Announcement on remote work and online instruction

March 14, 2020
Announcement on remote work and online instruction

Fitchburg State University faculty and staff will work remotely starting Monday, March 16 and is preparing to deliver instruction online starting the week of Monday, March 23. Students should not return to campus next week, aside from scheduled times for resident students to retrieve belongings.

The online instruction will last at least until Friday, April 3. Plans for remote working and learning will be reassessed with guidance from state and national authorities.

President Richard S. Lapidus announced the developments in a memo to the campus community on Friday, March 13. The memo is reproduced below (and is also archived with other relevant communications on the university's coronavirus web page):

I realize it is very important to maintain communications and dialog with you during these uncertain times. This memo is intended to update you on the university’s plan for the next few weeks given the ever-evolving coronavirus situation. 

My discussions with the university’s executive leadership and your union representatives continue to be focused on prioritizing the health and safety of all of our campus constituents. It is our goal to temporarily move course instruction to remote methods as we also plan to resume regular operations at some point.

The following guidelines will be put in place immediately to help keep our operations moving smoothly. We have adopted a tempered, sequential planning approach to build in flexibility to alter our path as new information becomes available or any new situations arise. You will receive subsequent communications shortly with more detailed information. Your patience and cooperation are deeply appreciated.

For the week of March 16:

All faculty and staff will be working remotely from home with the exception of those designated as essential personnel, who will report to campus. Your supervisor will be contacting you by early next week about your work plan. Staff will be focusing on continuity of operations, including ways to deliver services at a distance. Please take your laptop, power cable and any other materials that you may need to work remotely.

For faculty, please note that department and graduate chairs will be meeting on Monday, March 16, to further plan the migration to remote instruction. In addition, the university will offer training sessions next week on Tuesday, March 17. Participation in the trainings and the Monday meeting will be available in-person and remotely. More information (hours and instructions for participation) on both of these activities will be sent as follow-up communications soon.

For the weeks of March 23 and March 30:

Remote course instruction, pending continued conversations with the MSCA, will begin on Monday, March 23 and will continue at least through April 3. However, internships, student teaching and clinicals should continue, as long as the sites remain open. If necessary, faculty and librarians may use campus facilities and services during these two weeks. Students may not return to campus. 

Non-essential staff will continue to work remotely for the week of March 23. This will be re-evaluated by March 27 for the week of March 30.

Again, I appreciate your support and remain available to answer any other questions you may have. I also encourage you to bookmark and revisit the university’s coronavirus web page for archived messages and timely updates.

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