I am writing in light of the executive order announced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo earlier today. As you are likely aware, the edict orders “nonessential” businesses to close, effective at 8pm on Sunday, March 22. We have been in touch with our elected representatives for additional guidance, as it is currently unclear how much of the order pertains to Vassar College. Several have indicated that many, if not all, of the services we continue to provide on campus may be considered essential—food service, residential support, health, and safety functions are all permitted to operate, for example.
We continue to support the educational mission through distance learning and provide necessary services to those who remain on campus. We realize that hearing the news of this order raises questions, and we are doing our best to get those answers soon. In the meantime, please know that the state’s requirement is on Vassar, not on you as individual employees.
We have already made significant progress in reducing the number of employees working on campus each day. Given this new information, employees whose roles can be performed off-campus are required to begin “teleworking” as early as possible this Monday, whereas previously the telework program was optional.
If your role requires that you work on campus, the rotating schedules your units have been developing will help to keep density low, so that employees on campus are able to practice required social distancing. This includes personal hygiene (wash your hands, don’t touch your face) and, importantly, keep six feet between you and other individuals. Please take this seriously, and please alert your supervisor if you feel you do not have the flexibility required to practice responsible social distancing.
Finally, I want to take another opportunity to express deep gratitude for the dedication and flexibility that everybody has brought to each day of this fast-moving situation. Without our collective contributions, the college could not be successful adapting to the changes and maintaining continuity. Thank you all—and please watch for additional updates and guidance in the coming days.
For information about other HR policy changes due to COVID-19, visit https://humanresources.vassar.edu/covid-19/. For more information about teleworking, visit http://go.vassar.edu/telework/. Continue to check the college’s COVID-19 website for updates: https://www.vassar.edu/coronavirus-updates/.
Carlos L. García
Vice President for Technology and Human Resources
Chief Information Officer