This message to all faculty and staff has been approved by Renisha Gibbs, Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Finance & Administration Chief of Staff.
A little over a year ago, we announced the transition to remote work because of the impending COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, there were no cases of COVID-19 on campus or in Leon County. We remained hopeful that it would be safe to return to typical on-campus operations within a few weeks, but that was not the case.
As I reflect on the past year’s ups and downs, I am proud of our faculty and staff’s perseverance in the face of immense challenges. Initially, we were unsure how a primarily remote workforce would function. However, your ability to keep the University moving while still maintaining excellent service has shown what makes our employees exceptional.
When asked to pivot, our employees did not miss a beat. Faculty quickly transitioned to online instruction, and a large portion of staff shifted to remote work. Essential personnel continued to provide critical on-campus services. Learning new skills and creating a new normal were not easy tasks, but our employees exceeded expectations. Now, the time has come to begin the transition back to on-campus operations.
INCREASING OUR ON-CAMPUS PRESENCE
In late February, President Thrasher announced that beginning May 1, departments are expected to increase their presence on campus, regardless of whether their duties require in-person interactions. The increased presence will look different for each department, and department heads have the discretion to determine how to meet this expectation in consultation with their respective Vice President. Our current pandemic flexibilities for remote work will remain in place until July 31, 2021.
You may now be wondering what to expect as we begin to repopulate campus. What will campus life be like when we return?
All temporary remote work agreements will expire July 31, 2021. As we ramp up for the Fall 2021 semester, effective August 1, 2021, the University will return to our standard, pre-pandemic operations, schedules, and staffing levels. Exception requests will be reviewed for approval through normal Central HR processes. The University will continue to closely monitor conditions and consult with state and local health officials to adjust these dates if necessary. Our hope is that by providing this date now, employees currently working remotely have sufficient time to prepare for a full campus return.
Despite the challenges of the last year, the Office of Human Resources has taken the opportunity to examine new possibilities and evaluate our policies and practices based on your input. As a result, we have developed options for departments that will enhance flexibility for employees.
NEW PAID PARENTAL LEAVE BENEFIT
I am pleased to announce that we will be offering a new Paid Parental Leave benefit for staff employees beginning in August 2021. President Thrasher recently approved this benefit, and we are delighted to make it a reality starting this Fall.
ALTERNATE WORK LOCATION ARRANGEMENT PILOT PROGRAM
We are also excited to share the details of the new Alternate Work Location Arrangement Pilot Program that will launch in August 2021. The program will provide new teleworking options available with College/Department level approval.
We have seen firsthand that in certain circumstances, a hybrid remote work model can be successful. Though we are a residential campus that requires staff on campus to provide many of our services, we also acknowledge that offering departments flexibility to determine remote and in-person schedules can be beneficial.
While we commend our employees’ ability to shift to remote work, we also look forward to the repopulation of campus. Our dedicated campus community’s personal interactions make the FSU experience unique for faculty, staff, and students. There is no FSU without all of you.
CAMPUS REPOPULATION ZOOM
On May 3, 2021, we will host a Zoom meeting to discuss new policies, summer schedule options, and repopulation guidelines. Please join us from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at https://fsu.zoom.us/j/91779901605.
We will continue to communicate more details about the August 2021 repopulation in the coming weeks and throughout the summer. Updates will be provided via email and posted to the Human Resources website. We are working diligently to develop guidance to ease the transition back to pre-pandemic, on-campus operations.
Your feedback is very important to us. If you have any questions, please email my team at HR-COVID19@fsu.edu. Additionally, we will send a follow-up communication about the upcoming Zoom meeting in which we will also provide an opportunity for you to submit questions to the panelists. Please continue to check your email for this information.
Thank you for your continued engagement and commitment to FSU.
Associate Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer
Finance & Administration Chief of Staff