June 15, 2021
As we look back on one of the most challenging years in memory, we do so with extreme gratitude for the extraordinary efforts of our faculty and staff. Your dedication, determination and expertise have enabled our community to continue teaching, living, working and learning together despite the enormous hardship of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, we are looking forward to returning to a pre-pandemic environment with far fewer COVID-19 protocols in place.
As we enter this new phase, the university is planning for the return of all employees working remotely to on-site work no later than Tuesday, July 6. With more than 86% of our faculty and staff vaccinated, the daily cases of COVID-19 on campus are extremely low. More than 2.39 billion vaccine doses have been administered worldwide. State and local health officials have relaxed occupancy and distancing requirements. The mask and social distancing mandates for fully vaccinated individuals have been lifted – unvaccinated individuals are still required to wear masks. Officials have also rescinded the recommendation that employees work remotely.
Leaders should be flexible in developing transitional work arrangements for staff, especially those providing care for children or other dependents due to COVID-19 restrictions. However, long-term hybrid or fully remote work will only be allowed on a limited basis when justified by the nature of the work being performed. Staff members who would like to work remotely should review the Flexible Work Arrangement guidelines and work with their supervisor.
Faculty expectations differ by school, so faculty should seek guidance from their respective dean. In general, though, faculty can use their campus offices and other facilities such as the libraries and classrooms during June and July, and all faculty on a 9-month contract should be back on campus by August 15 to support the start of the academic year. The provost has sent a separate message to faculty outlining expectations for their work.
What should you do to prepare?
Transitions are never easy, but we know that in-person learning and work are central to Tulane’s relational culture. For those of you who have remained on campus, this change will bring the welcomed return of your colleagues. For those working remotely during the past 16 months, in-person work will be a milestone in our longed-for return to normalcy. Regardless of your current work status, all faculty and staff should be fully vaccinated by July 6. Employees can schedule vaccines through the Tulane Vaccine Clinics on either the uptown or downtown campuses. More information is provided in this recent Campus Health Update.
All faculty and staff are required to inform the university of their vaccination status by July 6. As announced last month, all faculty and staff who report their complete vaccination or declination by July 31 will receive a one-time payment of $500 for full-time faculty and staff and $250 for part-time faculty and staff.
As we are lifting protocols and returning primarily to in-person education and work, there are several other updates to our operations, including:
Again, we thank you for your hard work, dedication and commitment during this historic and challenging time. We are eagerly looking forward to having the entire Tulane community reunited, and to hosting conversations about lessons learned from this past year and how our work will continue to evolve in the months and years ahead.
Michael A. Fitts, President
Robin Forman, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Patrick Norton, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer