Faculty & Staff Spring Semester 2021

We've created the following page to answer questions that faculty and staff may have about Spring Semester 2021. We will update this page with more information as it becomes available.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which faculty and staff will be prioritized for returning to campus?

Which employees are considered essential this Spring?

Will our Remote Work Policy be revised? Will our guidelines and policies related to remote work be equitable and inclusive?

How will we address employees who must come to campus, do not have cars, and do not want to take public transportation?

Will employees be allowed to park on campus?

What is our policy for faculty/staff who want to go to campus but are not essential?

How will we continue to support a remote workforce?

How will OCIE continue to support a remote workforce?

How long will we extend COVID-19 leave?

How will we accommodate faculty/staff who have young children at home, children in schools with abbreviated schedules, primary caretakers, etc?

Are there any plans for reimbursement or subsidy to support costs incurred by working from home(e.g., cell phones, internet access, etc.)?

What precautions will Simmons take to protect faculty and staff who must be on campus?

How are we addressing contact tracing and issues of privacy?

What will the testing protocol be for faculty and staff?

What are our internal mechanisms for handling COVID reports among faculty/staff?

What is our quarantine policy for Faculty and Staff? Visitors?

Can I come on to campus for printing and mail services?

How are we protecting our essential staff?


Which faculty and staff will be prioritized for returning to campus?

Only those employees classified as essential will come to campus on a regular basis, plus those who are critical for supporting our students. We will determine those employees once we know the number of students returning to live on Res Campus. Which employees are considered essential this Spring?

Any employee whose job requires some presence on campus with any regularity to complete an essential University function is deemed an essential employee for purposes of accessing campus. Some, such as public safety, dining, or maintenance, must come to campus daily or near-daily as most or all of their job functions must be completed on campus. Other employees may only need to come once a week or periodically to complete some of their responsibilities.

As a general guideline, employees deemed essential will depend on re-opening decisions and influenced by those services needed to support students, faculty and staff that cannot be done remotely. Employees should communicate with their supervisor if there are any questions about whether they will be required to come to campus to complete their job functions.

Which employees are considered essential this Spring?

Any employee whose job requires some presence on campus with any regularity to complete an essential University function is deemed an essential employee for purposes of accessing campus. Some, such as public safety, dining, or maintenance, must come to campus daily or near-daily as most or all of their job functions must be completed on campus. Other employees may only need to come once a week or periodically in order to complete portions of their responsibilities. 

As a general guideline, employees deemed essential will depend upon re-opening decisions and influenced by those services needed to support students, faculty and staff that cannot be done remotely. Employees should communicate with their supervisor if there are any questions about whether they will be required to come to campus to complete their job functions.

Will our Remote Work Policy be revised? Will our guidelines and policies related to remote work be equitable and inclusive?

We are in the process of benchmarking and revising our current policy to consider and support emerging needs in a COVID-19 environment.

How will we address employees who must come to campus, do not have cars, and do not want to take public transportation?

Employees are responsible for finding their own transportation to campus; daily parking passes as well as monthly passes for the Simmons garage will be available for employee parking, discounted T-passes will also be offered.

Will employees be allowed to park on campus?

Yes, they will sign up for monthly parking, or daily passes as usual.

What is our policy for faculty/staff who want to go to campus but are not essential?

We will be adhering to our guideline of limiting the campus to essential employees with very limited exceptions for health and safety concerns as well as the extensive renovation on campus. If faculty/staff need to be on campus, please refer to the Campus Access Policy. We will continue to evaluate campus access for faculty/staff throughout the Spring  semester.

How will we continue to support a remote workforce?

We will continue to  ask managers to (1) lead with safety; (2) be transparent and (3) exercise flexibility when possible keeping in mind that we still need to meet the needs of the business and students.

We have extended the COVID-19 Related Leave Policy for FY21. The policy, available to all full- and part-time faculty and staff (including temporary staff), allows up to 80 hours of paid time off to be used in the case of quarantine, isolation or family care needs related to the pandemic. It began anew on July 1, 2020.

In addition, we have instituted Flex Time for up to 10 hours a week. Managers should work with their teams and individuals to determine how to best support unique needs while managing business needs. This may look different by teams and roles.  
HR will continue to support managers with interpreting, analyzing and developing action plans based on their Gallup results.

Professional Development offerings will continue to be thematic, occur monthly virtually and will continue to be responsive to current demands and a remote workforce.

How will OCIE continue to support a remote workforce?

OCIE has had great success in engaging the broader Simmons community of students, faculty and staff in honest and difficult conversations racial healing, equity and inclusion at Simmons and in the world. OCIE will continue to provide resources and support to faculty and staff with DEI specific activities and signature events, including workshops, events and guest speakers. University-wide speakers will be invited in coordination with the Provost Office and include one signature event per semester. Our newsletters will continue to provide information insights and resources related to inequities associated with COVID-19 and combating racism.

Other activities include continued partnership with Colleges of the Fenway and their Undoing Racism curriculum currently being developed for online delivery. OCIE will continue to be strong partners with HR on an ongoing basis to supplement any existing professional development opportunities with additional equity and inclusion content.
 

How long will we extend COVID-19 leave?

We have extended the COVID-19 Related Leave Policy for FY21. The policy, available to all full- and part-time faculty and staff (including temporary staff), allows up to 80 hours of paid time off to be used in the case of quarantine, isolation or family care needs related to the pandemic. It began anew on July 1, 2020.

How will we accommodate faculty/staff who have young children at home, children in schools with abbreviated schedules, primary caretakers, etc?

  • In an effort to support working parents and all employees, we have asked Managers to exercise as much flexibility as possible while meeting business needs.
  • If you need more flexibility in your schedule as a result of childcare pressures, please consult with your manager to explore a reasonable accommodation or solution. For example, designating a different block of time to a “no-meeting” window. Here is some guidance regarding Simmons Flex Time
  • We encourage you to utilize vacation days as needed.
  • Finally, we recognize there are no ideal solutions that fully support working parents during this time.
  • Please visit Employee Resources for COVID-19 Transitions.

Are there any plans for reimbursement or subsidy to support costs incurred by working from home(e.g., cell phones, internet access, etc.)?

Our Remote Work Policy does not include reimbursement for things such as  phone or internet access. We are asking managers to ensure employees working remotely have access to basic supplies necessary to do their job. If working from home has presented unique challenges as it relates to business expenses, please consult your manager.

What precautions will Simmons take to protect faculty and staff who must be on campus?

All visitors to campus must complete a COVID-19 self-certification form. , All students, faculty and staff who must be on campus will be tested regularly and contact tracing protocols will be in place. Masks will be required at all times in campus buildings and when social distancing can’t be maintained. As part of an enhanced cleaning plan all common spaces, bathrooms, and classrooms that are in use will be cleaned multiple times per day. Hand sanitizer or cleaning wipes will be available throughout campus. In addition, because most of the academic campus is currently under construction, hard hats and an escort will be required until further notice. Signage will be installed around campus reminding everyone of these expectations and best practices.

How are we addressing contact tracing and issues of privacy?

Our contact tracing procedures will be developed in conjunction with all federal, state, and local regulations, and we will ensure any information is stored securely.

What will the testing protocol be for faculty and staff?

We are partnering with the Broad Institute to regularly test anyone who will be coming to campus consistently. Learn more about our testing protocols.

What are our internal mechanisms for handling COVID reports among faculty/staff?

Any positive test from a faculty or staff member who has spent time on campus should be reported to the Health Center, who will properly report to state and local health authorities. In conjunction with them, we will ensure that contact tracing protocols are followed while maintaining proper privacy. It may be necessary to keep the campus community informed if there are positive cases on campus, without divulging any sensitive information.

What is our quarantine policy for Faculty and Staff? Visitors?

If someone is exposed to a COVID positive case, or tests positive for the virus themselves, they will be asked to stay at home in self-quarantine for 14-days, or until they are cleared to return to work following recovery from the virus.

Can I come on to campus for printing and mail services?

Yes, the Copy/Mail Center has remained open as an essential service throughout the spring and will continue to be open. In addition, copiers and printers are online in specific locations on campus.

Yes, the Copy/Mail Center has remained open as an essential service throughout the spring and will continue to be open. In addition, copiers and printers are online in specific locations on campus. The Copy/Mail Center also accepts virtual printing orders through their digital storefront. Additionally, you can request that printed materials be mailed directly to your home. Learn how to place an online order. And consider bookmarking the Copy & Mail Services page with the info on it under Copy and Print Services for future use.

How are we protecting our essential staff?

All of our essential staff have gotten extensive information throughout the pandemic about PPE use, social distancing, and self-certification. There is PPE available to them at all times, and we are closely monitoring their health and wellness through individual department conversations.

Also, we are requiring all employees who are on campus to take training that addresses health and safety protocols.