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SIUE: 1-Year of COVID- Vice Chancellor for Administration

Campus Colleagues,

The administrative operation of SIUE campuses under normal conditions is a challenging process. It requires all units within the Vice Chancellor for Administration’s responsibilities to provide seamless, efficient, and effective service. When COVID-19 hit, those challenges increased significantly. Nevertheless, all administrative service units responded quickly, efficiently and proactively to ensure that our operations remained at a high level. 

Facilities Management changes due to COVID-19:

  • We ordered and continue to order more cleaning supplies, including hand sanitizer, masks, general cleaning disinfectant and more specific personal protective equipment (PPE) for our cleaning staff. We also continue to keep hand sanitizer stands at building entrances around campus.
  • Two 360 spray disinfecting machines, and 10 backpack sprayers were purchased and used across the three campuses.
  • All buildings received Mask Required signage including directional signage on each entrance/exit, on the main stairwells and provided six-foot spacing signs for queues.
  • Furniture in classrooms and public areas was adjusted for social distancing requirements.
  • All HVAC systems were checked for operation; filters and air exchanges were adjusted as needed. Many of our systems are filtered with MERV13 filters.
  • SIUE Facilities Management (FM) follows the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for cleaning spaces exposed to Coronaviruses and other germs and viruses. 
  • FM maintains a trained team on all three campuses to clean and disinfect spaces where a COVID-19 positive employee, student or visitor has been identified. This includes all academic, administrative, and athletic spaces, including the Morris University Center, Student Success Center, Student Fitness Center and University Housing spaces. Response teams are always outfitted with the appropriate PPE. When we do respond, we follow a specific procedure for closing and cleaning offices and public spaces.

Human Resources Changes due to COVID-19:

  • On March 17, 2020, put in place New Paid Leave Provisions for 10 days due to K-12 closures, pregnancy, high-risk employees (Pre-Family First Coronavirus Response Act or FFCRA); “The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.[1] The Department of Labor’s (Department) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) administers and enforces the new law’s paid leave requirements.” These provisions applied from the effective date through December 31, 2020.
  • On March 17, 2020, System President Dan Mahony declared a pandemic emergency as of March 16th seeking relief from certain State Universities’ Civil Service rules.
  • Governor’s Stay-at-Home Executive Order put in place March 21-April 7, 2020, and later extended to April 30 and again through May 31, 2020.
  • Effectively continued to administer payroll for all employees and student workers.
  • On April 1, 2020, FFCRA enacted through Dec. 31, 2020.
  • Effectively managed all eligible cases under expanded family medical leave provisions.
  • Managed spring benefits open enrollment virtually.
  • On June 30, 2020, implemented Remote Work Guidelines and procedures. 
  • June announcement extended the period for use of vacation days to Dec. 31, 2020.
  • On July 17, 2020, Travel Policy Guidelines issued.
  • In August, 2020, implemented COVID self and 3rd party reporting procedures for employees.
  • September 2020 announcement extended the period for use of vacation from December 31st to January 19, 2021.
  • Conducted many aspects of Labor & Employee Relations functions virtually (i.e. negotiating collective bargaining agreements, grievances, disciplinary actions, etc.).
  • Employment-related processes continued in alternative and virtual formats (i.e., I-9’s, background checking, interviewing, etc.).
  • Administered 403(b) emergency loans per CARES Act provisions.
  • Human Resources in conjunction with ITS developed temporary provisions for electronic signature usage for certain documents. This provision is being extended as work continues toward establishing a permanent electronic signature process that meets all security requirements.

Public Safety Operations During COVID-19

  • The SIUE Police Department continued to ensure that all three campuses remained safe. 
  • Service continued 24/7, and officers were diligent and pro-active during periods of de-densification which was necessary given that outside-non-SIUE traffic traverses through our campuses regularly.

Other Operations During COVID-19           

Parking Services

  • Partial refunds of Academic Year 2020-21 parking permit fees were instituted.
  • With fewer people on campus, we were able to offer students upgrades to green permits.

Mailing Services

  • Signature requirements for accountable mail were eliminated.
  • Ceased mail delivery to offices during spring 2020.
  • Distributed masks and sanitizer to requesting University units.

The Gardens at SIUE

  • Closed The Gardens to volunteer activity.

Administrative Services

  • Took the Quad, including the designated public forum, offline.
  • Canceled outdoor events, including those planned by leaseholders (soccer and flying fields).

For a summary of how SIUE reacted to COVID-19 during the past year, visit  the COVID Retrospective page.

Despite all the challenges resulting from COVID-19, the Office of the VCA will continue to make any adjustments on an as needed basis to ensure SAFE, efficient, and effective administrative support services.  

Thank you.

Morris Taylor, PhD
Vice Chancellor for Administration
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville