This page contains communications and information to help Ohio Wesleyan employees while normal operations are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

March 19, 2020

Dear OWU Faculty and Staff,

It is nearly impossible to find words to thank everyone for the work you have been doing to support our students, and each other, during this unprecedented moment in world history. And so I will say simply, Thank you. I am honored to work with you now and during the uncertain times that lie ahead.

With your help, our students continue to move off campus and return home to be with their families. We anticipate only 60-70 students will remain here when this process is complete, and work already has begun in many offices to ensure these on-campus students feel cared for and supported.

We also want to ensure that we are doing what is best for you. After reviewing the latest public health information and mandates at the federal, state, and local level, we are requiring all employees – except those deemed essential to support our on-campus students and maintain urgent campus operations – to work remotely as of 5 p.m. Friday. Employees permitted to return to campus next week will be notified today by their supervisors.

For everyone’s health and safety, other employees are not permitted to return to campus without explicit approval from their vice president or provost. Please know we will be reviewing this policy continuously as the COVID-19 situation evolves, as we are as eager as you to return to normal operations.

If you have not yet ensured that you are ready to work off-campus, please review this Working Remotely advice from Information Services and Remote Working Guidelines for Staff from Human Resources. These links and more are being consolidated for you in an Information for Employees page being created for the website now. It will be accessible from the COVID-19 (coronavirus) Information section of the OWU website.

If you are unable to work remotely for all or part of your job, you will be compensated at your current salary for at least the next two weeks beginning Monday. Guided by pending federal legislation, we will make decisions beyond two weeks as soon as possible. Please know that our goal is to keep all of our full-time and part-time employees working productively and paid fully. To that end, individuals who need assistance with technology or other tools to work remotely or who are not able to work remotely are asked to discuss this need with their supervisors Friday so that we can begin working on a solution for you.

I would like to reiterate how thankful I am for all of your good work. As faculty, you have embraced the yeoman’s challenge of converting your thoughtfully planned in-person classes to meaningful remote-learning opportunities in just days. As staff, you have tirelessly worked to bring students home from study-away experiences around the world and then get them safely to their next destination – all while taking care of yourselves and your families. You are doing this at a time when work-life balance is far more difficult, particularly for those with school-age children or with other family members who require special care. We want to work with each of you to ensure flexibility that allows you to fulfill your multiple responsibilities to the extent the finite resource of time allows.

Your work and dedication have been recognized by many, including parents, alumni, and current students. One grateful senior shared with me her thanks for the work of everyone to make “the best of such an awful time,” noting that every email she has received from faculty and staff “have been so caring, considerate and supportive. It truly makes me feel like they DO care not only about my education, but my well-being. The process of online/remote learning has made me feel uneasy but hearing from my professors and the kind words they have make it a little better.”

Again, I will say simply, Thank you. I also will share a snippet of a message I sent to our students earlier this week. Its sentiments apply equally to all of you, too:

I acknowledge that this is a particularly difficult day. But as we say often, this, like every day, is a great day to be a Bishop. I am heartened by the way so many of you are assisting one another. ... I am proud to know that you are a Bishop, and I know that all Bishops will hold together, even when separated physically, in the weeks and months ahead.

Take care of yourselves and your families. We will continue to share updates as we have them.

With gratitude,

– Rock


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