Faculty Office Use for Teaching Purposes (March 23, 2020)

Dear FAS Faculty,

To follow up on the memo you received earlier today from Scott Strobel regarding the reduction of the number of people on campus, I am writing to clarify the implication of these policies for FAS faculty in the weeks ahead. As you know, Governor Lamont has directed that “Non-essential businesses or not-for-profit entities shall reduce their in-person workforces at any workplace locations by 100% not later than March 23, 2020.”

Although several categories of University activities are exempt from mandatory closure, we are abiding by our civic duty to meet the Governor’s instruction that all employers should initiate “to the maximum extent possible, any telecommuting or work from home procedures that they can safely employ.” Abiding by a strict policy for at least the next four weeks will enable the University to deploy available staff to areas of critical need.

To that end, the following guidelines for all FAS faculty will be in place, effective immediately:

No faculty office or other campus space will be available for the purposes of teaching without explicit permission of the applicable divisional dean. Such permission will be rare and stringently enforced, and will generally be limited to the following three categories:

  • Faculty without access to the internet at home;
  • Faculty whose home situation renders teaching so difficult that accessing their office space for that purpose would outweigh the potential benefit to the public good of remaining home; and
  • Faculty teaching certain lab-based courses who wish to film experiments in order to present them remotely later in the semester.

Likewise, no faculty office or other campus space will be available for research, unless specific exemption has been granted by the Dean’s and Provost’s offices for work directly related to COVID-19, or for maintenance required to support critical laboratory infrastructure functions.

As we approach the initial four-week period of these restrictions, we will provide further guidance as to whether we will be able to lift or modify them.  All questions regarding potential access to office or any other campus spaces for the purposes of instruction should be directed to your divisional dean.

We are acutely aware that this policy puts the heaviest burden on those faculty whose home situation is already challenging and those whose physical space is not conducive to research and teaching. We are grateful to these colleagues for their willingness to take on these additional personal burdens in order to best support our community through this very difficult time.  My sincere thanks to you all for your dedication and inspirational work as we continue to navigate this unprecedented situation.

Gratefully yours,


Tamar Szabó Gendler
Dean, Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Vincent J. Scully Professor of Philosophy
Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science