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March 2021 Communications

March 30 - Return to Campus Update (HR Newsletter)

Due to the decline in Shelby County COVID cases and the increased availability of vaccines, the University feels hopeful about transitioning back to an on-site working model. More detailed information will be forthcoming, but we hope the information provided below will help ease the transition. Students and faculty are preparing to return to classes and teaching face-to-face this fall.  In order to support our students, we ask that departments and employees begin to transition to 75% capacity over the summer months with plans to return to 100% capacity by the beginning of the fall semester.

Departments and employees are encouraged to discuss work arrangements based on the specific needs of the department as well as the University. Any questions or concerns can be discussed with your department's Human Resources Business Partner. As always, we expect employees to continue all safety practices: social distancing, mask wearing and hand washing. Thank you for your commitment to keeping our campus safe and healthy.


March 29 - Staff Transition Back to Campus

Throughout the course of this pandemic, our decision-making has been driven by empirical evidence, timely data, our identified institutional values and the health and safety of those on our campus at the forefront. Shelby County continues to see a steady decline in new coronavirus cases and, with vaccines becoming widely available, we will begin transitioning employees back to on-site work.  

Students and faculty are preparing to return to face-to-face classes this fall. In order to support our students, faculty and the broader community, staff will begin a gradual transition to 75% capacity over the summer months, with plans to return to 100% capacity by the beginning of the fall semester, absent a communication to the contrary should scientific data change. We ask that departments review the work plans submitted earlier and consult with HR, as needed, to develop your respective staff transition plans.
 
The University will continue to follow the law and participate in the interactive ADA process to provide effective, reasonable accommodations. Employees may also wish to discuss alternative work arrangements with their supervisors as needed. Employees and department heads should consult with their Human Resources Business Partner, when considering alternative work arrangements to ensure fairness and consistency.
 
Employees are required to continue safe practices such as wearing a mask, frequent hand washing and appropriate social distancing. For the latest COVID-19 updates from the University of Memphis, visit memphis.edu/coronavirusupdates. For vaccination information and scheduling, visit covid19.memphistn.gov/vaccine/.
 
Each of you have made many personal and professional sacrifices to ensure we continue to support our student and campus community and the University’s mission during this difficult time. Thank you for your dedication.
 
We are excited and optimistic as we look toward to welcoming back our faculty, staff, students and community members to campus over the summer and fall.


March 22 - Vaccine Availability Changes

Vaccine availability has recently changed. The City of Memphis announced late Monday that it has 8,000 available appointments this week for those age 45 and up, and it will open vaccination appointments to ages 16 and older on Friday, March 26, for slots next week. Current vaccine phase information is available at covid19.memphistn.gov/vaccine/vaccine-phases/.

The University of Memphis applied Monday to the State for the Student Health Center to administer the vaccine for faculty, staff and students. We will update the community immediately on a decision, including location, dates and times, if approved.


March 19 - Vaccine Availability Update

The University continues to monitor vaccine availability and advocate for our community to receive them. This morning, the City of Memphis requested permission from the State of Tennessee for all adults to be vaccinated and is awaiting a response. 
 
Additionally, the University of Memphis is working with the State to have the Student Health Center serve as a vaccine site for all faculty, staff and students. We will immediately update you once any progress is made with these efforts. For your reference, current vaccine phase information is available at covid19.memphistn.gov/vaccine/vaccine-phases/.
 
Thank you for your patience and persistence during this time. 


March 5 - Looking Forward to the Fall Semester

We are pleased that current information suggests we will return safely to face-to-face classes this fall with normal seating capacities. As you are looking through the schedule of classes, you will find a full roster of on-ground courses in addition to our nationally ranked and extensive online offerings. Our campus facilities (residence halls, dining outlets, student recreation center, etc.) will be open and offer a full range of activities and the traditional higher education experience that our students expect. We also anticipate being able to offer a wide range of community activities again that were not possible during this past year. This promises to be a very exciting time.
 
Our regular classes will be held at the times and in the locations listed in the schedule of classes. In-person attendance will be expected and recorded in the same way as it was prior to COVID. If, for some reason, in-person attendance this fall will not be possible for you, please choose online classes that will allow you to continue your studies.
 
Our ability to return to normal operations is the direct result of efforts you have made to follow the protocols which were put in place to keep you and others safe. We ask that you continue to do everything you can to stay safe now and the fall semester. Continue to wear your masks and maintain appropriate social distance consistent with the evolving CDC guidelines, and please take advantage of the opportunity to receive one of the approved COVID vaccines as soon as they are available to you.  
 
We are looking forward to seeing you back on our beautiful campuses again soon.


March 3 - Vaccine Information

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students:

As you know, we have continued to work with the City of Memphis in an effort to coordinate vaccinations for faculty and staff on our campus. We will be providing weekly updates in an effort to facilitate the process. In my conversation with city officials today, it was reported there are more than 700 available appointments remaining this week at two sites: Appling and Germantown. This is for Phase 1B and all those above age 65. Appointments can be accessed by calling the Shelby County appointment line at 901-222-SHOT.

Additionally, next week, the County will move to Phase 1C which includes all of the above, plus individuals 16 and older with existing comorbidities. 36,000 appointments for next week will open this Friday by noon. The link for scheduling online appointments for next week is https://covid19.memphistn.gov/.

Again, we will continue to facilitate access on a weekly basis now that the City is coordinating the program.

-Dr. M. David Rudd