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Thursday, May 28, 2020

Utah Valley University Outlines Plans for Fall Semester 2020

Utah Valley University today announced plans for this fall semester that offer students several course delivery options, including face-to-face instruction, that comply with safety guidelines outlined by the state’s COVID-19 Task Force, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE). 

At the onset of the pandemic, UVU moved thousands of courses online, accelerating its digital transformation initiative and exposing more students and faculty to remote-learning opportunities. As the university is preparing for fall, it will be leveraging digital technologies and an innovative approach to scheduling to support a wide range of course options — from face-to-face instruction, remote learning, and hybrid classes that include both in-person and online education.

“We want to provide a safe, high-quality educational experience that meets the needs of our students,” said UVU Provost Wayne Vaught, who also serves on the USHE COVID-19 Task Force. “With our diverse student population and dual-mission model that provides both community college and university-level options, we’re utilizing technology in a way that supports learning, collaboration, flexibility, and a safe environment for our students and faculty.”

Safety remains a key consideration for all students, faculty, and staff. Social-distancing guidelines, facilities sanitation, hand sanitizer stations, increased airflow, and the recommendation of face masks are just some of the precautionary measures taken.

“At UVU, our core values of Exceptional Care, Exceptional Accountability, and Exceptional Results will continue to guide us during the complexities of these unusual times,” said UVU President Astrid S. Tuminez. “Our doors and our hearts will always be open to every student who desires an education — including those who choose to join us on campus and those who prefer to be together from afar. At UVU, we are one community. We are resilient, we are agile, and we are dedicated to student success.”

The fall semester begins on August 24. Registration is now underway. In addition, the university’s second summer block of classes begins on June 29, and students can register at uvu.edu/summer.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Phased Plan for Returning to Work: COVID-19 Update

Dear Colleagues, 

We have begun our coordinated, phased return to on-campus work announced on May 15. As we move forward, the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and visitors remain the number one priority. 

The “Stabilization Phase” of Returning to Campus 

Like several other universities, UVU is currently in the Stabilization Phase, which is anticipated to last until September 30, 2020. This specific phase applies to campuses currently operating under Yellow Level state recommendations. 

The different phases are determined by the level of disease transmission in the community and the resources that are available to protect the safety and health of employees and students. Managing health risks during all phases will require the identification, containment, and mitigation of the virus. It will also require diligence and a commitment from all of us to keep everyone safe. 

The timing and specifics of the plan are contingent on the progression of COVID-19 in our area, and local, state, and federal guidelines. We must also consider the complex structure of UVU and reserve the right to make decisions based on the specific needs of our campus community, which means that some decisions may look different than those of the nation, state, or county based on case numbers within our service area, specific situation, hospitalizations, the university’s ability to maintain safety measures, and readiness. 

We invite you to familiarize yourself with the documents outlining the protocol for this Stabilization Phase

Target Return Dates for Category II Employees 

We have already welcomed our first employee group (Category I) back to campus, and the next wave of employees (Category II) will be returning to campus in the coming weeks. As we move through this phase, the divisional/school leadership teams are working with their respective employees to determine who is considered a Category II employee. 

We are using the following schedule to bring back our Category II employees: 


  • Group A: Employees return June 8 
  • Group B: Employees return June 22 
  • Group C: Employees return July 6 
  • Group D: High Risk: Consult supervisors regarding a continued remote work agreement 


As we carefully bring back additional personnel in a phased approach, supervisors are determining how to increase functionality and meet the needs of their division, students, and employees on campus. Supervisors will be contacting employees to identify the specific date of return. Those who are in the high-risk category or feel they cannot return to campus are encouraged to communicate with their managers or Human Resources

In addition, on June 8, all buildings on UVU’s Orem, West, Airport, and Lehi campuses will reopen and resume normal hours of operation. When Wasatch County is transitioned from Orange to a Yellow Health Risk status by the state, the Wasatch Campus will also reopen 21 days after that announcement. 

Our Return-to-Campus Strategies 

We have put additional environmental controls, Human Resources employee health and wellness, and individual protective measures in place and are using the following strategies to bring employees back to campus: 


  • Staffing: Increase staffing incrementally to gradually expand operations while maintaining recommended social-distancing guidelines
  • Hygiene: Increased hygiene and sanitation practices
  • Innovation: Continue to promote innovative work practices
  • Monitoring: Monitor health to ensure the well-being of our campus community
  • Minimize non-essential travel: Any approved UVU travel is subject to national, state, and local regulations and guidance


We ask that you read the documents provided to ensure that you understand the expectations and requirements of returning to work on campus, and are aware of the resources and options available to you. 

In addition, we recognize that this a fluid situation that requires flexibility. The decisions made now are informed by data, done in conjunction with local health and governmental leaders, and aligned with the Utah System of Higher Education. Updates will continue as conclusions are made, as changes are needed, and as we move into the “new normal.” As we do so, we encourage you to communicate your concerns and questions. 

Finally, and most importantly, we want to thank you for your efforts to provide essential services to our students as they further their education, and we extend our sincere appreciation for the collegiality, care, and assistance you have provided to each other. 

Sincerely, 

Wayne Vaught
Provost 
Vice President of Academic Affairs 

Marilyn Meyer 
Associate Vice President of Human Resources
Chief Human Resource Officer

Monday, May 18, 2020

May 13 Talk With Tuminez Highlights

On May 13, 2020, President Astrid S. Tuminez invited UVU employees to digitally join her for a “Talk with Tuminez” Town Hall meeting. The meeting has been broken up into the following clips for easier navigation.

Academic Instruction:




Awards of Excellence:




Compensation, work expectations, and risk:




Safe return to campus and athletic events:




Student enrollment and amenities:




Thanking #UVUHeroes: 



Friday, May 15, 2020

COVID-19: Moving From Orange to Yellow Phase

Wolverines,

Governor Gary Herbert announced on Thursday that a majority of the state, including Utah County, will transition from orange, the moderate risk phase, to the yellow phase, or the low-risk phase, on Saturday as part of the Utah Leads Together 2.0 plan for reopening Utah amid the coronavirus pandemic. The move from orange to yellow impacts everyone except high-risk individuals.

You may now be wondering what this means for our Utah Valley University campus community.

Under the state’s yellow level, groups of 50 or fewer are allowed to interact. Some sports can resume with advised symptom health checks, and limited out-of-state travel can occur.

Employers are to exercise discretion with remote work and returning to onsite work and are encouraged to make flexible work arrangements, follow hygiene guidelines, and continue social distancing in the workplace. Face coverings are to be worn when social distancing is difficult. No one who is ill should be on campus. Safety remains the number one priority.

For most students and employees, the move will not significantly impact your current learning and working activities. Still, it will guide the future expansion of activities as we continue the transition into the “new normal.”

A majority of students will continue the first block of the summer semester in all online courses. We hope to provide some face-to-face learning opportunities during the second block summer session. The university plans a mixture of online, blended, and face-to-face learning opportunities during the fall semester. The details of this phased approach are currently in the works, and you can expect more communication regarding UVU’s plans soon.

As we announced during the “Talk With Tuminez” Town Hall on Wednesday, employees will continue to work remotely, if possible, for the time being. Employees will return to campus in phases depending on the work that needs to be completed. For the coming months, it is likely that many staff who are now working remotely will continue to do so. Some may also work part of the time on campus, and remotely. Your supervisors will communicate specific guidance going forward.

Meanwhile, the following buildings will reopen for limited usage on Monday, May 18:

The dōTERRA Wolverine Training Dome
— Open to specific athletes and trainers
Health Sciences Building
— Open to specific training programs
Utah Fire and Rescue Academy
— Open to specific training programs
Aviation
— Open to specific training programs

We are pleased to see the progress that has been made through the efforts of everyone to stop the spread of COVID-19. An abundance of caution remains necessary as we work together to continue to provide an environment where educational opportunities transform lives, and where exceptional care for one another and exceptional accountability lead to exceptional results.

Thank you for your patience and efforts during this unusual period. We look forward to a time when we can all be together again on UVU campuses.

Sincerely,

Wayne Vaught
Provost/Vice President – Academic Affairs

Friday, May 1, 2020

Response to the Governor’s Restriction Change

Governor Gary Herbert announced the relaxing of restrictions implemented to contain the spread of the coronavirus, as part of Utah Leads Together 2.0. The changes that take effect today will allow the reopening of some sectors of the economy with restrictions and provide for the return of some employees to work. So, what does that mean for all of us?

The Utah System of Higher Education’s COVID-19 Task Force is planning for future operations at the state’s universities and colleges in a way that protects the safety of students, faculty, and staff. As previously communicated, we anticipate UVU employees designated as Category 2, who are currently working remotely, will continue to work remotely through the end of May. 

In order to facilitate academic and operational continuity, some UVU employees may have been or may be notified by their supervisors that they will be returning to work on a UVU campus before May 31. Please be assured that UVU is following the directives of the governor’s plan, the State Health Department, and the CDC as we begin to reopen facilities and as more employees return to campus. 

In order to keep ourselves and each other safe and healthy, all employees working on any campus (including high-risk employees and those who live with individuals who may be high risk) are requested to adhere to the following: 


  • If you are ill, please stay home: If you become ill with respiratory symptoms such as a cough, fever, shortness of breath, body aches, etc., you need to stay home and are expected to contact your supervisor. 

  • Wear a mask: A mask is required to be worn while in public spaces at all times. It is not necessary to wear a mask when you are alone in an office or a space. Remember that wearing a mask protects those around you. To really protect each other, we must ALL wear a mask. 

  • Practice social distancing: To the extent possible, social distancing, with a distance of at least six feet from the next person, will continue. This means that meetings should continue via Microsoft Teams or in large spaces that allow appropriate social distancing. 

  • Practice good hygiene: Continue to follow hygiene standards, including washing your hands with soap and water frequently, avoiding touching your face, and covering coughs or sneezes. 

  • Do not congregate: For your health and the safety of others, do not congregate in break rooms or other small spaces for breaks or lunch. Utilize the many large spaces available on UVU campuses where you and others can safely practice social distancing. 


For UVU to maintain a healthy workplace environment, we must each act on these directives and demonstrate exceptional care and exceptional accountability for ourselves and our colleagues during this time. 

Utah Valley University continues to employ a variety of measures to manage the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, with maximum safety for every Wolverine as our number one priority. We particularly appreciate the care provided by our facilities teams to create and maintain a healthy work environment. 

We will continue to communicate information and guidance as UVU moves forward and begins to reopen facilities, programs, and services. We look forward to the safe return of employees and students to all campuses. 

Sincerely, 

Marilyn Meyer 
AVP of Human Resources 
Chief Human Resource Officer 

Robin Ebmeyer 
Director of Emergency Management, Environmental Health, and Safety