Alternative worksite, student attendance policies offer flexibility for COVID-19 threat

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Alternative worksite, student attendance policies offer flexibility for COVID-19 threat
Recent updates include call to prepare for potential shift to remote access instruction

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln is highlighting and adjusting existing policies to help reduce faculty, staff and student anxieties related to the threat of the COVID-19 virus.

Those processes include using an existing rule to allow employees to work at alternative sites (including from home) with supervisor approval; reducing reprisals for students who cannot attend class due to illness; and notifying faculty and students to prepare for a possible shift to remote access learning.

As outlined on the Human Resources website, departments/units can offer employees an option to work from home or other alternative work sites. The policy, which is listed under work schedules and rest periods, is open to both office/service and managerial/professional workers.

“This is a broad policy that provides guidance needed for employees who have life, health or other needs warranting a different work situation or location,” said Bill Nunez, vice chancellor for Business and Finance.

A few basic steps can help individuals reduce the chance of exposure to the 2019 novel coronavirus. Click the image to enlarge.

Mirroring the flexible workplace policy, Chancellor Ronnie Green announced March 9 that the Faculty Senate approved a temporary attendance policy for students. The policy eliminates the need for formal documentation and related penalties for students who cannot attend class due to illness or self-quarantine.

Students must notify instructors, keep up with coursework (as best able), and reschedule exams, labs and other academic activities.

The university has prompted faculty, staff and students to prepare for a potential suspension of in-person class instruction. The message to faculty, instructors and staff, sent March 9 by Richard Moberly, interim executive vice chancellor, requested that campus instructors ensure they are capable of working remotely if necessary. And, a second message from Moberly, sent March 10, outlined the steps students can take to be prepared for the possibility of classes moving to a remote access option.

Due to the rapidly changing nature of the situation, university leaders and the COVID-19 Task Force are continuously evaluating details related to the virus. Updates are being provided primarily through the COVID-19 website, which is a one-stop resource for university-related news regarding the virus.

For additional information or to voice concerns, send email to covid19@unl.edu.