March 16, 2020
Today, UCF launched new practices for learning and working in response to the rapid spread of COVID-19 across our nation. For many, that means taking what we do online or finding other ways to best serve our students remotely.
It’s certainly unprecedented for our university, and there’s no doubt that this is a challenging and stressful time. But it’s also an illustration of how resilient we are as a campus and a community.
By Wednesday, we will have transitioned our courses to remote learning thanks to the ingenuity of our faculty members and incredible support from our Center for Distributed Learning. Individual departments also are working directly with their students to help them find ways to best fulfill their clinical, internship or other requirements so they’re disrupted as little as possible while following the best guidance from health officials.
New Remote Working Guidelines
Also by Wednesday, we are transitioning to temporary remote work for at least two weeks for our faculty and staff whose jobs can be performed while off campus. New guidelines for remote work are available here, along with forms and processes for employees and supervisors to follow.
Those who are prepared to work remotely can begin doing so immediately, with approval from their supervisor and after completing the HR form.
Following health officials’ guidance, high-risk employees also should work remotely starting as soon as possible. Those at high risk from COVID-19 include persons age 65 or older; those with chronic illnesses such as hypertension, coronary artery disease and diabetes; those who are pregnant; and those with immunodeficiency from medications or medical conditions.
We also know that not all employees’ jobs can be performed remotely. Some employees will be required to remain on campus because they support remote learning, campus operations or other essential areas.
Supervisors should work with each of their employees to determine what, where and how their duties will be performed.
Frequent communication between employees and their supervisors will be key during this time. To help, UCF HR has put together a thorough online FAQ that addresses a variety of issues for the university’s different types of employees. UCF IT also has developed a helpful guide for employees working remotely.
These and other updates on the university’s response will continue to be posted to UCF’s coronavirus website.
Keeping Each Other Safe
In keeping with guidance from our federal and local health officials, we have a responsibility to take actions that will keep not only our campus but our larger community safe. That means intentionally having a smaller number of people on our campus and practicing social distancing, or avoiding mass gatherings and settings with large numbers of people and maintaining distance from others when possible.
With that in mind, we have canceled all campus events, including athletics events, through at least March 30. And, we are evaluating other large-scale events scheduled beyond the next two weeks, including commencement. We will be sharing updates with you soon.
UCF also has resources in place to help you navigate through this stressful time. UCF’s Employee Assistance Program, Health Advocate, is available at 877-240-6863 for free, confidential, 24/7 assistance for all employees, including OPS employees in this special circumstance.
Mental health support is available to all students via Counseling and Psychological Services, which can be reached 24/7 by calling 407-823-2811.
Finally, I would like to thank each of you for your patience and flexibility during this extraordinary time. While we are each doing our very best to take care of our students, let’s also remember to continue to prioritize personal safety and the wellbeing of those around us.
And, most of all, let’s keep Charging On!
Thad Seymour Jr.