As West Virginia University prepares to welcome back students, faculty and staff to campus for the fall 2021 semester, the University has developed plans and guidelines for employees to ensure continued adaptation of new ways of working and operating in as safe a manner as possible.
Telecommuting Agreements for Remote and Hybrid Employees
To prepare to reconfigure the workspace within many campus buildings and introduce new programs, policies and services for remote or hybrid employees, supervisors were asked to confirm or update the long-term work arrangements for their direct reports in the Applaud HR system prior to May 31. These arrangements include:
- Remote Work Schedule – Employees will work remotely at all times. However, these employees occasionally may be on-site for a meeting or to attend a University function or event. A remote worker typically will not maintain a designated physical office or cubicle space on campus.
- Hybrid Work Schedule – Employees will work on-site for a specified number of days each week on a regular schedule. The scheduled days the employee works on-site may vary from week to week.
- On-site Work Schedule – Employees will work on-site at a WVU campus or location in a dedicated workspace on a regular schedule.
The information captured in Applaud was used to prepare Telecommuting Agreements for employees who will continue working in a remote or hybrid capacity.
The University will begin rolling out these updated agreements on June 14.
WVU staff employees who will continue working in either a remote or hybrid capacity on or after July 1 will receive an email from Employee Relations with instructions to complete their Telecommuting Agreement in the Blue system — the same platform used to manage the annual performance review process for staff.
If they have not already done so, remote and hybrid employees should meet with their supervisor to discuss specific details related to their schedule prior to completing their agreement.
Once employees have signed and submitted their Telecommuting Agreement, it will be routed to their first- and second-level supervisors for final approval. Employees will be able to view/print their final agreement within the Blue system after all signatures are received.
All remote or hybrid employees must complete their Telecommuting Agreement by June 23. Supervisors must approve agreements for their direct reports no later than July 2.
Telecommuting Agreements will be effective July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022 (or at such time that there are changes to an employee’s job status or position that may require a different work arrangement).
Based on the number of staff employees who will be working in a remote or hybrid capacity, the University will be working throughout the coming weeks and months to reconfigure workspaces within many campus buildings. Planning is underway and additional details will be shared later this summer.
Elements of reconfigured workspaces will include “hotel space” for remote and hybrid employees, which can be reserved in advance, and conference rooms with enhanced video capabilities and docking configurations.
Employee Programs and Discounts
The University is unable to provide a stipend towards home internet costs for remote and hybrid employees. And while WVU has explored potential reduced rates from local internet service providers for faculty and staff, discounts for employees are not available at this time due to limited competition among providers in most cities.
The University also has looked at potential discounts from cellular providers. U.S. Cellular offers 25% off current and future rate plans for WVU employees. AT&T Wireless offers a discount of up to $10 per line (four lines minimum) depending on the plan selected.
Further, Staples offers a 20-25% discount on office equipment and furniture to WVU employees.
These discounts — along with several other local and national deals — are available to all WVU benefits-eligible faculty and staff, WVU Research Corp. employees and WVU Retirees Association members via the WVU Perks employee discount program.
Campus Health and Safety
WVU has lessened some restrictions around mask wearing and out-of-state travel for people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and verified their vaccinations with the University.
Guidance for Campus Visitors
Visitors whose physical presence is required on campus to perform certain services must follow current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidance as well as federal, state and local guidelines. Compliance by visitors with WVU’s health and safety measures also will be required.
All visits to campus must continue to be coordinated with the appropriate WVU host with as much advance notice as possible. The host will be responsible for sending the Visitors and Contractors Self-Screening Checklist and asking the visitors to complete the checklist prior to the visit.
All initial job candidate screenings should continue to occur via telephone or video conference (e.g., Zoom or Microsoft Teams). In-person interviews should be limited to final candidate pools and follow WVU’s current health and safety guidelines.
For the remainder of summer, all non-essential visits by suppliers, contractors and vendors to WVU’s campus will continue to be discouraged. Discussions or interviews for bid proposals should be conducted via telephone or video conference and follow procedures outlined by Procurement Contracting and Payment Services.
Contractors and construction workers engaged in new construction, renovation and capital improvement projects who have been approved to continue to work on-site must complete the Visitors and Contractors Self-Screening Checklist and follow WVU’s current health and safety guidelines. Contractors and construction workers also should follow the Guidance for the Construction Workforce and other federal, state and local guidelines.
Get Your COVID-19 Vaccine
WVU’s goal remains to ultimately reach an 80% vaccination rate for the University community, which includes students, faculty and staff. If those targeted milestones of increased vaccination rates are reached, the University will be able to relax certain restrictions and allow specified activities to resume.
Vaccine clinics are available at WVU’s Morgantown campus, as well as in the community. The Beckley and Keyser campuses no longer are operating vaccine clinics.
Students, faculty and staff who have yet to be vaccinated should visit the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources website or vaccines.gov to find local options.
At this time, WVU is not requiring vaccination, but it is strongly recommended. As the Emergency Use Authorizations are lifted by the Food and Drug Administration, the University may consider requiring COVID-19 vaccines for those who are not medically exempted.
Vaccine Verification System
All students and employees who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 must verify their vaccination with the University in the COVID-19 Vaccine Verification System by Aug. 1. Those who do not complete the verification process will be considered unvaccinated this fall.
Employees and students should access to the Vaccine Verification System and complete the acknowledgment form via StarRez (WVU’s housing portal): myhousing.wvu.edu. View full instructions on the Return to Campus website. The current vaccination rate of the campus community also is available on the site and is updated every Tuesday.
Stay tuned to enews.wvu.edu and MOUNTAINEER E-News — as well asstudents.wvu.edu and Unews — for additional updates about the fall semester, which will be shared throughout the coming weeks.
In the meantime, visit the Return to Campus website for the latest information, including COVID-19 dashboards.