March 16, 2020 COVID-19 SMPH Update

Dear colleagues,

The past week has brought a torrent of challenges to our institution as we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you for your commitment and partnership. Our dedication to our missions and our support of each other are sources of strength and inspiration.

To ensure that our connectivity remains strong despite the physical limitations presented by social distancing, I ask that every employee and every supervisor in SMPH work together to ensure that, by 8:00 am tomorrow (Tuesday), all supervisors have information on record about the best way to reach their team members remotely in real time. In most cases this will be as straightforward as telling your supervisor your preferred cell phone number, or using Cisco Jabber to forward campus VoIP calls to another phone number.

This is an essential step for telework readiness. As Chancellor Blank indicated in her message last night, we have been directed to reduce the amount of face to face contact by implementing the campus telecommuting policy. Supervisors should assess the best means of gathering contact information and staying in close communication with their team members as we all navigate the telework environment together.

This is an unprecedented time and will require new ways of approaching our work responsibilities. You may be asked to take on tasks in a manner that is unfamiliar or different, or to fill in for colleagues whose work has been heavily impacted by COVID-19 response planning. I have no doubt that we will all rise to the challenge and lend our complete commitment to the situation we face.

If telework is not a feasible option due to your personal responsibilities or health needs, you may use accumulated leave time. Please check with your supervisor and SMPH HR if you have questions about leave that is available to you. I also ask that supervisors work closely with team members to determine whether flexible, creative solutions can be identified for time management, such as shifting some portion of work to later in the day or evening if some daytime hours require attention to dependent care.

Health is at the center of all we do, and I am confident that we will find ways to continue our critical work while safeguarding public health as well as our own well-being. Thank you for your teamwork.




Robert N. Golden, MD
Robert Turell Professor in Medical Leadership
Dean, School of Medicine and Public Health
Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs
University of Wisconsin–Madison