April 7, 2020

To UAF faculty and staff,

Earlier today we received a
communication from President Johnsen (PDF) informing the UA Community of an emergency regulation change (PDF) that reduces the minimum notification period to 30 days for temporary, COVID-19-related furloughs. I will be meeting with my core leadership team this week to determine how this regulation will impact UAF employees. I think it is important to note, however, that no 30-day notification period started today. Today’s notice from the President was only of the regulation change. I will also note that the Statewide HR office has posted FAQs on COVID-related furloughs that may answer some general questions.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, all of our work has changed. Some employees, because of the nature of the work they do, are still able to perform their full-time job duties remotely. Other employees are not able to work at all because the facility they worked in is closed. Others fall somewhere in between and are able to perform some parts of their job remotely but not all of it.

As I think about our current situation, I believe that there may be opportunities for adapting workloads to fill needs and niches. For example, an employee who can’t perform their current job remotely may be able to work remotely in another area where additional help is needed. I encourage employees and supervisors to be thinking about these kinds of opportunities and to let your unit leaders know if you need additional help.

I think it is important to note that the regulation change reduced the required notice period from 60 days to 30 days. Things are constantly changing and I expect that we will see additional changes in 30 days’ time. Those changes may well allow some work to restart, or shift in other ways. It follows that if and when a 30-day notice period is given, it can be lifted at any point as things change — even before the actual furlough was to start. It is my intention that furloughs be done with the goal of preserving the jobs of furloughed employees and to adjust work where possible. Right now we are in a time when some work cannot be done on campus but we will come out of this. I think we will be different, but we will continue to be a University and a place of learning and growth.

Please watch for a communication with more information on UAF’s approach to this regulation change later this week.

Thank you for choosing UAF. Be well.

— Dan White, chancellor
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