April 15: Remote workplace rules extended

Colleagues,

As you might have heard, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) recently extended its emergency rules regarding COVID-19 an additional six months to Oct. 14. Among other things, the emergency rules continue to prohibit in-person work to the extent that an employee’s work activities can feasibly be completed remotely.

We know this recent announcement will raise questions, so we wanted to reach out to you directly to share what we know right now and what we are working toward.

It is important that employees currently working remotely continue doing so under direction from their supervisors and state orders until specific guidance is provided regarding a return to campus.

This extension does not necessarily prohibit in-person work for all campus positions for six more months. The state announced it would continue working with businesses and public health experts to provide guidance on how organizations can safely stay open. In extending the emergency rules, the state also announced that the rules could be modified or withdrawn at any time in response to changes in COVID-19 spread.

We continue working through what our campus protocols will look like to ensure we are fully prepared for the safe return of some of our faculty and staff to campus in time for the fall semester.

We’ve learned through the pandemic that the campus experience is a key component of students’ success at MSU, and we must keep an eye on how we can best support our students once they are back to campus in larger numbers this fall. I am confident we can do that with safety protocols in place that also protect our employees. Further, the vaccine rollout also will affect employees returning to campus positions and creating safer working environments.

All of this is encouraging news for many. We expect that routine mitigation testing and other public health policies will continue at some level in the fall, and all of us will need to adhere to these policies and engage in the actions and behaviors that help keep us safe and healthy. The university will continue to make important decisions based on all current science and data about the pandemic and in coordination with our partners at the state and local levels.

We will continue to keep you updated. Please refer to the HR website for helpful resources and continue to check the Together We Will site for the latest information regarding the university’s response to the coronavirus. More information on workplace guidelines will be shared in the coming months.

I want to close by acknowledging the accommodations you have made in the last year to help MSU keep our campus community safe while maintaining our vital academic programs, research activities, outreach efforts and operations. Your flexibility and dedication over this extended period have been extraordinary and are a credit to you and this university. Thank you so very much.

Sincerely,

Melissa Woo
Executive Vice President for Administration & Chief Information Officer
President, Michigan State University Foundation