Faculty and Staff - March 9, 2021

Dear Colleagues:

In my message on Saturday, I mentioned we would continue to seek clarification on how Governor McMaster’s latest executive order impacts Winthrop’s return to work and on the expectations from the State on spring semester operations moving forward. Our expeditious return to on-campus work plan has been approved by the State HR office, and, as instructed, the plan includes provisions for most all employees to return to on-campus work on Monday, March 15. Here is more information we have learned: 

·         We have learned that our academic schedule in regards to teaching and classes will continue unaltered for the spring semester. What that means for our faculty is that you will continue with your already scheduled classes in their respective modalities for the remainder of this semester. Our summer and fall planning for a return to a more normal and in person Winthrop academic experience continues apace and appears not to be affected by this latest guidance.    

·         We have confirmed that agency heads have clear discretion to require employees to wear masks in workplaces and other common areas of state buildings.  The Department of Administration and the Division of State Human Resources have promised to provide additional guidance regarding Winthrop’s ability to continue to require students and visitors to wear masks.  Unless or until additional guidance is received, Winthrop will continue to require students and visitors to wear masks, mirroring previous policy. So unless we hear otherwise, masking will continue, along with the other requirements we have implemented (physical distancing, frequent handwashing, limiting face-to-face interactions, etc.) that have been instrumental in mitigating risk on our campus. Masking will not be required in private offices with doors closed.

·         Our plan includes a provision for employees with children attending face-to-face in K-12 schools to return to their on-campus work location on a full-time basis on March 22, 2021. Those employees who elected virtual instruction for their children will have until April 5, 2021, to report to their on-campus work location in order to sort out childcare arrangements. 

·         For anyone who has not worked on campus or did not complete the required, mandatory Online Acknowledgement indicating each employee has reviewed return to work training back in the summer, you need to do this as soon as possible. This information can be found at the “Faculty and Staff Return to Work Notification, Training, and Resources” section of the HR COVID-19 Information for Employees website

The March 15 return to work directive is an aggressive timetable from the State, and we realize the expectations have prompted many questions from employees. Our HR office has created a list of FAQs you may find on the HR COVID-19 Information for Employees website that you may read for more information on our return to work. Please continue to watch your email for other important updates.



George W. Hynd
Interim President