Interim President Michael A. Bernstein has has issued a communication providing preliminary information and guidance on issues surrounding an eventual return to the workplace. The message reads as follows:
It has been over two months since the New York State Governor issued a stay at home order in response to the COVID-19 emergency. I thank everyone for their tireless efforts in facilitating this challenging transition to the remote work format. I also express my deepest gratitude to our University’s first responders, healthcare workers, and facilities personnel, all of whom have continued to provide essential services throughout this crisis.
As we wait for Suffolk County to reach the New York State reopening benchmarks, we are assessing possible plans for the safe return to our campuses for those who have been working off-site. In developing a course of action, the health and safety of all our colleagues continue to be our highest priority. With that in mind, we will take the following steps:
- A careful prioritization of the positions that may first return to the workplace, including those staff, faculty, and students directly supporting the research effort and the allied health programs;
- A phased, incremental approach for returning employees, allowing for continued telework and staggered schedules, when appropriate, to maintain reduced density on campus;
- A willingness, when circumstances change, to modify protocols as necessary.
We will also deploy the following on-site practices:
- The implementation of proper social distancing measures (at least six feet apart) in workspaces;
- Regular cleaning and decontamination of facilities and workstations;
- A ready supply of hand sanitizer and cleaning/disinfectant products in appropriate locations;
- The requirement to wear face coverings (which will be provided) when adequate social distancing is not possible;
- Directional guidance on safe foot traffic within offices, elevators, stairwells, and other shared spaces;
- Effective tools to conduct daily monitoring of employees’ temperatures and other relevant symptoms.
I recognize that transitioning back to our campuses may require significant changes in various personal and home arrangements. We will, therefore, strive to provide timely updates and notice regarding return to work decisions. You may also regularly refer to the FAQ page on the University’s new Coming Back Safe and Strong website.