Message from EVP Howarth and Staff Senate Chair Loftis - Update to Campus
- Susan Howarth
- Wednesday, March 18th, 2020
Dear Faculty and Staff:
We care about you and your families and ask that you take care of each other. To help with this, we will continue to exercise an abundance of flexibility around working and absences. WKU remains open and operational albeit on a reduced scale. During this time of decreased activity on campus, we still need to maintain essential services. Please remember that we are in this together, and we should all pitch-in where needed. As Hilltoppers, we are accustomed to climbing, and this is just one more hill on the path to success. We are truly a global society, and collaborative efforts are needed to solve problems that affect all of us.
On the local scale, the WKU COVID-19 Taskforce continues to meet daily, monitoring the health crisis as it evolves (please see the COVID-19 website). WKU employees should contact their supervisors with any concerns or questions. If uncertain about the answer, then the supervisor will find out the necessary information. You can also send questions and concerns to the University’s COVID-19 email address: email@example.com. Our intention is to have good communication and well-informed personnel as knowledge is power. Through knowledge, we can overcome the challenges we face.
Below, we provide a summary of the status of the operational areas within the Division of Strategy, Operations & Finance, and Staff Senate.
- Parking and Transportation Services Hours are 7:30 am to 4:00 pm with minimal staffing until further notice.
- All student parking tag holders will receive a partial refund of their parking fee. The details will be announced shortly.
- The Center for Research and Development offices remain open for business with minimal staffing levels; however, the following precautions are in place to maximize social distancing:
- Postal services and passport services remain open for business with minimal staffing. Postal deliveries will continue daily.
- The WKU Store remains open for business with minimal staffing. Discounted shipping rates are being offered for online purchases at www.wkustore.com.
- The US Bank office in the WKU Store will temporarily close beginning Monday, March 23rd. US Bank states “Our WKU customers, faculty and staff, will still have access to our banking services via digital channels, including online banking, mobile application, and 24-hour banker assistance @ 1-800- USBANKS. Additionally, they will also be welcomed to visit any of our other 6 locations in Bowling Green.”
- Intersession parking regulations remain in effect with faculty/staff lots, disability spaces, meters and safety violations enforced as usual. Alumni Square Garage, Parking Structure 2, and student lots are free and open to the public.
- Wednesday and Saturday Green Line shuttle service will remain in operation while on-campus demand for the service is present.
- Campus Van Service will end at close of business Friday, March 20th.
- Transit will work with Housing to determine if off-campus Green Line service is needed for the remainder of the semester.
- Access to businesses will be by appointment only.
- Businesses are being asked to keep visiting group size to 10 or less.
- As students return home and faculty and staff increasingly work remotely, we are learning where the remaining personnel are located and adjusting operations to focus acutely on those areas.
- Enhanced cleaning procedures have been in place for several weeks. To promote the health and safety of our campus communities, high touch surfaces such as door knobs, main entrances, restrooms, bathroom fixtures, and office devices are receiving more attention.
- Facilities management is also monitoring higher traffic areas and increasing custodial support as needed. If you see an area needing attention, please call facilities management at 270-745-3253 so they can address the issue.
Finance and Human Resources
- Employees should continue to practice the highest levels of self-care and well-being.
- The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a professional resource for counseling and other consultation. Many services are free of charge. The EAP is available to WKU employees and family members. More information available here.
- LiveHealth is a telemedicine option available on-line to WKU employees and offered through the WKU Health Plan. An on-line health visit typically costs $59, however, for the period through June 14, 2020, online visits are no cost.
- Full-Time, Part-Time, and Temporary Employees who are unable to work because of illness or who may be supporting a family member’s illness, will remain in a fully paid status without the use of any accumulated sick or vacation leave through May 15, 2020.
- Student-Employees, both Work-Study and all others, must be working to remain employed and be paid based on Federal guidelines. This work could be on campus or remotely as appropriate.
- Given the restriction on travel and group meetings, all search processes should be continued using Zoom or other technology. Candidates should not be invited to campus for any interviews until further notice. Please speak with the appropriate administrative personnel regarding the continuation of your search past the point of remote interviews.
- If you currently participate in the ORP (Optional Retirement Plan) with one of our vendor/partners, TIAA, Fidelity, VALIC or VOYA, we understand your concerns around the current market conditions. Given that our vendors work with institutions across the country, they are extremely busy during these challenging times. Please contact HR if you have continued difficulty reaching your representative.
Information Technology Services
- Campus ITS Resources – Phone and network service will continue as normal. Service Desk hours will be normal as well. Open computer lab hours will be limited, and schedules will be posted here.
- How to Work Remotely – ITS continually updates the Working Remotelysite. You can access it from the “Resources & Services” section of the COVID-19 site.
- Good Security Habits – Please ensure that you have virus protection installed at home, and keep your computer and apps up-to-date. Beware of phishing at all times.
- We Are Here for You – Call volume to the Service Desk is currently high. We want to help, and we appreciate your patience.
- Meetings - Zoom videoconferencing is one of our best communication resources. Recording is available, but please use it sparingly to help control costs.
- Phones/Instant Messaging - ITS offers Jabber, an instant messaging and voice/video calling client. If you need to answer office or call-center calls on your computer, contact ITS about this service. As always, you can forward calls from your office to your cell phone, but please forward only to local numbers to avoid long distance charges.
- Laptops – Working from home is encouraged.
- If you need a laptop because you do not have a home computer, pleaserequest one here. Our stock and the national supply chain are limited, but more units are on the way.
- You Can Help – If you have a WKU laptop that will not be used this semester and ITS can loan it to help a student or employee in need, please contact ITS. We will return it to you after the semester ends.
- Microsoft Office/OneDrive – You can install MS Office software on your home computer from Microsoft Office 365. TS is also releasing MS OneDrive for you to store your files in the cloud. Information on these was sent earlier today by Greg Hackbarth and is also available on the Working Remotely site.
- MyWKU – This portal is our gateway to most of the ITS services you will need while working from home. Note that some, like Banner, also require a VPN connection (below).
- VPN – Our VPN is an additional layer of security for Banner and other enterprise systems. All employees have access to Banner and the WKU file shares via the VPN. For connection information, please see the Working Remotely site. For access to other systems, please contact ITS.
Supply Chain Management Issues
- Currently, WKU is well stocked with cleaning supplies and disinfectant. We are working with our vendors to maintain those supplies. Help us make sure we have enough on hand for our campus by only using what you need while at work.
- All University-funded travel is suspended through the end of the spring semester. Exceptions can be reviewed on a case by case basis. This restriction will be revisited as we near the end of the semester. Please direct questions about future travel to your immediate supervisor. Further updates will be forthcoming.
Thank you for being an active part of the WKU family and doing your part in getting us through this situation. If you have further questions, please check out our FAQs, https://www.wku.edu/covid19/faqs/, and consult with your supervisor.
Susan I. Howarth | Executive Vice President
Division of Strategy, Operations and Finance
WKU Staff Senate