IMPORTANT INFORMATION: working remotely and social distancing

Southern Oregon University , Public Updates

Dear administrative and classified employees,

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown issued an executive order last Thursday that directed Oregon’s colleges and universities to significantly reduce in-person operations. She gave further guidance on Friday evening, telling Oregon residents to “stay home unless it’s essential; it’s time to sacrifice.”

See coverage from the Oregonian here and here.

SOU has been responsive to the governor’s directions, proactively moving to remote delivery of instruction throughout spring term and telling employees to work from home in all cases where it’s feasible. I sent an email to all employees on Thursday, explaining which of you may be considered essential and providing information about telecommuting and the use of leave. I want to reiterate the key message from that email: If it’s practical for you to do your job from home during the COVID-19 outbreak, please start the process to make that happen.

It is a top priority for the university to provide the resources and opportunities for each of you to remain well. You and your families will obviously benefit from your good health, and so will SOU.


  • If you are designated "essential," report to work as required
  • If you are already telecommuting, continue doing so
  • If you are not telecommuting but your job can be accomplished in that way, begin the transition to telecommuting
  • If your job cannot be done remotely, take leave as available


All administrative and classified employees are strongly encouraged to telecommute during spring break, March 23 through April 3, other than those whose duties are considered essential or whose positions support continuing, on-campus student services (examples include incident response team members, faculty and those who work in residence halls and family housing, dining, plant operations and public safety).

Every effort will be made by SOU to accommodate a remote work environment. Employees already telecommuting should continue to do so and others who can work remotely should begin working with their  supervisors immediately to start the telecommuting review process. 

Employees who have health or childcare concerns, and those whose positions cannot be remotely performed either fully or partially, should use leave. There is a new option – as part of its COVID-19 response, and during this two-week period, SOU will provide as much as 80 hours of emergency paid leave, based on full-time equivalency. Employees should then use their other accumulated leave to remain in paid status.

Leave summary:


  • First Use:  Up to 80 hours of SOU-provided emergency paid leave
  • Then Use:  Protected family medical leave (FMLA/OFLA), accrued sick leave, accrued vacation leave

Classified employees:

  • First Use:  Up to 80 hours of SOU-provided emergency paid leave
  • Then Use:  Protected family medical leave (FMLA/OFLA), accrued sick leave, accrued vacation leave, accrued personal leave, accrued compensatory time off and accrued exchange time 

For more information about leaves, workplace and remote work options, and benefits, please visit the Human Resources COVID-19 FAQs and check the university’s COVID-19 website daily for updated information. We will continue to monitor the status of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the governor's ongoing guidance to higher education institutions and to our state. Our next pulse check at SOU will be at the end of spring break. 

The executive leadership team appreciates everyone's hard work and sacrifices as we navigate these difficult times together.



Greg Perkinson

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