Dear University faculty and staff,
Throughout this last year, you have proven yourselves resilient in a time of great uncertainty and steady change. We so appreciate your willingness to step up and keep us going.
Thankfully, effective – and increasingly available – COVID-19 vaccines, along with a decrease in active cases in our region, usher in new possibilities for how we can interact.
Next Monday (March 29), all of you, as higher education faculty and staff (including student employees), will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. We strongly encourage you to sign up for a vaccine appointment. Please see our vaccine page here for links to options, which includes information to make an appointment as dates become available at our Faurot Field vaccine site. There, dedicated MU Health Care teams have already vaccinated nearly 23,000 people.
Over the last several months, many of you safely returned to in-person work, following our COVID-19 guidelines. Meanwhile in our community, public schools have announced plans to shift to full in-person attendance in early April and this week, Boone County relaxed public health orders. We expect this progress to continue as we approach fall and our plans to resume full-capacity classes and activities here at Mizzou.
As another step toward resuming our pre-pandemic lives, we ask faculty and staff who have not yet returned to in-person work to do so by May 17. Faculty on 9-month appointments without duties over the summer should plan to return in August. We are sending this message in advance to give you and your supervisor time to make a transition plan if needed.
As more faculty and staff return, we remain committed to sustaining a safe community. Social distancing and face covering requirements will continue until public health guidance changes. Supervisors will need to ensure work settings meet office safety expectations and consult with Campus Facilities if work spaces need modification.
We know ongoing efforts to maximize our resources, including the recent announcement to close buildings, mean some in-person offices will not be the same. In addition, we realize, in some settings, social distancing is not possible with a full in-person return and that factor should be considered in any transition plan. If you witness an unsafe situation at work related to our COVID-19 protocols, you should let your supervisor know or submit a concern here.
Through this transition, we expect to retain some of our COVID-era practices, as we found some enhanced our work. In some circumstances, supervisors may decide flexible work arrangements will best fit the environment and the work needed to support the university’s mission. If so, your supervisor will initiate, revise or extend a telework arrangement. The form is available on our Working Through COVID-19 webpage and will need to be submitted by May 17.
We know our Tigers are anxious to enjoy a “more normal” experience in the fall, which will of course adhere to the advice of our medical experts, local public health officials, and CDC guidance. Our Show Me Renewal site will stay current with any changes along the way. There, you can also find the latest updates on the process for planning events. We see this step as a sign of hope for our university as we return to more in-person activity to serve our students, our community, and our state.
Thank you to everyone for your tremendous efforts during this extraordinary time. We are grateful to reach this point and for the rest of our community to join us on our beautiful campus.
Tigers Support Tigers!
Mun Choi, Ph.D.
President, University of Missouri
Latha Ramchand, Ph.D.
Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs,
University of Missouri