Faculty and staff update on critical functions, remote work and prioritizing work assignments

Mar 25th, 2020

Memorial University

Faculty and staff update on critical functions, remote work and prioritizing work assignments

Thank you for your patience and support as we continue to work together to transition our operations while maintaining our commitment to support students, faculty and staff. Over the past week you’ve likely had questions about what you should be working on from home. The Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) and your managers have been working to identity what functions are most critical at this time, and how we continue our work during this uncertain time.

For now, we’ve grouped functions into four categories, to help us prioritize resources and to provide direction to teams as they make decisions about what work to complete in the near term:

  • Faculty and staff who perform critical functions who must come to campus: enhanced cleaning, appropriate equipment and social distancing measures are being prioritized for this group.
  • Faculty and staff who perform critical functions who can work remotely, some of whom may require limited access to parts of campus: VPN access and providing needed IT and physical resources are being prioritized for this group.
  • Faculty and staff who perform less critical or time-sensitive functions who can work remotely without drawing on the resources of other areas which may not currently be staffed to support your work. There are two subgroups here: those that already have all the remote working tools needed (IT and physical resources) and those who still need to be set up. Those who are already set up or do not need additional resources can continue working; those that need VPN and other IT and physical resources will be prioritized after critical functions are set up and capacity allows.
  • Faculty and staff who perform functions that cannot be completed remotely due to the nature of the work. You should stay home, stay safe and stay connected. We recognize that many of you would like to be helping your colleagues, and we are looking at how you might be engaged to support ongoing operations as needed.

Memorial’s priority is supporting critical functions relating to health, safety, ongoing research programs and academic continuity.

All faculty and staff should stay home unless your role has been deemed critical and you must be on campus to complete your work.

  • Talk with your manager if you are uncertain about what you should be doing right now. Access to campus has been reduced unless a function is deemed critical to be on campus by a dean/director or equivalent.
  • In instances where faculty and staff must be on campus, and consistent with current and changing provincial directives, there can be no in-person or on-campus gatherings of more than 10 people.
  • The university is providing enhanced cleaning in areas where people must work on campus.
  • As we continue to work to support critical services, we may ask staff to take on different or additional duties.
  • All faculty and staff must remain available and connected with their unit head or manager.
  • Privacy considerations are important; please see below for more detail.
  • ITS has posted a helpful list of available resources; please see below for more detail.

Take care of yourself and those around you. We recognize this is a stressful and difficult time for everyone with information constantly changing. Please be sure to take time to look after your mental and physical health, and friends and family. Feeling stress and uncertainty during this time is understandable. The university encourages faculty and staff to avail of resources such as the Employee Assistance Program or mental health support line. More information is available here: https://www.mun.ca/covid19/faculty-staff/staff.php.

Privacy considerations for working remote

Your privacy obligations continue and requirements under the university’s privacy policy(https://www.mun.ca/policy/browse/policies/view.php?policy=228) and procedures remain in place while working remotely.

1. Use the tools and technologies being recommended for working remotely. https://www.mun.ca/cio/remote/index.php

2. Use your Memorial University email account, not personal accounts, for conducting university business.

3. Use encrypted storage devices that require a password.

4. Avoid using CDs and DVDs to store university information as they can be lost or copied.

5. Laptops should be full-disk encrypted so data cannot be accessed if the laptop is lost or stolen.

6. Remove university information from personal computers (if using), laptops, hard drives and other storage devices when no longer in use.

7. Ensure your work-related discussions about confidential matters are not overheard by people not authorized to know the information.

8. Keep university records in paper/hard copy format out of view of people not authorized to view them; have a file or box to keep them secure.

9. Any confidential university information requiring disposal (e.g. paper, hard drive, etc.) must be done securely; retain these in a safe place until normal operations resume and you can dispose of them in accordance with university policy https://www.mun.ca/policy/browse/policies/view.php?policy=327.

10. Bear in mind that whatever device you use, university records are subject to ATIPP requests and privacy requirements under the ATIPPA, 2015https://assembly.nl.ca/legislation/sr/statutes/a01-2.htm.


Beware of cyber attacks. Attackers are particularly active in using social engineering attacks to take advantage of the COVID-19 crisis, and its climate of dynamic change and sense of urgency. In addition to phishing emails, actors may use phone calls, text messages, social media and fake news to trick victims into providing personal information. Emails purporting to be from trusted sources may be malware in disguise. Be careful what you click and download.

IT resources for working remotely

Memorial’s Information Technology Services (ITS) team have resources available to help you transition to remote work. At this point in time, requests for these services should only be for those people who need to maintain critical functions as remote workers, please visit https://www.mun.ca/cio/remote/.

2 p.m.