All employees should continue working remotely where possible until at least August 6.
–At that time, we will provide guidance for the fall semester, as well as our new plans for a longer-term remote work policy.
–We intend to restore matching contributions to your retirement accounts beginning July 1, and employees will also receive five “wellness days.”
–If you are fully vaccinated, please remember to fill out the Qualtrics form on our website, which can be found using the link at the end of this message.
Dear Faculty and Staff,
We are nearing the end of an academic year that has been incredibly challenging for each of us–here on campus and at home–as we’ve navigated COVID-19’s impact on our jobs and our personal lives.
I want to thank you for your continued flexibility under the circumstances. You’ve made sacrifices, having gone above and beyond what is asked of you during a typical academic year. Furthermore, your efforts to help reduce the transmission of the virus on campus have been commendable, and you’ve played a leading role in keeping our campus as safe and healthy as possible for our students and for one another. We truly are a community, and I am grateful for your relentless support.
It’s been well over a year since our shift to this new working environment, and I know you’re anxious to learn more about plans for the summer and the fall semester. As restrictions are lifted in our region and vaccines are becoming more widely available, many of you have asked me about when we might finally return to work in a more traditional sense.
All faculty and staff should plan to continue remotely working where possible until August 6, at which time we will begin asking employees to begin their transition back to campus. This gradual transition should continue throughout the month and into the fall semester. More information will be shared this summer, including additional details about a longer-term remote work policy that we hope will grant you additional flexibility during your work week.
Among the many sacrifices you have accepted is the temporary suspension of the college’s contribution to your retirement account. As part of the FY22 budgeting process, a recommendation will be made to the board of trustees at its May meeting to restore matching contributions. Though our budget has yet to be finalized and, ultimately, approved by the board, it is our intention to reinstate the plan to the way it had been before last July. Starting July 1, 2021, this entails a four percent employee contribution and the seven percent college contribution. These details will be confirmed and shared with you in the coming weeks.
We know that your personal time is important. Given the challenges of the past year, the college is awarding five “wellness days” in addition to your accrued vacation and sick/personal time, to be taken during the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2021. As you know, current paid time off ends on June 30 and does not carry over to the next year, so I hope this allows for some additional peace of mind. You’ve certainly earned it. Also, please be sure to review the official FY22 holiday calendar, which is now posted on the human resources website.
This summer, we are planning our regular residential Summer Fellows program. As stated in an email last week, weekly COVID-19 testing will be required only for those students living on campus who have not already been fully vaccinated. And as we reported in that communication, we have begun the exciting work of planning to reopen campus again to visitors so that the public can enjoy the Schellhase Commons, the Berman Museum of Art, our summer athletics camps, and more.
In the fall, we expect a full return to in-person instruction, and the scheduling of the Common Intellectual Experience will return to normal. As for athletics, we are preparing for a regular fall athletics competition schedule.
I look forward to reconnecting with colleagues in person soon. It goes without saying that plans to regularly return to campus are contingent upon the improved public health conditions in our area, and the task force will continue to monitor that routinely. Regardless, we are now working on an updated set of guidances for our campus community.
In the meantime, we strongly encourage all faculty and staff to get vaccinated for your own health and well-being. Remember, if you are fully vaccinated, please report it to us by visiting https://ursinus.edu/vaccinations and clicking on the form that can be found in the “Fully Vaccinated Information” section. When you report that you have been fully vaccinated, you must include a photo of your vaccination card. And please remind students they, too, should be letting us know if they have been fully vaccinated by contacting Ellen Macionsky in the Wellness Center.
Now is not the time to let down our guard. Let’s continue to remain vigilant, work to make the final few weeks of spring memorable for our students and graduating seniors, and move even closer to a rewarding in-person experience for everyone.
Once again, thank you for all that you do for Ursinus.
President Brock Blomberg