March 12, 2020

Dear CGU Colleagues,

In response to the rapid progression of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic nationally and globally, CGU is adopting additional precautionary measures. Although no coronavirus cases have been reported in Claremont, government officials are predicting that the virus will continue to spread. As such, the chances of the infection reaching our campus will only increase over the next several weeks.

Business Operations
CGU will stay open and will continue to support the academic mission by ensuring the ongoing function of all offices and operations. Any employee who is ill should stay home. Otherwise, employees should report to work as usual unless instructed otherwise by their supervisor.  Employees who exhibit symptoms of a flu-like illness may be asked to return home by their supervisor.

We have developed an emergency telecommuting policy (posted in PolicyStat) that CGU may activate in coming weeks after we’ve made the transition to remote learning. Of course, for a variety of reasons some employees can only perform their functions on site. To promote public health, the goal would be to reduce the number of employees working on campus while maintaining operations. Human Resources will be contacting all supervisors about an upcoming meeting to discuss the emergency telecommuting policy and guidelines.

Employees with Existing Health Conditions
CGU employees who have a doctor’s note for existing health conditions that place them in a high-risk group for COVID-19 are advised to consult with their supervisors and the Human Resource department on available work accommodations.

Additional Cleaning and Sanitation
In response to COVID-19, our Facilities team continues to implement best practices for cleaning and sanitation in line with CDC, local Health Department(s), and Sodexo Safety & Health to reduce exposure throughout campus, including:

  • Provision of increased sanitizer stations throughout campus.
  • Conversion of existing soap dispensers to “EcoLab” soap dispensers w/sanitizing agent.
  • Our custodial department has increased frequency in wiping down handles, doorknobs, and countertops throughout campus as an additional measure.
  • Circulating safety and health informational flyers throughout campus to combat COVID-19 exposure.

Public Events
CGU has canceled all non-essential events with more than 100 participants until further notice. All events, regardless of attendee numbers, are being reviewed and may be canceled or postponed. CGU will announce plans for Commencement in early April.

Travel Restrictions Update
Last week, CGU announced that we would not sponsor or reimburse travel to countries designated at a U.S. State Department level two or higher travel advisory for coronavirus risk. Given the heightened risk, we have now discontinued support for all other non-essential travel for faculty and staff, whether that travel is domestic or international, through May 1, 2020. This supports social distancing and reduces CGU’s contribution to the potential spread of infection to other areas, in support of global public health. We realize the impacts may include canceled trips, the window of time that research can be done, and for some researchers, the contractual obligation to complete projects involving international travel. To mitigate the above, an exception may be granted by a member of the executive cabinet.

We urge all members of our community to consider the potential consequences of personal travel, including:

  • Airlines may cancel/limit flights in or out of a country or region.
  • The U.S. and other countries may apply additional quarantine measures.
  • Countries you visit may decide to implement travel restrictions with very little notice, impacting your ability to return
  • Re-entry to the U.S. could be restricted.
  • Before your return to campus, CDC guidelines may require you to self-isolate depending on your travel.
  • International students and foreign nationals should check their immigration documents before leaving the U.S. If you are unable to return to the U.S. for the start of the semester, your visa status may be impacted.

We encourage anyone who is planning travel to register it with the university. This will allow CGU to contact you in the event of a significant emergency or changing circumstances related to your travel destination.

Reimbursement for Canceled Travel
CGU faculty, staff, or students who were approved for travel through a Workday spend authorization and have had to cancel travel due to the COVID-19 outbreak may still be eligible to receive reimbursement from CGU. In this case, we are making an exception to the policy of only reimbursing for travel after travel has been completed. Even if vouchers are obtained, reimbursements will be issued immediately, and not when voucher travel is completed.

CGU requires the following documentation:

  1. Confirmations and payment receipts from airlines or hotels showing (1) price paid; (2) dates of air travel and/or lodging; (3) date payment was made.
  2. Copy of airline or hotel policy stating that the airline tickets and/or lodging accommodations are nonrefundable and non-modifiable.
  3. Documentation of efforts to obtain refunds or modifications (e.g., vouchers, etc.). NOTE: many airlines have changed their policies concerning nonrefundable tickets for travel cancellations related to COVID-19. Please make every effort to contact the airlines to obtain either a refund or a voucher for future travel. Any vouchers issued to individuals must be used for future travel on CGU business. CGU can and will only reimburse for travel arrangements that clearly cannot be refunded or modified for future use.

Circumstances continue to evolve, and like many higher education institutions, we are making the best possible decisions based on the information available. Please know that we are approaching these decisions deliberately, based on the latest information from local, state, and national public health agencies. We are also consulting with experts in epidemiology and our colleagues at other institutions of higher education who are grappling with similar uncertainty.

We understand the anxiety many are experiencing as a result of recent events. We will continue to follow the guidance of public health professionals and to provide updates as more information becomes available. Thank you for your patience and flexibility as we navigate this complex and evolving situation together.