Published Friday, September 18, 2020 at 1:13pm
On Tuesday, September 15, a Return from Remote Work session was held with supervisors and department chairs across the college. The goal of this session was to begin discussing the next milestones in our phased approach to returning to work on our campuses. While the College Incident Management Team (CIMT) has played a key role in our planning, input and experience is needed from across the college to develop department level plans. Our department leaders know their spaces and teams best.
As previously communicated, we intend to keep online enrollment and virtual support as the default option for student services through the remainder of fall and into the spring semester, and a significant percentage of our classes will continue to be offered online. While several of our sister colleges - such as PC, SMCC, and GCC - have significant numbers of employees returning on October 5, MCC’s leadership team is opting for a more gradual return.
Our goal is to bring employees who have been working remotely back to the college in the spring before a large number of students return. It may seem strange to work at the college when very few students are present, but this early return of employees allows teams to become comfortable with campus environments and COVID safety practices and to discover where adjustments may need to be made to spaces and workflows. It also accommodates colleagues who have expressed a desire to work on campus where they have dedicated workspace and preferred equipment. The college will continue to evaluate opportunities to open services for walk-in traffic after spring break, aligning with summer/fall enrollment periods.
During the Return from Remote Work session, several milestones were outlined for employees to intentionally and safely return to campus:
- October - December: Employees are strongly encouraged to volunteer to work one or more shifts in our one-stop centers at Southern & Dobson and Red Mountain (greet students while working on your normal tasks)
- January - employees work 1 day per week in their regular work space
- February - employees work 2 days per week in their regular work space
- March - employees work 3 days per week in their regular work space
These targets are intended to set the expectation for all employees to begin planning their return to the office and to give supervisors a structure to plan with their teams. That said, department leaders are empowered to make adjustments based on the unique details of the work and staffing of their teams. For example, if you have part-time employees who normally work 3 days each week, their in-person work days may be prorated. In this same spirit, faculty are encouraged to use their campus offices more regularly, however, may make adjustments appropriate to their teaching assignments.
As we plan our return to campus, I encourage employees who have family or personal health concerns to contact Human Resources in order to explore appropriate accommodations and have ample time to work through options with HR.
It is worth noting that all of these plans should be considered as targets, with details always shifting as we learn more about COVID in our community and how to best mitigate its effects. We are sharing this framework for return in order to allow you to plan for our most reasonable guess, but we all must understand that some of these details and timelines may change as we travel this road together.
As always, students are our focus. A significant portion of our students desire in-person classes and services. We must plan for safely returning both our employees and our students to our campuses.