Executive orders allow for faster return

Executive orders allow for faster return


Dear Rowan employees:

During the past week, Gov. Murphy has rescinded several COVID-19 executive orders, allowing the University to move forward with planning for a full return of our students and employees.

As we have done throughout the pandemic, we are continuing to review policies and procedures to ensure the health and safety of our community. We plan to publish a detailed return plan next week, but in the meantime, some of the governor’s announcements allow us to begin our return in earnest.

When planning for the return to campus, we need to remain cognizant of the differences between the campuses. Although the full return date is Aug. 20 for the Glassboro campus, we realize that the date will be earlier for our medical schools who begin the academic year in July.

Rowan Medicine will also have different requirements under both the governor’s orders and CDC guidelines as health care providers.

As of June 14, the following policy and procedure changes will be implemented:

Vaccinated and unvaccinated

  • Based on CDC guidelines and Gov. Murphy’s most recent executive orders, employees are no longer required to wear masks outside, whether or not they are vaccinated.
  • Vaccinated employees and students no longer will be required to wear masks or social distance indoors effective June 14, 2021, if they have provided proof of vaccination through the employee or student vaccine incentive forms. Rowan Medicine employees must continue to mask in all clinical space.
  • Unvaccinated employees and students must wear a mask when indoors unless the employees are alone in their offices or students are within their private residential space. More details will follow in the specific Restart Plan. Employee supervisors will be provided with a report of vaccinated employees and will be responsible for managing workplace compliance. After reminding employees to comply with masking, supervisors should contact Human Resources at hr@rowan.edu or ext. 64134 for direction. Unvaccinated individuals may be asked to participate in regular testing as density increases toward the end of summer. The Dean of Students Office will manage student compliance. 

People may choose to wear a mask indoors or outdoors, even if vaccinated. Members of our community and our guests must be permitted to do so without being harassed or bullied.

Employee supervisors may ask if an employee is vaccinated but they may not ask why one is not. Asking why an employee (or a student) is not vaccinated may be a violation of disability discrimination laws.

Return to campus

All COVID work accommodations will end July 5. Gov. Murphy’s emergency executive order expires July 4.  In addition, under Gov. Murphy’s Executive Order 243, that took effect on June 4, 2021, the requirement to consider remote work as a COVID accommodation was rescinded. 

Any employee requesting remote work for an accommodation unrelated to COVID—excluding approved flexible work agreements—must complete an Americans with Disabilities Accommodation Request including the medical certification for evaluation.

A phased return to campus will begin July 6 and a full return to campus, excluding approved flex-work agreements, will begin Aug. 20. Earlier dates will apply for the medical schools.

An example of a phased return would mean departments with 30% of employees on-site should increase to 50% and then 70%, so a full return is completed by Aug. 20. However, percentage caps are not required.  Schedules should be tied to operational needs. Supervisors should provide employees with at least two weeks advance notice of the schedule change.

Flexible work

Human Resources will publish a flexible work policy in mid- to late-June. It is anticipated that most employees will be on-site, but many will be able to work a hybrid schedule depending on job requirements. Employees working a flexible schedule or working some part of the work week remotely will be required to complete an application and agree to the conditions of the work arrangement including core hours, response time, etc.

Employees who work remotely three or more days per week will be moved to shared space. Facilities Planning will work with each supervisor upon receiving the remote request.

It is critical to keep in mind the purpose and strategy of our individual departments or divisions. Not all departments can work remotely and many jobs will require full onsite presence when the campus is back to normal operations to meet the needs of our students, patients, and other stakeholders.

As we continue to receive guidance from the Office of the Governor and Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, we will further refine policies and procedures in the Return to Rowan operations plan. We ask for your continued patience and understanding, and thank you for your continued commitment to creating a healthy and safer environment. 

Very truly yours,

Theresa A. Drye,

Vice President for Human Resources/CHRO