Fall 2021 COVID-19 Guiding Principles
Administrative and Classified Staff
Below are the guiding principles in preparation for the fall 2021 semester. COVID-19 vaccine access and distribution continue to increase. The University will continue to monitor local and regional cases and hospitalizations. We will continue to make adaptations in keeping with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Ohio Department of Health (ODH) guidelines applicable at the time to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
The guiding principles underscore the fact that remote work possibilities, generally, are at the employer’s sole discretion, are appropriate only when they result in a benefit to the institution and may be terminated at any time.
- The challenges of 2020 have led us to embrace technology and consider alternative course delivery and work environments in ways we previously thought not possible. Not everything has worked well, while other adaptations have worked better than expected. Our challenge for the future is to capitalize on these lessons learned, continue to leverage technology where it works best and also return to the power of in-person interactions that are the foundation of a residential comprehensive university.
- While we have learned to serve the needs of students in an online and remote format, according to surveys and student decisions, our students prefer a face-to-face experience. Because the vast majority of our undergraduate students are full-time residential students, the majority of undergraduate courses offered on the Bowling Green campus this fall will be delivered in a face-to face/in-person format. ODH and CDC guidelines will be followed as they have in the past to minimize spread of the virus on campus. We have found new ways to leverage technology to enable flexibility and improve some aspects of course delivery. Looking forward, we need to intentionally design hybrid, remote and online components of classes to benefit the student. Courses and programs that were designed to be offered in a fully online manner will continue as designed.
In-Person Campus Presence for Staff
- We believe in the power of a learning community where the community is stronger when members are given opportunities to interact and engage face to face both formally and informally. Thus, staff will be expected to have a physical presence on our campuses to interact with students, colleagues and constituents. While it will be efficient for some meetings to continue in a virtual format, staff will be expected to be available for work-related meetings, professional development and other professional expectations on one of our campuses.
- Globally, we have learned about the benefits and challenges of remote work. Vice presidents or division leaders will be responsible for determining the timing of and appropriate mix of in-person and remote work moving forward. This determination will be driven by the functions performed within offices and the need to provide in-person and remote interactions. Guiding principles for determining the blend of remote and in-person should include the following:
- Offices that support or interact with constituencies that have an expectation of face-to-face interactions must provide face-to-face services and be physically present on campus. These employees shall be provided an appropriate office space on one of the campuses. This does not limit the ability of the supervisor to approve non-routine remote work arrangements.
- Offices that do not need to meet an expectation of face-to-face interactions with constituencies may in general be remote, assuming the work can be completed appropriately. However, even fully remote employees would need to be available for face-to-face interactions as determined by their supervisor. Fully remote employees will be provided appropriate office space when they are on campus. This office space would not be permanently assigned to any specific employee but would be community shared.
- Some offices may have positions whose duties may be completed efficiently in a hybrid fashion. This is a combination of campus presence and routine remote work on a long-term basis. This work arrangement is at the discretion of the unit and, in these situations, the vice president or division leader must review and decide whether or not to approve the proposed arrangement. The proposed hybrid work arrangement, at a minimum, must not detract from the ability of the position to appropriately service constituencies. In these arrangements, employees will be provided appropriate office space when they are physically present on campus (which may be community shared space).
Because the work of divisions and units must begin at various times prior to the start of the fall 2021 semester, these guiding principles should be followed immediately.