Dear Colleagues,

We are deeply appreciative for all that you have done these challenging past months in support of students, each other, and the University of Puget Sound. We now eagerly look forward to the start of the spring semester and the arrival of about 900 students to our residence halls, as well as the hundreds of students who will live off-campus. 

Many staff members whose positions require it have continued to work on campus since last March, as have faculty and instructional and Athletics personnel who have worked with students in curricular and co-curricular pursuits. Beginning this month, more of our staff members and many of our faculty members will be returning to campus as well. As of now, those who can work remotely while meeting student and university needs are advised to continue to do so (especially those at higher risk of contracting the virus). Managing the density of people on campus continues to be an important component in mitigating the spread of the virus. 

Returning to work on campus

While there is no specific date by which we all will return to campus, we do want to be thoughtful about making sure we are doing the best we can to support student success within public health guidelines. To that end, over the course of the spring semester, we will make plans for our campus community to more fully return to campus following public health guidelines.  

This return to campus will begin with the university’s student-facing offices. Before students resume activities in person on January 25 (the first week of classes will be conducted remotely and students will quarantine), it is important that students know how to access the services that are critical to their success. 

Cabinet members will be reaching out to the department heads of student-facing areas to learn more about each area’s plans for serving our students during the semester. We will compile this information and make it available to campus community members. Please consider the following:

  • Return to campus safely. Some level of presence in the office on designated hours or days each week will be critical for our students’ success, especially those living on campus. Working within public health guidelines, an in-person presence could be accomplished by rotating the days or times that staff members are in the office and modifying the office as needed to support physical distancing. Please consult Facilities Services for assistance with items such as additional plexiglass dividers, disinfecting wipes, furniture placement, or other prevention measures. Note that beginning with the spring semester, masks are required both indoors and outdoors on campus. Anyone who increases their presence on campus during the spring semester will need to make sure that they are being tested on the appropriate schedule.
  • Let students know how to work with or contact offices. Department heads will be provided with a template to fill out and place on the outward-facing door of their areas. This template includes the hours during which the office is accessible and by what method: phone, email, website, in-person, and/or in-person by appointment. Using this template university-wide will help ensure that students have the information they need should they visit offices during a time when offices are not physically staffed. Please be sure to include this information on office web pages, as well.

Please look for more information from your area vice president or respective department heads as we work together to ensure a successful spring semester.

Be well,

Laura and Sherry

Laura L. Behling, Ph.D. | Provost
Sherry B. Mondou | Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer