UW Bothell COVID-19 Communications
Communications sent in December 2021:
December 16, 2021 | Please get a COVID-19 booster
This message was sent to all faculty and staff
As you may have learnt from Dr. Gottlieb’s email message yesterday, the Omicron variant has been detected in Washington State, and presumably in samples collected by the Husky Coronavirus Testing program.
To best prepare yourself for the holiday break, I strongly encourage you to get a COVID-19 booster if you haven’t done so already. Persons who have not received a booster have less protection from Omicron than those who have been boosted, according to Professor Geoff Gottlieb, who chairs the UW Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases and is a Professor in the UW School of Medicine, Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Even after getting a booster, please continue to take all precautions to protect yourself and your loved ones:
- Wear a well-fitting, multilayered mask
- Follow face-covering and distancing guidance, as appropriate, at indoor gatherings
- Wash your hands regularly
- Stay home when sick or have symptoms.
- Get tested before and after travel.
Wishing you a safe and healthy holiday break,
S. Gowri Shankar, Ph.D., CFA
Vice Chancellor, Planning & Administration
University of Washington | Bothell
December 14, 2021 | UW Bothell – update on telework policy
Dear UW Bothell staff and faculty,
The many ways in which you all have adapted to remote and hybrid work over the last two years is a testament to the UW Bothell community’s spirit of innovation, ability to face difficulties and willingness to embrace change.
By now, each unit on campus has a good handle on its operational needs. We also have learned that a one-size policy for continued telework does not fit all.
Throughout the autumn quarter, members of the Chancellor’s Executive Team and I have been assessing our current telework model with surveys, emails and conversations, both formal and informal. These various forms of outreach and communication were designed to get feedback from staff and faculty as well as our students.
Based on what we have learned, we have decided to afford more flexibility for managers at the UW Bothell Cabinet level (or their designees) to evaluate requests for hybrid and remote work outside of the current policy of working at least three days on site and up to two days remotely — provided that access to services are not interrupted and equity is maintained within each team. Significant shifts of entire teams, programs or services to ongoing, fully remote operations continue to require approval by the vice president for Human Resources.
Some teams will necessarily be on site more than others as they respond to different needs of our campus. We trust managers to understand that the operational needs of each unit are indeed quite diverse and to work with their staff members to successfully meet or even exceed expectations.
Please note that the current telework “trial period” does not end until Dec. 31, 2021. The new telework parameters described above will take effect Jan. 3 and will serve as a base model until Sept. 2, 2022.
Watch for more information on the process to complete new telework forms, which will be due by Feb. 1, 2022.
Driving our assessments and our decision making are the guiding principles of fairness, equity and service to our students, in addition to the feedback note below.
Feedback from staff and faculty
- We asked all managers to have conversations with their teams about engagement and hybrid work and through this learned that many people appreciate the autonomy and flexibility afforded by hybrid work. We also know hybrid work has a positive impact on staff wellbeing and retention. Some report that they are more productive working remotely, while others say they thrive when working in an on-site environment.
- We also heard from many faculty and staff — and students — about the frustrations that come with public health restrictions, including mask wearing for extended periods of time as well as the designated function and accessibility of certain spaces.
It is clear we need to find or create more ways to engage with one another in this new way of work so that we can get to know each other better and more fully recover the sense of community that makes UW Bothell such a special place.
Feedback on the student experience
As we do this, it is essential that we look closely at the student experience, using feedback gathered directly from students and from student advisers.
- Students say they prefer in-person modes for learning experiences that include direct engagement with faculty or peers and for hands-on activities. They lean toward an asynchronous mode for activities they view as independent work.
- Student-facing staff report that students were able to access academic services remotely and that these remote services removed barriers for student populations that have significant time constraints. Between 30-40% of students had such constraints during spring 2021.
- While a majority of students prefer remote services for academic advising, financial aid and registration, many did not indicate a preference regarding other services UW Bothell provides.
- More than 50% of students say they believe in-person campus services should be offered during set days and times, and most students say they plan to access these services on days that they have classes. Almost 30% indicate they would need space on campus if they have to access classes and/or services remotely.
- When asked how they have accessed services such as the registrar, advising, mental health and career services, they report the following:
- primarily online: 40%
- primarily in-person: 15%
- a mix of both: 25%
- have not accessed these services: 20%
- Most students (83%) say they are satisfied with the access and capacity of services. Many of the students (17%) who report dissatisfaction request that all services be available both in person and online.
Health and safety considerations
Public health considerations remain out of our control but know that our highest priority will always be to err on the side of safety in order to minimize the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks. We have been doing extremely well in this regard so far — so let’s keep up the good work adhering to all health and safety protocols and recommendations from the UW and Washington state.
Note: In addition to shaping our telework policy, our fall quarter assessments have brought to the forefront the need for our campus to rethink how we assign and use space. We plan to engage a consulting group to help us be more intentional and strategic about this reevaluation. We will keep you posted on this new initiative as our plans progress.
In the meanwhile, if you have questions about the new telework policy, which begins Jan. 3 and remains in effect through Sept. 2, 2022, contact OE/HR.
On behalf of the entire Chancellor’s Executive team, I want to express to each of you our continued appreciation for all that you do to serve students, each other and our community as a whole.
The Chancellor’s Executive Team
Kristin G. Esterberg, Chancellor
Lenina Arenas-Fuentes, Chief of Staff, Office of the Chancellor
Scott R. James, Vice Chancellor, Enrollment Management & Student Affairs
Sharon A. Jones, Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs
Sean Marsh, Interim Vice Chancellor, Advancement & External Relations
Gowri Shankar, Vice Chancellor, Planning & Administration
Caroline S. Titan, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion