Dear FAS Colleagues,
Last week I let you know that our campus continues to operate in its current state while university leadership assesses and plans for the future. Yesterday, President Fenves and Interim President Designate Hartzell announced the formation of six working groups to develop strategies for the fall. I am chairing the Operations group, which is tasked with developing a plan and timeline for the incremental reopening of campus facilities.
The Operations work involves partners across campus and is broken into three focus areas: Readiness, Human Resources, and Financial Planning.
What needs to happen to help get our buildings and the people accessing them ready to safely return? These planning efforts will focus on facilities safety standards like water chlorination and pest control; workspace navigation and retrofitting to match the modified use and occupancy of areas; and the resourcing and allocation of personal protective equipment such as protective guards.
What guidelines and policies are needed to ensure all staff and faculty can safely return to campus or work remotely? In collaboration with the Health and Wellness campus working group, these planning efforts will identify accommodations for those with underlying conditions; identify workforce solutions to potential ongoing challenges due to childcare shortages and other concerns; make recommendations for special consideration employees; and identify training and support of our hybrid-remote workforce.
How can the university ensure coordinated campus planning and the delivery of major services in our disrupted financial environment? These planning efforts will develop a financial model and comprehensive analysis of the various scenarios for reopening the campus, to help guide executive decision making.
Our commitment remains to make sound decisions with staff in mind. Your health is our priority as these working groups tackle complex issues. Our incremental return to working, learning, and living on campus will also be informed by the successful experiences we have had working together in our current environment – flexible ways that have helped us meet our individual and family needs.
Thank you for everything you do.
Darrell Bazzell | Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer | The University of Texas at Austin