Employee guidance for the fall semester

Occidental’s COO shares an overview of our planning and guidance for all Oxy employees for the upcoming fall semester.

I am writing to provide an overview of our planning and guidance for all Oxy employees for the upcoming fall semester. The College's policies and protocols for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic are based on the primary goal of protecting the health and safety of our community--students, staff and faculty--and supporting the College's mission.

Initial "return to work" planning which had started earlier this summer was based on assumptions of some level of in-person instruction and a significant residential program this fall. The dramatic resurgence of the virus this summer has required us to change our plans. Health and safety considerations, backed by the recent guidance from state and county public health officials, mean we must continue to minimize the number of people on campus.

This means that employees who are working from home should continue to do so until the operational needs of the department dictate otherwise, as communicated and approved by the divisional vice president. Those employees who are expected to come to campus to carry out essential functions will continue to do so this fall. Since last week, and continuing through this Friday, August 21, department heads and supervisors have been and will be meeting with employees to communicate the expectation for their presence on campus this semester. Because we expect to remain in remote learning mode for the remainder of the semester, we can anticipate, at this time, that this guidance, while subject to change, will remain in place through December.

I also want to take this opportunity to remind all employees, regardless of the frequency with which you will be coming to campus, some of the measures the college has, or will be, putting in place this semester to promote a safe work environment. Human Resources will be sending a follow up message with more details about workplace guidelines and important information for all members of the Oxy community later this week.

  • All employees coming to campus will be expected to wear masks, maintain social distancing, wash hands frequently and monitor symptoms daily via the health check app available on MyOxy. For your own well-being and that of those around us, we should also all follow these COVID-19 mitigation practices away from campus in our personal lives.

  • COVID-19 testing is mandatory for employees who are performing essential functions regularly on campus (that is come to campus on a weekly basis two or more times per week) and have regular close contact with other Oxy community members (either because they work closely with others and/or work in a building that has a significant number of other employees). All employees who will be required to take part in the COVID-19 testing will be notified by the end of this week.

  • Do not come to work if you are sick.

  • Employees who are regularly on campus and getting COVID-19 tested will be able to enter the Marketplace to get food to go. However we encourage you to make use of the new pre-order Tiger Takeout service.

We have all had to adapt to a new working environment that includes masks and social distancing, remote meetings, and in many cases having to reimagine how we get our work done. I want to thank everyone for managing and advancing their work during what has been a very difficult period.

We are living through extremely arduous circumstances, even without the additional burden of developing new ways to do our work, so please be considerate when engaging with your colleagues. Now more than ever we need to be supportive of each other and take good care of ourselves. And please seek out help from family, friends or colleagues if you need it. The College also has resources through the Human Resources office.

Amos Himmelstein, Chief Operating Officer