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Message from Don, September 2020

Associate Vice President and Chief Facilities Officer Don Sundgren recorded this video message for Facilities Management employees. The full transcript of the message is available below.

Message from Don Sundgren, September 2020 transcript

Hi, I'm Don Sundgren, Chief Facilities Officer for the University, and I would like to provide an update that is specific to Facilities Management, which is different from the regular updates that we've been receiving from the University through this period of time. I want to start by thanking all of you so sincerely for the phenomenal work you've done during this period of time that's so unusual, so unpredictable, and so challenging.

In March, in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, the University sharply curtailed its operations on the Academic side, the auxiliaries, and UVA Health. Facilities Management likewise reduced our on-Grounds staff in response to that and in compliance with the governor and University's direction, to only those people that we considered necessary to run the reduced operations of the University, as well as continue to operate on our construction projects, which the governor deemed as an essential industry.

Those that could telework began telework, working remotely, and that will continue for the foreseeable future. Those that could not work remotely continued to be paid, through the University's pay continuity program, from March through June. Then in June, we came back up to full staff as we helped the University prepare for the fall reopening.

I think back over this period of time, from March until now, six months, almost to the day, since the University first curtailed its operations, and all the fantastic work all of you have done. Those of you who have worked on Grounds, in maintaining the operations, layered onto that the additional requirements from the pandemic and the reopening, and all of you who are working remotely, and providing such fantastic support for those in operations of facilities and also across the University. Thank you for that, just absolutely fantastic.

It is the University's intent, obviously, to remain open. President Ryan and Dean Groves made it very plain to the students that for that to happen successfully, unlike some of the other universities we've seen that reopened and had to close again, it is up to all of us to practice safety. Face coverings, social distancing, limiting gatherings, that's a requirement.

As Allen Groves said to the students, if you don't comply, there will be consequences. And for us, we know that is a safety requirement, and just like our other safety requirements, if there is a lack of compliance, it could lead to discipline. But we're not going to be going there. We won't be. You people have all done such a great job with our safety program. And like we say with it, we say the same thing with this requirement: Treat yourselves right. Treat the people with whom you work right. Take care of yourselves. Take care of those around you. And be safe.

We cannot predict what the future will bring, but based upon your performance, we can say with confidence that Facilities Management will continue to rise to the occasion, will continue to meet the challenges that are presented. We'll provide additional updates from time to time as it seems appropriate, but I wanted to close with a quote. This is a quote from John Adams. John Adams, during the Revolutionary War, talking about the Revolutionary War, wrote to his wife Abigail: “We cannot guarantee success, but we can deserve it.”

So let's keep on deserving it. Thank you.

New Temporary Safety Guidelines

Effective September 23 for the next two weeks

  1. Gatherings limited to 5 people or fewer.
  2. Masks must be worn at all times.
    Exceptions: alone in your office, eating, exercising outdoors.
    Even when outside, everyone must wear a mask even when they can maintain a physical distance of at least six feet.