Dear Barnard Staff,
I wanted to write you personally today to tell you how much I appreciate having you at the College. Over the last three years, I have gotten to see your dedication first-hand in so many different ways. I continue to be awed by your spirit, your work ethic, and your generosity in supporting faculty, students, and the life of the College.
As you saw in the message I wrote to the Barnard Community earlier today, all classes have moved online through the remainder of the semester. This decision was made out of an abundance of caution to reduce the density of students in the residence halls where there are communal living, bathroom and dining facilities. We feel that reducing the concentration of people in these spaces is essential to helping reduce the risk of virus spread for everyone on campus during this next critical phase of COVID-19’s evolution.
At present, no Barnard student, faculty, or staff member has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and the College remains open. Nonetheless, I know that many of you are concerned about your own health and safety and that of your family. I know you also have questions about what the next several weeks will look like. Here is what we are doing at this time:
The College is working as quickly as possible to put in place systems to support flexible work plans. Managers of each unit are determining which positions in their team can work remotely, based on responsibilities of positions.
Beginning next Tuesday through next Friday, the College will be carrying out a Remote-Work Pilot Test. The goal of this pilot is to ensure that we have the capabilities (in terms of VPN, remote devices, etc.) for longer-term remote work should that become necessary and to ascertain where problems exist. This pilot will also allow managers to better understand how we can stagger work schedules in the future - if needed - to assist with commuting on mass transit, dealing with dependents, and other related issues as they come up.
I am asking managers to spend tomorrow and Monday putting final plans in place for their non-essential staff to work remotely and assessing what necessary equipment, files, access their staff need. I am also asking managers to ensure adequate supervision and communication with staff.
At the end of next week, we will assess the efficacy of the Remote-Work Pilot Test, make adjustments where needed, and provide you with more information about continuation.
Staff at High-Risk for COVID-19
Accommodations are available for staff members who are in high-risk categories for COVID-19. If you would like to avail yourself of these accommodations or have any questions, please speak to your managers.
When Not to Come to Work
The health and safety of Barnard’s work place is always important, and of paramount concern during the COVID-19 outbreak. If you don’t feel well, stay home and discuss plans for working remotely with your manager(s).
If you have reason to believe that you have been exposed to COVID-19, do not come to work. Barnard requires that all employees (and students) who have had direct contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 fill out our Confidential Contact Registration Form as soon as possible. We will provide respondents with individualized instructions and assistance and they may be required to self-isolate or self-quarantine for a minimum of 14-days and remain symptom free before returning to work.
Again, I so very much appreciate your dedication to Barnard as well as your flexibility during this uncertain time. We have put together an initial FAQ for staff and will add more information as it becomes available.
I know that we all have the same goal of upholding the success of the College while also taking care of our own health and that of our friends and family. I learn everyday about unique ways our staff contributes to the success of the College and I look forward to continuing to bring Barnard to new heights together for many years to come.