Earlier today, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker issued an order requiring all businesses and organizations providing non-essential services to close from noon tomorrow, Tuesday. March 24, through noon April 7, 2020. The order also directed the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to issue a “stay at home advisory” for the same time period: All residents, especially those at high risk from COVID-19 exposure, are now advised to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel and other unnecessary activities during the same time period.
Because of this, the college will move to an essential personnel model starting tomorrow at noon. To effectively maintain basic operations at the college, essential staff will be defined as those who provide services related directly to people’s health and safety, continuity of critical operations and the maintenance and protection of college property.
Staff, if you are unclear about how this affects your unit, please check with your manager for details. Given the nature of the outbreak, our list of essential staff for this instance will be much narrower than during snow emergencies—again, please check with your manager.
Whenever possible, we are also asking managers to implement rotations to minimize any one employee’s time on campus. We do ask that essential staff continue to maintain strict social distancing protocols at work, remaining at least six feet away from others as much as possible.
Staff will continue to be paid for their regularly scheduled hours throughout this period.
Staff who are not categorized as essential are asked to collect necessary supplies and work materials from your campus workspaces before noon tomorrow if at all possible. At noon, the college will move to card swipe-only access for all college buildings, around the clock. Entry will be limited to those with offices or workspaces in a given building.
Faculty and instructional support staff are regarded as essential in the governor’s closure: “Educators and staff supporting … colleges, and universities for purposes of facilitating distance learning … or performing other essential student support functions are considered essential.” Again, you will continue to have building access via card swipe after noon tomorrow. But we appreciate everyone honoring the spirit of the DPH advisory by limiting campus presence as much as possible. If you must go to campus, please observe social distancing protocols.
The order and advisory mark an important step in national efforts to slow the COVID-19 transmission rate and protect people’s health. Many people have told us how hard it is for them not to come to work, and we are grateful for that level of dedication to the college and our community. Please know that we’re only imposing these new rules out of concern for everyone’s welfare and that we will continue to look out for our employees, colleagues and neighbors.
Denise K. Buell
Dean of Faculty
Director of Human Resources
Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer