Coronavirus Updates

Coronavirus Updates

Telecommuting Information

March 23, 2020

Escalating our Telecommuting Plan

All employees are required to work from home except for a very limited group identified as critical and essential to maintaining campus operations. These include designated employees within facilities, public safety and a limited number of other campus operational units. Supervisors have contacted employees within these designated groups regarding work schedules. All other employees should refer to the messages sent last week to staff and faculty containing detailed information on telecommuting.

As of Monday, March 23, UTSA is transitioning to a primarily remote telecommuting workforce, shifting the majority of our staff and faculty from their current on-campus workplaces to temporarily working from home. This period of remote work will tentatively continue through the end of the spring semester, mirroring our move to online course instruction.

The decision to shift to telecommuting was made in alignment with local, state and federal coronavirus guidelines. UTSA is taking this step to help safeguard the health and safety of our campus community and to ensure the continued functioning of critical operations at the university.

Telecommuting Plan for Staff

Telecommuting is being implemented in phases, with a core group of individuals moving to remote work starting on Thursday, March 19. These individuals will be ready and in place to provide vital support services to the remainder of the workforce when telecommuting fully launches, including support for technology, purchasing, Human Resources and more. If you are part of this group, your supervisor will notify you.

All other employees who are eligible to telecommute are anticipated to begin working from home on Monday, March 23.

Division leaders determined which job functions can be performed remotely and which functions must occur on campus. Supervisors are working with employees to:

  • Provide information on employees’ ability to work remotely, based on the assigned functions of their position and the business needs of their department.
  • Complete the new Telecommuting Agreement prior to beginning work off campus. The need to complete this telecommuting agreement applies to all staff and student employees working remotely.
  • Work with employees to provide necessary tools.
  • Notify employees of the date you they are approved to take your equipment home and begin telecommuting.

Through the planning process, division leaders identified employees who perform job functions that must occur on campus, limiting their ability to telecommute. Supervisors will notify employees if they fall into this category.

Telecommuting Plan for Faculty

Remote telecommuting applies to all faculty, including faculty with administrative responsibilities - department chairs and college deans.

Faculty, by and large, already regularly work remotely at locations away from the UTSA campus, including at their home, in order to fulfill at least some of their duties. Many faculty have already transitioned to working remotely while they prepare to teach from home. Because this period of remote telecommuting is unusual in its persistence and protracted nature, all faculty members will need to complete a Telecommuting Agreement. A separate Telecommuting Agreement for faculty will be used reflecting this difference. As always, thank you for your flexibility as we respond to our ever-changing landscape.

Preparing for Virtual Work

All employees are encouraged to begin using the available resources to support working remotely.

As employees begin the transition to telecommuting, we understand that services may be impacted as you set up your home office and begin adapting to working from home. Responses may be delayed and tasks may take longer to complete. Staff and faculty should discuss any concerns with their supervisor or department chair.

Online Resources

Tips for staying physically and emotionally healthy while working from home

  • Maintain regular hours.
  • Create a morning routine and a plan for your day.
  • Set ground rules with the people in your space.
  • Schedule breaks.
  • Pick a spot in your home where you will work and make it free of distractions.
  • Move throughout the day. Take stretch breaks, walk, or do an online exercise video.
  • Stay connected often with your colleagues through Microsoft Teams, email, phone, WebEx, and instant messaging.
  • Eat healthy snacks. Find ideas at the American Heart Association.
  • At the end of the day, put your work away as a signal that it’s time to rest and recover from the day’s work.
  • Contact the Employee Assistance Program, Deer Oaks, for helpful information and 24/7 counseling services for you and your family to manage stress and adapt to change. Alternately, call 1-866-327-2400.
  • Check out the Wellness Resource Guide from the Rowdy New U program at UTSA about working from home and social distancing.

Tips for students learning from home

  • Dedicate a space for your studies – away from noisy or distracting areas. Your physical environment can be key to your success!
  • Take care of yourself physically – staring at a computer screen all day can be unhealthy. Get up, walk around, limit your time online and make sure that your study area is conducive to your health (proper chair, desk, lighting, etc.)
  • Don’t procrastinate – this causes unnecessary stress and anxiety in an already stressful environment around CoVID19. Start ahead and stay ahead in case something comes up unexpectedly.
  • Remember, reaching out via email or phone takes a bit of extra effort vs. stopping by your professor’s desk after a class. So plan ahead!

Upcoming Town Halls

Tuesday, April 7 | 2-3 p.m.
Dealing with Distractions in the Home Work Environment

Wednesday, April 8 | 2-3 p.m.
Wellbeing in the Midst of a Pandemic

Thursday, April 9 | 2-3 p.m.
Staying Healthy

More information coming soon!

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