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Message from Interim President David T. McFaddin March 17, 2020

Entrance to EKU

Dear EKU Staff,

When I became interim president in January, I was grateful for the opportunity to lead my alma mater. I knew then as I know today that we have a great team in place, who are ready to face any challenges. Eastern Kentucky University is blessed with brilliant minds, excellent leaders, experienced crisis managers and above all, people who love this University and want it to succeed for the good of the Commonwealth and beyond.

In the midst of responses to a myriad of difficult challenges faced by higher education, we must realize the trials of navigating through COVID-19 are far greater. I know you are up to the challenge. I want to say a heartfelt thank you for all the work you’ve done over spring break and give you an upfront thank you for the difficult work ahead.

I want to quickly address the expectation of working from home. Many of us have the option to work remotely, and I want to encourage that, as the Center for Disease Control recommends. If you and your supervisor agree that you can effectively get your work done remotely and working remotely or revolving shifts can provide enough staffing to keep the offices open, then please move forward with that arrangement. For some employees, it is not feasible to work from home and those who are in this category will continue to work on campus. The fewer people we have on campus at this point, the better. These protocols will help us keep the potential down for unintended transmission of this virus to others.

I couldn’t have imagined that spring break 2020 would be one of the longest and most difficult work weeks of the year, even with all of the other external challenges we face. But it was. And as long as the United States and Kentucky continues to see the number of confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis rise, our work will remain challenging.

But for EKU to succeed, the response to COVID-19 has to be managed with care and empathy for people. Students are the lifeblood of what we do at EKU. Without students coming to EKU and getting a quality education, Kentucky communities will suffer in the future. We empower communities with our outstanding programs and exceptional graduates. And we have to ensure our students are able to continue their education this semester and beyond. The next several weeks will inevitably shape the future of Eastern Kentucky University going forward. We have an opportunity to navigate the COVID-19 outbreak with minimal impact to students, faculty, staff and visitors. This is our goal---and as we go about our work, we must remember it.

There is a saying out there that I’m reminded of in this moment. “I like my team.” That’s how I feel. I not only like my team, but I love what we stand for and I am positive we can meet the challenges ahead and come out on the other side knowing we have ensured that EKU will be here to serve countless generations more of students. We are continually monitoring state and national authorities, speaking with experts and making sure we get as much information as possible so as to get the decision right the first time.

Again, I can’t say thank you enough for all your hard work. With your dedication to EKU and all it stands for, we will be stronger on the other side of this watershed moment in time.

Be mindful and stay healthy.

Published on March 17, 2020

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