Human Resources guidance during COVID-19

Dear faculty, staff and student employees,

We realize that the current COVID-19 situation has been difficult for everyone. As we navigate these exceptional circumstances, we appreciate your commitment to ensure that we fulfill our important education, research and service mission. At the same time, we know that many of you are focused on your personal and family needs and we recognize that we need to operate with more flexibility in this new environment.  This message addresses our employee and parking policies that will be enacted as quickly as possible to protect the health and safety of our employees, while meeting the ongoing mission requirements of UIC.

WORK ENVIRONMENTS TO SUPPORT EMPLOYEE HEALTH

Recent public health recommendations advise increased social distancing. In addition, Governor Pritzker has announced that all public and private K-12 schools will be closed until the end of March, requiring flexible policies that allow our employees to manage childcare while still managing their work.

It is also imperative that employees stay at home if they experience respiratory symptoms, fever or cough. We want to prevent the spread of the disease and support employees who need to take leave without fear of the impact this will have on their pay status. We are enacting the opportunity for more flexibility in our personnel policies to better support our employees during this pandemic crisis.

We encourage all supervisors to be flexible and creative in determining ways to meet critical and essential work requirements while complying with advisories to increase social distancing. It is particularly important to evaluate and utilize alternative work measures for high-risk employees – over the age of 60 or those with underlying chronic conditions like heart or lung disease, diabetes, or asthma.

Vice chancellors and deans should immediately begin working with their managers and supervisors to identify:

  1. Faculty/Staff/Student employees who must remain on-site to maintain critical and essential operations. Development of work schedules to operate with minimum staffing levels is strongly encouraged.
  2. All other Faculty/Staff/Student employees should be assigned to work remotely following procedures outlined by the Office of Human Resources. These employees will not be required to utilize any form of leave time during this period. Creativity in making this possible is strongly encouraged.

Supervisors may consider rotating staff who will be required to come to work in order to assist more employees. In making these assignments, supervisors should also take under consideration that individuals with special circumstances, including parents with school-age children, may need more flexibility until they are able to secure new arrangements at home.

Effectively immediately, employees should work with their supervisors, vice chancellors and deans to make revised work plans and document absences. Department plans should be finalized by Tuesday, March 17, and communicated to all employees.

It is important to note that the issues surrounding the delivery of patient care at UI Hospital and Clinics, the Mile Square Health Centers, the College of Dentistry and the many other health care delivery sites are different than those for the rest of the university.  There will be separate communication for faculty, staff and patients related to care delivery issues and challenges.  Our care providers have particularly extraordinary and dynamic circumstances to handle. The Office of the Vice Chancellor Research will also provide a separate communication with guidance for maintaining crucial research activities.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION AND PARKING

To ease the burden for those faculty/staff/student employees who must remain on campus and normally rely on public transportation but now desire to drive, UIC will offer free parking to them in certain parking lots until the University returns to normal operating conditions.

Free parking will be allowed at the following visitor lots, which have current capacity:

  • Harrison Street Parking Structure, 1100 W. Harrison Street
  • Halsted Street Parking Structure, 760 W. Taylor Street
  • Lot 1B, 1139 W. Harrison Street
  • Lot 5, 1135 S. Morgan Street

Users will need to provide their valid UIC i-card to allow access without paying.  Due to parking congestion in the West Campus parking structures and lots, West Campus employees who do not currently have parking assignments there will have to use the parking lots listed above and the existing shuttle at the Harrison Street Parking Structure to commute between the campuses. The shuttle operates Monday through Friday, from 6-10 a.m. and 2-7 p.m. Free evening parking (from 3 p.m.-8 a.m. Monday through Friday and 24 hours on the weekend) will be available in the Paulina Street Parking Structure, 915 S. Paulina St., with the display of a valid UIC i-card upon exit.

Employees who choose to park in any other lot or outside of the time period for free parking, will be charged the variable rate.

We hope that these temporary accommodations will help our employees continue to work while also meeting CDC guidelines to ensure the health and well-being of our dedicated staff. We care deeply about each of our employees and hope that you will do all you can to keep the University operational as called upon to do so. We urge you to follow the guidance of health care professionals for you and your loved ones.

We will continue to provide COVID-19 updates and resources for the UIC community at today.uic.edu/coronavirus.

Sincerely,

Michael Amiridis
Chancellor

John Coronado
Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services

Michael Ginsburg
Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources

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