Thank you for all you are doing to continue the important work of the University of Nebraska through this uncertain and challenging period.
Models from our public health experts predict that cases of COVID-19 in Nebraska will peak sometime in late April. Now is the time to do all we can to “flatten the curve” to keep our health care systems and the professionals who staff them from becoming overwhelmed and, in turn, dramatically slow the spread of infection and prevent hospitalizations and deaths.
We know that social distancing, staying home as much as possible, and practicing good hygiene are the keys to flattening the curve. Therefore, out of an abundance of caution and with the health and safety of our community in mind, we are closing the University of Nebraska to all employees except those whose physical presence is officially designated as necessary on-site, effective tomorrow, April 8. We understand you may need to return to campus in the next few days to complete your transition away from the office; we will be flexible but expect that all employees will be in full compliance with our new guidance by close of business on Friday, April 10.
The closure applies to employees across the entire University of Nebraska system, including student workers. It will continue for at least two weeks. During that time we will re-assess and decide what level of remote work is appropriate going forward based on advice from our medical experts and data on COVID-19 in our state and beyond.
We have been planning for this scenario for several weeks and have been engaged with our leadership teams in a process to determine those employees whose physical presence is necessary on campus. These may include all of our health care workers, public safety officers, housing and dining personnel and others. You will receive a letter signed by your chancellor or the president if you are expected to report to work on-site if your job requires it. Otherwise, as many of you have already been doing for the past several weeks, you should plan to work remotely until further notice. As before, flexible work arrangements remain our first line of defense and we expect supervisors to work with their teams to provide as much flexibility as possible to ensure continuity of our operations. We encourage you to contact your supervisor with questions about your specific work arrangements.
Of course, we recognize not every job can be performed at home. As a reminder, employees may use up to 160 hours of emergency paid administrative leave under a temporary policy we announced last month. Detailed information about that policy and other leave-related issues are available here. Furthermore, our Human Resources teams are currently analyzing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that was recently passed by Congress and we will communicate more information to you soon about the additional paid leave options that are becoming available to you. Our bottom line is that we are doing all we can to make certain our employees are taken care of during these unprecedented times.
The more we do now to flatten the curve, the sooner we can all get back to our more traditional routines of working and learning. Thank you for your ongoing commitment to the health and safety of the University of Nebraska family and the communities we serve.
President, University of Nebraska System
Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D.
Chancellor, University of Nebraska Medical Center and University of Nebraska at Omaha
Ronnie D. Green, Ph.D.
Chancellor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Doug Kristensen, J.D.
Chancellor, University of Nebraska at Kearney