UM System President: COVID-19 response and revised HR policies

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On April 6, 2020

UM System President Mun Choi and the chancellors at the four universities sent the following message to staff and faculty on April 6:

Dear faculty and staff,

Today, we share new information as our universities continue to adapt to the changing environment brought by the coronavirus pandemic.

As you may know, federal social distancing guidelines have been extended through the end of April. Our state and local elected officials also continue to make adjustments as new information is known. It is clear that our current arrangement of working and learning remotely will continue for an indefinite period for the great majority of our employees and all of our students until our universities can determine dates for returning to work and in-person classes. This extends the guidance of a UM System presidential directive that no one physically works on our universities unless requested to do so by an appropriate supervisor. Obviously, restrictions on university-sponsored travel will continue until further notice. At the appropriate time, our universities will determine return dates based on the advice of health experts, CDC guidance and local, state and federal restrictions.

To adjust to this changing reality, the University is:

  • Revising the enhanced leave policies issued last month to align with new federal legislation that provides additional leave for employees unable to work due to childcare or quarantine/isolation issues related to COVID-19.
  • Providing additional expanded leave policies that include up to two weeks of partially paid sick leave and up to 10 weeks of partially paid expanded family and medical leave through the Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
  • For individuals who are not able to telework or perform work on site, administrative leave will continue until no later than April 12, 2020.

To view the revised policies, visit HR-700 Enhanced HR Policies for Employees in Response to COVID-19. Employees of MU Health Care and MU School of Medicine will be provided separate guidance, appropriate for those providing health care for our community.

In addition to expanding leave policies to support our employees, our institution has taken quick and decisive measures to ensure we continue to meet the needs of our students and the communities we serve. We have made investments in technology that have allowed us to nimbly transition to online teaching, and we are immensely proud of our faculty, staff and students for making that transition so swiftly. We also prioritized providing housing options for our students who do not have anywhere else to go, as well as provided refunds and discounts to cover lodging and meal cost losses for our students. These measures were taken to support our communities even as our universities face financial challenges ahead.

We will move forward with our priorities of providing our students the highest quality education and supporting our state’s response to this crisis through research and precision health, engagement and health care services. Those priorities will guide us through some expected difficult decisions.

In March, we adopted systemwide measures to offset costs, but we also must prepare to mitigate the long-term financial impact of COVID-19. To that end, the University will be able to provide administrative leave no later than April 12 for individuals who are not able to telework or perform work on site. After April 12, eligible employees may use any FFCRA Paid Sick Leave, FFCRA Expanded FMLA Leave, or other paid leave available to them. Please see details for how this leave is applied to a variety of situations.

The end of administrative leave for those who cannot telework or cannot work on-site is a decision not taken lightly, but demonstrates the challenging reality we’re confronting. As our nation and the world respond to these unprecedented circumstances, we may face more difficult decisions in the coming weeks and months. However, we will make every effort to openly and transparently communicate with you as we move forward in these challenging times.

Thank you for all you do and your commitment to our universities. While we face many unknowns, we can all take pride in our shared mission, our values and the knowledge that our collective efforts offer much-needed support to our students and the communities we serve. We know the effects of the pandemic are disruptive professionally as well as personally, and we appreciate your continued dedication.


Mun Y. Choi, President, UM System and Interim Chancellor, MU
C. Mauli Agrawal, Chancellor, UMKC
Mohammad Dehghani, Chancellor, Missouri S&T
Kristin Sobolik, Interim Chancellor, UMSL

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On April 6, 2020. Posted in Announcements, Coronavirus