By TODD GOTTULA

UNK Communications

KEARNEY – The University of Nebraska at Kearney is taking an additional step to ensure the health of employees and students by asking faculty and staff to work remotely.

Remote work will begin Monday (March 23) and continue until further notice. It also applies to student workers.

While the university remains open, UNK expects managers to develop and implement telework plans for employees, allowing the university to maintain operations while increasing social distancing during the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

When possible, employees are expected to work remotely. They will be allowed to work on campus if needed for vital university operations.

"This measure ensures an extra level of protection for our campus community, while also allowing us to maintain critical university operations," said Chancellor Doug Kristensen. "Some employees need to remain on campus in jobs that cannot be performed at home or that provide services to students.

"This decision helps reduce the campus population, facilitates workplace social distancing and protects the health of employees who can't work from home."

Employees are allowed to take equipment with them that is needed to work successfully from a remote location. As a reminder, they should also forward their work phones to their home or cell phones.

UNK, which has 750 full-time and 1,291 part-time employees, may ask some to return to campus to work if in the best interest of the university.

"Supervisors, working with system or campus leadership, will determine which jobs can be performed remotely and which require a presence on campus," said University of Nebraska President Ted Carter. "This will not be an individual decision, as employee work arrangements are subject to supervisor approval.

"I want to reiterate our goal is to maintain the continuity of our work while also protecting the health and safety of our faculty, and students, along with the community around us."

Managers will work with their staffs to establish flexible work schedules, conduct meetings using remote technology and maintain workflows. In-person meetings should be limited to those that are mission critical and attended by 10 or fewer people.

"Many university functions can be carried out effectively with little disruption to our operations," Kristensen said. "We are asking those who have the ability to work remotely to do so."

Academic operations at UNK transitioned fully to remote learning Wednesday. Students are scheduled for spring break March 23-29.  Residence halls, campus dining, and student services will continue operating. 

Faculty will continue to work as they are able, making coursework available online, virtual-access, real time or recorded, using an array of remote-delivery tools and resources.

All UNK-sponsored events, both on and off campus, that involve more than 10 people have also been postponed or canceled.

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