March 13, 2020
Dear Faculty and Staff:
Today, as we end what has been a trying and difficult week, I want to first share a sincere thank you to everyone for your flexibility, perseverance and innovation over the past few weeks. The Price community has come together quickly in support of our students, our mission and each other, and I feel proud to be a part of this positive and driven group of students, faculty and staff.
I would like to direct your attention to the messages sent earlier today by President Folt, Provost Zukoski, and the attached email from Senior VP of HR Felicia Washington. Please read these carefully, as they are likely to answer some of your questions. Additionally, the USC coronavirus website remains the primary source of news and information – please continue to monitor this site.
Although USC still has no reported cases, COVID-19 has impacted many aspects of our campus and personal life. Beginning March 16th, Price faculty and staff should begin working remotely unless otherwise discussed with your supervisor. In some cases, essential staff will continue to report to campus, practicing social distancing and enhanced hygiene. The Dean’s office in RGL will remain open with limited staffing and hours. We will send more information on Monday regarding school-wide operations.
For now, I would like to share how USC Price has responded to this situation over recent weeks. As it has been, our top priority continues to be making sure our students, faculty and staff feel as supported as possible during this rapidly evolving process.
We will continue to keep the Price community updated if and when additional actions may be taken during our preventative response to COVID-19.
One new and important announcement to note is Provost Zukoski’s announcement today that faculty and staff should work remotely until April 14th. I recognize that moving to a digital environment can be challenging for many, and may feel isolating for some. We care deeply about how the Price community is feeling during this stressful period of adjustment.
In an effort to stay connected, we encourage you to stay in touch with your students, colleagues, family and friends through avenues that feel comfortable for you. Our community is strong, and I know we can get through this period of lessened contact by continuing to reach out to one another. At any time, if you feel like you need a wellness check, please find numerous resources on USC’s coronavirus website or contact Gail Uyeda, Director of HR.
I want to close by again saying thank you, for all that you have done – to our faculty who quickly navigated to online courses, restructured their lessons and made every effort to connect with students remotely; to our staff who worked to ensure business continuity during increasingly uncertain and stressful days; to our students who continue to rigorously complete their assignments and find new ways to collaborate with their peers and professors – you all are moving the Price School forward.
There are still unanswered questions and there may be more changes still to come. Even so, I believe whole-heartedly that our School will continue to excel through this difficult time – standing in support of one another while never losing sight of our core mission: to improve the quality of life for people and their communities, here and abroad.
Jack H. Knott, Dean
USC Sol Price School of Public Policy