VP for Human Resources’ Message to Staff Regarding the Spring 2021 Semester

Jan. 28, 2021

On January 28, Vice President for Human Resources Lianne Sullivan-Crowley emailed all staff members with the following update about the spring 2021 semester.
 

As I write, undergraduates are returning to campus and an arrival quarantine, filling spaces that have been empty for almost a year and reinvigorating the life of our University community. This is a major step on the long road to normalcy, and it could not have been accomplished without your resourcefulness, solidarity, and fortitude. Ensuring that our faculty and students can carry out their work as safely and productively as possible in the midst of a pandemic is no small feat, and I am deeply grateful for all you have done to lay the groundwork for the semester that begins on February 1.

While we have much to celebrate, it is important to recognize that this semester will, in many ways, be very different from others. Most instruction will continue to take place online, undergraduates must abide by a rigorous social contract designed to safeguard themselves and others, and all who work at Princeton, whether on campus or from home, must remain vigilant.

Working on Campus

As the coronavirus continues to spread and mutate and as the number of people on campus grows, we must redouble our commitment to the required social distancing, mask wearing, and frequent testing (for those on campus regularly), among other health and safety protocols.

As a reminder, any staff who find it necessary to come to campus, however briefly, must complete mandatory online COVID-19 General Awareness Training, as well as the state-mandated Daily Symptom Check. Failure to adhere to these requirements is considered serious, given our individual and collective responsibility to look out for everyone’s well-being. Before visiting campus, staff must also obtain permission from their respective supervisors, who are required, in turn, to obtain the approval of their cabinet officer or academic chair or director, and, where appropriate, be included in their department’s resumption of operations plan for the spring.

Working off Campus

With more students on campus for the spring semester, we anticipate that more staff will be required to be on campus, either now or as the semester progresses, to perform either all or part of their duties. Please check with your supervisor to determine if your position requires an on-campus presence. Unless directed or allowed otherwise by your supervisor, staff who can perform their duties off campus should continue to do so until further notice.

It is challenging to operate under the constraints imposed on us by the pandemic—daily reminders of the freedom we have lost and the risks of letting down our guard. So please make time to tend to your physical and mental health and take advantage of University resources designed to support you in this task. Above all, do not lose heart. The past year has been marked by hardship, loss, and division, but it has also witnessed courage, compassion, and innovation. We are particularly fortunate to be able to tap the biomedical expertise of our University community and to have established a COVID-19 testing laboratory to handle the testing protocols for the increasing number of students, faculty, and staff on campus.

What You Should Know about the COVID-19 Vaccine

As part of New Jersey’s COVID-19 vaccination effort, the University plans to host clinics to administer the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to staff, faculty, actively enrolled undergraduate students, graduate students, and retirees. Also eligible for vaccines at the campus clinics will be immediate household members of staff, faculty, graduate students, and retirees. New Jersey is taking a phased approach to vaccine distribution, beginning with healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities, as well as emergency responders such as police and firefighters. The University is working closely with local public health officials to ensure that staff in these categories are vaccinated.

Additional information will be forthcoming as the state activates its plans. For now, the University does not have a vaccine supply, and it is unclear when it will. We therefore strongly encourage you to obtain a vaccination elsewhere without delay if you are eligible to do so and, where possible, to pre-register with your state or local government. Please note that any adult who lives, works, or is being educated in New Jersey can pre-register for the vaccine through the state’s vaccine scheduling system. Questions specific to vaccines may be directed to covidvaccines@princeton.edu, though we caution that there is limited additional information available at this time.

Staying Informed

The University will continue to keep you informed of critical developments in its response to the pandemic. I invite you to take part in President Eisgruber’s virtual state of the University town hall on February 24 (details to follow) and to visit Princeton’s COVID Resources webpage and HR’s COVID-19 Information & Resources for Staff and Spring 2021 Campus and Workplace Operations webpages. Questions may also be directed to the COVID Connector Hotline, your supervisor, or your senior HR manager.

Thank you again for helping to make the spring semester a safe and rewarding one for all!