Letters to the UMB Community

An Update on Episodic Telework

April 9, 2020

Dear Colleagues:

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that most of us couldn't have imagined only a few months ago. I commend you for the professional and rapid manner in which each of you has adjusted to the swift changes at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), and I am pleased to see so many of you actively working to adapt our University to the demands of the new work environment.

Experts - including those at UMB and our partner, the University of Maryland Medical System - are learning more about the medical characteristics of the novel coronavirus every day. As we have done throughout the COVID-19 situation, we will continue to re-evaluate our University operations as new information becomes available.

Currently, the medical outlook indicates that UMB should be prepared for an extended period of episodic telework. Thus, at this time, we cannot provide a specific date for when episodic telework will end. In fact, I urge you to be prepared for all scenarios, which could include a period of telework lasting far longer than many believed would be necessary even a couple of weeks ago.

Furthermore, the move away from episodic telework might not happen as quickly as the move to episodic telework did, and that transition to return to campus could take many forms. For example, we may be working under a modified return-to-campus policy for an extended period even after the full-time episodic telework period has ended. In sum, we should not expect to "return to normal" anytime soon.

I know many of you still have questions about timing and planning, and I can provide two assurances. First, I will update you again regarding episodic telework no later than June 1. Second, when we are ready to end episodic telework for the broad UMB workforce, I will announce that change at least two weeks in advance of its effective date.

In these uncertain times, I ask you to be good stewards of the University's resources and to commit to productivity standards that provide forward momentum. Please have frank discussions with your team and supervisor about how you can advance your work objectives during this extended telework period. Our ultimate goal, as always, is to produce quality outcomes that improve the human condition.

Thank you for all that you do on behalf of UMB.

Sincerely,

Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS
Interim President


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