The University of Louisville administration has sent a statement to faculty and staff clarifying its position on remote work options, following asks the school to allow more flexibility during COVID-19 outbreaks.
The letter sent on Tuesday describes temporary remote work options that can be used with the authorization of a supervisor or department head and includes an update Emergency Temporary Leave Guidelines Politics.
“Following discussions with the leadership of the Senate of Faculty and Staff, we wish to clarify the university’s position on flexible hours,” the letter reads in part. “Since the beginning of our COVID-19 response, we have asked faculty and staff to be flexible with students who comply with our health and safety protocols by staying home when showing symptoms, by quarantine or in isolation.”
Nathan Schimpf, graduate assistant and organizer for the Louisville chapter of United Campus Workers, believes the statement is in response to student, staff and faculty activism over the past three weeks.
“I think it’s the result of our actions,” Schimpf said. “I don’t think we could have gotten that kind of assurance that the university is willing to protect faculty and staff if we hadn’t spoken.”
Schimpf and others were concerned after the administration announced days before the start of the semester that in-person classes would resume amid the most contagious period of the COVID-19 pandemic to date.
More than 1,400 students, faculty and staff signed a petition delivered earlier this month to interim president Lori Gonzalez, after the semester began in person amid the omicron surge.
Last week, around 30 students gathered on campus and attended the university’s board meeting to voice their concerns.
The University of L’s administration called the letter a clarification. Schimpf said the information would have been useful at the start of the semester.
“It seems like they didn’t want to clarify that policy initially, even if we were going into a push and it would have been beneficial at that time,” Schimpf said.
“They didn’t want to clarify it initially and because of all this public pressure they had to.”