Dear Members of the City College Community,
We just learned that starting tomorrow, only essential personnel should report to college. That term, "essential personnel" is a phrase we usually use during snowstorms or other natural disasters, and it normally refers to the men and women who keep the campus infrastructure running—mainly security and facilities. In this context, I believe we need to interpret it as people whose on campus presence (as opposed to work from home posture) is essential for us to get ready to run classes and to maintain laboratories. For research labs, only personnel needed to maintain safety of critical functions and animal care should report to campus.
This may change. Should the governor or chancellor decide that we need to close the college outright, we will define "essential personnel" differently.
For now, we will begin tomorrow with what I'll call a "snow day+plus" posture. As with a snow day, we won't have libraries, the Tech Center or food services open, although some people in procurement, finance, communications and a few other offices may be hearing from their supervisors tonight that they need to report in. The food pantry will be accessible on an emergency basis tomorrow. Everyone else should stay away from the campus if you normally would stay away on a snow day.
It will be mandatory, however, that you remain in contact with, and available to your supervisor tomorrow. Over the course of the day, I will be asking supervisors, in consultation with deans, VPs and AVPs to think about the work that we still need to do on campus, and designate members of your team as essential to those tasks. That will mean that the list of essential personnel will change, as our sense of what functions we need to preserve changes. As the week progresses and we explore, together, all the options for off-site work, as we develop new modes of working from home, I expect some people to be re-designated as non-essential.
In making your designations, I am asking supervisors to adhere to the standard I laid out earlier today: we need to be as flexible as possible and think with enough flexibility to make sure as many staff as possible are allowed to work from home.
As always, even staff designated as "essential" can appeal because some pre-existing condition or other complication makes the duty to report to campus too onerous, and our reasonable accommodation process is also still available.
I would like to thank, in advance, everyone who will be coming to work tomorrow, and in the days and weeks that will follow. You are shouldering a heavy burden of service in extremely trying times, and I do not lightly ask you to do this. You have my great respect and thanks for your service. I'll look forward, with the college's senior leadership, to welcoming you personally to campus tomorrow.