are not requiring a written telework agreement. However, supervisors will be in contact with each employee who is working remotely over the next week, to review the requirements of work from home and will need an email acknowledgment from each employee that the supervisor has reviewed the requirements with them and that they understand their obligations. Please note that telework does not apply to instructional faculty (IFO).

Additional notes:

  • In-person meetings of fewer than ten individuals are permitted through March 31 unless otherwise noted. However, I encourage the use of Zoom for all meetings.
  • The Fitness Center will be closed starting March 19 until further notice.

Our priorities are the following:

  • To safeguard the health, safety and welfare of our faculty, staff and students
  • To enable students to complete the spring semester and progress toward their educational goals

Thank you for your continued dedication and commitment to our students and university. We are strong and we will succeed!

Please take care of yourself and your loved ones....