Return to Campus: Guidance for Supervisors

What to Expect During SFU’s Return to Campus Transition

SFU’s return to campus transition begins in the summer, leading up to a return of on campus activity in September and continuing throughout 2021. 

Recognizing the importance of a vibrant on campus experience at SFU - including in-person interactions, collaboration and engagement to fulfill our teaching, research and learning mandates - leaders should plan to have all staff return to campus in some capacity during the transition. 

SFU’s return to campus plan anticipates that we won’t all be working on campus together throughout the transition. Some people will work fully on campus, others will split their time between working on campus and remotely, while some may require a workplace accommodation. We also recognize return to campus staffing plans will not look the same in every area and will reflect the operational needs of each Faculty and unit to support the return of on campus activities and allow us to reconnect as a community. 

Careful planning is needed to ensure service and operational requirements are met, while at the same time supporting staff throughout the transition, recognizing that conditions could change without notice and we need to be nimble in our approach. Given this, we would recommend leaders be familiar with the guiding principles for return to campus planning. 

To note, longer term remote/hybrid work arrangements are not contemplated in this guide. The focus is on ensuring a smooth return to campus transition experience. Hybrid work arrangements require a longer-term lens, including in depth consideration of matters such as service and operational requirements, task and function requirements, space and technology needs, as well as equity and inclusion considerations. Leader and team support are also needed to ensure a successful and sustainable workforce model. That said, planning for longer term work arrangements continue during the return to campus transition as we test and learn throughout the fall in order to create a robust strategy heading into 2022.

The following assumptions and information have been used in the planning for this guide:

  • On March 8, 2021, Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer, advised post-secondary institutions to plan for return of in person activity in September with staff and faculty returning sooner.
  • SFU has since developed a Return to Campus website, including a Campus Recovery Plan outlining stages, indicators and density ranges to support the University in COVID-19 recovery. Movement through the stages will depend on public health guidance, with safety considerations at the forefront.
  • The University has developed guiding principles for return to campus planning.
  • Deans and other senior leaders have developed Faculty and service unit plans in alignment with the University’s guiding principles for return to campus. These Faculty and service unit plans will guide department-level planning.

At a Glance: What Can Supervisors Do Now?

1. Develop and implement a staffing plan for the transition back to campus. In doing so, please:

  • Consider needs for the transition in relation to the SFU Return to Campus Recovery Plan. 
  • Align departmental staffing plans directly with the overall Faculty or unit’s plan and with the guiding principles for return to campus.
  • Use the Staffing Planning Tool to help develop your return to campus staffing plan.
  • Ensure your staffing plan meets the needs for a full return of on-campus activity for the fall and recognizing that staff may need to return in the summer to prepare for the fall.
  • Attain approval for your plan through Faculty or unit level processes and requirements, if applicable.

2. Discuss staffing plans with your team members. Take their perspectives into consideration and help them get more comfortable with returning to campus.

3. Review safety plans together with your team and think about what might need to be adjusted when SFU moves to a new stage of transition and ensure they are familiar with safety plans. Instill confidence in your team that safety is our top priority and consideration throughout this transition time.

Connecting regularly with team members and being in tune with unique circumstances is key to a smooth transition, helping staff prepare for and adapt to the return to campus and community.