Date: Monday, June 1, 2020
Subject: Entry and Exit- School Closure
As all of you are aware that there has unfortunately been a surge in COVID 19 related infections and even higher fatality numbers in the past week or so. Indications are that things may get worse before they get better.
The long drawn closure I am sure is difficult and people may be eager to get back to work and to the university. But under the current circumstances, we need to be ever more vigilant and continue to strictly observe the protocols we have been adhering to. What we have noticed is an increase in requests for entry by staff, RAs and others in the past week, causing a strain on the health and safety guidelines that we are supposed to follow.
The university is closed until July 15th, or until further orders. We are only allowing essential staff to come to campus. In offices that needs staff presence (for essential work), we would encourage that the entire team does not come and people can be scheduled on a rotation basis. The university will help in solving connectivity related issues if staff has to work from home.
We are also sensitive to the requests, for example, by colleagues who want to move forward with their Lab based research. These are serious concerns, and supporting research is a core aspect of what we do in the university. Restarting research is of course a priority, however, for now the safety and health of our community must remain our top priority. We may be moving slowly in opening the campus and perhaps we will do it in phases. But we need to be patient for a few more weeks, so that we can guarantee a more sustainable and stable future. It may be clear to all of us that if we move too fast without proper safeguards in place, we could experience an adverse atmosphere that forces us to again close all labs and the entire university, something we would like to avoid at all costs.
As a fellow faculty member, I do understand how painful it is for faculty and graduate students alike (in any discipline) to lose research time, and how an open campus running at full capacity would be most desirable. But we have to pay attention to the situation we are in, as we all know that it is extremely serious, and hence we need to limit the number of people who can be on site, either in the labs, offices or the campus in general. It may be feel unfair, but I request you to understand that it is a difficult but absolutely necessary choice that we need to collectively make.
All offices, faculty members and colleagues, kindly only send requests for entry for people who are highly essential. Those offices that are inviting staff for work that needs to be performed in the next week or two (continuing education, admissions, finance, IST), should also (we suggest) consider creating schedules that bring a group of staff colleagues in on alternate days (or once in three days), so that everyone is not on campus at the same time. People can still work full time from home.
Thank you for your understanding and support as we try to keep the campus safe. This too shall pass, but we have to work together to retain the health and safety of the entire community.