Vice President for Human Resources’ Message to Staff Regarding Plans for Spring 2021

Nov. 24, 2020

On November 24, Vice President for Human Resources Lianne Sullivan-Crowley emailed all staff members with the following update about the spring 2021 semester:

In his message to our University community sent earlier today, President Eisgruber announced plans to expand Princeton’s teaching and research activities on a limited basis for the spring 2021 semester. These plans include inviting all enrolled undergraduates students to campus who wish to return. The plans also include fully supporting “remote learning for anyone who chooses it.  This invitation is in addition to the existing accommodations for our graduate students, many of whom we were able to welcome back to campus in the fall.” President Eisgruber noted that the University “cultivated” the strong public health norms and practices during the fall term as well as the monitoring and testing practices we established. Because of that work, he explained “we have concluded that, if everyone on campus rigorously adheres to public health guidance about masking, social distancing and other practices, we can welcome a far greater number of students back to Princeton.”

The impact of the pandemic in New Jersey, and specifically on colleges and universities, continues to be fluid. We remain committed to keeping you informed of relevant developments and decisions that enable your departments to plan their operations and help you to adjust personally. As we have said before, protecting everyone’s health and safety aligned with state and federal guidance continues to be our top priority and will remain as the cornerstone of our decision-making process.

This memo provides information that staff and departments should reference in planning for the upcoming spring semester. In addition, we will hold a staff town hall meeting on Friday, December 4, to discuss the impact of today’s announcement on campus operations and answer questions. Additional information about time of day and registration is forthcoming.

Planning for Resumption: We anticipate that, in some instances, more staff will be needed to work on campus with greater regularity as we look forward to welcoming undergraduate students back to campus. However, to continue to limit the spread of COVID-19 on campus and safeguard members of our community, the University’s expectation remains that all work that can be reasonably performed remotely must continue to be performed remotely so that campus does not unnecessarily re-densify. In the interest of public health, we must keep the number of staff on-site to only what is required to meet operational needs.

Departments that are student facing and anticipate resuming or expanding on-campus activities for the spring semester should begin now to determine their corresponding operational and staffing needs, taking into account careful consideration of which jobs will require an on-campus presence and by when.

Department managers will begin to be contacted by the On-campus Resumption Review Team during the week of November 30 to share the new streamlined spring semester resumption plan template and process. Student-facing departments within Campus Life, Facilities, the Graduate School, the Office of the Dean of the College, and University Services will be reviewed first, followed by academic units. We ask all other units to maintain their current status until after February so we can prioritize the student-facing departments. The dean for research, dean of the faculty, and dean of the graduate school will send additional relevant information next week to academic departments.

When developing plans for the spring semester, departments must follow the updated guidance, policies, and protocols that are available on the Princeton COVID Resources website with the goal of limiting the spread of and/or exposure to COVID-19.

Where we require staff to resume their work on campus based on the requirements of the work and their roles, managers will, whenever possible, provide affected individuals with four weeks notice to plan for their transition and return to Princeton’s on or off campus workplace. Senior HR managers are available to assist departments.

Health and Safety Measures: For the spring semester, we are continuing to utilize the health and safety operational measures we implemented earlier this year that all employees must understand and follow. These include:

  • Wearing of masks, social distancing, hand washing, and cleaning protocols
  • Participation in the asymptomatic testing program as required by the University
  • Completion of the mandatory online COVID-19 General Awareness training either before or within 24 hours after returning to campus by all staff approved to work on campus regularly, occasionally, or intermittently
  • Completion of the mandatory online Safe Resumption of Research training for all staff who work on research projects in University laboratories
  • Compliance with the New Jersey requirement for all staff who are scheduled or plan to come to work in any on and off campus University building or worksite that they complete the Daily Symptom Check

Meanwhile, you should continue to follow the guidance you have received previously, which includes:

  • If you have been working on campus, you should continue to do so as directed by your managers with approval from your cabinet officer or academic chair or director.
  • If you are working remotely, you should continue to do so unless otherwise directed.
  • If your circumstances require your occasional or intermittent presence on campus, you must seek and obtain approval from your managers who will then seek approval from your cabinet officer or academic chair or director, as appropriate. For instance, if you need to be on campus to complete a specific task or project, you will need prior approval. At all other times, you are expected to work remotely.
  • If your job requires your physical presence on campus, either on a regular, occasional, or intermittent basis, you must comply with all related policies and procedures that the University has issued or will issue.

In spite of the pandemic fatigue many of us are feeling, we must persevere to be accountable personally by observing the University’s policies, guidelines, and procedures designed to protect the health and safety of all of us in our campus community. If you have any compliance concerns, please direct them to your manager or your senior HR manager.

Additional Information: Refer to the University’s website, HR’s website, and the Princeton COVID Resources website. Anyone with questions can email HR. Refer to our Spring 2021 Campus and Workplace Operations webpage often, as we will update it as we learn new information.

As we have new information about the evolving public health environment in New Jersey and the country as a whole, how state and federal directives affect our own policies and procedures, and how the plans for undergraduate or graduate instruction may impact you and your departments’ activities, we will share it with you.

Thank you again for your resilience and commitment to the University. As we anticipate the return and arrival of our students, we count on your collegiality, collaboration, and dedication to Princeton to keep our campus as safe as possible and make this a successful spring semester. Please be sure to take good care of yourselves and each other!

For benefits, well-being, work-related, and other information, refer to HR's COVID-19 resources.