Non-essential faculty and staff to work remotely; WU offers additional paid time off, more childcare

| News Editor

Only employees of Washington University who perform essential functions requiring a physical presence should come to work until April 6, Chancellor Andrew Martin wrote in an email to faculty and staff March 16.

Curran Neenan | Student Life

Only essential Washington University employees should come to campus until April 6, Chancellor Andrew Martin announced in an email to faculty and staff March 16.

Martin also took steps to support employees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, like offering an additional 10 days of paid time off and expanded childcare services for employees who are required to be physically present on campus.

The 10 days of paid time off will be available to employees who are both directly and indirectly impacted by the pandemic, and will supplement other existing paid time off policies.

“This time off can be used in the case of quarantine, self-quarantine, illness or family care needs related to COVID-19 exposure or other related scenarios,” Martin wrote in the email. According to the University’s Emergency Response page, employees with children who have been sent home due to school closings and employees returning home from areas of risk will also be included in this policy.

The University said they also plan to support employees who do not perform an “essential function” on campus, but are unable to work remotely. Some employees will be re-deployed to different jobs, while others who cannot be re-deployed will receive the 10 days of paid time off.

However, some of the steps outlined in Martin’s email do not apply to employees of the School of Medicine, which has yet to distribute a policy regarding travel and vacation for its employees.

“For those critical to delivering medical services, all work will be deemed essential and employees performing that work will be required to report to their regular location,” Martin wrote.

Martin cited the urgent and essential nature of the work being done by the School of Medicine as the reason for difference. In order to support employees performing this type of essential work, Martin promised that the Department of Human Resources would work to obtain additional childcare services for these employees.

Martin acknowledged the unprecedented nature of the situation, but asked members of the faculty and staff to “pitch in” in order to keep the University running.

“We’re in uncharted territory here, and we all may be asked to contribute and lend our talents in new and unexpected ways in the days and weeks ahead,” Martin wrote. “As needs arise, we’ll reach out with opportunities to help support the effort. I hope you’ll join me in standing at the ready to pitch in however we each best can.”

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