COVID-19: CHRO email to all faculty and staff on May 4, 2020

Subject Line: Outreach to faculty and staff as we plan for on-campus activities

Dear Colleagues,

Last week, President Schill and Provost Phillips announced that discussions are underway to proactively develop plans for a number of possible scenarios that would allow the university to be open for in-person, on-campus instruction this fall. The Incident Management Team has been tasked with developing resumption guidelines and plans in close coordination with those in the State of Oregon’s Re-Opening framework. The State’s framework calls for phased resumption of activities, which is dependent on certain factors such as decreased cases, increased hospital capacity, and increased testing capacity. The UO’s resumption plan goal is to begin resuming on-campus administrative and research functions over the summer as state public health guidelines allow. Key to the planning process is outreach to faculty and staff to learn more about your availability to work on campus in the coming months, as well as fall term, to the extent our campuses are open. As shared in the announcements, the health and safety of our campus community is our top priority.

The resumption plan will include guidance to departments to develop plans for which services and functions can resume in-person first. This will be a multi-phase process that includes an Office of Human Resources information gathering initiative guided by UO planning efforts, CDC risk criteria, the needs of our employees and the university, and the use and availability of other workplace safety and mitigation accommodations. Over the next several weeks, we will be reaching out to our employee groups—faculty, officers of administration, classified employees, and graduate employees—to understand needs, ability, and desire to work remotely. Submissions received and managed by Human Resources will be treated privately, maintained securely, and only accessible to those with a need to know to perform their work. Human Resource will review employee requests to continue working remotely, and the university may ask some campus community members to work remotely based on the needs of the institution, safety and mitigation accommodation needs, and state and federal re-opening guidance.

Since we are now planning for on-campus research functions this summer and fall courses, HR will focus on research and instruction first. All faculty will receive an email today with information about remote work through the fall term and have an opportunity to submit their request. In the upcoming weeks, we will extend our outreach efforts to other employee groups as part of our ongoing efforts to plan and prepare for opening the campus to in-person activities.  

This effort is part of a larger evolving process. Your continued patience and understanding as we work through the planning process is greatly appreciated. Should you have questions, please reach out to Human Resources at


Mark Schmelz
Chief Human Resources Officer and Associate Vice President