Senior leaders issue guidance for returning to campus offices by August

CATEGORIES: Announcements

This email was sent to all faculty, staff, and postdocs at Iowa State and is available online at Office of the President Communications

Expectations for Moving Forward to Academic Year 2021-2022

April 19, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

We are looking forward to the upcoming academic year with expectations that our vibrant residential campus will return to pre-pandemic levels for in-person classes, services, administrative support functions, research, operations, and activities. We feel confident that the increased availability of the COVID-19 vaccine and appropriate health practices will make it possible for faculty and staff to perform their work safely at their regular campus workplaces.

Last spring, COVID-19 presented extraordinary challenges. The ISU community has overcome every challenge with creativity, innovation, and care. We recognize that it has not been easy, and we thank every member of the ISU community for their resilience and adaptability.

Now, we’re preparing for another big change as we transition to pre-pandemic levels of campus engagement in the coming academic year. We want to give you and your family time to adjust to the changes outlined below and to prepare to return to campus.

We’ve outlined our expectations for Fall 2021 and other actions below. We recognize that these expectations are at a high level and not all information to make specific decisions may be available at this time. We will continue to provide updated guidance and answer your questions as information is available. If you have not already returned to campus, please begin to work with your supervisor to plan for your return to campus now or by the dates shown below.

Employee Expectations for Academic Year (AY) 21-22
Based on current public health guidance and science-based sources, we expect that by the start of the fall semester, COVID-19 health risks to our faculty, staff, and students will be greatly minimized. Over the summer, updated COVID-19 workplace mitigation strategies will be released and implemented.

Given that, faculty and staff will return to having their primary work location be at their regular campus workplace prior to the start of fall semester. Faculty and staff can return any time, but no later than Monday, August 2, for staff and Thursday, August 19, for faculty.

In general, faculty work arrangements are determined by their teaching, research, and/or extension appointments. In-person instruction will serve as the default for AY21-22.

COVID-19 Alternative Work Arrangements expire on June 30, 2021. Disability accommodations for individual employees are available through UHR Employee and Labor Relations. Employees who do not qualify for an accommodation may use existing policies for leave as necessary.

The planning we began in 2019 for flexible work arrangements for staff has continued during the past year. This program remains important to ISU’s workplace strategies for staff members. We expect this program to be finalized by October 2021. Until then, supervisors should not implement Fall 2021 flexible work arrangements.

Senior leaders are considering specific remote and hybrid work strategies for staff in service units that do not have face-to-face interactions with students and the public (e.g. select positions in ITS and Finance). If approved, these plans will include methodology to measure the effectiveness of the work arrangement for the university and the employee. In addition, ISU Ames Laboratory employees’ return will align with Department of Energy guidance.

As in pre-pandemic times, requests for remote work locations outside the state of Iowa, while rare, require additional SVP and President approvals. Such requests will only be approved where there is a significant and compelling business reason.

For specific questions about returning to your workplace, please contact your supervisor or HR Delivery.

Faculty and Staff Virtual Town Hall
We’ll be hosting a virtual Town Hall for faculty and staff at 1 p.m., Thursday, April 29, via Webex Events. A link will be provided closer to that date. This will be an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about plans for summer and fall.

Every member of the ISU community plays an important role in supporting our students and advancing our teaching, research, and extension and outreach programs. Together, you bring enthusiasm and energy that makes Iowa State University a truly wonderful place to work and learn. We can’t wait to see you back on campus!

Wendy Wintersteen

Jonathan Wickert
Senior Vice President and Provost

Toyia Younger
Senior Vice President for Student Affairs

Pam Cain
Senior Vice President for Operations and Finance