Dear NEOMED Community:
Thank you for your understanding, compliance and commitment to safety and wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While many challenges still lie ahead of us, your preparedness, ability to continue learning, teaching and working, and professionalism warrant much applause. With guidance from Gov. Mike DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton as well as the CDC, we have optimized our operations during this new normal to ensure we are as thorough in our care for each other ― our students, faculty and staff ― as we are in our service and science for those in need.
As you know, Friday, May 1, was the start of a phased approach to return to work for Ohioans as some businesses resume their operations. NEOMED will continue to follow state and CDC guidelines as it has from the very beginning ― and as Ohio was one of the first to implore its citizens to take precautionary measures, NEOMED will remain as conservative upon our return. In fact, we will be even more so, requiring strict adherence to guidelines for social distancing, convening, cleaning of hands, surfaces and areas, use of masks and so on.
We will begin our early return the week of Monday, May 4. Before I outline some initial criteria, it is extremely important that I make something clear ― The work that each of us does is essential.
Where, when and how the work is done may differ and ultimately determine who returns during each phase. Nevertheless, all work leads to our positive impact in the education, research and service we provide to our community.
Our return will be slow because there is still a lot that we don’t know. Many members of the University, College and department leadership are on several task forces as well as local, state and national committees. The wealth of information and best practices informs us and helps us to reduce uncertainties. However, that does not always alleviate the concerns of those who are in high-risk situations or who have family care needs or who, understandably so, experience anxiety about the anticipated return.
Having said that, not much will change on May 4. The remote solutions to “where, when and how the work is done” have been reasonably effective for many of us during the pandemic. Of course, some will continue to utilize the Lean Six Sigma training and others will remain working on newly designed projects.
As a result, only the following may begin returning to work during this early return phase next week: Members of the executive management team, researchers with laboratory access needs, and campus operations and public safety, the latter of which are already there.
All will have to abide by strict guidelines in accordance with a newly developed Return to Work Terms and Conditions.
And researchers will specifically have to follow laboratory research activities outlined by Dr. Steve Schmidt, vice president of research, which include limits to the core facilities. Anyone found violating these policies may have their privileges to be on campus taken away
Needless to say, our unique role as a medical university requires us all return at some point. Each of you contributes to the education, development and training of our health professionals; the support and resources needed to conduct our research; and the services provided to those in need. All are key to sustaining and improving the wellness of every community.
Other return to work phases will be announced as soon as we determine what is best for everyone concerned. But as your health and safety is our first priority, we anticipate the phases occurring over a six to 18-week period.
Please know that we will give you at least a week’s notice of the next stage of the phases and how each phase might affect your return. Furthermore, we will always update you once a week or more ― during our weekly Zoom updates.
I look forward to seeing everyone on campus – hopefully sooner than later ― but am ever so thrilled that we are all doing as well as can be expected because we embraced the much-needed measures to remain safe.
John T. Langell