January 3, 2020

Employees who can work from home are required to do so

Dear Furman Faculty and Staff,

Happy New Year! We hope your break was peaceful and restorative.

As you know, the university reopens on Monday, January 4. Currently, the COVID health metrics in the Greenville community are of serious concern. In Greenville County, the two-week incidence rate (> 1,300 per 100,000) and test positivity rate (> 40% this past week) have reached their highest levels to date. As these numbers continue to climb, our local health care systems are being overwhelmed.

The COVID Response Steering Committee and the Public Health and Safety Advisory Group are actively assessing the situation and considering the best response moving forward. In the meantime, all Furman employees who are able to work from home are asked to do so until January 19 or such time their supervisor notifies them to return to work, in an effort to minimize the potential spread of the virus. This is mandatory and in the interest of the health and safety of the remote employees as well as of the employees who must work on campus — the fewer people on campus, the less chance of spreading infection.

To be clear, the university is continuing normal business to the extent possible, and employees will continue to receive their normal pay and benefits, whether working remotely or on site. Fulfilling this goal, however, requires that everyone be as flexible as possible. The vice president in each division will work with supervisors to determine who will work remotely and which employees are considered essential to work on campus, and other potential changes to duties or hours.

At this time, classes have been scheduled to resume on Tuesday, January 19, with most students planning to return to campus January 16-17. In addition, some students are scheduled to return this week as early arrivals.

Please continue to complete a health screening using this direct link each day. This should be completed each day whether employees are working remotely or working on campus. Employees may also use the LiveSafe app or access the screening through MyFurman or Workday. Employees who do not have smartphones, computers or access to the internet will be required to submit a document to Human Resources that provides responses to the same questions. This document is available in Human Resources.

We deeply appreciate everyone’s understanding and flexibility. Please continue to support and assist one another, and take care of yourselves and your family as a first priority.

Sincerely,

Ken Peterson, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Connie Carson, Vice President for Student Life

Co-Chairs, COVID Response Steering Committee