Members of the campus community,
First, thank you all for the spirit and flexibility you have shown during this time of great concern, rapid change and continuing uncertainty. Even in this time of social distancing and working remotely, we are seeing many examples of dedication, commitment and selfless behavior. That is the true Warrior spirit, and I am grateful.
Safety must remain our top priority, though, and we encourage everyone to attend to their health and the health of those around them by adhering to the many guidelines that help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
To that end, we continue to consider other proactive measures beyond those we have shared already, and we continue to publish these on our website. An important consideration right now is limiting the amount of people on campus in hopes of mitigating the risk of spreading the virus through personal interactions. Many people have already begun to work remotely, but we still believe there is opportunity to further limit the campus population. That said, it is important to remember that Wayne State is still open, and we continue the work that serves our academic mission.
In the midst of a crisis like the one we are now experiencing, with the speed of change and the necessity of adjustment, it is easy to lose perspective and focus only on the moment. I thought it would be helpful to remind us all of the bigger mission we serve. The core of what we do — teaching and learning — will continue, even if our method of delivery must change for now. We are here to serve our students, and each of us plays an important role in that endeavor.
I have asked our deans and members of my cabinet to work with their teams to identify people who are mission critical and must be on campus, and those who can continue their work at home. Beyond general guidelines, these decisions are best made at a local level, with input from the employees and supervisors who are closest to the work. The analyses and discussions that will inform these decisions are already taking place.
Some staff, due to the nature of their work and the availability of technology, can work from home. Other work cannot be done remotely. An example of this is housing and dining, which are required to serve some of our students, for whom the residence hall is their home. Although the libraries were closed by executive order from Governor Whitmer, we are working on an alternative plan to provide the technology that students need to continue their studies. This, too, will require people on campus to deliver these services. Research, another core mission of the university, also requires a different approach, and this will be discussed in subsequent communications. In all of these examples, services will be provided in a different manner, but they must continue if we are to carry out our academic mission.
Having some work from home while others must report to campus may seem unfair. I understand your feelings and share your concerns. We will do all we can to keep our work environment safe, including limiting the amount of personnel around you and instituting greater measures of cleaning and disinfecting. We ask for your understanding, and ask that you discuss any personal situations directly with your supervisor or your personal care provider. We do not wish anyone to take unnecessary risks.
Finally, more announcements are forthcoming, and we ask for your patience as we continue to adjust to this new world. This is a serious situation, but with all of us working together, supporting each other and serving our greater mission, we can make the best of this situation until it has passed. And, it will pass.
M. Roy Wilson