COVID-19 Update: March 17, 2020
March 17, 2020
Please be advised that the FBRI is open and operational. We are maintaining heightened risk mitigation procedures (described in previous communication attached below) and allowing employees that are at increased risk of either being particularly susceptible to COVID (age, underlying condition, immunocompromised, child care needs) and/or have other factors that create greater risk (e.g. family members living at home in similar situations) to work from home (telework).
It is important that in such situations, the employee coordinates that arrangement with their supervisor and the supervisor develops a work plan for the employee. (Documentation of such plans and work accomplished will be important going forward, particularly in dealing with federally funded research programs where employees are paid from those sources).
Of course, if an employee is ill, has symptoms of COVID, has tested positive for COVID, or has a known exposure to a COVID positive person or has recently traveled to a level 3 or 4 country or other COVID hot spot, they should also arrange with their supervisor to stay home.
· If they are ill, they should use sick time while home. · If they are self-quarantining based on risk, they should work from home with the work plan developed between them and their supervisor during that time.
· Each lab PI should work with the members of their research team and develop work plans for those who will be tele-working.
I am also attaching a paragraph from President Sands that was shared with university leadership this morning.
“Public health is the overarching concern, and teleworking is an outstanding option. In your messaging as leaders, however, please keep in mind that the campus is still open and we need some staff, A/P faculty, graduate students, and instructional faculty on campus to maintain critical functions including the ability to provide online teaching and learning. It is also likely that we will continue to house on the order of 1,000 students on campus – students who do not have a better option. Thank you for your leadership in this extraordinary situation.”
Thanks to everyone for their efforts in this challenging time. Please be prudent, follow the procedures outlined for work here at the FBRI, wash your hands frequently, use zoom meetings and teleconferencing from your offices whenever possible, don’t use elevators with multiple people, restrict any essential meetings in person to small groups in large rooms or outside and stay home and arrange for telework plans with your supervisor if your situation merits it. Most of all, be healthy.
Michael J. Friedlander, Ph.D.
Virginia Tech Vice President for Health Sciences and Technology
Executive Director, Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC
Senior Dean for Research, VTCSOM