COVID 3/20 (second email)

Here’s the second email sent to faculty on 3/20.

Dear colleagues,
Apologies for multiple messages this afternoon/evening. 
See below for an important message that is making its way down the hierarchy this evening. Faculty (and presumably GA’s with instructional roles) will continue to be allowed access to private offices for work deemed essential. Given the normal rate of communication from deans and chairs, it’s possible this message may not make it to all instructors in a timely basis, so I thought I’d send it out promptly. I’ve also been able to clarify one thing with Dave DiLalla this evening.
The policy of allowing faculty continued office access will come as a relief to many colleagues, but also raises issues we are all only starting to think through. Coming to campus will impose some risk, despite everything being done to keep campus safe. We have clarified with the administration this evening that faculty (and presumably GA’s) are not required to come to campus. 

Many other workers, of course, are being deemed essential and asked to continue work outside the home at some increased risk to themselves and those they live with. And the university policy does appear to be allowed by the governor’s proclamation. But the safety/work balance should be considered in every case. If you believe it incumbent on you to stay home to protect your safety and/or that of those you could expose to the virus, you may do so. If you have limited internet access at home, this may have an impact on your ability to use techniques like live-streaming. But health and safety must be our highest priority right now. 
It also strikes me that SIUC should make available funding for improving instructors’ internet access at home, something the administration is currently not doing, as the message below indicates. We will consult with them further on this, as we all continue to face these difficult choices. It remains my hope and expectation that we will all continue to work together to help SIUC weather this crisis. 
In solidarity,
Dave JohnsonPresident, SIUC FA

Administration answers to questions about office access and paying for home internet access
“Can a faculty member come to the University to access network resources, equipment, etc. that are required for distance delivery of their courses. Answer: YES, we consider this to be an essential activity as defined by section 12.j of the Governor’s declaration (“…for purposes of facilitating distance learning”). So, for example, it is permissible for a faculty member to come to her / his private office (or to a lab where essential equipment is needed) in order to facilitate delivery of her/his distance courses, including such activities as recording / uploading lectures. We understand that some colleagues may have limited or unreliable internet access, so coming to the office on a limited basis in order to deliver distance courses is permissible and appropriate. Of course, such time should be limited as much as is possible in order to assure that we are in compliance with the governor’s directive. A related question:  “Is the university purchasing / paying for private high-speed internet for employees who do not have such access: “ Answer: No, we are not making such purchases at this time.  Again, the situation is very fluid and I know we are working hard to adapt and respond. Please keep us informed regarding questions.

About Dave Johnson
I'm an Associate Professor in Classics at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Among other things.

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