Guidance for Working Remotely and Using Facilities
Dear UVA Engineering Faculty and Staff,
Last night, University Executive Vice President and Provost M. Elizabeth “Liz” Magill distributed further guidance for all UVA faculty, staff and students. We urge you to read that guidance here, if you have not already. This message is to reinforce the University’s guidance and provide clarity and expectations for UVA Engineering faculty and staff.
Faculty and staff should plan to report to work as usual. However, when possible, we do encourage managers to consider options for staff and faculty to work from home. You can find answers to questions about working remotely here.
Will employees be permitted to work remotely?
The University has established telecommuting policies applicable to academic division staff and UVA Health team members under which eligible employees may telecommute, to the maximum extent possible, without diminished employee performance or service delivery.
The policy provides for telecommuting during emergencies that may disrupt facilities or the physical operations of departments. Under such circumstances, the policy permits managers to establish telecommuting arrangements with qualified employees for limited duration, in order to respond effectively to such disruptions and maintain critical functions, operations and services. These types of arrangements may be maintained only until normal operations can be restored.
Under this policy, managers/supervisors are given latitude to establish telecommuting arrangements in emergency situations. The duration of such arrangements is limited and should be terminated upon the conclusion of the emergency. If managers/supervisors and employees want to continue the telecommuting arrangement after the event, they should follow the terms specified in the policy, which requires a formal agreement and plan.
Employees who are approved for an emergency telecommuting arrangement should be prepared to return to the physical work environment upon notice.
What are the guidelines for working remotely?
Managers/supervisors must exercise judgment and diligence when implementing the policy to ensure the continued operations of their departments, units, teams and the University at-large. Managers/supervisors are, at a minimum, responsible for:
- ensuring the job requirements of the position(s) can be performed through telecommuting;
- ensuring team members have access to hardware and/or software technologies that can enable them to work remotely (laptop or desktop computer, mobile or landline telephone, adequate internet and mobile telephone coverage, etc.);
- establishing hours of work availability for their telecommuting team members, including expectations about attending meetings via videoconference or telephone, answering emails and taking calls, etc.;
- ensuring that the employee’s remote work does not violate data security policies or procedures;
- communicating that the telecommuting option is temporary and may come to an end once the emergency has been declared to be over; and
- documenting the arrangements via email as a simple note, but with a clear understanding of expectations.
Team members who telecommute should have access to:
- voice communication;
- email communication;
- high-speed internet or adequate internet speed access; and
- relevant hardware and software to perform their job duties.
What if I don’t feel safe coming to work because of COVID-19?
- Talk with your manager, department leadership, or dean to discuss your concerns. Every precaution is being taken to ensure a clean and safe work environment.
- If you and your manager agree that you are able to work remotely, work remotely.
- If you are experiencing anxiety, please contact the Faculty and Employee Assistance Program.
- Please see the FAQ link here: https://www.virginia.edu/coronavirus/faq#work.
As we move all instruction online, the primary issue for this semester is going to be to the equipment needed to offer courses. Faculty will continue to have access to classrooms, and that is where we have equipment that enables them to record lectures using the Wacom screens and PDF Annotator software. We will purchase some additional equipment (e.g. small Wacom screens) that may also allow faculty to record lectures in their offices or a conference room. We will also assist faculty with learning how to do this from laptops if they do not need to write on the screen - then they can conduct their work from anywhere with good WiFi.
Faculty should consult with their department leadership if they have questions.
As described in the guidance “More Information on Graduate Students for UVA Engineering Faculty - COVID-19 Changes:” “GTA obligations remain in place for the semester.” Thus, the supervisor must determine if the work can be done remotely, or if it requires work on grounds.
Regarding Research Staff and Research Students
As described in the guidance “More Information on Graduate Students for UVA Engineering Faculty - COVID-19 Changes:” “If faculty advisors and researchers agree that their work can be done effectively by remote means, they should work remotely and limit in-person interactions. No graduate students should feel pressured to work on site if they are concerned that it puts them, or their peers and colleagues here on Grounds, at risk. Advisors should discuss reasonable accommodations with their students and researchers.” And: “For remote work, please help researchers prioritize work that is aligned with the researchers’ funding sources.”
- “The University is open and operating.”
- “(1) we have suspended all university-sponsored events that involve more than 100 people and; 2) for events that involve fewer than 100 people, we strongly recommend alternatives to having an in-person event and, if that is not possible, taking all necessary precautions to mitigate the risk of infection. We also ask that those hosting events that involve visitors traveling to Grounds, of whatever size, consider alternatives or cancelling those events, depending on the risks involved.”
At UVA Engineering, conference rooms, classrooms and group spaces that are normally available to students, faculty and staff should remain available as they would during normal operating schedules, although social distancing practices are encouraged. Please contact Pam Norris and Mike Todd if you have questions or requests to deviate from normal operating procedures for our facilities.
Please let your supervisor or department chair know if you have any questions or concerns that are not addressed here. Thank you for your continued support and dedication.
Pamela M. Norris, Executive Dean