Returning to Campus
June 3, 2021
It has been nearly 16 months since many of us left our offices not knowing when we would be able to return regularly to the in-person work of this University. Thanks to the remarkable effectiveness of the three currently approved COVID-19 vaccines and the steadily improving public health conditions across New York, we now have that answer.
With the expiration of the state’s Pilot Telecommuting Policy on July 2nd, all employees should report to work in person beginning July 6, 2021, unless they meet one of the following exemptions:
You are not under contractual obligation. Teaching faculty, for example, are under an academic year obligation.
You are on authorized leave. Many employees may have vacations planned at that time.
You had an approved alternate work arrangement prior to the pandemic. While there are very few such arrangements, they will be honored.
I recognize that this transition back to in-person work may be challenging or stressful for some of us, and I want to encourage you to familiarize yourself with the support resources available to you through the Employee Assistance Program. For others, returning to in-person work will be a welcome change and will bring with it sorely missed professional and social interactions with colleagues. Like every other twist and turn in this pandemic, we will navigate this together.
I also recognize that some employees simply prefer remote work. While this is understandable, UAlbany is an in-person, residential campus, and few positions were designed for remote work. As operational needs dictate, individual telecommuting agreements may be rescinded or modified prior to July 6th with at least 48 hours written notice to affected employees.
Any employee who wishes to return to campus sooner is welcome to do so following all current Workplace Protocols. These protocols should be reviewed by all employees prior to returning to work. Some work and performance expectations were temporarily modified to allow for remote work to protect public health, but as our workforce and students return to campus so do prior expectations. Guidance from the state, public health agencies and SUNY continue to be modified as conditions improve.
You are returning to a safe environment, and we will continue to follow all recommended workplace safety guidelines. Throughout the pandemic we saw an average of 1,000 employees on campus daily. With widespread surveillance testing, our campus infectivity rates remained well below those of the surrounding area. The three approved COVID-19 vaccines are now widely available, and we strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated.
Many of us love working at UAlbany because we thrive on the energy of the campus. Many of you have worked so hard over the last year to ensure that our students could safely be here to experience UAlbany in person. I am so happy that the time has come that others can rejoin them and once again make UAlbany the vibrant, bustling environment to which we all long to return.
Vice President, Finance and Administration