Staff Update Regarding COVID-19
March 11, 2020
From Susan Fournier, Allen Questrom Professor & Dean
By now you have seen the update from President Brown regarding university operations and the near-term plans for continuing classroom instruction online until at least April 13th. I want to reassure you that we are absolutely committed to adapting our practices in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic while also working to ensure that our students successfully complete their semester. I write today to provide some context for Questrom-specific questions that you may have.
ALL STAFF AND FACULTY ARE ENCOURAGED TO WORK FROM HOME TO THE EXTENT POSSIBLE, WHILE ALSO ENSURING CONTINUITY OF CORE OPERATIONS
To reiterate the President’s message, students will study and attend classes remotely from their homes or dorms (if necessary). Our responsibility is to continue to provide academic and administrative services to our faculty and students. The mandate is to maintain normal levels of service, while at the same time taking appropriate precautions to protect the health and well-being of the members of our community.
Our goal is to promote social distancing for the purpose of minimizing and preventing any potential spread of the virus. We will achieve this by eliminating in-person staff meetings, minimizing the use of public transit, curtailing engagements with crowds in public spaces, and creating opportunities to work from home not from coffee shops, or co-working spaces. This will require a unit-by-unit, project-by-project determination and conversation within teams.
All managers will review their department to assess what work and services must be done on campus and what can be done remotely. Associate Dean JP Matychak (email@example.com) will follow up with more information on creating your Continuity of Operations Plans. He stands ready to help with any of these conversations to ensure that we respect individual needs, ensure that we meet operational responsibilities, and contribute to the collective effort to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.
PHYSICAL PRESENCE WILL NOT BE REQUIRED FOR ANY MEMBERS OF OUR COMMUNITY, WHERE PARTICIPATION IS POSSIBLE DIGITALLY
Our operative philosophy is that we are not expecting physical presence to conduct our work where alternative solutions, such as working remotely/digitally, are possible.
To ensure that continuity of operations is in effect and to conduct regular business will require the following: proper accesses (e.g. VPN where applicable), current passwords for access to University databases, ability to move files from shared drives to the OneDrive to reduce burden on VPN usage, call forwarding from office phones to cell phones, functional proficiency in online platforms and databases etc.
Tools such as Zoom, and Microsoft Teams will be essential for remote access and continuous internal and external communications while we maximize social distancing while maintaining productivity. Classes will continue to use QuestromTools as the learning management platform for course materials, readings, and assignment submission. For live class sessions, faculty and students will use Zoom. In the days to come you will receive additional communications about online training materials. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for IT needs and remember to be patient as the ITS team fields a multitude of issues and requests during this time.
Be sure to plan ahead. Map out what work you do remotely and how. Receive confirmation from your supervisor on your plan so there is a clear understanding of expectations. Additionally, we encourage all departments to have up-to-date lists of all personnel and their emergency contact information.
For more information on remote-work readiness visit https://www.bu.edu/tech/support/working-teaching-remotely/, or go to www.bu.edu/tech for information on upcoming IS&T drop-in sessions.
WHAT ARE THE EXPECTIONS AROUND WORKING FROM HOME?
- It is expected that while in a remote work arrangement you are actively working during your designated times (as opposed to “being on call” or waiting/reacting to incoming work). If prolonged, sustained work is not available remotely other options must be considered such as use of paid time off or FMLA. See further details on the BU COVID-19 website.
- You may not engage in activities other than for the Questrom School of Business during your designated working hours.
- Vacation, sick leave, and other types of leave for days/hours used during remote work arrangements must be requested and logged as if you are working in your campus office location.
- In general, you must strive to replicate as closely as possible the conditions of your Questrom office. When using video technology ensure the visual you are projecting is professional.
- Be aware that Questrom does not assume responsibility for operating costs, equipment, home maintenance, or other costs incurred by employees in the use of their homes or other alternative work locations. When available and appropriate, employees may be issued university-owned equipment for use in work-from-home arrangements; however, the equipment is to be used only by the employee to perform authorized university business. The employee is responsible for protecting it from theft, damage, and unauthorized use. Computer security requirements must be met for all staff members working from home.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT IN THE WEEKS TO COME?
All classes will resume remotely on Monday, March 16th at their regularly scheduled times. In early April a determination will be made about returning to on-campus sessions and meetings as of Monday, April 13th. Further communications will be shared as new information and direction is distributed.
WHAT CHANGES SHOULD I EXPECT IN QUESTROM FACILITIES?
During this time, the Hariri Building and all parking facilities will be open. Student access will be restricted to floors 1-4. In an effort to reduce the spread of the virus, we will be closing spaces that accommodate small and large groups. To that end, students will not have access to the following: team rooms, classrooms, student lounges, and the computer labs in Hariri. The Pardee Library will be open during this time. In addition, Breadwinners and Starbucks will be open Monday – Friday, 8am-2:30pm.
WILL UNIVERSITY AND SCHOOL RELATED EVENTS AND MEETINGS CONTINUE DURING THIS TIME?
No in-person meetings or events may take place on-campus, including academic and advising meetings with students. It is expected that meetings will take place online or over the phone. In addition, no off-campus meetings or events are permitted if using funds from the University or processing payments through the University. This will include the cancelation of the previously planned All Staff Meeting scheduled for March 18th.
IS GRADUATION CANCELLED?
At this point the University has not made a decision about Commencement. We will make further determinations about Questrom convocation ceremonies based on University directives.
As specific staff questions and issues arise, do not hesitate to reach out to Courtney Hudson (email@example.com).
One thing I know about Questrom students, faculty, and staff is that we never waver in the face of adversity. The first few days will be a learning experience for us all. We will need to be patient with each other and work together as we complete the spring semester. This will require that we operate with compassion and thoughtfulness towards one another, balanced with an acute awareness of our responsibilities to the whole. We ask that everyone in the community accommodate the comfort level that others have around engaging with colleagues at the school at this point in time. We can do this, together.
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