Last updated June 12, 2020 4:00 pm
Monday, March 16, 2020
OFFICE OF THE CHANCELLOR
Dear CUNY staff and faculty,
The coronavirus crisis continues to unfold rapidly, and with an unprecedented trajectory and gravity that gives a historic cast to each day. In this tumultuous and ever-changeable atmosphere, it is important to take stock of where we stand, and what this means for the University’s ongoing operations.
Tomorrow, staff will reconvene across campuses and at the Central Office to continue the important effort that we began last week, preparing our campuses to maximally transition to distance-learning and, for many, distance or flexible working modalities.
As we move forward with this critical work to preserve academic, research and business continuity, an effort that will enable CUNY’s students to fulfill their semester requirements and preserve their financial aid, each campus president and dean will determine which personnel are needed on campus to ensure that on March 19 CUNY can be fully providing distance learning and other essential campus services.
This is consistent with Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order, which defines essential personnel as “anyone whose job function is essential to the effective operation of their agency or authority, or who must be physically present to perform their job, or who is involved in the COVID-19 emergency response.”
School presidents and deans will determine which facilities on their campuses, such as libraries, research facilities and computer laboratories, are considered essential to our COVID-19 emergency response and will continue to offer services, even if on a limited basis. All campus child care centers and food pantries will remain open.
It is important to remember that only supervisors have the authority to determine if an employee can telecommute. Therefore, it is essential that all supervisors and department heads, whether they work on the teaching or non-instructional faculty or professional staff, on a campus or at CUNY Central, maintain a steady and open line of communication with their teams to ensure that expectations are communicated in a clear manner. As circumstances are subject to change on the ground, the presidents and deans may change the composition of those employees designated essential to meet the academic and operational needs on our various campuses.
Please keep in mind that there are many employees who have been deemed essential, but whose jobs can and will be performed remotely, if so authorized by their supervisor. Our highest priority is to safeguard the health and wellbeing of all University employees while ensuring the continuity of our academic and business operations for the duration of our COVID-19 emergency response.
I have long maintained that CUNY is crucial to the city’s lifeblood, an indispensable New York City institution, and this is one unmistakable period in which my belief will be proved. In these days of anxiety and uncertainty, we are being called on, and counted on, to be more than a university. Our institution, and the services it provides, are now needed to help the city and region to pull together and pull through this crisis. As we resort to uncommon measures to protect our own heath and that of our families and friends, I thank you for your steadfast professionalism and commitment.