COO David Phelps: COVID-19 Update – Essential Personnel

To: Faculty and Staff
Posted: March 23, 2020 at 8 p.m.

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Consistent with Governor Holcomb’s Executive Order 20-08 mandating all Indiana residents to stay at home, excluding those who are providing essential services as defined in the order, Valparaiso University, as an Essential Business, is announcing the following actions:

The University’s Executive Management Council through its various Department Heads is identifying essential job functions necessary to sustain University operations.  To be an essential function a job must:

  1. Facilitate distance learning, including activities associated with the learning process, or;
  2. Perform essential functions to maintain basic business operations. 14(l)  Such basic business operations include, but are not limited to:
    1. Activities necessary to preserve the condition of the physical plant and equipment;
    2. Ensure security;
    3. Process payroll and employee benefits, and;
    4. Activities necessary to facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely. 15 (a)-(b).

Employees will be notified by their supervisor if they are being designated as carrying out essential job functions. All on campus operations and activities are to be conducted under the six-foot social distancing rule “to the extent possible.”

The University’s Executive Management Council is modifying Protocol 1 of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Protocol for Continuity of Operations and Employee Security. Department Heads will have wide latitude in making work assignments and scheduling coverage of essential functions.  What this means for staff employees in general is that you may be temporarily reassigned to essential work functions outside your regular job duties or typical work schedules.  More specifically, for those previously assigned to work at home and some of those whose work could not be performed remotely, you may be temporarily reassigned to other roles that will facilitate you working in these critical areas.

Modified schedules and changes in job assignments will be communicated as soon as is reasonably practical. These actions will be effective March 24, 2020 at 10:59 p.m. CST and remain in place until the University determines a need to modify or suspend them. Student-employees are expressly excluded from coverage under these protocols and are not permitted to work for the University until further notice. 

Protocol 2 will continue to apply as it did prior to Executive Order 20-08, but is extended to those employees whose jobs are determined to be non-essential or whose jobs cannot be performed remotely because they depend on the physical, on-campus presence of students. Those employees will be permitted to apply up to 15 days of supplemental leave consistent with the protocol.

Your continued understanding and efforts on behalf of Valparaiso University during these unprecedented circumstances is appreciated.