To follow up on the message today from the President and Provost, I am writing to offer additional guidance to the BSD community. Because we are a diverse community that includes faculty, students, and staff supporting our patient care, research and educational missions, the impact of this guidance on the BSD is necessarily nuanced. We have launched a new web page that will summarize BSD-specific guidance related to coronavirus (COVID-19). In certain instances, our direction is not appropriate to include on a public-facing website and we will communicate these aspects directly to the appropriate audiences. The webpage will continue to be updated with an archive of all COVID-19 communications and related resources.
It is essential that all departments and supervisors carefully consider whether remote work is feasible and employees follow the guidance of their supervisors with continuity of business and mission in mind. We urge you to consult this useful summary of remote work technology here on the BSDIS website and utilize appropriate solutions to minimize risk.
Continuity of the research mission is essential, but we understand that the format will change as the circumstances shift. We are committed to doing everything we can to ensure that research can continue. We appreciate that most experiments cannot be performed remotely, but we would encourage creativity and flexibility as you prioritize research under these circumstances. All those working in a laboratory should seek guidance from their PIs on whether some remote work is feasible. We encourage PI’s to use discretion in the spirit of my note yesterday and to promote social distancing when laboratory personnel are needed on campus.
We appreciate the challenges associated with transitioning to online classes for Spring quarter. The University has provided additional support and guidance for teaching remotely on this website and we anticipate they will continue to keep this up to date. When possible, exams should be moved online or shifted to rooms where students can be spaced out. If you need assistance, please seek support from the administrative staff in the Office of Graduate Affairs and Pritzker School of Medicine.
Patient Care Mission
Continuity of the patient care mission is essential during this time. University of Chicago Medicine employees and those BSD faculty and staff that support the patient care mission should continue to follow guidance from UCM summarized here on the intranet. We again remind all that patient privacy and security is paramount.
ARC & Core Facilities
A fully functioning ARC is critical to our research mission, and we are working hard to ensure that this continues. ARC will maintain operations, however, in the event that ARC staff are unavailable, it may become necessary to look at the full range of services that are offered and make some adjustments. If changes to services become necessary, we will communicate with the faculty. Although we are working very hard to maintain normal operations, we would urge you to think carefully about your laboratory staffing and plan experiments based on the capacity within your laboratory. Please keep in mind that during this period, the longer the experiment, the greater the risk of potential disruption. If you have any questions, please contact George Langan, Carol Mathieu or Betty Theriault. At this time, Core facilities are continuing normal operations, but we will keep you updated if this changes.
General Guidance for Remote Work
This is covered in President Zimmer’s message today, and the language below is taken from that message.
In furtherance of these efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, we encourage remote work as appropriate. With the approval of managers and unit directors, employees may work remotely where possible. Remote work is available for staff whose responsibilities do not require them to be on campus and can take effect as soon as plans are agreed upon between relevant staff and their supervisors. We expect managers to ensure close communication and coordination among teams and within their departments as the structure and patterns of our work shift during this exceptional time. Moving to remote work where feasible reduces the risk for others whose duties require being on campus. Social distancing must be an organizing principle of life on campus during this period. We recognize that there are many roles on campus for which responsibilities cannot be accomplished remotely. In those cases, please take steps to limit close contact in the workplace.
To manage temporary remote work, visit the BSDIS website for technology-related questions. Additional tips and tools for remote work will also be shared on this web page.
Additional Points of Contact
Realizing that we will be unable to address all of the nuanced concerns you may have at this point, we have included specific points of contact on this web page and will work to keep this up to date as questions arise. We would encourage you to consult our administrative and faculty leadership for questions and guidance.