Recap of Initial Task Force Work

The initial work of the task force has been completed. The task force has broadly reached out to members of the campus community and asked them to identify the values that should guide our work. Below are details of the community’s input on the task force’s charges.

  1. Establishing a set of guiding principles for determining when and how to return to on-premises activities safely
    1. Actions must be inclusive, equitable and responsive to all members of the MSU community.
    2. Maintain appropriate capacity among staff, faculty and students to function effectively based on new expectations in and outside the classroom and workplace.
    3. Availability/ability to protect individuals commensurate with what is being asked of them (based on CDC guidelines for personal protective equipment, social distancing, decontamination, etc.).
    4. Remain consistent with the executive orders and guidance from county, state and federal government.
    5. Acknowledge and consider the ways intersectionality impacts how students/employees seek out services and support.
    6. Address food, housing, health and technology inequities and insecurities, while respecting existing policies that govern faculty, staff and student rights and responsibilities.
    7. Recognize there are barriers to providing input and giving guidance, mandating multiple mechanisms for communicating.
    8. Meet the emotional and physical health needs of those serving and being served.
    9. Embrace specific and unique college, professional and unit requirements while making it a priority to sustain MSU’s mission across the university.
    10. Embrace shared decision making by ensuring we value partnership and avoid “we-they” thinking, which can be divisive.
    11. Provide clarity about decisions being made and timelines.

  2. Establishing criteria that will be monitored to determine the ability of the university to safely return to some or all on-premises activities safely
    1. COVID-19 likely will be a reality in the local and regional community for some time, and MSU’s goal should be to protect those most at risk and to minimize the risk of transmission as much as reasonably possible while allowing some normal activities to be conducted.
    2. The task force will look at many factors when making decisions, including but not limited to virus incidence on campus and in Ingham County and the state, infection trends, availability of PPE and testing mechanisms, and the capacity of both on- and off-campus health care systems.
    3. MSU will use disaggregated demographic data to monitor access and success of students and employees acclimating to campus reopening strategies.
    4. MSU will identify when students, faculty and staff are returning from higher-risk areas if that remains relevant to triage or treatment.
    5. MSU will monitor improvements in disease detection and treatment in order to modify policies and procedures.
    6. MSU will continue to monitor and respond to incidents of bias, discrimination and relationship violence and sexual misconduct to ensure the community remains protected during reopening.
    7. MSU will monitor other businesses’ return-to-work status, recognizing that these decisions impact faculty, students and staff.

  3. Establishing guidelines and protocols via subcommittees for units to follow as on-premises activities return
    1. MSU should mitigate risk regarding COVID-19. We recognize that risk will never be zero but as a community, we should manage risk.
    2. MSU may limit the opening of some on-campus facilities recognizing that some functions or services can be meaningfully accomplished offsite or remotely.
    3. Promote maximum compliance with safety practices.
    4. Develop a common approach to cleaning and disinfection.
    5. Apply universal guidelines for social distancing and gatherings in a given space on campus.
    6. Create a common approach to physical access control.
    7. Develop a phasing of return that recognizes the ability to social distance varies across functions, locations and groups of people.
    8. Develop a common understanding of proactive efforts by units to provide appropriate accommodation for students and employees based on health needs.
    9. Develop a standard list of required tasks by returning students and employees for a safe transition to campus.
    10. Put in place common training so individuals understand expectations for safe work.
    11. Create communication strategies that incorporate the principles articulated above, namely being transparent, trusting, safe, caring, accountable and trauma-informed.
    12. Empower everyone to be engaged in a community that is inclusive and equitable.
    13. Create a common approach for individuals to anonymously provide feedback and raise concerns.
    14. Provide reflective spaces for acknowledgement of losses people have incurred.
    15. Implement an approach to surveillance and reporting of virus cases.
    16. Consider contact tracing while being mindful of privacy.
    17. Establish a method for monitoring and assessing the effectiveness of the return-to-work strategy so adjustments can be made.
    18. Acknowledge and respect the role of the unions to represent their constituencies.

  4. Identify what decisions will apply university-wide
    1. Rigor of protections should be a university decision; units may raise goal to a higher rigor if warranted and approved.
    2. Communicate to parents and students so they understand why MSU thinks it is safe to be on campus and what behaviors are expected of them.
    3. Develop policies for various forms of emergency leave arrangements and remote working.
    4. Develop procedures for occupancy, cleaning and disinfecting of spaces such as bathrooms, break areas and cafeterias.
    5. Create timelines for openings facilities and services.
    6. Implement consistent requirements regarding the need for requesting accommodation from the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities.
    7. Provide mechanisms that ensure individuals understand their rights and expectations, and multiple communication mechanisms for providing feedback and raising concerns.

  5. Clarify what decisions can be made by individuals and individual units
    1. Respond to fiscal challenges in the context of the mission of the unit.
    2. Pedagogy and delivery methods.
    3. Explore and define potential combining of functions within and across units.
    4. Address the needs of vulnerable faculty and staff and student populations using university guidance.
    5. Use university guidance to determine when to bring staff back onto campus who are able to perform duties remotely. Some individuals can remotely work from home, some cannot.
    6. Budget decisions tied to COVID-19 response. Decisions have to be made in tandem as to where cuts will be made and how they will affect reopening the campus.
    7. Colleges that have natural connections should consider breakout groups that address similar issues.