Happy Thanksgiving / Return to Work Update

Published Monday, November 23, 2020 at 11:27am

Dear Maricopa Family,

As we head into the Thanksgiving break, Nov. 26 - 29, I want to take a moment to recognize how challenging this year has been and express my gratitude for your efforts in making our System stronger, and progressing our community and Arizona forward. Maricopa is a System of truly remarkable people, and your efforts have not gone unnoticed. I am grateful for the hard work you continue to provide to meet our core mission -- our students' success.

I am deeply grateful for the willingness and effort you’ve all made to shift to remote operations and your ability to adapt to unprecedented change. Our county, state, and nation are once again facing a surge in coronavirus cases, and I would like to provide information regarding our plans to return to in-person learning and operations.

In determining when to transition back to working onsite, protecting our entire Maricopa community's health and safety and limiting the spread of COVID-19 remains our guiding principle. To that end, MCCCD Risk Management adopted objective metrics in concert with the Arizona Department of Health to establish when it is safest for all of us to return. The Maricopa County COVID Metrics Matrix can be found in the employee portal here. These benchmarks will inform our Colleges in the decision-making process for returning students, faculty, and staff to learning, working, and community activities. As our knowledge of COVID-19 continues to evolve and more information becomes available, we will update our policies and plans as needed.

Each College will have the autonomy to determine the degree to which working and learning environments can transition back to in-person given the unique characteristics of each College, including physical spaces, number of employees, number of ongoing face-to-face classes, number of students, city mandates, and other variables unique to our various locations.The same autonomy will be afforded to our 5 District Office department leaders. It is important to remember that the options will likely vary by College, campus, and department.

Our approach will be flexible as there are numerous variables to consider from a System perspective as well as individual employee perspectives. We understand that some of you have personal circumstances, including childcare, eldercare, and other challenges to be addressed before you could return to working on site. We ask supervisors to work closely with those employees and ensure their concerns are considered before returning.

College leadership will do everything possible to provide you with timely information related to returning to campus and the look ahead to 2021.

Please take time to reflect and take a pause for yourselves during the Thanksgiving break. Whether you plan to visit with those who are important to you virtually or spend time together in-person, remember there is much to be thankful for. In the past several months, our System came together in a huge effort to help our students, faculty, and staff stay connected and build our community together. I appreciate all that you do and thank you for continuing to lift our community's spirit in especially trying times.

As always, please visit our website for current information, resources, and FAQs.