BLUEFIELD, WV (WOAY) – Yesterday, Governor Jim Justice announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in West Virginia. As the situation evolved rapidly, nationwide, we knew it was just a matter of time before this virus infected the Mountain State.
Consequently, it’s important that Bluefield State intensify its efforts to reduce the spread of the coronavirus by aggressively taking measures necessary to reduce the risk.
Therefore, today, we announce the following actions focused on reducing, immediately, the density of personnel on both the Bluefield and Beckley campuses and minimizing personal transactions and interactions that could facilitate the transmission of the virus.
- All academic and administrative units shall create remote work plans that identify any and all faculty, staff, administrators and student workers who can perform all or a portion of their work remotely and begin to transition such employees to a remote work environment beginning Monday, March 23, 2020 and until further notice. Each department head shall be responsible for the execution of such a plan and accountable for maintaining departmental productivity during this period.
- If there are employees whose work is not critical at this time but whose duties may be difficult to complete in a remote environment, the Office of Human Resources is directed to provide department heads with guidelines and suggestions for providing meaningful remote work including professional development activities to employees in such situations. We encourage all department heads to work with employees to ensure they are in fact performing meaningful work while achieving reduced workforce density on our campuses.
- The Provost shall create and effectuate a plan to transition all classes to online delivery for the balance of the current semester while allowing for exceptions in instances in which the integrity of the instruction would be compromised.
- Employees who must remain on campus to perform critical functions shall be advised to avoid close contact. This includes eliminating or dramatically reducing face-to-face meetings through the use of available technology resources including online collaboration tools. The Chief Technology Officer shall provide training and guidance on remote work technology where needed and facilitate the use of such resources.
- Effective immediately, the College shall restrict access and use of all campus buildings to faculty, staff, administrators and students and shall be closed to the general public. In addition, the Chief Financial Officer shall consult with all department heads in order to identify facilities and offices that can and should be closed in order to reduce the density of our workforce during this period. Those recommendations should be presented to the Office of the President as soon as possible but no later than 4:00 p.m., Friday, March 20, 2020.
All department heads are hereby ordered to immediately communicate these directives to your respective departments and effectuate these actions no later than 8:00 a.m., Monday, March 23, 2020.
Our purpose in taking these actions is to provide all employees of Bluefield State with the flexibility and support necessary to ensure we continue to have a healthy and productive workforce.
We would like to reassure the campus community that at this time no cases of coronavirus have been reported either on the Bluefield or Beckley campuses, and that, currently, we continue to believe the risk of transmission on our campuses is low. However, as we have seen in other states and on other campuses, it’s crucial that we take serious preventative measures in order to protect our faculty, staff and students as well as our community as the spread of COVID-19 continues throughout the United States.
On behalf of our Board of Governors, I’d like to offer our deepest appreciation to the entire campus community for your commitment and dedication to Bluefield State, your tireless effort, and your willingness to adapt to more flexible measures as we work together to respond to this historic challenge.
ROBIN C. CAPEHART
BLUEFIELD STATE COLLEGE