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Updated June 15, 2020

Academics

We are a residential college at heart, and it is our planning priority to open in the fall – with a commitment to the safety of all members of the community as well as an emphasis on quality education and the continued success of our students.

We are actively planning for fall contingencies.  Provost Mary Boyd has created an Academic Affairs Reopening Committee that begins its work today.  Dean Lindsey Taylor is working with many of you as she and her team plan a virtual SOAR. Our emergency planning team continues its work in looking at the various scenarios we could be facing this fall.

The senior survey regarding possible commencement dates showed a clear preference for an earlier date if possible (June or July) and an evening event rather than a morning event. We have selected a series of dates with that in mind. Area hotels have availability on these dates. Please understand, however, that we will not know for some time (perhaps late May at the earliest) when we will be able to hold an event for several thousand people. It is reasonable to assume that we will need to reach a point at which new COVID-19 cases or hospitalizations has receded to near zero, which suggests that a June date is doubtful. Our intention is to schedule a date as soon as it is safe to do so. Potential dates include: June 27, July 25, September 5, October 17, October 31 and November 7.

Berry will communicate essential messages through your Berry email account as well as through the Berry website. Please check your email on a regular basis so you do not miss critical communication and information. Faculty will use Berry email and/or Canvas to communicate about course work.

Campus Access

Beginning June 13-14, and for subsequent weekends (7 am - 7 pm, Saturday and Sunday), we will open the campus to visitors during the day for outdoor recreational purposes (hiking, biking, running, etc). Please plan ahead as campus buildings will not be open. For the health and safety of our community, the campus will remain closed to the public Monday-Friday. We will continue to monitor and provide updates as conditions warrant.

Photo sessions cannot be accommodated at this time.

The Berry campus is currently closed to everyone except essential employees of the college, including a small number of students who are approved to work in special areas. College officials will determine next steps by May 17.

At this time, most faculty and staff continue to work remotely, except for a limited number of employees who must be present to ensure the necessary operations of the college and to facilitate distance learning. For these employees, we are asking them to conduct their work separated from others.

Campus events are being rescheduled or cancelled. As appropriate and possible, speakers or lectures will be taped and made available.

The Southern Athletic Association has suspended all conference competition for the season. 

Effective 5 p.m. Friday, March 20, the Cage fitness facilities will be closed until further notice, based on recent guidance distributed by local health authorities and medical providers.

Routine access to Memorial Library’s print and DVD collections, as well as print interlibrary loan services, will be discontinued. Faculty with critical needs for materials in the print collection may email library@berry.edu to discuss options for access. All remote library services, including access to and acquisition of electronic resources, chat and online reference services, and interlibrary loan of articles will continue. Refer to the Library’s Remote Services Guide for details (https://libguides.berry.edu/remoteservices).

COVID-19

On June 5, a Berry employee received a positive test for the coronavirus. The employee was first alerted to symptoms through the screening process at the front gate.  The employee then alerted Human Resources, was tested, is following local health department protocols and is in self-isolation at home.  The director of human resources is in regular contact and the employee is doing well.  Our thoughts and prayers are for a quick and routine recovery.  Given the circumstances, the risk to the broader campus community is believed to be low.

If a Berry employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, that employee must inform the Human Resources office (Wayne Phipps). The college will then:

  • Notify local health officials for guidance and advice.
  • Instruct the employee to self-isolate.
  • Notify the campus of the confirmed case and restrict access to the area occupied by that employee until it is cleaned and thoroughly disinfected.
  • Contact people (as instructed) with whom the employee has had close contact and instruct them to self-quarantine.

If a family member residing with a Berry employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, that employee must inform the Human Resources office (Wayne Phipps). The college will then:

  • Notify local health officials for guidance and advice.
  • Instruct the employee to self-quarantine.
  • Restrict access to the area occupied by that employee until it is cleaned and thoroughly disinfected.
  • Contact people (as instructed) with whom that employee has had close contact.

If a Berry employee exhibits symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19, that person should call a health care provider and follow the instructions received. They should also contact the college’s Human Resources office (Wayne Phipps). The college will then:

  • Notify local health officials for guidance and advice.
  • Instruct the person to self-isolate.
  • Restrict access to the area occupied by that person until it is cleaned and thoroughly disinfected.
  • Contact people (as instructed) with whom that person has had close contact and recommend they self-quarantine.

If you are concerned about a faculty or staff member, please contact HR (Wayne Phipps or Cindy Marchant)

Faculty and Staff: Contact your primary care physician via telephone. We request that you self-isolate pending further instructions from medical professionals. Employees should contact their supervisor and HR (Wayne Phipps or Cindy Marchant) immediately and not return to work or campus until they have been cleared.

Suggested steps for risk assessment: 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use and alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Take your temperature twice a day and remain alert for fever, coughs, or difficulty breathing.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • If you develop a fever, cough, or have difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headaches, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea, call and speak with a medical professional before arriving at the health care facility.
  • For further guidance, see the CDC pageInterim US Guidance for Risk Assessment and Public Health Management of Persons with Potential COVID-19 Exposure in Travel-associated or Community Settings.

Financial & Wellness Resources

Berry employees have free access to Enrich, a financial wellness site that can be found on myapps.berry.edu. There is a great section of resources on financial topics entitled “Coronavirus and Your Financial Health” that employees are encouraged to review. That information can be found specifically at https://berry.enrich.org/landing/coronavirus-and-your-financial-health.

Berry employees who may need help with feelings of stress or anxiety during this unprecedented time are encouraged to utilize our Employee Assistance Program through Unum. Details about that program can be found at https://www.unum.com/employees/services/life-balance or by calling 800.854.1446.

The Georgia COVID-19 Emotional Support Line provides 24/7 free and confidential assistance to callers needing emotional support or resource information as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emotional Support Line is staffed by volunteers, including mental health professionals and others who have received training in crisis counseling. The phone number to call is 866.399.8938.

Anthem (formerly Blue Cross Blue Shield) continues to send information to those enrolled in our medical plan. One partnership they have announced that may be of benefit during this time is with Aunt Bertha, which provides help with food, housing, transportation and other social support. Employees can find services such as help with food, housing and transportation by visiting their website and entering your ZIP code at https://anthembcbs.auntbertha.com/.

LifeWorks

Until May 18th, we will continue our current practice of limiting student work to positions deemed critical, as has been happening since spring break. We will ask Gate Scholars to return to work on May 18th and allow others in a phased approach after that. Summer work requests should be sent to Debbie Heida at dheida@berry.edu by Thursday, April 30th.

Yes, please include summer research assistants in your requests for summer work. Please indicate if they are able to work remotely or will need summer housing.

Yes, but all work, including remote work, will need to be approved. When you make your summer work request, please indicate if the student will be working on campus or remotely.

Not necessarily. We anticipate a very different summer at Berry and some Gate Scholars may be assigned to positions for the summer (temporarily) based on the operational needs of the college. In many cases, Gates scholars who are reassigned for the summer will be able to return to their regular assignments for fall semester. We will work with LifeWorks supervisors to determine the most effective use of returning Gate Scholars this summer.

Yes, if they are working full-time or a combination of classes and work equivalent to full-time. We will also have summer dining plans available for those living on campus this summer.

The LifeWorks Office will e-mail instructions for creating new or updating previous summer jobs ASAP. We will first ask those supervisors with approved work positions (see above) to submit summer jobs for LifeWorks approval. When this process is complete, and summer campus-wide decisions have been made, all other supervisors will be able to submit jobs for approval.

You can submit hires for approved critical work positions starting May 11. You need to wait until this date so that the JobX/TimesheetX vendor, NextGen, can update hourly wages to the new rates for each level ($9.00 for Levels 1-2, $9.25 for Level 3, and $9.50 for Levels 4-5).

Yes, first year students will be placed into ‘good fit’ campus work positions, but using a process that will be modified from that used in previous years. Details about this process are being developed and will be shared as soon as they are ready.

No. Since SOAR will be held virtually this year, the timeline for making initial LifeWorks assignments for incoming students will be extended through July. All incoming students will be placed in campus work positions before the start of the fall term. The placement process is evolving but we will provide supervisors with other ways to connect with their new student workers.

You can submit your requirements now. Please complete the required survey form.

Yes. Starting in the fall, incoming students will be limited to 10 hours per week, returning students will normally be limited to 12 hours per week, and returning Gate Scholars will be limited to 16 hours per week. All departments should work on meeting their hours targets from the plans they submitted to their vice presidents this spring.

Yes, we will. Your suggestions and concerns through the renewal process enabled us to work with NextGen to request some enhanced features for the JobX/TimesheetX systems. The LifeWorks Office will develop training materials to teach supervisors how to use effectively the following new features / tools:

  • A new budget tracking feature that shows expenditures in your departments based on paid timesheets and the balance remaining for the year (available in July).
  • The ability to view student academic schedules.
  • Built-in procedures which block hiring a student into a position requiring more weekly hours than the student has available.
  • Built-in procedures which will warn you if a hire has the potential to cause your department to be over budget.
  • Built-in warnings which will notify you if a student is attempting to enter more hours in a timesheet than a student has available for that week.

No, not using the forms normally distributed through the LifeWorks office. However, many of you have evaluation tools you have developed and use in your areas and we encourage you to use them as appropriate and helpful. The Center for Personal and Professional Development will introduce new methods to evaluate students next year.

Study Abroad

Berry College has canceled all 2020 summer international programs. We will assist students in identifying alternative study abroad opportunities for the future. If you have specific questions regarding International Study Abroad programs please contact: Chris Borda cborda@berry.edu.

 

We will continue to monitor study abroad locations and use recommendations from the CDC and State Department to inform whether students will be able to participate in study abroad.

Berry is prohibiting college travel and strongly discouraging personal travel to locations where the CDC has issued a Level 3 Warning against nonessential travel and to any U.S. location with sustained community spread. In the event of personal travel to these countries or locations, you will be expected to self-isolate as outlined by the CDC. Exceptions to this restriction will not be granted. In addition, be aware that some countries are implementing travel restrictions that may cause delays, mandatory quarantines or denial of entry to a country. If you travel to an area that is added to the restricted travel list within 14 days of your return, you may also be required to self-isolate. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

We are asking all faculty, staff, and students taking personal trips to impacted countries and other locations to fill out the travel form. Personal travel is subject to U.S. government regulations and advisories, and anyone traveling overseas may be subject to self-isolation requirements when they return. Consult CDC Travel Notices before departing. The situation is changing rapidly, so the CDC may add more countries and other locations to the list.

Working remotely

Beginning Monday, May 18, we will begin a phased reopening of campus.  Employees returning to campus should be attentive to any symptoms (self or household members). Do not return to work if you exhibit symptoms:  cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell.

Employees whose work by its nature needs to be conducted on campus should plan to return to campus.  Employees who can fully complete their work from a remote location should seek approval from their supervisor and discuss appropriate measures of productivity as well as a cycle of rotation through their office.  Employees whose normal works activities have been disrupted by the COVID-19 crisis should initiate a conversation with their supervisor regarding alternate work assignments at Berry during this period.  Employees whose home responsibilities, including child care, have been complicated by COVID-19 should contact your Vice President and Wayne Phipps, Director of Human Resources.

It is important that all employees engage in meaningful work so that the college and its employees can continue to thrive.  If employees would prefer to reduce their work hours during this summer in response to the unusual circumstances, please contact your Vice President and Wayne Phipps.

Yes. We are asking all employees returning to campus to self-screen prior to your return to campus. All employees and visitors will have their temperature taken at the main entrance every day. Employees will receive a sticker for the day verifying screening, and employee can access campus the remainder of the day without having to have their temperature taken again. Employees who have a temperature of 100.4 or higher should not return to campus or will be turned away from campus. Employees who answer “yes” to the self-screening questions should not return to campus until cleared by Human Resources.

1. Are you currently ill?

2. Are you experiencing any of the following symptoms?

  1. Fever
  2. Chills
  3. Repeated shaking with chills
  4. Muscle pain
  5. Cough
  6. Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  7. Headache
  8. Sore Throat
  9. Loss of taste or smell
3. In the last 14 days, did you have close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19?

Our Welcome Center staff will be taking your temperature when you arrive to campus. You will stop before the gate arm, and a staff member will take your temperature. No information will be recorded or kept. Employees registering a temperature of 100.4 or higher will be asked to turnaround and exit campus.

According to the Governor’s guidelines, we will conduct temperature checks until at least May 31.

Masks or face coverings are preferred. We ask all employees and students to be mindful of wearing a mask or face covering in public settings (i.e. hallways, bathrooms). Some offices may state mask required based on ability to successfully distance employees or if there is an at risk employee in the office. Employees are asked to carry a mask or face covering at all times in case you need to access an area requiring a mask.

Employees should use vacation and sick time as they would if they were not working from home. If there is a day where you are unable to perform the functions of your job because you are not feeling well or need to take care of someone in your home who is not feeling well, use a sick day. If you want to take a day off to celebrate an event or spend time on personal things, use a vacation day. Employees should record sick and vacation days on their leave card or time sheets accordingly.

Employees may also use portions of vacation and sick time. For example, if an employee works 4 hours in the morning but wishes to take the afternoon off, the employee can use 4 hours of vacation time or sick time (depending on the reason) to cover the afternoon.

Working from home may bring a level of flexibility that an employee may or may not have when coming onto campus. Be mindful of this and work with your supervisor to make your schedule fit the needs of the students and colleagues we engage with most. This new normal should not add extra stress; the college does not expect employees to now be available 24/7. But during this time employees should continue to perform the tasks essential to the success of their department and the college, our worthwhile work done well.

Employees should contact the Human Resources department to work through that scenario.

Unused vacation and sick time hours will rollover to the next year according to our normal policy. Employees should plan to use vacation time within the normal timeframe, whether working at home or on campus. If you have a question in this regard, please contact the Human Resources department.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) became law on April 1, 2020. One of the things the law did was expand FMLA coverage for employers with fewer than 500 employees. Because Berry College employs more than 500 employees, the act does not directly impact our employees. However, with the FMLA coverage that is currently available for Berry employees, remote work options, and vacation and sick time plans, Berry has already incorporated the items for our employees that the act was intended to address.

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