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Faculty and Staff: Return to Campus Guidance and Support

Dear Faculty and Staff,

With the term underway, we write with guidance about your presence on campus, updates on new support resources and information on testing.

Wildcat Wellness Concludes

Sunday, Jan. 17, marks the end of Wildcat Wellness for most programs. During the Wellness period, faculty and staff limited their presence on campus while students completed arrival testing and participated in a modified quarantine. We thank you for prioritizing the health of our community as the term begins.

Starting Tuesday, Jan. 19, we ask schools and units to begin following the staffing levels outlined in their Return to Campus plans, which aim to balance levels of on-campus presence with the precautions needed to mitigate the pandemic. Although state and local COVID mitigation efforts remain in place for Evanston and Chicago, these measures allow schools and universities to continue their planned operations. We ask school and unit leaders to strike a balance between supporting our students who are here in larger numbers this term, continuing research, and providing flexibility for faculty and staff navigating work and other commitments in this most difficult of environments.

Programs that are observing Wildcat Wellness during an alternate period, such as the Law School where Wildcat Wellness concludes Jan. 24, should begin to follow their Return to Campus plans when their Wellness period ends.

The Alternative Work Arrangements policy, which establishes guidelines for providing flexible and alternative work arrangements, remains in place through March 21. While on campus, all faculty and staff must adhere to our COVID-19 guidelines, including completion of daily health monitoring in the SymptomTracker and wearing masks in all campus public and shared environments. 

New Support Resources

Recognizing that many of our faculty and staff have faced extraordinary challenges during the pandemic, we are pleased to announce two targeted support measures for faculty and staff.

First, we have created a COVID-19 Caregiving Grant to help alleviate the unprecedented burdens COVID-19 has imposed on caregivers. This temporary, emergency response program provides taxable grants of up to $1,500 to help qualifying full-time faculty and staff offset the costs of caregiving for their dependent children or dependent adults and seniors during the current academic year. This income-tiered program is structured to ensure that funds go to those who need them most with few administrative hurdles. A full description of the COVID-19 Caregiving Grant program can be found , and an application for the grant will be available on this page by Jan. 19.

Also, we are providing financial support for additional work-study positions to help faculty manage the challenges associated with teaching in a new modality and to enable ongoing research. If you would like to hire a student who is eligible for work-study as a Zoom assistant, for other instructional support, or as a research assistant, reach out to your school dean’s office. 

These measures cannot resolve all the challenges of the pandemic; however, we seek to support our staff and faculty and ease some challenges. We also want to express particular thanks to the Organization of Women Faculty for their partnership in helping us understand the needs in our community and formulate these targeted responses.

Testing for Faculty and Staff

We also want to remind you of the resources available to all faculty and staff who want to be tested for COVID-19. As previously communicated, there are expanded asymptomatic testing options for faculty and staff, including the option to sign up for the Recurring Surveillance Program and the option to voluntarily schedule testing appointments. All faculty and staff who are on campus and interested are encouraged to take advantage of these resources. This week, new pick-up and drop-off sites opened in Evanston, further increasing the convenience of testing for faculty and staff working on campus. Remember to activate your Color account before coming to one of the testing sites for your first test.

Finally, we want to thank you and recognize all of the work that has gone into preparing for the start of the term. We appreciate your efforts and dedication to our campus community and wish you health and peace in this New Year. 


Manuel Cuevas-Trisán
Vice President for Human Resources
Chief Human Resource Officer

Luke Figora
Senior Associate Vice President
Chief Risk and Compliance Officer