Message to Faculty & Staff Regarding Remote Work Scale-Up and Campus Access

Dear Colleagues,

As events in our lives at work, at home, and as citizens now remind us daily, we are in a new reality together as COVID-19 changes so much about our routines and our expectations. Here on campus today, you are all very much in my thoughts. I am in continuous touch with campus leadership to respond to all emerging dimensions of our circumstances in real time. Please review these key decisions:

Remote Work Scale-Up: Timing and Expectations

Today, March 16, I write to tell you that our campus will transition to remote working to the greatest possible extent, effective at the earliest opportunity. Our faculty are already engaged in moving their courses to remote learning formats, and we are supporting students to ensure they have appropriate access. Those faculty members who hoped to be able to work on campus are asked as of today, please not to pursue those plans unless you have a hardship issue; in that case, faculty are asked to complete the form linked below in order to make a request for special access to campus workspace.

Some staff colleagues have already begun working remotely, while others are actively planning. Champlain staff, please consider this email your official request from me to make such plans, so that no later than Thursday, 3/19, you have in place one of the following:

  • Approval from your manager for a remote work plan that is feasible for your job and for you;
  • A hardship exception request to continue working on campus after Thursday, 3/19 at designated times in an otherwise unoccupied environment; please complete this form to request special permission access to campus space after Thursday, 3/19.
  • Written confirmation from your VP that you are in an “essential personnel” category. 

As of Friday, 3/20, access to campus locations will be newly limited through Champlain ID card access to ensure that the safety of campus spaces remains a top priority and so that our cleaning regimes reflect spaces actually in use. After 3/19, those who have not requested access by special permission will not have card access to spaces open to them under normal circumstances.

Preparation and Reassurance

Working remotely with success takes a little thinking for those of us who don’t usually do it. To support you in the details, please see the email you’ll receive shortly from Jeff Brown, Chief Information Officer and VP of Technology, entitled Off-Campus Tech and Remote Work Options. Our People Center has also developed a Remote Work Success guide, to be shared in the People Center newsletter due out tomorrow.

Those of you keeping track of your hours weekly may be worried, and I understand why. I want you to know that from now through at least April 6, regardless of potential interruptions to work or to your ability to work all of your hours, you will be paid for the number of hours you would normally work and should record that number of hours as usual. While we may be forced to reevaluate this in the future, I want to be as clear as I can now about our commitment to you.

As I shared last week, remote work will cause no interruptions of regular pay for those with salaried, hourly, or per-course compensation. 

As always, if you have any symptoms of illness, self-quarantine for as long as needed to recover. Available sick time should be used during any period of illness. Hardship situations during illness, i.e. not having sick time access or availability, should be documented using this form so that the People Center can contact you with options and guidance. 

Oracle Human Capital Management (HCM) Project Change

Many of you have received HCM project-related communication from Jennifer Archambault, VP of Human Resources, and her team as we prepared Champlain for a March 15 go-live of a new HCM system (Oracle, replacing Workday). 

As of yesterday, I have made the difficult decision with our leadership team and fellow Presidents in the Green Mountain Higher Education Consortium that Champlain will not transition its HCM system right now. While our team has worked tirelessly on this project, and I deeply appreciate all their effort, I am unwilling at this time to risk disturbance of any system that relates to our staff and faculty pay, benefits, and time off. Hourly employees, please use Workday to record your normal hours. Given the decision above regarding the Oracle project, you will not need to dual-enter time in Oracle. As of Thursday 3/19, all employees with leave time can continue to enter those requests in the Workday system.  

In Closing

I know how much you all care about our mission-driven work at Champlain College. Our students are and will continue to be a focus of our energy and attention, albeit in new and virtual ways. I am more thankful than I can convey for the Champlain spirit that I am seeing everywhere right now, from faculty and from staff, toward students and colleagues alike. As Ava, one of our first-year students recently said in a social media post:

“Just a reminder that Champlain is still in the process of figuring everything out, along with the rest of the world…Keep yourselves updated, educated, and continue on being kind. Our world needs that the most right now.”

Let’s stay connected to one another as a strong community that can keep our important work going, and our bonds to each other alive and well, even as we weather these strange days together.