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Columbus State University

July 9th, 2020 - Message from President Markwood

Good afternoon,

As we continue to navigate the constantly changing guidelines, directives, and expectations, now is a good time to emphasize some of the most vital of these affecting our Return-to-Campus Plan. If this information is a repeat to you, that’s a good sign because it means we are effectively communicating with you. But, don’t be concerned if some of this information isn’t familiar — that’s understandable since we have all received a sometimes overwhelming amount of information. Our goal is to share as much information we can with you, as soon as possible, through various channels in our effort to keep you informed.

Earlier this week, we shared the updated CDC At-Risk Guidance for evaluating requests for alternate work requirements. As part of this update, we asked that you submit your accommodations request form to Venus Frank and Carole Clerie in our Human Resources Department by this Friday, July 10. We understand some may need more time, and that is ok. The earlier we receive your physician-documented request, the sooner our team can work out the details to address your specific needs.

If you believe you qualify for and need accommodations, you may initiate a request at any time at USG Reasonable Accommodations Request Form. From that point forward, HR's role is to facilitate the interactive dialogue process between you and your supervisor in order to ensure compliance with ADA regulations and any other relevant laws and policies.

Our Return-to-Campus Workgroups are working diligently to plan for us to come back to our campus in the safest environment possible. Based on current guidelines from the CDC and the USG, we have adjusted our start date for Stage 2 of our Return-to-Campus Plan to July 20.

In preparation for our physical return to campus, our University Support Services team has worked tirelessly to make our campus as safe as possible. Over the summer, the team has thoroughly cleaned and sanitized all buildings, classrooms, labs, and common areas on both campuses. I think the campus is as clean as it has been since the buildings were first opened!

The USS team has also installed temperature scanners, infrared thermometers, and additional safety equipment to prepare our campus to be a safe and productive educational environment. If you have a moment to express your appreciation to those who have been on campus these past few months preparing it for your return, I know it would mean a lot.

As a reminder, the university will be providing every faculty, staff, and student several CSU-branded masks. With the new face covering mandate, we will expect everyone to join in the effort to stop the spread by cooperating with the requirement. Offices and units should NOT purchase these items separately as we have negotiated with a supplier.

The updates to our plans are being adjusted almost daily, so for the latest, please visit our webpage, https://www.columbusstate.edu/covid-response/. The site includes information for faculty, staff, and students, as well as a section containing your most frequently asked questions. If you don’t see a question you want answered, please submit it through our portal at https://columbusstate.formstack.com/forms/returning_to_campus_ideas_and_questions.

As I continue to discuss the impact of this pandemic with you through various campus community meetings, I am hearing questions and concerns from you on various issues. This communication process has also been inspiring, because in addition to the concerns being discussed, I continue to be inspired by the innovative ideas being proposed to address new challenges before us.

I know this has been a frustrating, emotional, and stressful time for all of us, but I also know the key to our successful management of this crisis is all of us, working together, for our university’s safety and prosperity.

Thanks again for all you do for our students, our community, and for each other.

President Chris Markwood