March 16, 2020
Dear CBU Community,
First let me thank you, as a compassionate and caring community, for the patience, resiliency, and generosity you have displayed during this time of unease and uncertainty. In recent days, I have seen so many examples of what it means to be Lasallian in the ways we have supported each other. From students carrying boxes for each other as you move out of the residence halls to faculty and staff offering up their best tips and strategies for online learning, your acts of care and concern are real demonstrations of your commitment to our shared values and to each other.
In that spirit of care and concern, I am writing to you today to share the following announcements, some of which have been previously communicated but are critical reminders:
- Earlier today the University’s leadership team made the decision to transition to a remote work model. With the exception of those employees whose continued on-campus presence is required, our transition to a “work from home” model will take effect on Wednesday morning, March 18. This will correspond with our earlier announced move to remote learning. I have asked University senior administrators and work supervisors to determine a list of personnel who will need to continue to work on campus during this time. They are to submit those names to the Director of Human Resources by noon on Tuesday, March 17 to ensure the uninterrupted continuity of business operations.
Via email, supervisors are also to provide every employee with a clearly detailed work plan outlining assigned tasks and responsibilities, whether those activities are to be completed on-campus or remotely. All supervisors and staff should work together to determine how these responsibilities will be undertaken. These work plans will be updated on an at least a weekly basis as we work together in continuing to serve our campus community.
We will be working in this remote manner for the foreseeable future. We have not at this time established a date for returning to business as usual for our employees. However, let me assure you, we are doing everything we can to ensure that all employees — including our own hourly staff and those employed by Aramark in our food services, cleaning and maintenance teams — continue to receive a paycheck during these challenging times for them and their families.
We will continue to update employees as we work through the logistical challenges we anticipate such as using Time Clock Plus or any other systems you may need to access.
- All campus facilities will be off-limits to students as of 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17. This will include the library, tutoring spaces, recreation facilities, labs and classrooms, and campus dining facilities. (NOTE: Students who have secured approval from Residence Life to remain in the residences will continue to have access to Alfonso Dining Hall for their meals.)
- Any student needing to come to campus to take care of a critical and essential need may email COVID19firstname.lastname@example.org to request approval to do so. If approved, the student will need to set up an appointment time to come to campus. Campus Safety officers will not allow students on campus after Tuesday evening without prior notice of either an approved appointment to visit campus or an approved application to remain in campus housing.
- Students are strongly encouraged to be in regular contact with their professors and advisors at this time. Students should monitor their CBU email closely and respond promptly to any requests from faculty as the University transitions to remote learning. Students are also asked to check their contact information on Canvas to ensure that it is both complete and accurate. Such data is needed so that faculty can communicate with students about course assignments.
- The University will continue to monitor the needs of faculty and staff to support remote teaching and other critical University business. All faculty and staff who need continued access to their offices or other campus facilities should notify their deans and supervisors immediately to request provisional access to such spaces.
- Only those staff members whose names have been provided to Human Resources by their supervisors will be allowed on campus during this remote operations period. All other staff needing access to campus during this period of remote work must email COVID19email@example.com or their immediate supervisor to set up an appointment. Human Resources will be responsible for evaluating those requests and notifying Campus Safety in advance of those appointments.
- All on-campus, CBU @ Crosstown, and CBU-sponsored off-campus events are cancelled through Sunday, April 19. If you have a question about any events scheduled after this date, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Faculty, staff and students will not be able to hold meetings on campus during this time of remote work and learning. You are encouraged to hold virtual meetings using the CBU WebEx system. Instructions for conducting such virtual meetings can be found at www.cbu.edu/rapid-response or through this direct link (NOTE: All CBU employees have access to this online training in Canvas but you must sign-in using your CBU credentials.)
- At this time, the on-campus mail room will continue to be open and operational for those personnel remaining on-campus. All mail and packages delivered to the on-campus mail room will be held for faculty, staff and students until the campus resumes normal operations, as has been our practice during other past campus or holiday breaks. Anyone who is expecting an essential package delivery can email COVID19email@example.com to set up an appointment time to pick up your package.
The “Open Enrollment” benefits period for University employees will be postponed at this time. We are working to provide online options for informational meetings and benefits registration. Human Resources will keep you informed as those plans are solidified.
Our SACSCOC spring reaffirmation visit will also be postponed at this time. We will provide information on when the visit will be rescheduled as it becomes available.
At this time, we are continuing to plan to return to in-person classes following the scheduled Easter holiday break. Should the need arise to modify that plan, we will notify you as soon as possible. Likewise, we are monitoring Commencement plans closely and will keep you informed of any changes related to our graduation ceremonies.
I am confident that, out of this remarkably challenging time, there will emerge a stronger, more responsive, more nimble, and more innovative Christian Brothers University.
Nearly 150 years ago we were born from the ashes of adversity as members of the De La Salle Christian Brothers came to Memphis following the Great Chicago Fire. Although the local clergy and local leaders had been working diligently for some years to establish Catholic education in our city, they were not able to do so until the unfortunate destruction of the Brothers’ Academy in Chicago left a number of Christian Brothers available for these duties in 1871. Even before that, our mission began 300 years ago in a time of great poverty and war in France in the late 1600s. Several centuries later, Lasallian education continues to be a strong and positive presence for good around the globe, and I take comfort in knowing that we will continue to respond to challenges with hope for the future, a commitment to quality education for all, and a spirit of care for one another.
Our Christian Brothers University community is committed to supporting and encouraging each other during this unprecedented time. We will continue to provide the latest updates at www.cbu.edu/coronavirus and through your CBU email accounts. If you should have any questions or concerns at this time, please reach out to us through COVID19firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will respond to you in a timely manner.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support and may we, as a Lasallian community, find reassurance and resiliency in the guidance provided by our Founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle: “God’s compassion for you is greater than the troubles you have.”
President of Christian Brothers University