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COVID-19 Update for Faculty and Staff:

Online Learning for the Rest of the Semester and Remote Working

March 16, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff, 

As we continue efforts to curb the global and national spread of COVID-19, Cabinet is announcing important changes in the way we educate our students and operate our university. We want to reiterate that there are no known cases of COVID-19 among members of the Bentley community at this time, but we believe proactive measures must be taken to help ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff.  

The following policies will go into place immediately: 

  • Bentley will adopt online learning for all undergraduate and graduate students for the rest of the semester to allow them to continue their coursework and plan with greater certainty for the coming months.
    • Decisions regarding Commencement will be made by April 23 at the latest. A comprehensive plan for Commencement and related activities will be shared all at once.
       
  • In accordance with Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s recommendation that universities maximize remote work opportunities, the university will ask the majority of faculty and staff to begin transitioning to remote work setups, where possible, tomorrow and through the end of the week.  
    • We ask that you spend time this afternoon and tomorrow working with your manager, department chair, dean or vice president/provost to understand what remote work means for you, including ensuring that you have the proper equipment and other support for remote work and that your deliverables and timetables are clear. 
    • In order to ensure a smooth transition, all teach- and work-from-home faculty and staff must engage in remote work trainings offered this week by IT [Click here to sign up]. 
    • We expect that a limited number of individuals will need to remain on campus at least part of the time. If your role requires your physical presence on campus, your manager will discuss that with you and determine how best to implement social distancing and excellent hygiene practices at work. 
    • Please note that our campus is a safe and healthy place, but we are enacting remote work policies to do our part in the national effort to promote social distancing. 
       
  • Following recommendations and guidance from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Centers for Disease Control, any remaining campus gatherings will be kept to a maximum of 25 people; the Dana Center, Fitness Center and campus bookstore are closed; the library will close by end of day, March 17; and LaCava Lower Café will be limited to takeout options before closing at the end of the day on Friday, March 20.
    • While the physical library will be closed, the talented staff will be available remotely to all students and faculty who need help with research and teaching. 
       

In these uncertain times, our commitment to our shared mission remains unchanged. Our promise is that Bentley University changes the world with a transformative business education, integrated with arts and sciences, that inspires and prepares ethical leaders who will confront the challenges of today and shape the opportunities of tomorrow. We know that the decision to move to remote teaching and a remote workplace will look different for each faculty and staff member. But regardless of your role or responsibility, please remember that your continued contribution to the university remains the same: Challenging our students in their pursuit of knowledge. Mentoring our students and recruiting new ones. Placing our students in rewarding jobs and careers. Supporting our Falcon alumni around the world in a culture of proud engagement. These actions—among many, many more—must continue.  

Outside of your role on campus, we know that there will be many disruptions to daily routines in the coming weeks, especially for those dealing with uncertainty related to K-12 school closures. In those cases, we encourage you to communicate often with your manager and colleagues to find creative ways to balance the needs of your family with your ability to work remotely. If you are sick or caring for someone who is, please use your sick time to recuperate as you would under normal circumstances. We urge you to take care of yourself, even as you’re looking out for others. Your health and safety are paramount.  

A list of frequently asked questions and answers, including information about K-12 closures and sick time, is available here, and we will continue to update this page regularly. Please check this page often and ask your manager if there is information you cannot find. 

Working in higher education, whether you are a faculty or staff member, has always been about finding the best way to support our students in their learning journey. The work that we do in the coming months via remote, technology-based learning will provide a model for our students and the 21st century workplace environments they’re about to enter.  

The way we support our students will make sure that our university remains at the forefront of producing the leaders of tomorrow. It’s crucial that the core functions of the university remain operational, even if the way in which we achieve them looks different in the coming months. 

The Bentley University Cabinet 

Alison Davis-Blake 
Donna Maria Blancero 
Josh Brand 
George Cangiano 
Carolina Figueroa 
Maureen Flores 
Maureen Forrester 
Christopher Joyce 
Amanda King 
Judy Malone 
Andrew Shepardson 
Bob Wittstein