UMass Dartmouth is working thoughtfully to plan our return to campus this fall.
The pandemic forced us to leave campus abruptly and significantly changed how we delivered services for an extended period of time. We transitioned quickly to remote operations in Spring 2020 in response to CDC guidance and in the interest of the health and welfare of our students, faculty, and staff. Our planned return to campus is in response to Governor Baker’s lifting of most statewide COVID-19 restrictions.
As we embark upon this long-awaited return, it is important to acknowledge that UMass Dartmouth is an on-site educational institution and as such, everyone is expected to return to campus for on-site work for the start of the Fall 2021 semester no later than August 2, 2021. In coordination with their supervisors, staff may begin to return to on-site work immediately while adhering to the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 guidance. The requirement to return to onsite work no later than August 2nd does not preclude the use of paid time off during August dependent on operational needs and supervisory approval. Faculty are required to return to on-site work for the start of the Fall 2021 semester in accordance with the academic calendar.
During the pandemic, we learned some lessons about remote/hybrid work that we will apply to our post-pandemic workplace. As we resume in-person instruction, research and on-campus activities in the fall, we must strike a balance that:
- Prioritizes delivery of critical services to our students and campus community
- Realizes the benefits of flexible work arrangements
- Measures effectiveness of flexible schedule arrangements like hybrid-remote working to ensure positive results and outcomes
Here are key milestones:
- Effective May 29, 2021, most COVID-19 restrictions are rescinded by Governor Baker. In order to afford employees sufficient time to become fully vaccinated and to make childcare and other necessary personal arrangements, the university chose not to require all staff to return to on-site work until August 2, 2021.
- Effective July 1, 2021, all COVID-related accommodations will expire. Individuals requiring assistance for documented medical conditions will be handled via established Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA)/American Disability Act (ADA) channels by Human Resources.
- Between now and August 1, 2021, staff members may continue in their current work arrangements as they have during the pandemic. However, staff may begin (in coordination with their supervisor) to return to on-site work immediately while adhering to the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 guidance.
- August 2, 2021, all staff are required to return to on-site work.
- Faculty are required to return to on-site work for the start of the Fall 2021 semester in accordance with the academic calendar.
After all staff return to on-site work on August 2, 2021, a hybrid-remote work policy will be gradually implemented based on these guiding principles:
- On-site staffing will be driven by operational needs and the recognition that operational needs differ across departments and units.
- Our operating models for the fall will reflect the lessons learned during the pandemic. We’ve discovered better ways to deliver some services and we need to take advantage of flexible, hybrid-remote work arrangements where it makes sense for the university, for the level of service we strive to provide students, and for staff.
- Remote work situations will be hybrid in nature. Fully remote work opportunities will be considered only in rare circumstances.
- Flexible schedule arrangements, including hybrid-remote work measures, will only be established in instances where effectiveness, positive results and outcomes for the university and our students are achieved.
- Human Resources will work with Division Heads to develop worksite plans that will integrate new tools and resources to help units identify the positions that may be appropriate for hybrid/remote work in an objective manner to promote equitable decision making.
In the upcoming weeks we will share the details of the hybrid-remote work policy along with an anticipated implementation date.
We appreciate your cooperation as we transition back to on-site work. COVID vaccinations will be a critical key to success and are now widely available. We encourage everyone to learn more and get vaccinated as soon as possible.
If you need assistance with child, elder or pet care arrangements, please consider utilizing ComPsych, the University’s Employee Assistance Program by calling at 844.393.4983 TDD: 800.697.0353 or online at guidanceresources.com. Enter company Web ID: UMASS.
We are excited to see everyone again and re-engage in our daily interactions, events and activities. Questions can be directed to email@example.com or x8060.
COVID-19 Vaccine Information
UMass Dartmouth will require COVID-19 vaccinations for all undergraduate and graduate students who wish to live, learn, or physically come to campus before the start of the Fall 2021 semester. UMass Dartmouth also strongly encourages and recommends that all faculty and staff be fully vaccinated before the start of the fall semester. Visit our Vaccination Information website to learn more. Visit VaxFinder.mass.gov to find an appointment near you.