Dear Faculty, Clergy, Staff Members and Administrators:
As we look forward to resuming in-person operations and classes at Seton Hall, the health and safety of our community remains the highest priority. For several months, multiple University-wide teams have been mapping our return to campus.
On Friday, the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education for New Jersey released long-awaited guidelines for higher education reopening plans. Seton Hall had provided input to government officials regarding prudent reopening guidance. Therefore, we were pleased — but not surprised — that the final guidelines are consistent with Seton Hall's planning efforts that have been underway for several months. It is important to note that New Jersey's higher education reopening guidelines are contingent upon the state moving to "phase three."
The guidelines require universities to file reopening plans with the state for review. Because New Jersey guidance is consistent with Seton Hall's ongoing planning efforts, the University will file its plan as early as next week. Once reviewed by state officials, Seton Hall will immediately share the finalized information with the entire community via email and the University website.
Meanwhile, work continues to modify campus environments and training protocols consistent with plans approved by the Regents and shared with the Seton Hall community. Modifications include retrofitting all instructional classrooms with new technology to support HyFlex teaching and altering dining spaces and campus buildings to support physical distancing and advanced health protocols. The University has developed training programs for enhanced safety and wellness measures for all community members. Moreover, Seton Hall will exceed state guidelines that require regular health screenings and PPE in all indoor, nonresidential environments.
Although we are working to ensure the safety and security of our community members, the University recognizes that some faculty, clergy, staff members and administrators may be unable or reluctant to return to campus to work. These individuals may have concerns about how their personal circumstances may place them at greater risk for contracting COVID-19. To address such issues, the University's streamlined employee accommodation process will facilitate discussions in accordance with federal and state laws, and applicable government guidelines.
Please review Seton Hall's Reasonable Accommodations for Employees with Disabilities policy, under which the University will process all COVID-19-related accommodation requests. The purpose of this policy is to assist faculty, clergy, staff members, administrators and applicants for employment in requesting reasonable accommodations to perform essential job functions, and serve as a guide in assessing requests for reasonable accommodations. This policy is applicable to all employment practices, including the non-work benefits and privileges of employment that are enjoyed by employees without disabilities.
The University provides reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals unless an accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the University. Requests for reasonable accommodations, per the policy, should be directed to me as the Associate Vice President for Human Resources at HumanRes@shu.edu. Faculty, clergy, staff members and administrators will be required to complete the necessary forms and submit certifications from their medical providers. Each request will be reviewed on a confidential and individual basis, taking into account the specific circumstances presented in the request.
Faculty, clergy, staff members and administrators who are unable to return to work because they are caregivers for ill family members or children may be eligible for leave under applicable federal and/or state laws as described in the University’s policies for Family Medical Leave and Earned Sick Leave.
University policies and their implementation may change in accordance with the issuance of further guidance and regulations by appropriate federal and state authorities.
Again, please address questions and concerns to me at HumanRes@shu.edu.
Associate Vice President for Human Resources