July 6: Transitioning Back to Campus for Fall

Dear MSU Community, 

We wanted to send a note to personally thank each of you for your hard work and dedication over the last 16 months. We have all experienced immense challenges throughout the pandemic, and yet we have been expected to go about our lives as normally as possible. This has included working from home or in workspaces decidedly different than usual, feeling isolated by being unable to see family and friends, missing many of the activities we enjoy, and managing caregiving and other additional duties.  

As we prepare for the upcoming year, we have an opportunity to come together with a renewed focus on strengthening our campus culture and building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community for all. This transition may be particularly challenging as we also continue to navigate through pressing needs brought about by the budget impacts, difficulty in hiring part-time positions, and reacclimating thousands of students and employees. 

Some of you have expressed concerns about returning onsite and not knowing what to expect. We urge you to visit Coronavirus: Information & Resources – Work-Related FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) for the most updated information. It may take time to feel comfortable as the requirements for most MSU employees regarding face coverings, distancing, COVID-19 Return to Work Framework, daily health screening, and EHS training have been lifted. Your concerns are valid and should be shared with your supervisor. Supervisors, please be flexible with your team members who express these concerns and consider unique ways to help ease this transition while continuing to support your team and the University. While resources are available that may provide additional support, such as the WorkLife Office and the Employee Assistance Program, open lines of communication, building trust, and empathy will be critical.  

In consideration of the updated MIOSHA guidelines that no longer require return to work training or framework, we still encourage supervisors to keep these resources top of mind when planning the return to on-site work for your employees. These resources include important steps like coordinating with IPF and IT, inspecting spaces, and maintaining heightened cleanliness.

Additionally, it is essential to note that many in our Spartan community will make personal decisions about their health, safety, and comfort as they re-engage with work and society, including choosing to wear a face-covering (even if vaccinated) or continue to distance themselves physically. Each of us has a responsibility to respect one another and our personal decisions during this time. Mutual respect will equip us for success, and everyone must respect these personal decisions during this time. Refusing to do so will not be tolerated.

Finally, as summer gets in full swing, we encourage you to take time for yourself—work with your supervisor to schedule time away. Supervisors, please be flexible with your teams in planning this time and be sure to do the same for yourself. We want to rest and recharge to be at our best, ensuring our campus community is welcome and ready when students arrive. MSU has always been a home away from home, and our presence is needed to support student learning. Thank you for making this community one in which thousands of students and employees are proud to call their own.

Go Green!

Sharon E. Butler, Associate Vice President for MSU Human Resources

N. Suzanne Lang, PhD, Interim Associate Provost and Associate Vice President for Academic Human Resources