Coronavirus (COVID-19) Employee Update – March 26, 2020

Dear Colleagues, 

As you know, yesterday Governor Walz announced a “Stay at Home” executive order, effective 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 27 through Friday, April 10 at 5 p.m.

This executive order excludes “educators supporting public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and universities for purposes of facilitating distance learning or performing other essential functions, if operating under rules for social distancing.” 

Thus and thankfully, St. Catherine University falls into the category of an essential business and  remains open. That means all of us can continue our work in support of our mission, albeit temporarily morphed into the online delivery of education and the services that support our students.

Under the governor’s executive order, University employees are allowed to come to campus, as verified during a press conference by Gov. Walz today. Public servant time will not be used to stop and question where people are going during the stay-at-home order. In the highly improbable event that someone would question you being en route or on-campus, your St. Catherine University ID will show that you are an employee of the University and allowed to do so because we are an essential business.

While the majority of employees are encouraged and able to work remotely, there are some roles that continue to call for at least some work time on campus several times per week to complete work tasks (e.g. check mail, process payroll, pay bills, process donor checks). There are also employees whose duties can only be performed on campus, including IT, ensuring all employees and students are trained and set up to be effective online, and those needing to be here for the 100+ students who call St. Kate’s their home. We deeply appreciate our custodial, public safety, dining services, residence life, and facilities teams who will be here.

Because we are an essential business, presence on campus can and may be expected of any one of us while still ensuring social distancing and other public health orders. You should continue to follow work arrangements made with your supervisor. Exceptions to this will be those individuals who fall into a high risk category as outlined by the Minnesota Department of Health and/or your private physician. 

As stated in our March 23 update, Human Resources is gathering the data from across the University to account for the work of every faculty and staff member. We will use the principles stated in that update to determine how we can be flexible and to the best of our ability, strive to ensure employees have work. Part of our strategy is to actively work to redeploy individuals whose job functions have been significantly impacted by our current circumstances. As new needs and projects emerge (e.g., IT support, admission, recruitment), we will make every effort to redeploy portions of employees’ time to provide support to these other areas or deal with a backlog of items in their own areas that this time affords. If we are unable to find alternative work for them to perform, we will be carefully considering what other options may be available.

Additionally, supervisors are asked to not use on-call or temporary workers during this period as we work to ensure that all of our regular employees are able to maintain full time employment. All non-exempt employees working remotely should be paid for all hours worked at their regular rate of pay. Overtime should be avoided whenever possible, but in extraordinary circumstances may be incurred, and must be pre-approved by a Senior Leadership Team member.

As always, if you have individual questions or concerns, please go directly to your supervisor. If you need additional information or support, please contact Human Resources.

As we continue forward into this new norm, let us all remember our goals:

  1. Stay healthy through honoring all state directives and advice, and individual physician orders.

  2. Deliver our mission while keeping our focus on the future: the academic master plan, enrollment and retention, and fundraising.
  3. Keep our team employed and engaged.

Incredible, innovative work has been done in a very compressed time period. We will all do our best in the coming weeks to continue helping each other and every student be successful. Be proud of what we have accomplished together. We will continue to communicate as often as it is needed. I know it has felt like a lot of information in the past two weeks because it has been a lot. I appreciate you reading all of these emails and absorbing them so we can be sources of calm for our students and each other. 

Take good care. All is well. All will be well.

Becky Roloff