Although students were sent home for the remainder of the spring semester, essential staff continue to work on campus to make sure Indiana State functions properly. ISU is still open during this time, even without classes taking place on campus.
“There are a variety of staff still reporting to work. For example, facility staff, police staff and some administration from finance and administration. As you know, the campus is still open, but due to COVID-19, staff that can work from home were advised to do so,” said one of those essential staff, Executive Director Human Resources Richard Enyard.
Enyard also mentioned that the staff chosen to stay on campus was determined on the basic operations of the university and who would help keep Indiana State open.
“As HR, we are at the forefront in staying on top of the changing conditions in which we operate and then getting that message out to employees on the impact of those changes,” said Enyard.
In terms of day-to-day routine, sources say their days haven’t really changed, but rather the atmosphere of campus has.
“My day is basically the same except that I am not meeting people face-to-face. Campus life is different. With faculty, students and staff working remotely, it creates a different atmosphere on campus,” said Enyard.
Greg Goode, Executive Director of Government Relations and University Communication, explains the differences around campus compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Under normal circumstances, spring-time is one of my favorite times of the year as the physical campus beams with blooming trees and flowers, while more of our campus family spends time outdoors,” Goode said. “Campus life is different right now and to see this beautiful campus empty makes me feel a bit sad, even though I know that the Governor’s ‘hunker down’ order is the right action for most of our fellow citizens –including our campus family— at this time.”
While the campus is different because of the lack of students, staff hold their own opinions about the change.
“I dislike it because it is not our norm. I’m used to the campus being vibrant with all the different people coming and going,” said Enyard.
With Goode working under the same conditions, he shares the same opinion.
“I would much prefer campus life under normal circumstances, and I believe that all of us will have an even greater appreciation for ISU when those normal circumstances return,” said Goode.
Despite this change, essential staff are still able to adjust and effectively do their job.
“I still come in doing the same routines such as checking and responding to emails, handling phone calls, scheduling meetings via Zoom and Skype. Work is being addressed but contact with others is limited,” said Goode.
Because social distancing is something that staff on campus still have to comply with, for some, it can affect their work.
“Indianapolis is being described, by some, as a possible emerging hotspot for COVID-19, and I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that I should not be traveling there on university business for the time being. This is especially difficult for me to not physically be at the state house. I know a lot of others who represent different sectors feel the same,” said Goode. However, he explains that it’s not unusual for him to communicate with colleagues on campus from a distance. This experience is similar to other essential employees because of the social distancing guidelines put in place by administration.
“The biggest difference is the method by which I am communicating with my colleagues. Instead of in-person meetings, I am doing a lot of meetings via conference calls or video conferencing,” said Goode, “We are all strictly adhering to social distancing and being very vigilant on good hygiene techniques such as washing our hands frequently and wiping down all of our desks, equipment, and doorknobs.”
Keeping those on campus safe is a priority and with that, a lot of staff if changing how they meet and communicate with each other. “The one thing that has changed is group meetings are not being held as normal. If a group meeting needs to take place it is being conducted via conference call or by Skype and Zoom,” said Enyard.
The staff on campus have each other in mind while working. Goode shares what he is doing to minimize direct contact.
“The very nature of the virus puts everyone at risk no matter where they are living and working. The key is to minimize the risk. I am doing everything I can to minimize direct contact with other people while working on campus,” said Goode.
In response to the COVID-19 panic, Indiana State employees remain positive and committed to doing their jobs.
“I love my work, and I am deeply committed to doing my part in carrying out the mission of ISU no matter what is going on around the world,” Goode said. “I am very grateful for that technology and the ‘can-do’ spirit of my colleagues.”