Following Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy’s announcement of the Fall Reopening Plan, Bill Brady, vice chancellor and chief human resources officer, sent an email to university staff, providing information about on-campus and remote staffing needs and plans to ensure safe work environments for those returning to campus.
That email is as follows:
Dear UMass Amherst Staff,
This afternoon, Chancellor Subbaswamy shared the Fall 2020 Reopening Plan with the campus community. I encourage you to review his letter and the full plan, which is also available on the Reopening Website.
The plan outlines a fall semester that will be unlike any other. It will see many of our residential students return to campus, but with significant restrictions for public health and safety, including the vast majority of classes being offered remotely and strict social distancing guidelines.
Appropriately for this stage, the information and details needed by students are prioritized in the plan. However, it provides a framework for ongoing planning and implementation relevant to staff. The next few months will clearly present its share of challenges, but they are all challenges we will jointly tackle and overcome. UMass Amherst staff have consistently shown that you are highly-skilled, resilient, and care deeply about students, which gives the university great confidence in a successful semester.
At this time, we expect that many staff will continue to work remotely for the foreseeable future. The university is currently analyzing its staffing needs for both the summer and fall. It will be necessary for some staff positions to be on campus, to prepare dorm rooms for the fall semester, restart critical research endeavors, maintain core infrastructure and conduct other necessary work.
As the fall semester commences, there will be a need for additional staff to be on campus to support our students. On-site work may look different — with the university exploring all options to ensure safe work environments, including training on health and safety standards and work spaces amended to provide distancing and new foot traffic patterns. Some details are still being worked out. For example, there will be a process for individuals who are at high risk to explore other options rather than returning to campus, and to determine how we will manage testing and other elements of the health and safety protocols for on-site staff.
Throughout the pandemic, the university has been in daily communication with its union partners. In the coming weeks, we will be having many discussions about the campus’ reopening with the various labor unions representing our employees. These discussions will bring additional clarity to how the reopening will be operationalized for staff. As details are finalized, they will be added to the website.
Your ongoing efforts to support campus have been inspiring. I thank you for your hard work and dedication to ensuring the continuity of our operations and of our students’ education.
Vice Chancellor & Chief Human Resources Officer