Staffing Patterns Being Assessed for Remainder of Summer, Fall Semester

The university is currently analyzing its staffing needs for both the remainder of the summer and the fall semester. It will be necessary for some staff positions to be on campus to help the university with such things as preparing dorm rooms for the fall semester, restarting critical research endeavors, or maintaining core infrastructure. As the fall semester commences, there will be a need for some staff to be on campus to support our students.

On-campus work may look different—with the university exploring different options to lessen the spread of the novel coronavirus. Importantly, many staff members will be asked to continue to work remotely through the end of the calendar year.  

Through the entire pandemic, the university has been in daily communication with its union partners. In the coming weeks, the university will be having many discussions about its reopening plans with the various labor unions that represent employees. These discussions will bring additional clarity on how the reopening will be operationalized for university staff.  As details are finalized, they will be added to this section of the reopening website.

Posted June 29, 2020

Human Resources

Here's who to contact if you need assistance 

The HR Employee Service Center team is working remotely and are actively responding to inquiries. Please call or email and clearly state your name, telephone number and the nature of your inquiry:

Dorothy Shimel

Kelly Pleasant

The MA State Retirement Board
617-367-7770 / 800-392-6014


Darlene Rowe

Melanie Croteau

The Work Number
(employer code 18128)

Ann Watson

Temp “03”/EPAF Support
Chris Bombardier

Graduate Assistantships
Lisa Prouty

Undergraduate & Graduate Hourly
Tami O’Malley

Brenda Libertine

Louise Siwy

Ashley Martinez

Kathie McInerney

Laura Macsuga

Parisa Soleimani

Commonwealth Human Resources Workers Compensation Unit

Leesa Lesenski

Frequently-asked Questions 

What happens if an employee becomes ill while working from an alternative site?

Should employees become ill or otherwise be unavailable to perform work, they are required to enter accrued time for absences from work duties during those times and notifying their supervisor.

What are the general obligations of an employee working remotely?

During established work hours, the employee is required to be available and ready for any work-related communication or task. The employee may be required to attend departmental or other meetings at the primary work location or on campus or via video conferences, if approved by the supervisor.

Work completed at the employee’s alternative work site shall be considered official university business. The employee must protect the information from unauthorized access, disclosure or damage and must comply with federal, state and University policies, procedures regarding access, disclosure and/or destruction of official University records.

Employees must ensure that university information, including personally identifiable information (PII) and student records is secure at all times.

Will the campus allow designated onsite employees who are parents or caregivers time off from work to care for sick family members with COVID-19?

Designated onsite employees who are healthy but whose family members are home sick with COVID-19 should contact central Human Resources at 413-687-2283 or, and they will contact public health officials for guidance on conducting a risk assessment of their potential exposure. A designated onsite employee may be entitled to take leave to care for a family member who is ill under applicable policy and collective bargaining agreement provisions.

If I work off campus at a remote location, what guidance do I follow?

Employees working remote will follow the measures announced in the communication from Chancellor Subbaswamy released on March 13, 2020. This applies in Amherst, the Mount Ida Campus in Newton and at the UMass Center in Springfield.

If someone is not an on-site employee, can they come to campus to gather materials from their workplace?

Yes. Employees can certainly come to campus to retrieve items from their offices or other work locations. This is an individual choice. They should use social distancing practices while on campus.

What strategies will be used to mitigate the spread of COVID-19?

Seven core actions are being implemented: required education for all; daily self-screening for all; enhanced cleaning; increased testing and tracing capabilities; arranging for high-risk individuals to study and work remotely; increased mental health support; and use of face coverings and physical distancing.

What is the Daily Screening?

Faculty, staff and students must conduct symptom self-monitoring every day before coming to campus or leaving their residence hall room. Students (on or off campus) will be required to use the COVID-19 symptom checklist through University Health Services’ secure patient portal (Medicat Connect). Faculty and staff can use the My UMass app.

How will face-to-face instruction be conducted?

(Updated July 31, 2020) The occupancy of classrooms will be modified to maintain social distancing, including assigned seating where appropriate. Before the start of each class, students and faculty must wipe down their chairs and any other commonly touched surfaces. Everyone in the classroom is required to wear face coverings. There is no eating or drinking in class. An educational video is being produced that will detail the public health measures in place for classrooms and laboratories.

How will you reduce density in classrooms?

Classrooms and study spaces will have diagrams depicting the reduced seating capacity for each space, including designated areas for instructors and required space between students to ensure appropriate social distancing. Room locations for some courses may be reassigned to meet public health standards. Signs will be posted to explain appropriate ways to enter and exit, as well as reminders about preventive health practices.

Will classes start earlier this year?

Yes, fall semester classes will begin Aug. 24 and conclude Nov. 20, with classes held on Labor Day, Columbus Day and Veterans Day. Students will be strongly encouraged to remain on or near campus until the Thanksgiving recess, after which they will not return. Final exams will be conducted remotely through Dec. 4. Faculty will make accommodations for students who have an apartment lease starting Sept. 1 or who are otherwise unable to arrive by Aug. 24; for example,  remote participation or make-up work.

What is face-to-face instruction?

Courses that have been designated by colleges and departments as face-to-face-only and essential for delivery in the fall will be offered face-to-face. These include labs, studios and performance courses that are required for degree pathways, licensure or accreditation. To ensure social distancing, some face-to-face courses may have students attending on alternate days and learning remotely on other days, as determined by the instructor.

How will academic advising and faculty office hours be provided?

All academic advising will be performed remotely, either by phone or through use of another platform such as Zoom, unless both the student and advisor agree to meet in a socially distanced way. All faculty office hours for students in their courses, advising or other consultative purposes will be performed remotely. Advisors will also provide guidance and processes via their college websites. Students can find their college academic advising contact listed in their SPIRE Student Center.

Why did all class times change?

As of July 2, all original course times were reinstated in SPIRE. Previously, adjustments were made as we considered how to best allow for classrooms to be cleaned. After further safety evaluation, and having heard concerns about lengthy days for students and faculty, the original schedule was reinstated.

What restrictions are in place for travel by students, faculty or staff?

(Added July 17, 2020) Current UMass Amherst travel guidance is based on COVID-19 metrics and regulations put in place by the governor of Massachusetts. The Travel Information section outlines the current restrictions. The UMass Amherst Community Agreement also includes a provision to limit travel by students.

Updated June 29, 2020