March 16, 2020

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SIU faculty and staff:

As we continue to wade through uncharted waters, I have expressed my gratitude for your patience and resilience on the chancellor’s blog. I am also grateful to all of the health care workers and others on the front lines addressing this very challenging situation. Every day brings new or changing guidance, and we are working carefully to be responsive and to do our part to flattening the curve of the coronavirus.

We are now making key changes in operations to support the social distancing that is so important to minimizing the spread of COVID-19. All of these changes are intended to protect the health and safety of our employees at the same time we continue to fulfill our responsibilities. Please see new information below.

Changing how we operate

Effective tomorrow and until further notice, we will be allowing supervisors to change where and how employees work based upon the nature of their responsibilities. I have asked each of the vice chancellors to assess which functions can be completed off-site. Our goal is to allow as many people as possible to work from home while still fulfilling their responsibilities by email, computer and phone.

In cases where work can be completed from home but employees are not set up to telecommute, supervisors may work to fill equipment needs, although this may not always be possible.

Of course, many functions require a physical presence on campus. We are asking supervisors to identify ways to ensure appropriate social distancing when employees have work that requires them to be on campus. We are also allowing supervisor-approved flexible schedules when possible.

Regardless of where they work, employees who are available to work are expected to do so based upon guidance from their supervisors (see additional information below related specifically to those affected by school closings or self-quarantine). Employees who are not available to work will be expected to take sick or vacation leave. Supervisors are encouraged to work with employees who have concerns related to the coronavirus that relate to their responsibilities and to accommodate those concerns whenever possible.

Requirements of graduate assistants will relate to the nature of their work. For example, research assistants who maintain laboratories should continue to do so, but administrative assistants who can work off-site will be allowed to do so with supervisory approval. Student employees may also work as appropriate based on their responsibilities and the needs of the office.

All students and staff who work on-site should follow social distancing practices.

Approved changes will be effective tomorrow, March 17, and continue until further notice. We are working through details of implementation and will post them on the Frequently Asked Questions page as they are finalized. Questions may be directed to your supervisor, Human Resources or pandemicinfo@siu.edu.

Employees impacted by COVID-19

School closings and self-quarantine due to international travel have affected a number of SIU employees. Starting tomorrow, March 17, employees who need to be away from work for COVID-19-related reasons such as illness, quarantine or child care, will continue to be paid for up to two work weeks without having to use their personal benefit time. These employees may be asked to work from home, if able. 

Staying healthy

We encourage all faculty, staff and students to minimize their risk by following CDC recommendations.

  • Put distance between yourself and other people.
  • Avoid others who are sick if possible.
  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer multiple times a day.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Finally, if you or a member of your household are experiencing flu-like symptoms or are not feeling well, stay home and seek appropriate medical care. Call your health care provider for instructions before going to a medical facility.

Thank you for doing all you can to support the health of our community.

John M. Dunn

Chancellor