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June 30, 2020   |  Campus Communication

A Message from HR & the Provost: Return to Work Plan


Echoing President Gregory’s announcement last week, we extend our deepest gratitude to our staff and faculty for your continued patience and support as we prepare our community and our physical spaces for a safe return to work on campus.

Your safety is our greatest priority.

We have all been through a lot in the past few months and we appreciate many of you may still have concerns and personal challenges about returning to the workplace.  We understand. And we recognize we do not have all the answers. However, we promise to advocate every day for your safety and wellness. We will continue to collaborate with the experts, informed on the latest, best research and guidance. We will make necessary changes with speed. We will remain open and willing to hear your voices. And we will do everything we can to protect our community.

Returning to Work on Campus

We have worked around the clock to construct BenU’s custom “6-Foot Campus” plan and we have considered every detail as we implement changes to campus workspaces. We want you to return to campus because we recognize the power in working, learning and growing alongside one another as a Benedictine community. We know that may not always be possible for everyone. We appreciate hearing from so many of you about your desire to return to our mission of delivering a transformative education at BenU. Our hallmarks drive us to lead, to be present, and to commit to the daily life of this place.

Our official Return to Work date is Monday, July 13 for faculty and staff at both our Lisle and Mesa campuses. We will undergo a phased-in reentry – employees will return in small groups, and those who are identified to work remotely should continue to do so, at least for the initial phases.

Your department/division leaders will reach out this week to schedule team meetings to further discuss Return to Work details, your personal return dates and staggered in-office scheduling. These meetings will be scheduled prior to Friday, July 10.

These plans are built on a foundation of staff and faculty feedback, as well as recommendations from local medical experts, facility professionals, local and state governments in Illinois and Arizona, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Official Benedictine University Return to Work Plan

The official Benedictine University Return to Work Plan was distributed to faculty and staff via email. We would like to call out a number of key details:

  • BenU Healthy Return Kits: Every staff and faculty member will receive a BenU COVID-19 Safety Kit, which includes hand sanitizer, a mask, and Safety Guidelines.
  • Social Distancing: Office spaces, common areas will be rearranged to allow safe, 6-foot distancing.
  • Face Masks: Experts agree, face masks are effective at minimizing the spread of COVID-19. We are part of a larger community and it is our responsibility to one another to follow protocol and wear a mask when we cannot ensure a safe six-foot social distance. To keep everyone safe, always be prepared to wear your face masks on campus and in your offices and classrooms.
  • Hygiene Practices: Hand sanitizer stations and cleaning supplies will be available throughout campus. Frequent hand-washing by everyone will help mitigate the spread of  COVID-19.
  • Temperature Testing: Prior to coming to campus, employees are required to conduct daily self-checks for any COVID-19 symptoms, per CDC recommendations. If symptoms are noted, employees are requested not to come to campus and complete a Healthy Campus Form
  • Notifying Employees of Workplace Exposure: Benedictine University will keep medical information regarding an infected employee (including his or her identity) confidential and will only share information about when the employee was potentially exposed.

Committed to Community

While the experience on campus and our interaction with one another will be quite different, one thing remains the same: our commitment to community. We will not let these new parameters limit us. We will stand as leaders, ready to meet students where they are and as a BenU community we will do everything possible to support a safe, transformative BenU experience.

We will continue to provide new resources to help you feel safe and well-prepared to dedicate yourselves to your work, to each other, and to our students. We will stand up as your ally, respect your concerns and do everything we can to prioritize your safety.

Again, we extend our most heartfelt thank you for your support, flexibility and willingness to reimagine our campus experience (for now). As we move forward on our 6-foot  campus,  we know questions and new challenges will surface every day. We will work through this together and we are hopeful for the future, and it’s because of the brilliant, faithful and good-hearted people we have alongside us.

We look forward to seeing you all very soon.


Pat Ariano
Chief of Staff


Ken Newbold, Jr., Ph.D.
Provost & Chief Academic Officer