NSHE Chancellor Thom Reilly Issues Updated Guidance on COVID-19 – Working Remotely

To:  NSHE Presidents

From:  Thom Reilly, Chancellor

Date:  March 16, 2020

Re:  Memorandum Guidance on COVID-19 – NSHE System Working Remotely

As we continue to ensure that our campuses and NSHE System Administration are following the recommendations of health officials regarding the best practices to maintain the ongoing health and well-being of all students, faculty, and employees within the NSHE community, I am writing this memorandum to provide an update and guidance on system-wide responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

NSHE System Wide Transition to Working Remotely

This is a dynamic and evolving situation with new information being provided daily and our focus is to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. At the direction of the Governor for all state employees, until further notice all non-essential NSHE employees system-wide who are able to perform the core responsibilities of their jobs remotely will temporarily transition to working remotely no later than Wednesday March 18, 2020.  Employees who cannot work remotely but are considered nonessential should be placed on paid administrative leave. Each president has the authority to make these determinations for his or her institution.

All campuses and NSHE Administration should follow these guidelines:

  • NSHE campuses will continue to provide limited in-person services to students, faculty and contractors; however, the bulk of our services should be offered remotely.
  • Student support services, including dormitories, dining halls, and health centers shall remain open to students. As we are trying to limit social interaction, students with the ability to live off campus should do so. However, no student in need shall be deprived services, including dormitories.
  • One senior administrator shall continue to be physically present, on a rotating basis, on campus or administrative office.
  • Presidents retain the discretion to cancel any event at their institutions to promote the practice of social distancing and are advised to do so where appropriate.
  • Faculty will continue to have access to research facilities and equipment for essential maintenance (e.g. caring for laboratory animals).
  • Employees working remotely are expected to be responsive to work-related communications and to be working during normal business hours.
  • Employees shall continue to receive their regular pay and benefits in the normal course during this temporary schedule.
  • Employees who need to use leave, e., sick or annual, shall make the request and continue to do so through the normal Workday process.
  • Employees who need specific accommodations or resources to work remotely from home should discuss them with his or her supervisor.
  • The Governor has ordered a statewide hiring freeze. Any hiring exception must have Presidential and Chancellor approval.

Vulnerable NSHE Employees

NSHE employees who consider themselves members of the defined vulnerable population for COVID-19 as set forth by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines are advised to consult with their supervisors and human resource department on available work accommodations.

Ongoing Communication

NSHE System Administration will continue working collaboratively with the Office of Governor Sisolak and all county, state, and federal health officials regarding COVID-19.  The health and well-being of Nevada’s public higher education community continues to be our utmost priority in this developing situation.

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and are encouraging everyone to continue following the guidelines and advisories issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and state authorities.