Dear University of the West Community,

In light of the continuous changes due to the rising number of people tested positive, the University must continue to closely monitor changes to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and State of California “Safer at Home” order with the expectations for all of us to wash hands, keep social distance, and wear masks.  Based on the latest recommendations and guidelines on July 16, 2020, Los Angeles County has remained on monitoring status where new restrictions are imposed,  However, as a university, we are considered “essential business” and have not physically closed campus.  We have, however, provided most faculty and staff to remotely work from home for precaution.  On the other hand, the management team and essential staff members have been working on campus to keep the University’s business and operations running to serve students, staff, and faculty as well as to keep the campus clean and safe.  It is important that we continue to monitor the orders from the state and local governments regarding re-opening of businesses.

In order to better prepare ourselves in the event changes do occur and University campuses are allowed to provide face-to-face instruction, the Return to On-Campus Work Planning Committee, (ROCWPC) has been charged to evaluating the various steps we must take in order to ensure the University can be safely reopen to serve students, faculty, and staff.  The team is charge to determine what personal protective equipment (PPE) and social distancing infrastructure are needed in order to facilitate the return of most staff members, which we anticipate, beginning Fall semester 2020.  Faculty and staff must have a thoughtful plan to welcome back the students in the event that the “Safer at Home” order is lifted.  As we are all aware, that date may not coincide with our academic calendar, just like how March 16, 2020 happened.

The ROCWP Committee will continued to share information with managers and supervisors at various meetings and are tasked with identifying PPE and safe social distancing needs prior to the possible return of non-faculty staff, which we anticipate may take place by the mid August.  The ROCWP will establish an orientation and training session on what is needed from individuals as they return to their offices and work to identify safety needs for their areas of responsibility.

Please note that this return to work plan will be flexible and responsive to the needs of our employees as we work to create a safe environment for everyone. We know that there will be exceptions that will have to be considered on a case-by-case basis, and I ask that all employees continue to remain patient and flexible as we may gradually make the transition back to in-person operations. As we continue to monitor the COVID 19 situation, Vanessa Karam, CSSO, and her team will be in charge of plans for students returning to campus housing this fall, developed in concert with the county health ordinances.

We know that everyone recognizes that this will not be as simple as flipping a switch and returning to a full-time, in-person working on campus, and we are committed to working with employees to find solutions to any issues that may arise, including understanding that many employees have childcare needs that will require some flexibility. The University Administration will continue to explore ways for employee to work on a telecommuting/flexible work procedure that will address many of these issues.

Our highest priority remains the health and safety of our students, employees, and the entire community. Thank you all for your continued dedication and hard work.

Please enjoy your weekend.

President Ta