COVID-19 Response — Workplace

St. Kate’s is making every effort to ensure as safe and healthy an environment as possible for faculty, staff, and students and, as such, is taking a conservative approach to bringing faculty and staff back to campus while delivering the best experience possible for students. In accordance with our COVID-19 Preparedness Plan and MDH recommendations, faculty and staff will be on campus in a limited capacity to support students and maintain operations.

Remote Work Guidelines

Faculty and staff will continue working on campus in a limited capacity. The majority of employees will continue to work remotely through the end of spring semester.

Remote work arrangements will vary by department, require supervisor approval, and should take into account the following:

  • Remote staff are expected to have established work hours and be online and available during those times. Flexibility may be needed to accommodate specific employee needs (e.g., child care). Faculty should plan designated office hours to meet with students virtually.
  • Supervisors and department chairs should create a master list of contact information for staff working remotely so that team members can be in contact with each other.
  • In the event that remote employees need to come to campus during this time, they are required to follow all policies and procedures.
  • Professional staff must continue to meet department goals, productivity levels, and work responsibilities.

Technology

IT has implemented enhancements to support faculty, staff, and students during this time, and a variety of assets are available for checkout to assist with instructing or taking a course. Equipment and support should be requested through the Coronavirus Technology Request Form. Ongoing updates and information can be found by visiting ServiceNow from the Faculty and Staff page on the website.

Google Voice has now rolled out to all community members. Additional details can be found in ServiceNow.

Google Hangouts Meet is used for most meeting and class purposes. Visit Google Hangouts Meet for a cheat sheet on the primary capabilities, including setting up a meeting, joining a meeting, recording a meeting, and managing the sound. Hangouts Meet is integrated into your Google calendar and can be added by selecting “Add conferencing” when you create a new meeting invite. 

Chat is a great tool for working with a team. Similar to being in a virtual office, you can connect with one or more people and quickly jump on a video call. Review the Google Chat quick reference guide for information on how to setup and use chat and its features.

Video requires a lot of bandwidth, which may result in connectivity issues. If this occurs:

  • Be empathetic. 
  • Allow extra time at the start of meetings to allow time to work through issues.
  • Put materials on Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides. Participants can call into the meeting and view them online.
  • Keep meetings precise and use alternative tools such as email or chat to stay connected.
  • Remind students they can request a laptop through the Coronavirus Technology Form if they do not have one or are having issues.
  • While an iPad or phone can connect to a classroom, a laptop provides more functionality and is the only option when presenting or facilitating a meeting.

Your home internet may prove challenging, especially when it is shared with others. Here are some suggestions to make your experience better:

  • Know what is running on your internet and remove anything unnecessary. For example, turn on a radio rather than streaming on your laptop.
  • Close unnecessary windows on your computer. Depending on what is open, you may have windows constantly updating in the background.
  • Remove extra devices such as webcams and use your laptop camera and sound.
  • Collaborate Ultra is used primarily for Brightspace/D2L integrated online classes. Visit Collaborate Ultra - Getting Started for information on using this tool, or complete the Coronavirus Technology Form and include your course details for setup.

As the majority of courses will remain online for spring, we have prioritized enhancements to the learning experience for students. Faculty were offered training on a number of expanded topics including online course design strategies, online teaching methodologies, and online engagement tools. Capabilities that enhance the online learning experience such as Yellow Dig and Voice Thread discussion tools that promote more sensory learning were also expanded in our toolkit for online use.

New this fall is an online whiteboard called MyViewBoard that will provide a more connected instructional flow, connecting traditional whiteboard, video, and presentation content for a more seamless digital experience. This same capability will be available in all classrooms to enhance the classroom experience and promote learning in and out of the classroom. Students and faculty can access training on all our tools by visiting ServiceNow.

Information for Employees

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Supply Ordering

Requests for PPE equipment (e.g., masks) should be submitted to your dean or SLT member for review. Pending their approval, it will be submitted to the Safely Returning to Campus Committee for review and final approval before ordering. Requests should not be submitted directly to Purchasing or Facilities.

Accommodations

Employees who are in a high-risk group for COVID-19, as identified by the CDC, should talk with their supervisor and contact Human Resources (HR) to discuss a request for reasonable accommodation as needed. HR will engage in an interactive process with the employee and their supervisors to determine the appropriate accommodation. (See the University's ADA, ADAA, and Pregnancy Accommodation Policy)

  • HR will work with faculty and staff who are at higher risk for severe illness (including older adults and people of all ages with certain underlying medical conditions) to determine what accommodations may be made to limit their exposure risk (e.g., telework and modified job responsibilities). 
  • HR will, in accordance with the ADA, ADAA, and Pregnancy Accommodation Policy, maintain all accommodation information in a separate confidential medical file.
  • St. Kate’s will consider all accommodation requests for individuals who, due to medical reasons, cannot wear a mask. Students should contact Disability Resources. Faculty and staff should contact HR. 

Childcare and P-12 Distance Learning Accommodations

Last spring, COVID-19 led to the loss of childcare and P-12 classes being offered remotely, and many schools continue to offer classes remotely or via a hybrid model. As a result, some employees may need to request a modification to their work schedule. Employees needing to make changes to their work schedule should consult with their supervisor or dean about possible modifications. In the event that child care services are suspended, an employee should consult with their supervisor or dean. 

We understand that COVID-19 has greatly impacted the childcare landscape and disrupted childcare plans for many families. Resources are available through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and the State of Minnesota.   

Supervisor Expectations

Supervisors need to establish a weekly schedule that identifies which employees will be on campus each day and their office space. Staffing approaches should accomplish department objectives and ensure that required services and functions are delivered while limiting the potential for virus transmission. This may include flexible work schedules and/or staggering shifts or days working on campus.

Supervisors also play an important role in safeguarding health and wellness, maintaining confidentiality, and protecting the privacy of employee health information.

Specific details can be found in the Preparedness Plan, and supervisors can contact HR with any questions.


Information for Faculty

The COVID-19 pandemic challenges faculty and staff to re-imagine where and how teaching and learning take place, but it does not shake our shared devotion to engaged, inclusive, rigorous, and interactive education. The Faculty Guide was created to consolidate and clarify information to help faculty develop and prepare for courses and academic work.

Faculty Guide


Student Employment

Departments with student worker positions that can be done remotely may allow student workers to work remotely to ease the financial burden on students and support critical areas of University operations. We know that not all student worker positions can be done remotely because of the nature of the work. For these positions, a request form must be submitted to Human Resources prior to approval and all student workers must be supervised by a faculty or staff member during their time on campus.

Resources

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

Request for On Campus Activity Form