As your chairs and coordinators have probably informed you, all Wheaton buildings will be locked starting Monday March 23 and will remain that way indefinitely. This means regular use of offices, studios, labs and other facilities are prohibited.
There are a few exceptions: (1)The animal facilities and greenhouse require maintenance and the relevant staff will be allowed limited access. (2) Faculty who need to maintain perishable materials or conduct required service to equipment will be allowed limited access to a specific, predetermined location within a campus building. All other ongoing scholarly and creative work on campus should be delayed until further notice or until the College returns to regular operations.
How will this work?
For the staff and faculty who fall into one of the two exempt categories, you will need to work with your department chairs and coordinators, plus Peony, Meg or Touba (as liaisons to academic divisions) to develop a schedule for access to the buildings. Chairs and coordinators have already received instructions for how to do this. My office will be sharing the list of names and the schedule with Public Safety, who is managing all buildings.
What if my work is more productive and effective in my office or studio?
Unfortunately, I will be turning down any request that does not fit into the above two categories. Should faculty wish to take home any college-owned desktop computers, monitors or other related computer equipment to support their remote work, please notify your department chair or program coordinator of your intent and provide them with a picture of the IT label or a description of the item and the serial number so it may be noted on the IT inventory. It is our assumption that you will do this before Monday, March 23.
What if I have software or other materials I need that are still on campus?
Please make every effort to retrieve all materials before Monday, March 23. This includes conducting work for asynchronous lectures. If you are unable to do that, you will need a compelling explanation and you must work with your chair so that you are scheduled for access by Wednesday, March 25. There will be no exceptions beyond that date. Also take note of the email “Academic Software Remote Access” from Joe LaCascio dated March 17. He provided an updated list of all the software now available for remote access. He also provides detailed instructions for doing this using any computer.
Who will be left on campus?
All staff have been directed to work remotely starting Monday, March 23. The only exceptions are staff who have to provide specific and essential direct services. For example, there will be skeletal staff for residence life, grounds and facilities, as well as Aramark who will provide services for the students who were granted permission to remain on campus (e.g., international students and those who are housing insecure). While the library will be locked, a skeletal staff will be working to prepare materials for your remote teaching. Public Safety, of course, will be on duty. All other offices will be working remotely, including the Office of the Provost.
Why is Wheaton doing this?
The containment of the spread of COVID-19 requires aggressively limiting human contact. There is still a lot to be learned about this disease and therefore we need to act swiftly and collectively for the health and safety of the entire campus. Facilities staff have to clean everything on campus to minimize the possibility of exposure. Anytime someone violates the building lockdown or accesses a space prohibited to them, staff—not faculty—will have to re-clean that space (faculty cleaning a workspace is not sufficient) and the risk of exposure and spread increases.
I understand this is another accommodation you need to make. But as you can see, by scrupulously adhering to this policy, we are ensuring the health and safety of the Wheaton community and beyond.
Renée T. White