To all Temple employees:
The purpose of this communication is to tell you how Temple will move forward. Unless you have been told otherwise by your manager, all employees should plan to report to work on Monday, March 16, at which point the university will begin to implement alternative work arrangements.
As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic brings with it challenges that few of us have ever experienced, including quickly changing circumstances and increased uncertainty. However, in combating the worldwide spread of infection, we are doing our part to encourage social distancing, reduce population density on our campuses, and support remote learning and instruction.
Temple has responded to this extraordinary moment in our history by shifting from in-classroom instruction to online and alternative education, and most of our students will leave campuses before Saturday, March 21. We will continue to support a very small number of students who are unable to return home, but for the most part, our students will continue their academic programs off-campus.
Employee Roles and Work Arrangements
We recognize that certain employees normally have roles that can only be carried out on-campus. Some employees will continue to be required to report to campus, while some may be given alternative work assignments and permitted to work remotely. It is each manager’s responsibility to ensure that we are able to continue to carry out the mission-critical functions of the university without interruption. Managers should use their discretion when making decisions about work plans over the next several days. We know that there will be challenges to creating effective work plans for all employees, and some creativity and ingenuity may be necessary.
Supervisors will provide direction, determine work plans and thereby ensure the continuity of these critical operations. Just by reducing the population of people on campus every day, we are creating an environment that is considerably safer for those employees who can only do their jobs on campus.
Please note that schools that provide patient care may have their own guidance on work arrangements.
Implementation of Business Continuity Plans Effective Monday, March 16
The need to shift to remote instruction brings with it a significant change in the way we work, and we anticipate that this shift will become increasingly vital to national mitigation efforts. Therefore, all schools, colleges, support and administrative units should begin to implement their business continuity plans on Monday, March 16, and continue to do so until further notice.
Plans must include the continuation of service for our students who remain on campus, particularly through next week. Your continuity plans must also ensure that each group will continue to carry out the functions of the university's mission: academic instruction, business functions, support operations, research and clinical practices. Managers will need to ascertain how departments and units will carry out uninterrupted services, in person if necessary, to our primary customers, especially our remaining students. The services do not have to be fully staffed, but employees should be prepared to be responsive. Continuity work plans might involve maintaining a presence on campus, working entirely remotely or some combination of both.
It may also take teams a few days to create a workable plan for implementation, and that is expected and understood.
Resources for Effective Continuity of Operations
We take the vital functions of the university very seriously, and in order to assist you in this effort, Temple University has many platforms to help enhance your capabilities for working remotely: For example, Canvas can be used as a department’s dashboard; Zoom can be used for remote meetings and presentations; Microsoft Teams provides a space for team collaboration; and Owlbox and Google Drive are resources for file-sharing of non-sensitive documents.
Resources to support how teams learn to use these platforms, including recorded trainings, are also being made available by ITS, and a link can be found here. Remember that this is a time of disruption, and as you create and become comfortable with your continuity plans, your team will become more proficient and you may be ready for new adjustments.
Due to limits on capacity of certain tools such as Citrix, we ask that you limit your time on this remote VPN access tool to times that you absolutely need that capability. Use the other platforms listed above as much as possible, and log out when you no longer need access.
Human Resources is also available to provide any assistance you may need in developing or thinking about your plan.
For those departments which depend on student workers to carry out mission-critical functions, students who are able to work remotely should be permitted to do so. Each student should consult with their supervisor to determine how they might work going forward.
We continue to monitor the advisories coming from the city, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Buildings will remain open for critical operations such as research, and Temple will continue to provide security services. Given the fluidity of this situation, please be prepared for changes in building access, and be sure to continue to communicate your needs with your manager as we navigate this challenging time.
We are grateful for the many ways in which our dedicated workforce has been responding. Each hour seems to bring new changes, but our Temple team has been flexible and continuously focused on the vital service we provide to our students. The measures taken now to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus are essential to our eventual return to normal operations.
Thank you for all you do and for doing your part to enable Temple University to continue our mission during this dynamic and uncertain time. We are confident that you will continue to support each other in the days and weeks ahead.
Richard M. Englert
JoAnne A. Epps
Executive Vice President and Provost
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer