On January 6th, the ASC & Writing Center team held our first staff meeting of the term. While we remain open for in-person services, we also anticipate spending time assisting student staff in navigating decisions and changes to their work in response to the surge of COVID-19 cases. We spent some time identifying strategies as we looked ahead at the next few weeks, and here are a dozen ideas we came up with. While they may not be applicable to all scenarios, we share them in case they might be of some use to others, and we invite you to add to our list in the comments.
Things we can do as a team over next few weeks:
- Increase the availability of remote/online service delivery as we may see greater utilization rates of online modalities—out of necessity or out of caution—during the next few weeks.
- Provide a refresher on how to use Zoom and Teams, and how to offer services via Zoom as some staff might be out of practice. Doing this proactively can prepare us for shifts to Zoom and Teams that might happen as student staff isolate or quarantine when needed.
- Prepare email templates for responding to affected employees, contacts and other related needs. The university templates are a great starting point, and we’ll add the nuances of our programs and spaces (including who to notify) to have them ready to use. We’ll also share examples of different emails amongst our team to lighten the drafting load.
- Order additional KN95 masks to offer to student staff who are working in front line positions. [Note: masks with higher filtration are now available across OSU campuses at multiple sites and through OSU Surplus Property]
- Ensure cross-training where possible and prepare to work with lower staffing levels when needed; document protocols and logistics allowing folks to cover when others need to be out.
- Prepare signage that communicates any disruption to services or availability.
- Use staff meeting time or email to clarify the new isolation and quarantine guidance and encourage students to reach out for help navigating confusion or uncertainty.
- Check-in with folks and create time for being in conversation. Share how we’re doing and normalize time for talking about how we’re feeling about what what’s going on, and what we’re experiencing.
- Acknowledge that comfort levels are individual. Provide flexibility where we can, allowing folks to err on the side of caution if that helps reduce anxiety and stress.
- Adjust our schedules to increase capacity for in-the-moment responsiveness: being mindful of new things we’re committing to, saying “no” or deferring deadlines if needed.
- Distribute work that has emotional weight to it: notifying about exposures, asking folks to wear masks, etc. These tasks can be exhausting.
- Encourage intentional planning for evening and weekend activities to lower stress, recuperate from decision-making, and prevent burnout.