Return to Campus Phases

We believe students strongly prefer to return to campus for in-person instruction and administrative services. Moving instruction and administrative services online during the pandemic significantly affected the experience for our students and employees. Although Zoom and other virtual platforms were invaluable tools during the pandemic, employees' cohesion and the feeling of belonging to a workplace community are better experienced in an in-person setting. What was lost during the last year and several months cannot be restored without reestablishing the vibrancy of our community in an in-person setting.

Further, students and faculty will be returning to campus expecting the high level of in-person service and engagement that they received pre-pandemic, as vaccination rates increase and individuals resume their on-campus routines. Restoring these services, and the collegial and cohesive working community that Fordham University employees enjoyed before the pandemic are our primary goals as we return to on-campus operations.

We suggest a three-phase approach to assist divisions and schools as they develop their return-to-campus plans. As has been our practice, the University’s planning efforts are informed by the New York State Reopening Guidelines and we will continue to modify our procedures and policies as these guidelines are updated.

In addition to developing and implementing a phased return-to-campus plan, we encourage divisions and schools to engage in strategic visioning to leverage what we learned during the pandemic for the University’s academic and competitive advantage.

Phases of Return to Campus in 2021

NOTE: Phasing dates may vary slightly according to University and divisional operational needs and circumstances.

Phase 1: June 1, 2021 to July 6, 2021

  • Vaccines are now widely available and the University strongly expects all employees to get vaccinated.
  • Fordham University permits greater density in the buildings consistent with federal, state, and local health and safety protocols.
  • We will continue to require masks for unvaccinated employees in indoor public spaces.
  • Office and public space cleaning protocols permit safe use of these areas.
  • More employees are needed onsite to prepare for and to meet the needs of returning students. This might require employees working in the office on a rotating schedule with some employees coming into the office for part of the week, staggered start dates, flexible work schedules, and hybrid work schedules to meet operational needs.
  • Departmental operations during this phase should be clearly communicated to the Fordham community via website and any other reasonable means.
  • Permission to work hybrid/remotely during the phase-in period is granted at the discretion of the manager/supervisor with the concurrence of the vice president, keeping in mind the needs of the department/school as the primary consideration.
  • Employees may request consideration for a Reasonable Workplace Accommodation by contacting HR.
  • Each department should develop a plan for continuity of student services throughout the phasing process.

Phase 2: July 6, 2021 to August 16, 2021

  • Most employees work in-person most or all of the time.

  • Vaccines remain widely available, and all employees teaching and working in-person are required to be fully vaccinated by August 1, in anticipation of permanent U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of one or more of the currently available vaccines.

  • Health and safety guidelines permit increased capacity (some health limits may remain, such as mandatory masking for the unvaccinated).

Phase 3: August 16, 2021 to August 30, 2021

  • Full return to on-campus operations.
  • Departments should evaluate the implementation of Phases 1 and 2.
  • Managers/supervisors should make adjustments based on those evaluations to complete the departmental transition back to in-person operations.

Procedures for Hybrid/Remote Work Arrangements

  • Faculty arrangements are determined by the Office of the Provost and the relevant academic dean.
  • Vice Presidents/Provost or designee who wish to offer Hybrid/ Remote work arrangements to Union employees should contact HR as these arrangements are governed by various collective bargaining agreements.
  • Administrative staff are eligible to formally apply for a hybrid/remote work arrangement per University policy in Phase 3.
    • Permission to work in a hybrid mode can be granted at the discretion of managers/supervisors with the approval of the area Vice President or Provost (or designee).
    • Permission to work in a hybrid mode may be deferred for a period of time to assess the operational/academic needs of the division or school.
    • A fully remote work arrangement will be less common and requests will have additional approval steps.