I am sure that you have read about or heard about the actions of companies and workplaces, including many colleges and universities, to address the impact of COVID-19. In these times, it is essential that you feel informed about your workplace. This email details several important updates. Please read it carefully and do not hesitate to email our Director of Human Resources, Kimberly Masenthin (email@example.com) for more detail or with your questions.
Temporary remote work
We continue to abide by the safer-at-home executive orders in our states. Temporary Remote Work remains in effect. As the situation evolves, we will remain in close communication with you. In most cases, we understand from our local and state authorities, reopening will happen in a phased approach. We will monitor the ongoing guidance and adjust accordingly.
Summer campus-based classes and events
Out of an abundance of care for our fellow community members, all campus events on Concordia’s campuses (Michigan, Wisconsin, centers) are cancelled and/or postponed through June 30, 2020. Classes that run between May 11 and June 30 will be delivered online/virtually.
The “Falcon Flyer” (at Wisconsin) and “The Current” (Ann Arbor) are distributed weekly and communicate important events and activities information. Continue to use the Campus Calendar to schedule events so that we can continue to coordinate and promote your activities, even though they are happening online.
There are no changes to your existing vacation policy. It is important that you take time away from work to rest and recharge. Many of you have reached out about vacation. While a vacation at home might not seem ideal, it is imperative to set aside time for your personal, family, spiritual, and physical renewal.
Student employees are not permitted to work during this time of Temporary Remote Work. While we will continue to monitor this situation, student employees should not expect to report to work at least until after June 30, 2020.
University budget and operations (FY2021)
Certainly, you have read about the challenges facing companies and small businesses nationwide. Colleges and universities, already operating in a challenged financial environment, are not immune. In our financial planning for FY21 (July 1), we identified a $7M operational gap (difference between projected revenues and expenses). Declining enrollments in some academic programs, increasing costs, and - yes - the impact of the pandemic contribute to this gap.
The University Board of Regents’ policy requires a balanced budget. We have achieved this for FY21. We want you to be aware that we have accomplished this without recommending furloughs or layoffs to close this gap.
A combination of academic changes (faculty please refer to Provost Cario’s email of April 28), operational budget reductions (e.g. expense cuts; reduced business travel, reductions in professional development budgets, etc.), and other modest budget reductions will yield a balanced budget. Together, these adjustments contribute to a planned balanced budget for 2020-21 assuming a “business as usual” cycle.
One area of reduction that does impact many employees is the Health Savings Account (HSA) supplement that the University provides for employees on the Healthy Me B or High Deductible Health Plan. As of July 1, 2020, Concordia University will no longer supply the employer allocation. This means that those with single coverage (July 1 - Dec 31) will not receive the $300 in additional funding. Those with dependents on their plan (July 1 - Dec. 31) will not receive $600 in additional HSA funding. If you have any questions about this change or its impact, please email or call Kimberly.Masenthin@cuw.edu.
Certainly, all of us must steward the University resources as we would our own finances. Spend carefully. Work diligently. Allocate shrewdly. Working together, we will continue to manage well the resources entrusted to our care. Yes, these days we are all going to have to do more with less, but we also have a history of entrepreneurial thinking, careful planning, and smart, creative effort. Together, we can be successful.
Academic year 2020-2021
We will be fully operational this coming fall. Moreover, it is our intention to return to on ground, campus instruction and campus residence life as planned. We are eager to welcome back our students and the executive leadership team is working diligently toward this goal. We are exploring many scenarios as we put together a smart plan for an Uncommon Return this fall. No matter the scenario, we will put a premium on the health and wellbeing of all Concordians, ensuring excellence in student faith and learning experiences, and elevating our mission, first and foremost, in all that we do. We will outline the steps of our Uncommon Return plan by May 30. Please watch for those details.
It’s important that you feel informed. Visit the website daily. Read the news page. Explore the inspiring stories on our social media, where we see the courage and devotion of our students, faculty, staff, and University friends, who are working hard and doing all they can to “live uncommon” even in this remarkable time.
Be sure to join our all employee webinar. And keep connected with one another. This is a challenging time for all, but we know some who face profound, particular hardship. You do not need to face these days alone. Please reach out. And most of all, be comforted by the constant, close, never socially distant presence of your Heavenly Father.
Thank you for being on mission at Concordia.
In Christ’s Service and Yours,
Rev. Patrick T. Ferry, Ph.D.