Dear LAS faculty and staff,
As we settle into new routines, many things are still changing, and uncertainties linger.
Many of you have already found ways to improve upon your online courses, online project collaborations, or research from afar. It is innovation like this – big or small – that will help pull the university community through this difficult time.
One considerable uncertainty is Iowa’s status as one of the few U.S. states without a shelter-in-place order. While the order has not been issued by Governor Reynolds, the college, university and research community have invested extensive time into contingency planning. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this process. If we have to temporarily shut down all but the most essential on-campus and field-based research activities in response to such an order, your collective efforts will help us respond in an organized and timely fashion. We are encouraging PI’s to consult with their program officers to discuss alternative strategies to advance long-term objectives if the outbreak mandates a change in approach.
My special thanks to Jo Anne Powell-Coffman, who has been working tirelessly with the Office of the Vice President for Research’s team and all our department chairs on strategies and logistics for the wide range of research environments in our college. Many thanks to all of you for working with us on such a short timeline.
Thanks also to LAS supervisors who returned survey information about remote work on an equally rapid timeline – I am proud to say the college had a 100% rate of return within the deadline. I know there are many new constraints on your time, but your quick response is helping the university make further decisions and provide support to faculty, staff and students.
I hope everyone read President Wintersteen’s message about new expanded sick time and FMLA expansion. This provides additional paid time off for employees, in accordance to the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act for COVID-19 passed by the U.S. Congress. Detailed information can be found on the HR COVID-19 website, and you can also request help from your unit’s HR coordinator.
The university’s finance division also released information last week about tracking costs related to COVID-19. Costs incurred as a result of adapting to COVID-19 should be documented using a special department detail code. A detailed FAQ can be found here.
I appreciate all your efforts to reach out to students, colleagues, neighbors, friends and family to help keep our communities healthy. Please continue to check in with others, and take advantage of university resources to maintain your good health.
With my sincere thanks for everything you do to keep the college strong, and my best wishes for good health and wellness,