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Plan Now to Ensure Critical Functions Continue

Dr. Joseph Savoie -- Thu, 03/26/2020 - 8:51am

Dear staff members,

As rates of confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Louisiana, so does the possibility that University employees will be directly affected by this dangerous virus.

First, it is essential that all employees prioritize their health and that of their families. Should you or a loved one exhibit COVID-19 symptoms – a fever of 100.4 degrees, a cough or difficulty breathing – seek medical care as soon as possible.

As preventative measures:

  • adhere to Gov. John Bel Edwards’ stay-at-home order, and leave your residences only for essential reasons;
  • keep 6 feet between yourself and others when in public; and
  • practice good hygiene, even while remaining at home.

Last week, the University implemented virtual course instruction for students; remote administrative functions have begun as well.

Though the University community is separated, we must come together to protect our academic and research missions and to continue our operational functions. By planning now, we can ensure continuity in these critical areas should colleagues become ill and unable to perform their duties. 

Departments should immediately identify what safeguards they have in place to reduce interruptions to essential services. Cross-training and information sharing are two avenues to consider.

To guide this process, consider the following:

  • What are your office or department’s most critical functions?
  • Are there tasks that you – and only you – do?
  • Are your responsibilities written down in a precise, step-by-step format so another employee might be able to fully understand and follow these instructions should you be unable to work?
  • Do your colleagues know where these instructions are, and are directions stored in a place that’s accessible to your colleagues in your absence?
  • Do your colleagues have necessary computer passwords and access to essential equipment?
  • Are other employees – preferably two other employees – trained to fulfill your responsibilities?
  • If not, what training can you offer now to ensure that they are?
  • What critical functions do your colleagues perform? Could you fulfill those roles in the case of an emergency? If not, how might you become better equipped to do so?

Ideally, each critical function performed by a staff member would be able to be completed by two other employees should the need arise. Now is the time to identify whether the bench for these critical functions is indeed “three deep.”

If not, please contact your department head or supervisor as soon as possible.

This unprecedented moment demands ingenuity and forethought. Anticipating as many challenges as we can – and planning now to meet those challenges – is essential as we continue to serve our students and our community.


Dr. Joseph Savoie