Work From Home Letter from President Mortensen

This communication was sent to faculty and staff from President Brad Mortensen on March 15, 2020.

Dear Weber State Family:

This past week has moved very quickly for all of us, and we appreciate everything that you have done to be both flexible and adaptable. While we have participated in mock drills of such scenarios for years, it is another thing to implement them. I know completely changing how we operate as an institution feels overwhelming, but it has been so amazing to watch our faculty and staff band together to see how we can move our operations into a virtual environment and do whatever we can to ensure the success of our students. I have always been proud to work at Weber State University because I genuinely know that we are different from everywhere else. This week has reinforced that to an even greater extent. Thank you.

This email provides an update on WSU’s ongoing efforts regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) as we take measures intended to promote social distancing and protect the health and safety of our campus family as well as our community. 

Earlier today, an email was sent to all supervisors, asking them to identify all of their employees who can perform their primary responsibilities remotely. Many of you may have already heard from your supervisors, or will in the near future, about plans to phase into a work-from-home arrangement for as many as possible.

Here is the latest guidance for maintaining campus operations, while protecting the health of all of you and our greater community.

Work From Home
As of March 15, the university remains open. However, we are taking the next step to support social distancing and encouraging any individual who can work from home to do so. This should start immediately. 

Our goal is to keep individuals safe while continuing our legacy of preserving access to quality learning and maintaining continuity of operations. We will continue to provide all vital university operations. We understand that at this point some departments and services will still have to be available for students, including our students who live on campus and those who do not have access to the internet. Arrangements to work from home will be determined by individual supervisors. To this end, we are encouraging all supervisors to make every effort possible for employees to work from home. 

In addition, supervisors have been asked to revisit their continuity of operations plan (COOP) for your department to determine which individuals would absolutely need to stay on campus if we are required to implement additional social-distancing practices in the future.

While we encourage departments to begin to shift to a virtual work environment, we know some employees have jobs that simply cannot be performed at home. For these employees, we are asking supervisors to take additional steps to protect the well-being of our campus community. This can include transitioning all meetings to phone or online formats, implementing social distancing practices in the work environment, and establishing flexible work patterns to reduce the number of staff in a given area at one time. You can find many valuable university resources for working from home at this link.

The uncertainty of our circumstances can be unnerving and affect us all differently. Take some time for yourself, away from the news and social media, to read, meditate, exercise, or unplug. I’m confident that the actions we are collectively taking will mitigate the impact of COVID-19. 

Our COVID-19 Taskforce and university leadership, in collaboration with state and health department leaders, are closely monitoring developments to guide the direction we are taking today and plan what steps we may need to take in the future. Throughout these conversations, please know that you, our faculty and staff, and our students are of primary importance to me. As I see the dedication and thoughtful responses you have undertaken over the past few days, I am so impressed with the contributions that you make to our campus, our community, and our students. We don’t have all of the answers now, but I appreciate the work that you are doing every day to try to find them with me. You’ve come up with many innovative ideas and solutions already. I know these times are challenging, but I am convinced they have already brought our Weber State family closer together. I cannot reiterate enough how much you and everything you are doing for our campus and for our students makes me proud to be associated with each of you.

As always, please feel free to share questions and concerns with me.