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The Faculty of Arts and Sciences will pilot a remote work system for staff to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, FAS Dean Claudine Gay wrote in an email Thursday.
The initial pilot will last from March 16 to March 20, after which FAS administrators will evaluate the success of remote work operations and decide on further steps.
“Faculty and managers will need to lead efforts this week to think about how critical processes will be handled remotely and to support students, postdocs, and staff in their efforts to prepare for next week’s pilot,” Gay wrote. “Department administrators will receive additional guidance via Zoom conference.”
The decision to begin transitioning staff away from in-person activities comes during a week of unprecedented change to Harvard’s operations as a result of the virus. On Tuesday, University President Lawrence S. Bacow wrote to the University that classes would move to remote instruction following spring break. Minutes later, Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana wrote to undergraduates that they would be required to vacate dorms by Sunday afternoon.
Gay ended her message to staff by acknowledging the stress such changes put on students, faculty, and staff as they transition to a new way of working and living.
“Please remember that we are a strong community. In addition to all the steps we are taking to safeguard our collective health and well-being, we must all support one another. Patience, kindness, grace, and empathy have never been more important than they are now,” she wrote. “And in a time when we don’t have all the answers, let’s give one another the benefit of the doubt as we move ahead together.”
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