UMBC is preparing for a gradual shift over the summer from primarily remote work to a return to on-campus work.
Faculty and staff currently working remotely can return to campus starting July 6, with the expectation that all departments will be staffed by August 9.
Supervisors will work with staff to determine both in office and individual schedules.
Acknowledging that one size does not fit all, flexible work arrangements may be considered, based on circumstances in individual offices.
We look forward to a fall 2021 return to the vibrant campus community we have all missed, and we want to share the guiding principles and organizational steps in place to support the transition of most faculty, staff, graduate assistants, and student workers from primarily remote work to a return to our physical campuses. We also want to express our deep gratitude to those who have continued their work on campus to support mission-critical operations, specific student-facing services, and research and creative achievement.
This plan was developed in partnership with the Return-to-Campus Staff Workgroup that was convened in April and included representatives nominated by the Professional Staff Senate (PSS), Non-Exempt Staff Senate (NESS), each division, and the colleges. It has been led by our guiding principles that include an appreciation of our community, a commitment to health and safety, and an understanding that fairness, compassion, and flexibility will guide decisions.
Currently, all faculty, staff, and students who wish to access campus will continue to use existing processes. As we shift to a new approach, the pace of our process will depend on the State of Maryland and Baltimore County allowing full reopening of facilities and the ability of day care participants and K-12 students to attend in-person five days per week. We will revisit our timeline if these conditions are not met. Access to research labs and spaces will continue to be managed by the Office of the Vice President for Research throughout the summer, guidelines are available here.
July 6, 2021: Employees will begin a gradual return to work on campus. All faculty and staff will be approved for campus access; supervisors will no longer need to use the approval process for employees to be on campus. Supervisors and department heads will work with staff to determine appropriate schedules. We are asking that faculty and staff make every effort to be fully vaccinated by this date.
August 9, 2021:Staff should have established schedules with their supervisors. Offices and departments should be prepared to deliver services between the core hours of 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., with extended hours for some offices when appropriate.
Health and Safety
Our community is well on its way to our vaccination goals. Data indicates that almost 60 percent of students and 75 percent of faculty and staff have received at least one vaccine dose. Faculty and staff should make plans to be fully vaccinated before they return to the campus. If you have been vaccinated, please report your vaccination. We are still developing our process for medical and religious exemptions and will share with the community in the coming weeks.
Until new guidelines are announced, all community members returning to campus must follow the appropriate testing and symptom tracking requirements. Currently all employees approved to be on campus can access these requirements through their COVID Compliance Card in their myUMBC profile. More information for those returning after July 6 will be shared soon. Masking and symptom tracking will be required for all community members.
Department heads/supervisors are responsible for determining the scheduling for staff and student workers during summer and fall 2021. This process should be a collaborative one, taking into account both the needs of the department and the situations and needs of employees.
We know that a single approach will not work for all employees or departments. As supervisors/department heads think through the best methods to offer services for the fall, face-to-face or alternative work arrangements may be considered. Available alternative work arrangements are explained here and include telework and flexible schedule options. More information on the process for filing telework requests will be provided soon.
Supervisors are responsible for informing staff of the unit’s plans for phasing in on-campus work and should notify employees of their return-to-campus date no less than two weeks prior to the return date. If you need help creating your schedule or plan, you can reach out to the Human Resources Department at email@example.com.
We understand there may be some employees who have concerns about returning to on-campus work. We encourage employees to discuss these concerns with their supervisor. If concerns persist or employees wish to share concerns confidentially, they may contact Human Resources at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Retriever Ready website has been updated with additional resources for staff including information on ADA accommodations, leave resources, childcare and eldercare concerns, and a connection to support through our Employee Assistance Program. We look forward to adding to these resources in the coming months.
In the fall, eligible employees will also have access to a Premium Membership with Care@Work, a platform that provides families tools to help them make more informed hiring decisions whenever care needs arise. Care@Work connects families and caregivers and is available as a mobile or desktop application. We are pleased to offer this resource to our community during this time of transition. In addition to the monthly membership, the University is also subsidizing up to ten days of backup care. More information will be available soon.
Thank you for all that you do to support our community. We look forward to seeing you soon.
Provost Philip Rous
Vice President for Administration and Finance Lynne Schaefer
COVID-19 Planning Coordinating Committee Co-Chairs