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Hello ACES Employees,

By now you have received the message from Chancellor Jones and Provost Cangellaris updating the status of COVID-19 and its impact on our work environments. The immediate goal is to minimize transmission of the virus by expanding social distances, which will require us to work together to reduce employee density in our work spaces. The following message relates to specific approaches that will be used to manage work-related issues for all ACES employees until further notice.

  1. Each leader is currently developing working plans customized for their unit that will be implemented by March 18th or sooner to protect the safety and well-being of employees. Units are in the process of identifying employees who can continue to report to their normal work locations, as well as those employees who can work remotely.

    Your unit leader/supervisor will be in contact with you as soon as decisions specific to the unit are made related to those employees who will continue to work at normal work location, as well as to discuss the logistics of supporting employees with working remotely where operationally feasible.

  2. Important Guidelines Related to Work Location, Duties and Benefit Use:

    1. Until further notice, everyone on the university’s payroll is expected to work. Normal vacation and sick leave approval procedures will continue. If Extra Help Academic Hourly and student/temporary employees do not want to work and the supervisor does not need them to work, those employees may choose to stop working.

    2. Employees may work at their normal work location with approval from their supervisor. Although the ultimate goal is to limit the number of people in our work environments, we realize that many work functions in ACES cannot be managed remotely. We have asked ACES unit leaders to thoughtfully scrutinize work location assignments with this in mind.

      Please note that that these guidelines do not require that essential employees perform all of their duties at their regular work location. Some of an essential employee’s work may be done remotely, as possible. These guidelines also do not prohibit employees assigned to remote work from, when needed, working at their regular work locations.

      When you are working at your normal work location, please implement social-distancing practices:

      1. Increasing physical space between workers at the worksite to an optimal of 6 feet.

      2. Decreasing social contacts in the workplace (e.g., limit in-person meetings, avoid gathering for lunch in a break room, etc.).

    3. In consultation with your supervisor, employees should work remotely where operations permit. Employees should coordinate with unit and/or college IT professionals as directed to get the support and equipment needed to work remotely. Please execute the remote work location change first to support timeliness if necessary and then complete the equipment loan agreement that will soon be made available by the university.

    4. If the necessary accommodations cannot be made to support remote work, the employee may work on campus. Guidance issued by Illinois Human Resources on March 14 states: “If there is no way to provide equipment or access, those employees should work at their normal work location.”

    5. Alternative work duties may be assigned to an employee so they can work from home.

    6. If you are unable to work your regularly scheduled hours, please work with your supervisor to create alternative work schedules. Examples:

      1. Start the work day earlier or later (e.g. use a flex schedule) to break up your schedule throughout the day as needed.

      2. Shift work weeks to allow work on weekends.

      3. Request make-up time (e.g. working longer on one day and shorter on another within the same week).

    7. Employees who are required to observe a mandatory quarantine will be compensated without having to use accrued benefits.

    8. Employees taking time off because they are sick must use accrued leave benefits regardless of work location assignment. If you take time off because you are sick while working remotely, you must use accrued leave until a healthcare provider has released you to return to remote work.

    9. If you are not sick but choose to not work remotely if directed to do so, you may utilize your vacation days during this period.

    10. For employees who are short of sick or vacation time during the remote work period, concerns will be addressed on a case-by-case basis. If you have questions, please contact Joe Bohn (217-333-9511; jbohn@illinois.edu) for discussion.

For further detail, please see University of Illinois COVID-19 Response:  Remote Working Protocol

The guidelines framed above may change as the university provides additional guidance. Please continue to visit covid19.illinois.edu and aces.illinois.edu/aces-and-covid-19 for detailed information and updates.

I ask that each of us do our best to support ACES, the University and our communities during this challenging time by embracing the precautionary measures that are being widely implemented to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Although we are facing an unprecedented situation, this disruption may provide opportunities for us to explore options for executing work duties and/or delivering outcomes that we have not considered before. I encourage you to be creative in ways that will help us innovate forward.

I appreciate your patience, perseverance and commitment as we continue to adaptively manage forward to make our best efforts to protect our students, staff and faculty, while supporting the amazing work that we do in ACES.

With gratitude,



Read Chancellor Robert J. Jones MASSMAIL - COVID-19: Remote work information

COVID-19 Response:  Remote Working Protocol