The Daily Gamecock

Town hall: Faculty, staff members may work remotely but 'not all requests can be accommodated'

For the fall semester, faculty and staff members may request a remote-work option from their supervisor, but not all requests will be granted. 

"Please keep in mind that many jobs require employers to be physically present on campus in order to fulfill our commitment to students," President Bob Caslen said in the town hall for faculty and staff. "So not all requests can be accommodated."

If a faculty or staff member's request is denied and they have a medical condition, they can appeal to the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs. Concerns about childcare and "fear of return" can be addressed with the employees' supervisor and HR contact.

Carolina Agardy, vice president of human resources said that a committee was formed to discuss the childcare challenges parents may face and the resources available to them. The committee's first meeting is on Aug. 3.

Caslen said over the summer there have been two to 10 positive coronavirus cases a day from faculty, staff and students.

"As you go and talk to them and find out as best as they understand how that virus was contracted, they will probably tell you that they were in a close group in some capacity, without the necessary protection," Caslen said.

Of the 4,158 individuals tested on campus, 3% tested positive. Dr. Debbie Beck, executive director of Student Health Services, said many were seeking testing because they were symptomatic.

Beck said there are three alert levels the university is preparing for: low, moderate and high.

Alert level one (low) means that the campus is either fully or partially open with areas targeted for risk mitigation. At alert level two (moderate) the campus would have risk mitigation measures everywhere and be partially closed. 

"What [alert level two] would mean to you is that we would have more limited activities across the campus, which may mean temporary closure of a building or temporary, who is going online," Beck said.

If the university is at an alert level three (high), there will be "significant alterations to academic and student support operations." Classes may shift to online only.


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