Dear UWM Faculty and Staff,
With COVID-19 spreading rapidly, your health and safety, as well as that of our students, is paramount. To help control the spread of the virus, we will be strictly limiting all onsite, non-essential operations and moving most operations to virtual or remote methods no later than noon tomorrow. This includes closing all operations and services that are open to walk-in traffic and having all employees who are able to work remotely do so.
There may be limited circumstances in which some employees need to continue working on campus and can do so in secure, private areas, such as research labs. Deans and division heads will grant permission to these employees to continue their work on a case-by-case basis. Those decisions are subject to change in light of the rapidly evolving situation.
Please note that campus is not closed, but we are closing and limiting access for many areas to limit exposure to COVID-19. Indeed, some employees will need to provide critical services, such as caring for students living in our residence halls, providing core IT and networking services to campus, continuing payroll operations and providing security for those accessing campus. But, all who can work remotely must do so, and we ask all supervisors to make those determinations as quickly as possible.
We also realize there are some employees who are not required to work onsite and who cannot work remotely. Those employees may be eligible for special COVID-19 leave, which was announced today by UW System. This provides up to 80 hours of paid leave for employees who can’t perform their assigned duties during the COVID-19 pandemic emergency due to the following:
- inability to work remotely
- care of an immediate family member
- child/elder care due to school and day care closures
Delivery of instruction to students, which is work that can be performed remotely, does not qualify for COVID-19 leave without extraordinary circumstances and the availability of course coverage.
Faculty, academic staff, university staff, limited appointees, employees-in-training, graduate assistants and temporary employees are eligible for COVID-19 leave, with the approval of campus administration. The leave may be used prior to using any other type of accrued leave and will be available until the president of UW System determines the pandemic emergency has concluded.
I also want to let you know that the City of Milwaukee Health Department has confirmed one case of COVID-19 in a UWM employee. Like all large institutions in Milwaukee, we expect to have more cases confirmed in the coming days. We want to respect the privacy of these employees and will not be identifying them. This is not a time to panic, but a time to stay committed to our core values of treating everyone with respect and maintaining an environment free from discrimination. It’s also a time to support and care for each other. In the balance of this employee update, you will find more details on testing, access to campus facilities, updates to our travel guidelines and other information to help you through this time.
Mark A. Mone
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee