Dear Colleagues,

We know that as summer approaches there are many questions about what work will look like as we prepare for the resumption of operations for Fall 2021. We hope the following information is helpful as you plan for the transition back to campus. 

Transitioning back to campus

We want to acknowledge that many of our colleagues have been working on campus throughout the pandemic teaching and supporting our students and keeping our buildings and technology running. As mentioned in Pres. Thorsett’s March 31 Words from Waller, we expect that by summer, all departments and offices will return to in-person operations. Willamette’s recently-announced COVID-19 vaccine requirement enhances our ability to return to a more vibrant campus experience while protecting the health and safety of our community. 

While we look forward to returning to regular campus operations, we understand that  employees may need time to coordinate before making the full transition back to work. We are planning for a phased return to full in-person operations for staff starting from Monday, May 24, through Monday, August 2, 2021. Division leaders will determine specific return dates for their employees which will be dictated by department and institutional operational needs, but we will expect all staff to return to work by August 2.

Faculty will be expected to return to campus as specified in faculty contracts. 

Vaccination requirement

As noted in our message to you last month, all students, faculty, and staff will be expected to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Any vaccine authorized for use in the U.S. is acceptable. 

We will follow the CDC guidance in defining who is considered fully-vaccinated against COVID-19. The day of your final dose is Day Zero. 14 days after that, you are considered fully vaccinated.   

Faculty and staff are required to provide confirmation of vaccination by July 19, to ensure employees are fully vaccinated by August 2, 2021. Confirmation of vaccination should be entered in Workday, including the brand of vaccine and vaccine administration dates. The process of entering vaccine confirmation takes just a few minutes. Follow the steps outlined in this Job Aid for Workday.

Exemptions can be requested for medical reasons, which requires a certification from a healthcare provider, or non-medical reasons (e.g., religious accommodations). Faculty and staff seeking an exemption must submit requests on or before June 15, 2021. To request an exemption, please visit the HR website

More information about Willamette’s vaccine requirement can be found in these FAQs

Continued mitigation measures

Over the past several weeks, ROC and the leadership team have been discussing the university’s needs as we move toward an in-person fall semester. Given the current public health landscape, current federal, state, and regional guidelines on mask requirements and other safety measures will remain in effect. We do not know what mitigation measures, including social distancing in the classrooms, will be required in the fall but we will update and communicate any changes to guidelines as we get more information from the CDC and the Oregon Health Authority as the summer progresses.

Flexible work policies for staff

The past year has taught us a lot about the benefits and challenges of remote work. Division leadership has been considering allowing for some remote work days, where appropriate, for staff who have job duties that allow them to successfully work from home as we transition back to in-person operations. More information will be shared by division leaders in the coming weeks. 

Summer Hours

Finally, we are pleased to announce that, starting on Monday, May 17, Willamette University will start summer hours for university offices. Offices will close for business at 4:30 p.m. instead of at 5 p.m. Regular office hours resume on Monday, August 16.

Although we were able to make the transition to remote and hybrid learning out of necessity, the pandemic has reinforced to us the value of face-to-face interaction and that being in-person enhances the student experience and learning environment. We are excited to see our campus energized and full of life again and look forward to seeing everyone soon.