Lamont Weekly Report, February 4, 2022

Hello Friends,  On this dreary day a few words about COVID across the university.  The good news is that the omicron wave has passed and positive testing rates are now under 2% across the University.  Our campus continues to have a remarkable safety record with respect to viral transmission.  The current university risk level is yellow, or LOW.  The deadline to upload your booster information has been extended to February 28th.  Indoor masking is still required (except in private offices or when eating or lecturing and one is able to maintain a 6-foot distance). On February 7, 2022, social gatherings will be allowed with no capacity restrictions.

Please keep in mind that we are still in a hybrid work mode, similar to last fall.  This is designed to allow flexibility for remote work for employees that are not student-facing and whose jobs can be carried out remotely.  This flexibility is especially important for parents of young children and others dealing with the ongoing challenges of the pandemic on everyday life and family health.  However, please note that the health risk of working on campus is very low and employees whose jobs require them to be on campus are expected to be here.  Our heroes from facilities have been on campus since the beginning of the pandemic.  Other groups in admin have defined schedules to keep occupancy rates low in shared offices while providing the flexibility mentioned above.  Leadership has worked with groups to try to ensure uniformity in expectations across divisions and 100% remote work is not the norm or expectation.  If you think these protocols are not being applied fairly and equitably, please reach out to the Directorate so we can gently investigate and intervene if necessary.

On the flip side, I walked down a major building corridor last week where, with the exception of one employee who doesn’t like working from home, every single office suite was dark and locked.  I could not help but feel sympathy for this lone ranger—they should not be in that position.  I’ll note that it has also been conveyed to me how much our campus lab managers (with limited ability to work remotely) appreciated it when people started spending more time on campus.  So—managers, advisors, members of the community—please be thoughtful in evaluating your work patterns versus actual health risks and recognize the ripple effects your choices have across our currently-not-so-vibrant campus (and cafeteria struggling to survive).

For more information, please consider joining the next Campus Update Forum for faculty, researchers and staff on Tuesday, Feb. 8, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. via Zoom.  You will get up-to-date information on COVID-19, plans for Spring 2022, and the campus work environment.  Register here.

I’ll end with a big shout-out to Bar Oryan who today successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis on “Long-term and short-term processes affecting inelastic deformation above subduction zone interfaces”.  Nice job Bar!  Post-graduation, Bar will be starting a postdoctoral position at École Normale Supérieure in Paris.  Paris in the spring!

Have a peaceful weekend.   Mo





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