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Update for Staff: Coronavirus - March 16, 2020

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Jeremy Haefner

News  •

Dear DU Staff Members,

I want to thank each of you, deeply, for your tireless commitment to DU, to our students and to one another, during these very trying times. I know that we are all confronting new and unexpected challenges brought on by the Coronavirus on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis, in both our professional and our personal lives. I appreciate and admire the courage and resilience you have demonstrated as we navigate these very challenging circumstances.

Often the messages we send are not directed sufficiently to staff. This message is intended to be just for our staff.  As we continue to experience the rapid escalation of this international health emergency, I write today to update my guidance for how the University will respond, particularly related to staff issues.

The campus remains open with many accommodations and precautions

The University of Denver must remain open in order to provide critical services to our students, many of whom will continue residing in our residence halls. Following consistent and serious social distancing protocols will be necessary. 

Working remotely strongly encouraged

The news is coming at us fast and furiously. Over the weekend there was a state of national emergency declared; an advisory from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment advising all visitors and residents of Eagle, Summit, Pitkin, and Gunnison counties to minimize social contact; and though not specifically for universities, an update from the CDC to limit gatherings to no more than 50 people for the next 8 weeks. Given all of this, and the desire to keep our own community, and the broader public safe, the University is updating its guidance to ask supervisors, wherever possible, to strongly encourage staff to work remotely. 

For those offices that continue to offer necessary, ongoing services, in particular to students who remain on campus, one option for managers to consider while providing essential services is staggered schedules. This would permit greater flexibility and minimize required time in the office. I strongly support this approach. If you would like more information, please contact your HR Partner.

Meetings should be conducted via Zoom as much as possible. For any meetings that must take place in person, meeting rooms must take into account recommended social distancing protocols.

Remote access changes and closure of Ritchie Center

Effective on Tuesday, March 17, the University will adjust building access. Because we anticipate significantly fewer staff on campus, exterior doors will be locked.  Faculty, staff and students may access facilities with a valid ID card. If you do not have your ID card, please visit the card office in South Driscoll.

In the best interests of decreasing the probability of spreading COVID-19, we will close the Ritchie Center starting Tuesday, March 17 through the end of spring break. We will make a decision about when to reopen at a later time.

Employees will receive regular paychecks between now and March 29

The University has committed that between now and the end of the next pay period, which is March 29, we will ensure that no employee will go without their regular paycheck. We will also continue to monitor federal and state legislation related to emergency relief for workers. Monthly exempt employees will receive their regular pay.

Here is some updated information that will be added to our FAQs on DU’s COVID-19 website:

What is the plan for paying benefited employees who are unable to work due to COVID-19?

We will continue our current pay and time recording process—employees must first exhaust and record paid sick and vacation time before going on a paid administrative leave status. Shared Services will provide a code for use once sick and vacation leave are exhausted. Union employees, please contact your HR Partner

What is the plan for paying non-benefited employees who are unable to work due to COVID-19?

If a non-benefited employee is scheduled to work in the next pay period, which starts on March 16, and is unable to work due to a COVID-19 related reason, their supervisor will complete the employee’s timecard as if the employee had actually worked those planned hours. Please note that these hours do not count toward overtime calculation. Non-benefited employees who were not scheduled to work during this time will not receive pay. Examples of COVID-19 related reasons might include a child’s school closure or the cancellation of an event.

Does this apply to grant-funded employees?


Does this apply to work-study students?


 Does this apply to student workers?

Yes, student workers who do not have a work-study award will be treated as any other non-benefited employee during this period.

If you still have questions about leave, please contact

What if a family member or someone employees have been in close contact with has been diagnosed or is presently quarantined because of COVID-19?

Employees who have been exposed to a family member or a close contact who is presently quarantined or has been diagnosed with COVID-19 must self-quarantine for 14 days following their last exposure to the ill family member or close contact. 

They should closely monitor for any symptoms of COVID-19. Symptoms appear two to 14 days after exposure and may include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Of course, staff should contact their health care provider directly, and inform their supervisor immediately. We are asking that employees contact if they have a diagnosis or if a family member has a diagnosis and they need to quarantine. 

Please continue to check the COVID-19 website. We are updating the FAQ frequently.

Thank you again for your dedication to DU. Take good care of yourselves, your friends and your families.


Jeremy Haefner