In response to several school districts around the state temporarily closing or transferring to virtual instruction due to COVID-19, OU announced work flexibility measures Thursday to accommodate employees with school-age children.
OU Human Resources wrote in an email that supervisors may be flexible with their employees' schedules and work locations, including remote work, flexible hours or shift changes. Human Resources will continue allowing hybrid and remote work for staff required to quarantine due to exposure or the contraction of COVID-19. Arrangements can be made at the discretion of supervisors without HR approval in January.
This announcement follows the transition of eight Norman Public School sites to virtual learning Thursday and a district-wide closure Friday due to staffing absences brought on by the pandemic.
According to the The New York Times COVID-19 dashboard, Cleveland County has an average of 800 cases per day with a total of 5,602 active cases. On Jan. 12, the seven-day case average in Oklahoma was 7,185 cases.
According to the email, flexibility and patience are "crucial," and supervisors are strongly encouraged to support each employee's unique situation with "resources, solutions, understanding, and compassion."
OU's Employee Assistance Program is also available to employees who are navigating supporting their families and helping their children with online learning, according to the email. The program offers Work-Life Specialists that can assist in referring child care centers, in-home child care and other daycare services.
"While the goal is to help our parent employees, it is critically important to develop solutions that are effective, practical, continue to follow COVID-19 safe practices, and still allow the university to meet our academic, business, and operational needs,” the email read.