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Information for Faculty and Staff

Updated June 4, 2020

We know this is a time of uncertainty and anxiety, and that faculty and staff may have many questions. This page offers the latest guidance and information. Thank you to everyone working around the clock to keep our community safe.


Here’s the latest information


Financial matters

Further efforts to strengthen financial stability

In a June 4 message to faculty and staff, University leaders provided an update on University finances. “As you know, this ongoing crisis has had significant negative effects on the University’s finances. We have already taken steps to mitigate our current and projected budget shortfalls in many areas–tuition, fundraising, and clinical care, to name a few. But we have recently determined that the actions we have taken thus far will not be enough. And so, with deep regret, we have decided that effective July 1, and continuing with quarterly reviews through the fiscal year, we are planning to reduce–but not eliminate–the contributions the University makes to employee retirement accounts.”

Employee parking

Rates will remain flat during the next fiscal year (FY 21) for all faculty and staff. Parking registration for FY21 will be suspended and all active permits in FY20 will remain active in FY21.

Fees for fully furloughed employees have been suspended until they return to work, and for those individuals partially furloughed, the University will waive one month’s worth of parking fees. Employees who normally pay for their permits by payroll deduction will see adjustments made in their paychecks during June or July. Those who do not use a deduction should call the Department of Transportation and Parking Management (DTPM) at (585) 275-4524. A FAQ is available on the DTPM website if you have additional questions.

Vacation policy: Updates on accruals

In light of work disruptions caused by the crisis, the University wants to ensure that faculty and staff maintain access to earned vacation time so that it is available when they are able to use it. The following changes have been made to the accrual policy:

  • At the beginning of the first full pay period on January 1, 2021, a maximum of one and a half year’s (1.5 year’s) accrual may be carried forward. During the year, vacation accruals will continue.
  • At the beginning of the first full pay period on January 1, 2022, a maximum of one and a quarter year’s (1.25 year’s) accrual may be carried forward.  During the year, vacation accruals will continue.
  • At the beginning of the first full pay period on January 1, 2023, the University will return to the standing policy which allows for a maximum of one year’s accrual to be carried forward.

Temporary furlough program

In recent messages to the University community, President Mangelsdorf and senior leaders announced steps the University will take to address financial challenges during the coronavirus pandemic:

Temporary furlough program: A message to employees at the Medical Center and a message to non-Medical Center faculty and staff outline plans for a temporary furlough program that began May 10. The University hopes to conclude the furlough period by August 31, but ability to predict its duration is limited because of the continued uncertain course of the disease and its financial impacts, as well as of the state and county mandates to reopen our economy more fully. As a result, the furlough period may be reduced or extended.

If you have questions about furloughs, view this FAQ for answers.

Hiring and overtime: The University has implemented a freeze on hiring for all open positions and replacement staff positions until further notice, unless an offer was extended to a candidate as of March 20, 2020. Any exceptions must be approved by senior leadership who report directly to the President. During this time, no new faculty recruitment should begin unless essential to operations and approved by senior leadership. Additionally, all overtime in non-clinical areas should be kept to a minimum and will require approval by senior leadership.

Merit program: The University will not provide merit increases to faculty or staff for fiscal year 2021.

Senior leadership compensation: Beginning May 1, the President’s Senior Leadership Group and Cabinet, plus a group of the senior leaders at the Medical Center will take salary reductions of up to 18 percent, with the highest wage earners taking the greatest reductions.

Wage compression program: The University will delay the planned wage compression program for employees affected by the increase in the minimum wage.

Paper paycheck distribution

Employees who receive paper paychecks will have their checks mailed via the US Postal Service to their address as provided in HRMS. Checks will no longer be sent to departments for distribution, nor will departments be able to pick up their department paper paycheck envelopes at the Payroll Office. This change also applies to fellowship/assistantship recipients who receive paper checks from the Payroll Office as part of the semi-monthly payroll process. See further details and learn more. Contact the Payroll Office with questions at payroll@rochester.edu or (585) 275-2040.

If you are receiving a paper paycheck, you should:

Absence due to quarantine

The University has revised Policy 324: Reassignment/Absence due to Contagion to extend coverage for the COVID-19 pandemic. The revised policy now applies to all faculty and staff across the University and grants full pay for up to 14 days to employees who have been placed under voluntary or involuntary quarantine by the Department of Public Health. This policy aligns with Center for Disease Control guidelines.

Have questions about financial impact and furloughs? View this FAQ for answers.


Human Resources and administrative updates

Face masks for employees

In response to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order requiring everyone in New York State to wear a mask or face covering when out in public, the University has issued guidance and resources for employees who work at the University’s non-Medical Center campuses.

All employees currently working at the River Campus, the Eastman School of Music campus, South Campus, and other non-Medical Center locations are required to wear a face mask when out in public or when social distancing is not possible.

Employees, including student employees, can get masks from their department heads or managers. If you’re an employee on campus who needs a face mask outside of these resources, or a manager who needs to order masks for your employees, contact Auxiliary Operations.

Temporary, contract, and TAR staff

Until further notice, all work being performed by temporary, contract, and time-as-reported (TAR) staff should be reviewed to determine if that work can now be done by an available University employee who is not actively working remotely and able to assist. Human Resources recommends ending all temporary, contract, and TAR employment immediately unless the position is considered essential and cannot be done by a current University employee. Please contact your HR Business Partner with any questions related to these categories of employees.

Payroll and Tax Compliance Office

  • The Payroll Office will not accept any in-person visitors at 175 Corporate Woods, Suite 100. The fastest way to have your question or concern addressed is via email to payroll@rochester.edu. Inquiries regarding paperwork and tax forms for international students and scholars should be sent to glacier@rochester.edu. Contacts for specific issues are listed here. Emails will be reviewed during normal office hours. You may still call the main payroll office at (585) 275-2040 but may need to leave a voicemail.
  • All paper checks will be mailed to your address in HRMS. Visit the payroll website for steps you can take now if you receive paper checks.
  • For updates regarding signatures on payroll forms, receiving and processing 220, 800, W-4, and IT2104 forms, Glacier tax compliance forms and documents, and non-NY Sales Tax Exempt Certificates and Form W-9 requests, visit the payroll website.

Changes to new employee orientation

Instead of in-person new employee orientation class at the Staybridge Suites, new hires will be notified by their HR Liaison to report directly to the department on their start date. Hiring managers will receive a weekly email message providing important “to-dos” for the new employee’s first day, including the completion of their MyPath assignments. Please contact Jenny Argentieri with any questions.

Timecards and HR forms

All Strong Staffing timecards should be sent via email to SStafftimecards@hr.rochester.edu (also on global listing as HR Strong Staffing) rather than via fax.

Please send all forms to the HRSC Data Team via email to hrscreqs-changeforms@ur.rochester.edu rather than via fax or interoffice mail.

New process for Accounts Payable and Leave Administration

With more staff working remotely, some departments are changing their processes to make things easier for all involved.


Remote work guidance

The Finger Lakes Region is now in Phase 2 of New York State’s regional reopening plan.

The Coronavirus University Restart Team (CURT) is continuing to recommend remote work status throughout Phase 2. However, if business needs require it, and with approval of their supervisor and HR Business Partner, employees may return to work in their offices, as long as their building is accessible and appropriate physical distancing rules are in place and can be maintained, including the wearing of face masks. Additionally, if there are impediments to employees continuing their remote working arrangement, they should contact their supervisor for instructions about returning to the office.

If returning, employees should screen themselves using Dr. Chat Bot prior to coming to campus, and should clean their work area before starting work and before they leave.

The CURT and senior leadership closely monitor government guidance that informs this decision-making and are committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of University community members.

Essential staff in areas including public safety, facilities, dining services, residential life, and in some research facilities who are responsible for continuing operations at the University may be working on campus.

The status of remote working will be re-evaluated and communicated when the Finger Lakes Region advances to a new phase.

Have questions about working remotely? View this FAQ for answers.


Technology tips and support

Practice safe ‘Zooming’

As the video conferencing and online meeting platform Zoom becomes more popular for bringing people together online, it can also bring out hackers and other bad actors who want to crash the party … or the classroom. “Zoombombing” occurs when someone uses a publicly available Zoom link or meeting ID to take over the screen or online chat and then blast everyone with inappropriate or offensive material. There are steps you can take to avoid this:

  • Change your screen sharing setting to “host only,” especially for large, publicly promoted events.
  • Do not use your Personal Meeting ID for public or promoted events; your personal meeting is better for small or one-on-one sessions.
  • And once everyone has arrived, you can lock your meeting to latecomers.
  • University IT has created a guide for “Privacy in Zoom,” focusing on online classes, and Zoom has also written a post to describe the steps you can take.

How to look and sound your best on video and on Zoom

Follow these tips from Matt Mann, video producer with University Communications.

Session on ‘Moving from Disruption to Online Teaching’

The latest in the Online Teaching and Learning Workshop series covers misperceptions about online learning, online learning research, designing instruction, the online course template, a faculty guest, and the Advanced Series in Online Teaching for faculty. Sessions take place via Zoom on Thursday, April 16, from noon to 1 p.m., and Monday, April 20, from 10 to 11 a.m. Register in advance.

Show your Rochester pride with these Zoom backgrounds

Bring a little Rochester to your Zoom meetings: Spruce up your next virtual class or meeting in Zoom with a spiffy new background image. Options include campus scenery, Rochester logos, and more. Get instructions on how to set a Zoom background up and download your favorite.

New VPN services

With so many faculty, staff, and students working remotely, the University has enabled new VPN (virtual private network) services for both Medical Center and non-Medical Center users to help with congestion. VPN is used to access restricted University resources from off-campus locations through a secured internet connection. Anyone who needs general access into the University can now take advantage of these new systems for VPN access.

  • Non-Medical Center users, please use vpnconnect.rochester.edu, unless you have requested a reserved IP address for specific firewall access and services. If you have any issues with the new service, contact the University IT Help Desk at (585) 275-2000.
  • For Medical Center users, contact the ISD Help Desk at (585) 275-3200 for assistance with setting up or accessing VPN.

How to enroll in Duo

The University uses Duo for its two-factor authentication process, adding a second layer of security to your online accounts and preventing anyone but you from logging in, even if they know your password. You must enroll in Duo to use many important University systems from outside the University network, including HRMS, VPN, UR Student, UR Financials, URMC Remote Access Systems, and others. Some systems—such as Blackboard and Zoom—do not require Duo.

You must be on the University network in order to enroll yourself in Duo. But what if you’re working remotely or have never used Duo before? If you need Duo but are not on the University network because you are working remotely, please call University IT at (585) 275-2000, click option 2, and they will get you set up, or the Medical Center’s ISD Help Desk at (585) 275-3200.

Online learning and instruction

If you are an instructor teaching remotely, visit this online guide to become acquainted with alternatives to face-to-face instruction and find out how to troubleshoot and report technical issues.

Instructors can learn more about how to pre-record lectures to make them available to students on Blackboard for later viewing. This reduces the demand on technology to seamlessly deliver real-time instruction. See the tutorial and handout How do I Pre-Record Lectures for my Students?

River Campus Libraries also has an abundance of expertise and services that can support online teaching and learning, and the needs of on-campus students and faculty.

Phishing email scams

There are several reports of phishing emails circulating the University community. Be sure to look closely at all emails and addresses that appear in your inbox and never provide personal information or click on any links or attachments if the sender is unknown.

If you receive a suspicious email, please forward it to abuse@rochester.edu. For more information on phishing and examples of fake emails, visit University IT’s Phishing Education page.

Get help from University IT

If you need assistance, contact your IT support person. If you don’t know who your IT support person is, you can get help by contacting:

University Help Desk:
univithelp@rochester.edu
(585) 275-2000

URMC ISD Help Desk:
helpdeskISD@urmc.rochester.edu
(585) 275-3200


Wellness and support

Hotline for faculty, staff, and families

An Emotional Support/Resources Hotline is available to help faculty, staff, and their families navigate these challenging times. All University faculty and staff, affiliated hospital staff, and all family members can access this free, anonymous, and confidential service by calling (585) 276-3100. The line is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and is staffed by volunteer clinicians from URMC. Volunteers can provide guidance and support on a wide range of personal and professional concerns, including:

  • Anxiety and stress management
  • Housing
  • Finances
  • Food needs
  • Child care

They can also connect you and your family with a variety of helpful resources. You will not be asked to give your name unless you wish to do so, and no information about your call will be shared with anyone.  Please note that this is not a mental health crisis line; if you need mental health crisis support, please call (585) 275-​8686.

Ombuds Services: Resolving disputes or conflicts

The ombudspeople (or ombuds) continue to serve as a neutral resource, providing confidential and informal assistance to members of the campus community who need help with resolving University-related disputes or conflicts. Students, faculty, trainees, and staff should contact the University Intercessors for assistance. Additional Ombuds support is available within AS&E for post-doctoral fellows, graduate students or faculty, and for post-doctoral fellows and graduate students in SMD.

Counseling and support for employees

Faculty and staff who need support coping with anxiety, fear, or stress—related to COVID-19 or any other issue—can find counseling and support resources through the Employee Assistance Program. Please reach out if you need support.

Health and counseling services through UHS

Need an appointment? Give University Health Services (UHS) and the University Counseling Center (UCC) a call.

UHS and UCC remain available to meet the health care needs of University students, employees, and other patients. In most cases, care is provided via telemedicine (with a computer) or telephone. Primary care and occupational health appointments in a UHS office are being scheduled when medically necessary. It is important to call before coming to UHS/UCC.

  • UHS Primary Care Services: (585) 275-2662
  • University Counseling Center: (585) 275-3113
  • Health Promotion Office: (585) 273-5775


Research labs and resources

Reopening research labs

A May 13 message announced that the University has received clarification from New York State about research activities during the phased re-start of business activity in the state. Research at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, other defense and national security related research, research in support of manufacturing, and labs focused on health-related research will be eligible for University-approved reopening as early as Monday, May 18.

While this does not include all research activity at the University, it is great news for university research as a whole. We will continue to advocate for the opening of additional areas of research as soon as possible and as allowed by New York State’s phased re-start.

All approved research activities must abide by strict social-distancing guidelines to limit any possibility of spreading COVID-19 within the research community. Guidelines for researchers in the School of Medicine and Dentistry and Arts, Sciences & Engineering have been distributed. It is expected that these restrictions will remain in place for the foreseeable future and any lifting of restrictions will not likely occur before a vaccine becomes widely available.

Research involving human subjects is also being reactivated in a phased approach. Research on human subjects under clinical care will begin in the near future while all other activity will resume by early June. There are also new guidelines for conducting research with human subjects, which include social distancing and masking, to ensure the safety of study subjects and researchers. It will be vital that we all continue to comply with social-distancing guidelines to protect the health and safety of all members of the University of Rochester research community, as well as the local community, and those who volunteer to participate in research studies here, at the University.

A resource for COVID-19 information for researchers and research administrators

The Office of Research and Project Administration has set up a dedicated page that includes the most up-to-date notices and guidance as the situation evolves.

In addition, laboratory research has been ramped down considerably, and guidelines may be updated on a frequent basis. Detailed information, applicable to all laboratory research at the University—both at the Medical Center and on the River Campus—can be found here. It is critical to pay attention to the instructions and social distancing in University research labs.

Special access to digital library resources

HathiTrust, a partnership of academic and research institutions, of which we are a part, offers a collection of millions of titles digitized from libraries around the world, has granted members of the University temporary access to all titles that are owned in print by the University, including copyrighted materials. This gives the Rochester community access to approximately one-third of Rochester’s print materials. To browse HathiTrust, simply log in with your University credentials. For additional free and extended-access materials, check this special LibGuide.


Travel restrictions

All international and domestic business travel is prohibited for faculty and staff and for campus visitors.

The University will not pay for or reimburse any University-related travel, either outbound by University faculty and staff, or inbound by visitors, by any transportation means until further notice. We continue to recommend making use of alternative virtual tools to conduct University business.

Those who feel they must travel should request an exception from their dean or unit director. Community members who may need reimbursement for travel or conference cancellations should consult these guidelines.

If you are on University-related travel, you can contact our travel assistance services provider Europ Assistance (240-330-1414) to assist in providing emergency travel arrangements.


Resources for families

Sign up for virtual music lessons: Whether you need help keeping your kids engaged with their musical instrument, or want to connect with an expert teacher and learn a new skill during downtime at home, Eastman Community Music School is open for new students to start virtual lessons. University faculty, staff, and their dependents receive a 25 percent tuition waiver for lessons at ECMS. The $15 registration fee can be waived for new students for the rest of the spring by using the discount code UR2020. Tuition is also prorated for lessons started now through the end of the semester on June 13.

Given recent developments around the COVID-19 virus, the TRANSFORM Research Center has put together a list of resources for parents and families.

Children’s Institute knows that children’s social and emotional health is greatly impacted by times of anxiety and the recent news about the COVID-19 outbreak is distressing to many. Please visit their website for resources and activities for children as well as other useful topics to help children and their families navigate through the current situation. Children’s Institute will be updating this page frequently as new information becomes available.

Employees are encouraged to visit the Family Care website to find helpful information on topics such as: talking with your children about coronavirus, tips on working from home, activities for different age groups, and more. “Beyond the Classroom” offers free information from KinderCare, the company that runs the University’s on-site day care center. Eligible employees can also find information on Care.com’s website by logging into their free membership through the Family Care site.


Visitors and guests

Campus Remains Closed: With the exception of University medical and clinical care facilities, the University continues to be closed to outside guests or visitors until further notice. While we pride ourselves on having an open campus, the benefits of social distancing are best realized when outside in-person contact is limited. There are those who must visit campus, for example vendors and service personnel, who are essential to campus operations, but these individuals must wear masks when in public spaces and maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet.


How you can help: Donations and more

The Medical Center continues to accept donations of supplies, food, and money as they work to meet the challenges of COVID-19. Here’s a reminder of additional ways you can lend a hand.

  • Donate a homemade face mask: In addition to requests for mask donations at the Medical Center, the River Campus and non-Medical Center locations are asking volunteers to sew and donate cloth masks that can be used by essential employees currently working on-site at University campuses. Find full details here.
  • Give blood: The American Red Cross is facing a severe blood shortage due to a huge number of blood drive cancellations in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Visit the University Calendar for a list of blood drives taking place at the Medical Center or view a list of local blood drives on the Red Cross website. Extra precautions are being taken to ensure donors and volunteers are healthy and following social distancing guidelines. Please schedule an appointment to donate instead of doing so via walk-in.
  • Donate to help students: The University has a special emergency fund for all students. This fund is actively being used today to help students but needs to be replenished in real-time in order to keep up this critical help.
  • Support URMC: To help UR Medicine meet the unprecedented challenges facing the Rochester community, the URMC COVID-19 Emergency Fund has been created. This fund will directly support care providers and patients, from providing essential medical supplies to constructing emergency care structures.
  • Stock the student Food Pantry: The Food Pantry on the River Campus continues to take donations through its Amazon Wishlist and Crowdfunding Page. High-need items include toiletries and food items that meet dietary restrictions, such as gluten-free items.
  • Volunteer: United Way of Greater Rochester also has a list of volunteer opportunities where you can help community organizations helping those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Still have questions?

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