Coronavirus Updates: The latest information on UTSA's response
Thursday, April 2, 2020

UTSA outlines plans for faculty for telecommuting and virtual instruction

UTSA outlines plans for faculty for telecommuting and virtual instruction

MARCH 19, 2020Editor’s note: The following message was sent via email today from Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Kimberly Andrews Espy and Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President for Business Affairs Veronica Salazar Mendez to all faculty: 

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we respond to the rapidly evolving situation around the coronavirus pandemic. In the last week we have experienced many challenges that have impacted our daily operations. I am writing today to provide you with important information about the days and weeks to come. 

Beginning Monday, March 23, we will transition to a primarily remote telecommuting workforce, shifting the majority of our faculty and staff from their current on-campus workplaces to temporarily working remotely 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. We are 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 

We know that many of you have already transitioned to working remotely while you prepare to teach from home starting next week. 

For your awareness, staff will begin telecommuting in phases, with a core group of individuals who have begun remote work starting today. These individuals will be ready and in place to provide vital support services to the remainder of the workforce when telecommuting fully launches next week, including support for instructional and information technology, purchasing, Human Resources and more. 

All other employees who are eligible to telecommute are anticipated to begin working from home on Monday. Remote telecommuting applies to all faculty, including faculty with administrative responsibilities: department chairs and college deans. 

University staff who will be working remotely will complete a Telecommuting Agreement prior to beginning to work off campus. Student employees working remotely also will be required to complete the same agreement. 

We recognize that 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. 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. 

Please note that this plan aligns with our current situation here in San Antonio. Should a more restrictive “shelter in place” directive come from our city or state, we will adapt this plan accordingly. 

Preparing for Virtual Work 

Starting today, we encourage everyone to begin using the available resources to support working remotely. Virtual job-related trainings are available, in addition to a wide range of tools and resources that make it easy to stay connected, meet and share documents. For those who need access to internet service at home, several companies are offering temporary free internet

Before the end of the week, please bring UTSA-owned laptops and tablets to campus, plug them in and make sure they are logged into the network to initiate the process of downloading and installing important updates. Be sure to register your mobile device with Duo multifactor authentication. More information is available in the recent technology announcement

As we 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. We ask everyone to be patient during this time. If you have concerns about completing your tasks and maintaining a certain level of service over the next few days, have a conversation with your supervisor. 

We want to thank you for your hard work as we navigate these challenges. With the changes taking place, you may have other questions. Your department chair or dean are, of course, your first source of information. If your question or concern remains unanswered, please feel free to email provost@utsa.edu

There was quite a bit of information in the Faculty Town Hall on Wednesday. You can watch the recorded video here if you missed it. You are also welcome to join the virtual Staff Town Hall, which will take place at noon Friday. 

As always, please continue to refer to the coronavirus website for current information.



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