Sunrise Plan for Return to Campus

Continue to Work from Home

Consistent with many other large employers and the State of Minnesota, we are now asking staff and faculty who can work from home to continue to do so through at least June 30, 2021. See President Gabel's Nov. 11 message for details. We want to empower you all to make plans that support your families while maintaining fewer people on campus. If you have general questions, the information on the Working Remotely webpage may be helpful. Please talk with your supervisor if you have further questions.

The University has developed a "Sunrise Plan" that outlines a gradual reopening of limited functions on our campuses and other University sites. This is an intentional and comprehensive plan that is consistent with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

Those who are able to work from home are expected to continue to work from home until further notice. At present, the University’s Extended Reduced Operations remain in effect. The University has developed this Sunrise Plan (the Plan) to assist University employees who need to return to campus to carry out their work and the Plan established a process to determine if a faculty or staff member qualifies to work on-site, what the steps are to achieve permission, and what requirements must be met if employees are working on campus or another University worksite. 

If you are ill with COVID-19 or need to care for others due to COVID-19 who are ill or unable to attend childcare or school, additional information on paid University leaves are available. For specific questions, consult with your unit human resources staff or reach out to the OHR Contact Center at, 612-624-8647, or 800-756-2363.

Go to a helpful resource for return to campus:

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Workplace-Related Information

Toolkit for Supervisors

Information for Employees

Information for Communications Professionals

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Information for Working Parents

The University of Minnesota understands that balancing work and personal life is important, especially now. Parents have many questions, given a recent announcement from Gov. Walz on Minnesota K-12 schools. If needed, the Office of Human Resources will work with University senior leaders to develop additional guidance over the next few weeks in response.

In the meantime, supervisors and managers are asked to be patient and flexible and to remind parents of resources available to support them as they care for their children. Leaves are still available for parents who need to take time away to care for children due to COVID-19, including the closure of daycare centers and K-12 schools.

Leaves That Support Parents

  • The University Emergency Paid Leave for COVID-19 is intended only for situations when employees are unable to work or work remotely due to COVID-19-related illness, or when they need to quarantine or isolate as a result of exposure to COVID-19, care for someone who is ill with COVID-19, care for a child whose school or childcare is closed or unavailable, or help with the relocation of a college-age child due to COVID-19. This leave appears in MyU.

Other Resources

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Safe-U Public Health Alerts

  • Safe-U Public Health Alerts: information on the response to COVID-19, plus links to past communications from President Gabel and other leaders

FAQ on Human Resources and the Sunrise Plan

Q: Will units be providing masks and gloves to our staff?

A: Cloth masks will be made available. They can be ordered from U-Market and the University will pay for two per employee. Other PPE will be the responsibility of individual units, depending on the needs of their work.

Q: Will units be responsible for taking the temperature of their staff, or just relying on the employee to do it before they come home from work?

A: Units will not. The University’s Sunrise Plan is clear that employees should do this at home, and log temperatures at home.

Q: Will employees who are concerned about coming to work be allowed to use sick time, vacation time or take a leave without pay?

A: Please reach out to your unit HR and supervisor to discuss your concerns and available leaves.

Q: At what point is extended reduced operations status considered "ended"? Is State of Emergency status tied to extended reduced operations status, and vice versa, or are they separate?

A: They are separate. Extended reduced operations will continue until the President deems otherwise.

Q: Is there central coordination between all units and whomever is tasked with assuring that all employees receive the same information about returning to work?

A: The information is in the Sunrise Plan. Employees all have received the email with the link to the Plan.

Q: What steps should be taken to ensure that all researchers and staff can go back to work voluntarily, without coercion?

A: Returning to work is voluntary. For additional information, please see the email from July 10 from Provost Croson and Interim Vice President Horstman.

Q: How will additional cleaning be coordinated?

A: FM and UHS will be monitoring the approved requests to understand what buildings/spaces are being reoccupied.

Q: What about concerns over traveling to campus, particularly use of public transportation? Has a plan/guidance been developed?

A: The University historically does not get involved in how people get to and from work. There may be workers' compensation issues if we begin doing so.

Q: How will we handle employees asked to return to work who are in high-risk categories for complications from COVID-19?

A: Those individuals should go through their campus disability services office to determine if an accommodation is necessary.

Q: Can we exclude staff that we know are immunocompromised from working with patients?

A: Please direct those that believe they are immunocompromised to go through their campus disability services office to determine if an accommodation is necessary.

Q: Can we ask staff if they are immunocompromised?

A: Direct those that believe they are immunocompromised to go through their campus disability services office to determine if an accommodation is necessary.

Q: How do we manage staff that can't work because they are immunocompromised and their job is to see patients?

A: Those individuals should go through their campus disability services office to determine if an accommodation is necessary.

Q: Will the University leadership be more open to allowing staff the option of working remotely until there is a vaccine as long as their work can be done remotely?

A: This will be for senior leaders to weigh in on. However, remote work arrangements have always been possible. 

Q: What do I, as an HR professional, need to do if there is a suspected COVID-19 case in my college or administrative unit?

A: Ask the employee to contact their doctor or clinic.

Q: Can we compel someone to get tested for COVID-19?

A:  You can only encourage them to get tested.