By President Emerita Judie Wexler March 13, 2020

Dear CIIS Community,

The Continuity Group is continuing to meet every morning at 9:30 to review our COVID-19 plans and to address new issues and concerns that have arisen in the previous 24 hours. The situation is changing so rapidly that a decision made one day may no longer apply on the next day. Please direct your questions or concerns to me or Richard Buggs so that we can address them at the daily meeting. For updates, check the CIIS coronavirus webpages.

Today was our first day offering virtually all of our courses via webinars. It has been going extremely well.  My heartfelt thanks to Ben Cline-Suzuki and the volunteers who have been working with him: Fraylanie Aglipay, Heather Nelson, Kelly Karst, and Maya Cortez. Providing support to faculty making this big transition into teaching in a virtual classroom has been essential.

Having course instruction continue is still CIIS’ number one priority. Faculty may cancel a course only if they are sick and cannot arrange a substitute in time. While staff from several offices have been deployed to support Online Learning, more are needed, especially March 20-22 when ICPW students are meeting and the demand will be large. Reach out to Ben if you or one of your staff can help with this.

Following best public health guidance, we are acting quickly to enable staff to work from home where possible. We have asked all Directors to let us know who is working remotely. For offices in which remote work is not readily possible, we are asking that the supervisor consider what work can be done from a distance and they can make it possible for staff to have some time working from home.

Having staff work remotely will require close coordination. If home responsibilities prevent a staff member from being continuously available during normal business hours, time blocks and deliverables must be agreed upon. HR is keeping close watch on any legal regulations and timekeeping policies that may change or be adapted due to this COVID-19 situation. If a staff member is unable to work, or to work full-time, we must comply with our published paid time-off policies [log into myciis before clicking on this]. No one knows how long this situation will persist and we have to be careful not to set precedents that we cannot uphold. Staff can use paid time off hours and days to cover time they are taking off.  

For the time being, we’ll retain our normal opening hours.

We are planning to go ahead with the Commencement Ceremony (May 15) but letting students know that we are monitoring the viability of an in-person event and are planning for a back-up, virtual experience.

Please, everyone, take care of yourself and stay safe. This is a time of high stress. While social distance has become a new watchword, remember to stay in touch with friends and family. Thank you for all you have been doing to support each other and our students.

Judie

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