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UF faculty and staff rise to the challenge of working through COVID-19


Faculty and staff have worked at record speed in recent weeks to adapt to changes brought on by the rapid spread of the coronavirus in the United States and throughout the world. This week, university leaders were asked to begin allowing employees to work from home and are encouraged to be innovative and adaptable to accommodate this wherever possible.

UF Human Resources also provided further guidance and support to university leaders and their HR staff to facilitate remote work for those who are able to do so. More information on working remotely may be found on the Working through COVID-19 section of the UFHR website, including tips for:

All 5,000 of UF’s classes are now online, while more than 6,000 students are still on campus and supported by university services, which remain open and readily available to them. University administrators and emergency operations teams have been working around the clock to find the best ways to meet our students’ needs while protecting the health and safety of our faculty and staff. Everyone is required to practice social distancing, which means maintaining a distance of at least six feet between you and other people, among other measures.

Yesterday, the City of Gainesville issued an emergency declaration that limits public gatherings to fewer than 50 individuals or 50 percent of permitted occupancy, whichever is less, in “non-essential places of public assembly” such as restaurants and places of worship, but does not include “essential” places such as grocery stores, banks or hospitals. Hours of operation of public places are also limited. To learn more, visit the City of Gainesville website.

With K-12 public schools closing this week, faculty and staff with school-age children may use their accrued vacation or sick leave, or unpaid leave, if they are unable to report to work due to a family care emergency such as this and if a remote working option is not available. If your job does not lend itself to working from home, you may wish to discuss options for adjusting your schedule with your supervisor.

Yesterday, President Fuchs announced policy updates on business and personal travel as well as university-related business activities. You can find his message and stay up-to-date on future developments by visiting http://www.ufl.edu/health-updates/.

In a March 16 communication, UF Vice President and CIO Elias Eldayrie cautioned the community to remain vigilant when opening emails and visiting websites, and shared the many resources and tools UFIT offers to support remote teaching and work. UF Vice for Research David Norton also provided updated guidance for the research community.

During these challenging times, please remember the following resources if you or someone you know is in need of assistance:

  • The Employee Assistance Program offers someone to talk to and resources to consult whenever and wherever you need them.
  • Aid-a-Gator provides limited assistance to UF faculty, staff and students who experience a temporary financial hardship.
  • The Field & Fork Pantry offers non-perishable food, toiletries and fresh produce when available to faculty, staff and students.

On Monday, President Fuchs released a video message on Twitter thanking faculty and staff for their hard work and students for their patience. If you missed it, you can view the video below. As always, if UFHR can answer questions or provide assistance, we urge you to contact us at humanresources@ufl.edu or (352) 392-2HRS.

A video message from University of Florida President Kent Fuchs regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Embedded video

Published: March 17th, 2020

Category: News