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Monday, June 8, 2020

Welcome Back to Campus, Wolverines

Dear Wolverines, 

Welcome back! This is a historic day as we welcome another group of employees back to campus after many of us have been working remotely since March. 

In the past few weeks, some of you have asked what returning to work will look like and have shared questions and concerns. I hope that you read the communications from HR that address your concerns and provide resources for a successful return to campus. 

I also hope that you read Provost Wayne Vaught and Vice President Val Peterson’s message to our community last Friday, June 5. I quote the first paragraph below: 

On Monday, June 8, we will welcome another portion of our community back to campus. As determined by their immediate supervisors, employees in categories one and two will again occupy the spaces left empty by COVID-19. We are looking forward to your return to UVU. We appreciate the flexibility, creativity, and collegiality demonstrated during these trying times. Other category two employees will return on June 22 and July 6. This phased approach of returning to work is being done in coordination with the state and the Utah System of Higher Education. For more information on the phased return to work, please refer to the Human Resources Coronavirus Employee Guide. You will also find updated information regarding how to keep you and those you care about healthy. We understand that some of you may have reservations about returning because you are a high-risk individual or live with a high-risk individual. If you fall into that category, please contact Human Resources. 

I would also refer you to the Return to Campus webpage for additional details on expectations and transition tips. 

As we slowly return to campus, a few things will remain the same. UVU’s leadership team will continue to make safety our highest priority. We will continue to apply our values of Exceptional Care and Exceptional Accountability. This means observing general rules of safety and hygiene; communicating with our direct supervisors when we have concerns; having direct supervisors listen and respond in a timely manner; communicating clearly, frequently and kindly across the university; and being prepared to pivot our actions as circumstances change. 

A few things will be different. We will wear masks in public spaces; use hand sanitizer and sneeze guards; observe social distancing as much as possible; thoroughly clean the campus in line with the realities of COVID-19; see fewer people on campus than before coronavirus; conduct more of our business remotely as part of the “new normal;” and continue to adjust to the evolving realities of the budget, enrollment, policy, health guidelines, and other changes. 

Many of us have experienced challenging circumstances, fear, and worry since the pandemic hit. I am proud of the cooperation, communication, professionalism, and resilience that we have exhibited as a community. We have deployed new reserves of care, compassion, and competence. We have done some heavy lifting. I know that this pandemic will pass. At the end of it, I see a university that is stronger, more digitally transformed, and better positioned to deliver relevant and life-changing higher education and experiences to so many individuals and families that count on us. 

At the beginning of April, we conducted a student survey to gauge how our students felt in adapting to the changes the pandemic created. We were pleased that 3,700 students responded, and 1,500 named 873 faculty and staff whose actions made a huge difference to individual students. This extraordinary care reflects who we are and what UVU is all about. 

As you find yourselves back at your desks and workspaces this week, please take time to reach out and listen to one another. As we support each other, we will more successfully make the transition. We will weather this storm together. 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I look forward to welcoming you back!


Astrid S. Tuminez