Gradual reopening of AU: How is this unfolding in the administration?

Last week, with the permission of the ministry, we were able to start a partial, limited reopening of some of the research laboratories at AU. And the senior management team is engaged in ongoing dialogue with the ministry about how the next phases of the reopening of the university are to proceed.

2020.04.28 | Arnold Boon

In this month's blog, I would like to share my preliminary thoughts on how I anticipate that the reopening will take place for technical and administrative staff at AU.

However, I would like to emphasise from the outset that, at the moment, all I know for certain is that until further notice, all employees – with the exception of the limited number of researchers and technical staff involved in the partial reopening of the labs – are to work at home through 10 May.

As things stand, I think it’s unlikely that all administrative employees will be coming back to work on campus on 11 May. Instead, I anticipate a gradual, phased return, coordinated with the needs that arise in connection with the resumption of on-site research and teaching activities.

Some of the administrative employees who will be – and have been – needed perform essential support functions. For example, the buildings researchers now have access to again need cleaning. 

But generally speaking, it will continue to be possible to perform most administrative tasks remotely as long as required and necessary.

When we’re given the green light to start opening up even more, we will prioritise bringing certain functions back on campus first. For example the major task of rescheduling and reorganising exams. This is a job that requires so much coordination that it needs to take place on campus if at all possible.

There are also a variety of specific functions in finance, HR, IT and FER that are best performed on site. As the reopening proceeds, the senior management will carefully prioritise the order in which the employees who handle these functions can return to campus.

I also anticipate that the administration's gradual return will take place one team or project group at a time. The senior management team will also be looking at whether working in shifts will be feasible: for example, some teams could come to work on campus on Tuesdays and Thursdays, while others work Monday - Wednesday - Friday.

Finally, I’d like to stress that of course, we won’t be returning to campus until the ministry has authorised us to do so. It’s unclear how the coronavirus outbreak will develop over the coming weeks, so we’re in regular contact with the ministry to discuss when it will be safe to return to campus.

If you have any questions about the situation, you are always welcome to contact your immediate supervisor – and remember to check the university’s coronavirus website regularly for the latest news.

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