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March 22: Message from the President: Building Closures and Other Updates

March 22, 2020

Dear Patriots:

The university continues to monitor the coronavirus outbreak and take additional measures as appropriate. This is important as we focus our efforts around resuming the spring semester through alternative virtual instruction, supporting the small community of students who must remain on campus, and providing essential operations to support our mission.

As a result of our continuing focus on the safety of our community, the University will be closing our buildings to the general public for the foreseeable future. We also will be mandating telework for all faculty and staff except for those who need to work on campus to continue critical functions for the university as outlined below.

Building security and core functions

University buildings will be closed effective Wednesday March 25, except as otherwise provided.  All exterior and interior doors will be locked.  Faculty and staff will continue to have cardswipe and key access but must comply with the telework mandates outlined below. 

Police and Safety Headquarters will remain open, with police patrolling the campus and facilities monitoring buildings. Southside Dining will provide grab and go dining service for those remaining on campus during hours listed here.  Retail dining establishments with separate entrances will be allowed to remain open so long as they are complying with the Governor’s Executive Order limiting numbers of occupants and enforcing social distancing; more details are available here.

Mason library facilities, including Fenwick, will be closed starting Monday March 23.  Library services will continue to operate, will expand virtual access as feasible, and will be available virtually to support faculty and students in accessing needed materials for online classes and assisting with other resources and services.  For more details about library services and accompanying policy changes during this period, please see:  https://library.gmu.edu/

SUB I will be closed to the public, but Student Health Services, the Mason Card Office, and the Cashier’s Office will be open on a limited access basis. In an effort to limit risk of infection, we ask students to call 703-993-2831 and speak with a nurse prior to coming in to Student Health Services. For more information, visit the Student Health Services page and click the Patient Notice link.

Faculty, staff, and students who wish to access the Mason Card Office should call 703-993-1004 to make an appointment.  The Cashier’s Office will be accepting cash payments by appointment Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.; please call Bill Cunningham, Assistant Director, Cashier's Office and Account Management, at 703-993-2498 to schedule an appointment. All check payments should be mailed to GMU Cashier’s Office, 4400 University Drive, MS 2E2, Fairfax, Virginia 22040.

The HUB will be closed to the public. Packages from USPS , UPS, FedEx and Amazon will be delivered to the Mail Center in the HUB.  Individuals with a valid Mason ID will be able to access the HUB via the ground floor (basement level) door across from the Shenandoah parking deck, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday to Friday for mail and package pickup.

If faculty and staff need more information or have questions about card access please go to https://masonid.gmu.edu/access/ or contact the Card Access Security Office at 703-993-3127, or contact CASO@gmu.edu or Key Control at keys@gmu.edu or 703-993-2823.  If you need to request access to a locked building please review this list to determine the appropriate contact.

Telework mandate

The university is mandating that all employees who can work remotely should do so, except those who must report in person to carry out key university functions, such as critical research, teaching including online instruction, supporting students allowed to remain on campus, health care, and administrative and other obligations that cannot be conducted remotely.

Deans, directors, unit leaders and managers have the authority to identify those who must report in person, those who can work remotely, and those who may need limited, intermittent access.  They should share that guidance with their faculty and staff. Those who need access, including on a limited basis, to perform key university functions should coordinate with co-workers to allow for social distancing and of course should continue to practice careful hand hygiene.

Employees shifting to telework should return to campus before Wednesday, March 25 to collect whatever items they may need to work remotely for the remainder of the semester. Please practice social distancing during this time; you may need to schedule individual time in your department for employees to retrieve belongings.

If you have questions about leave, your ability to do your job remotely or your current job duties, please contact your supervisor and/or Employee Relations. If you have questions about Virginia Public Health Emergency Leave, please review the PHEL guidance and/or contact the HR Benefits Team.

Notification of confirmed cases in our community

We want to let you know about another confirmed coronavirus case associated with our campus. On March 14, we received notice from a student regarding their positive diagnosis of coronavirus. The public health department has since confirmed that case and has informed us that since the student had not been on campus since Feb. 25, to include during the infectious period, there is no risk to the campus community from this case.

As I stated in my last message on Friday, we do not anticipate sending messages about coronavirus testing or positive cases each time we learn of a new confirmed case associated with our university. Instead, please visit the university’s confirmed coronavirus cases webpage, which will be updated at 2 p.m. daily if there is new information to share.

Please continue to monitor the Virginia Department of Health for the latest information about the virus in Virginia and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for national and worldwide updates, and George Mason’s coronavirus website for the latest Mason information.

Remember to practice social distancing, wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, take time to get outdoors, and get sufficient rest.  We remain focused on our core education and research missions along with our commitment to keep our community safe, and thank you all for your cooperation toward those ends.

Sincerely,

Anne Holton

Interim President