12 May 2020
I hope all is well with you. The Governor and University have given approval to proceed with our Phase 1 reopening of LLE. As I discussed at out Zoom Town Hall, we will open on May 18 with approximately 30%-40% of our workforce to start. It is important for us to operate with the guidance provided in our LLE COVID-19 Workplace Safety Policy. Make sure you all review this and follow all of the instructions so that we can resume our important work in a safe environment. If you any questions on our policy please reach out to Doug and Karen.
I am looking forward to getting back to a new normal at the Lab. We will phase in more of our workforce slowly. Thank you all for your efforts during this trying time and all you have been able to do during this pandemic.
I hope you and your families are safe and well.
We will be following Governor’s Cuomo’s guidance and have extended the Lab’s restart to on or after 15 May. I have been meeting with Senior Leadership daily. Our discussions have included the process we will put in place for our restart. It is my hope to schedule an all-hands zoom meeting in the next week or two to discuss those plans with you. If there are specific questions or concerns you would like me to address at that meeting, please send them to Jean. She will compile them for me.
I know that you, as well as I, hope to go forward to a new normal.
Please stay safe and well.
COVID-19: Protecting Your Family by Dr. Dave Price: video offering practical steps to stay safe
9 April 2020
As you all are aware, it is an ever-changing situation with COVID-19. All nonessential work is now delayed through the 29th of April. We will delay the restart of general lab activities and Omega Facilities to coincide with that date and possibly beyond (depending on the situation in Monroe County).
I will continue to update all of you. Please stay safe and healthy.
1 April 2020
Given that we are still in uncertain times in dealing with COVID-19 and the that the safety and health of our employees and their families is paramount, we will delay the restart of general laboratory activities including the Omega Facilities until at least April 15 and most likely beyond. I will continue to update all of you as the situation unfolds.
19 March 2020
Current events surrounding the novel coronavirus disease has sparked growing concern among the LLE workforce. The Senior Leadership of LLE (as is our sponsor NNSA) is fully committed to the health and well-being of our staff, our researchers, and our visitors, and we have agreed to the following measures effective immediately:
- Omega operations is transitioning to watch condition 1. This maintains all equipment in a safe and ready to “re-start mode.” Shot operations are suspended until at least 6 April (and could be suspended longer if warranted). Sam Morse has contacted all of the PI’s whose experiments have been impacted. They will be rescheduled as soon as it makes sense when we relook at the Omega schedule.
- Overall objective is to reduce the workforce at the lab to as low as reasonably achievable. Guidelines from the State of New York are to reduce to the work population at the lab to below 50% . For those that can be productive at home, please stay there. For those that still feel comfortable coming to the lab to work, you must maintain a safe work environment.
- If you feel ill to any degree, STAY HOME
- Continue to maintain good hygiene levels while at the lab (wash hands, cover mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, etc.)
- Maintain a professional level of social distancing
- Maintain a clean office and work space (it does not have to fall directly on the environmental service workers)
- All supervisors must be made aware (and track) employee whereabouts. Maintain daily logs of employees working from home and those working at the lab.
- Those working at the lab MUST adhere to the documented buddy system for laboratory “work”. Details can be found on the safety website under General Laboratory Safety Training
- Due to not knowing the exact number of emergency medical responders at the lab, you are now instructed to dial 911 (recall it is 9-911 using internal phone) for all medical emergencies until further notice is provided
16 March 2020
With the significant developments in our community related to coronavirus I expect there to be additional information and updated guidance coming to us regularly. LLE is using the top center section of our home page (COVID-19 Updates) to communicate new information as we receive it. LLE is in communication with campus to get clarification on questions we have received from our staff members. Please continue to reach out to your supervisors with questions and concerns as they arise so these can be addressed.
In these uncertain times I understand many of our staff and faculty are concerned about the health and well-being of family, friends, and colleagues, as well as their own. It is easy to become distracted and I remind everyone to continue to be mindful and diligent in their efforts to ensure they are working safely.
I thank everyone for their understanding and patience in this rapidly evolving environment.
16 March 2020
Please see the additional guidance (added in blue below) to the communication issue by the University at 5:00 PM 3/15/20. We are following this crisis in real time and will report to you as we get new information and guidelines from the University. The health and safety of the UR/LLE staff and students are paramount and will always be our guiding principle.
To our Non-Medical Faculty and Staff:
We have seen significant developments in our community related to coronavirus since our last message to you on Friday. Yesterday, it was announced that a second person in Monroe County tested positive for COVID-19. In the following hours, Monroe County and several surrounding counties declared states of emergency and closed schools, effective Monday, March 16. In addition to the challenge of school closings, it is likely that some of our colleagues may be placed under quarantine by medical professionals and public health officials due to the possibility of community transmission.
We know this is a time of uncertainty and anxiety for many of our staff and faculty, who are concerned about the health and well-being of family, friends, and colleagues, as well as their own, and who have questions about University operations, reporting to work, unexpected childcare issues, or essential staffing.
The University and Medical Center remain open as research, student, faculty, and staff support, and other operations continue, though some in a modified capacity. The following information and resources are for Non-Medical Center faculty and staff. (Medical Center employees will receive separate communications with information specific to their operations.)
Guidelines for Non-Medical Center Staff starting Monday, March 16, 2020
1. If you are an essential employee, you must report to work. Essential employees are determined by the Dean or Director of your school or unit and include, but are not limited to, those who perform duties that ensure the safety and well-being of students, faculty, and staff, and are critical to continuing University operations.
Essential LLE employees that must report to work will be approved by the Director. To aid in this, group leaders and division directors will recommend specific individuals that have responsibilities consistent with Guideline #1 and do not have medical or family-care issues noted in the guideline #3 below. Individuals that must report will be contacted by their supervisors as soon as possible.
2. If you are a non-essential employee and can practice social distancing within your work area, we ask that you report to work until your manager can assess your ability to work from home using the guidelines below.
While Omega Facility Operations are of high value to LLE they are not essential. LLE is currently planning to conduct shot operations on Omega and other facilities as long as they can be conducted safely. We plan to operate the facility with a reduced staff and at a reduced cadence in order to maximize social distancing. We recognize that some individuals may have circumstances that prevent them from reporting. If you are currently required to support this week’s operations but are unable to report (see Guideline # 3) please contact your supervisor at your earliest convenience by email, phone, and/or text.
3. If you are non-essential and do not want to come into work because you have concerns about your safety, or have childcare or family care issues, you may use vacation time until your manager can determine your ability to work from home using the guidelines below. Please note that we are currently awaiting guidance from the federal government on Employer-Provided Sick Leave and the Family and Medical Leave Act. Once we have further guidance, adjustments to your vacation balance, if required, will be made retroactively.
I will be actively communicating with campus to get the latest information with regards to guideline #3. Managers will be working with their direct reports to identify opportunities for non-essential staff to work remotely. There are clearly activities that can be done at home (data analysis, paper writing, etc.) as part of work assignments. Please discuss this with your group and division leaders. Reducing the staff density in the building as much as possible is desired. In addition, if there are any staff with health issues that could be compromised by the COVID-19 virus please stay at home.
Guidelines to Assess Who May be able to Work from Home
Managers should review the guidelines for remote work in collaboration with their employees and department heads, as appropriate, using the Process for Requesting Remote Working. Managers can work with their HR Business Partners if they have questions about the guidelines or process. If there are technical questions about remote access and equipment, managers should follow their department’s standard protocol for requesting IT support. Managers must assess and approve the request and get Cabinet-level, Dean, or Department Head approval.
If remote work is approved, hourly-paid employees working from home need to continue to record their time so they can be paid for all time worked. Managers will continue to approve time per payroll schedules. If you are salaried you should report time as normal.
Employee benefits will not be affected by these arrangements.
We understand that some non-essential roles cannot be performed remotely due to the nature of the work and/or circumstances at home. We ask that you discuss these situations directly with your manager. We will provide further guidance regarding these roles as soon as possible.
If you are a non-essential employee who is unable to work from home, you can use your vacation and Paid Time Off (PTO), if applicable, until it is exhausted. Once it is exhausted, you will need to apply for a short-term leave of absence under Policy 357: Leaves of Absence. This is unpaid leave for up to 30 workdays, with the possibility of an extension if necessary.
Information for University Staff on Absence Due to Quarantine
The University has revised Policy 324: Reassignment/Absence due to Contagion to extend coverage for the COVID-19 pandemic. The revised policy now applies to all faculty and staff across the University and grants full pay for up to 14 days to employees who have been placed under voluntary or involuntary quarantine by the Department of Public Health. This policy aligns with Center for Disease Control guidelines.
Answers to other questions you may have about workplace scenarios can be found on a guide for University faculty and staff. As always, we encourage you to visit the University’s COVID-19 website for the latest updates, information, and resources. You may want to bookmark this page and check it often. It holds many answers to frequently asked questions, including those related to students and families and faculty and staff.
Finally, we want to remind any of you who may be struggling with anxiety, fear, or stress—related to COVID-19 or any other issue—to please know that you are not alone and there are counseling and support resources through the Employee Assistance Program, which is available to all University faculty and staff.
The health and well-being of our community are of upmost importance and we will continue to monitor the situation closely and take steps to keep us safe. Thank you for your patience and efforts as we all work together to plan, prepare, and support one another and our community during this challenging time.
Holly Crawford, Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance, Chief Financial Officer, and Treasurer
Tony Kinslow, Associate Vice President for Human Resources/Chief Human Resources Officer