EVMS held a virtual Town Hall Tuesday, June 16, from noon to 1:30 p.m. Members of senior leadership were available to respond to questions.

Virtual Town Hall recorded at noon Tuesday, June 16, 2020, to update the campus community about the EVMS response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For more recent information, see the FAQ.

Technology

Information Technology clearly understands what makes Office 365 so attractive for collaborating users and system integrators. In the current work environment, there are many characteristics of Office 365 that would be extremely helpful to our dispersed workforce. Information Technology has evaluated cloud-based email and file storage for each of the past three years during the capital budget cycle, anticipating that at some point its value would overtake the tremendous costs for a full campus migration.

Cloud-based email and file storage have significant compliance challenges that must be met for archival and backup. Microsoft integration licensing for Office 365 with email archival and backups for both email and file storage averages $6.25/user/month. EVMS has on average some 3,850 users. That result is an estimated annual cost of $288,750. EVMS is currently spending less than $70,000 per year to maintain our existing infrastructure. Our current 90% remote working environment is considered to be temporary, and while there is an expectation that EVMS’ normal remote workforce will increase, the fact that we have to overcome significant revenue shortages in the near future will prohibit the huge expenditure necessary to deploy Office 365.

In the interim, we would encourage you to take full advantage of the secure compliant enterprise services we do have, at no additional cost, for supporting collaboration: Blue Jeans videoconferencing with screen sharing and recording options, Dropbox for cloud-based file sharing, Blackboard Collaborate Ultra and VPN for campus access to your workstation and related access to campus file shares and printing.

EVMS Information Technology clearly understands what makes a messaging system so attractive for collaborating users and system integrators. In the current work environment, there are many characteristics of instant messaging that would have been extremely helpful to our dispersed workforce. Information Technology has evaluated messaging systems as interest has peaked during COVID-19 restrictions. Messaging systems have significant compliance challenges (HIPAA, FERPA, FOIA) that must be met and are only available at the enterprise level. SLACK is a messaging system that many users are using free. This is a non-compliant version, and users are warned against sharing any confidential or personal information regarding patients, students or employees.

Information Technology has received an enterprise quote from SLACK for an annual cost of $54,000, after including a significant discount for education. Our current 90% remote working environment is considered to be temporary and while there is an expectation that EVMS’ normal remote workforce will increase, the fact that we have to overcome significant revenue shortages in the near future will prohibit large expenditures not required to maintain status quo. In the interim, we would encourage you to take full advantage of the secure compliant tools we do have, at no additional cost, for supporting collaboration: Blue Jeans videoconferencing with screen sharing and recording options, Dropbox for cloud-based file sharing, Blackboard Collaborate Ultra and VPN for campus access to your workstation and related access to campus file shares and printing.

Human Resources

All leadership positions that are vacated or created are posted and applications are accepted for a minimum of five business days. The only possible exceptions are when a leadership position is filled as part of a succession plan (however, less than 2% of leadership positions are filled via succession planning, and some positions filled via succession plan are still recruited for externally), and when an employee receives a promotion to a leadership position via reclassification of their current position, which means there is no actual vacant position to fill.

Staff can apply to any program. I assume this question may be related to the tuition waiver program, which is the only program that does require a recommendation from the supervisor. This is because to qualify for the tuition waiver the program the employee is applying to must be job related and of benefit to the department. The employee also must be in good standing within the department.

The request needs to be made to your direct supervisor and/or department head, who would then approve and forward the request to Materials Management.

Employees will be able to opt out through the end of the calendar year, 12/31/2020. The grace period to use funds in the account will run until 9/15/2020. We are not extending further because we have yet to get definitive guidance if this could lead to someone over-contributing, since the EVMS plan year does not coincide with the calendar year. If additional guidance is provided, we may extend the grace period and will notify those enrolled.

Both telework and remote work must be approved by an employee’s supervisor. If an employee has a concern about a decision regarding remote work, they can contact Human Resources to discuss the issue further.

As stated previously, we are still encouraging remote work when possible, but that decision is up to the supervisor and is based on their determination that there are duties or services that require a physical presence. Performance and productivity may also factor into this decision. EVMS has put in place a number of safety measures to protect employees and lower the risk of transmission between employees.

There is no plan to change the telework policy, which is not the policy we are currently operating under. The remote work policy is in effect as long as the COOP plan is activated, which is currently the case. While operating under the COOP plan, there is no need to change the telework policy. EVMS will consider changes to any policy if a need to do so is identified, but currently that is not the case.

EVMS continuously evaluates processes and policies based on observations made by administration and feedback from managers and employees. While administration agrees no policy or process is perfect and can always be improved upon, it is important to point out that simply disliking a particular policy or procedure does not mean it is not needed or necessary.

This is not a practice that we currently have in place. One issue that would have to be addressed in order to ensure the data posted is understood appropriately is the misuse of certain terms that have very specific meaning when filing a complaint. For example, many of the complaints file with Human Resources use the term “hostile work environment” but the details within the complaint do not meet the criteria for what constitutes a hostile work environment.

More often, the complaints are actually regarding professionalism or other interpersonal issues. Human Resources will take this suggestion under consideration and see if there are any other barriers or issues that would prevent the display of this data. If so, we will explore ways we may be able to overcome them and provide some form of data that employees may find useful.

If an employee has a concern about a decision regarding remote work, they can contact Human Resources to discuss the issue further.

The PPE and universal masking policy is applicable to all EVMS employees, and employees should ask their management about access and location of supplies. However, if services are provided at non-EVMS facilities, the facility’s appropriate PPE policy (Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, for example) would need to be followed.

Yes. We are currently working on the plan and procedures for the essential work of community engagement. More information regarding this plan will be available at a later date.

Diversity and Inclusion

Every strategic goal and initiative has a set of identified outcomes and metrics to measure progress. EVMS Strategic Planning and Institutional Effectiveness will be working with team leaders responsible for these initiatives to ensure we are on target. We believe in the saying “what you measure grows” because you start paying attention to it. When you pay attention to diversity and inclusion, your awareness of its presence or lack of grows too. Our second approach is to continue engaging the stakeholders in the process. Finally, the team leaders report to the Board of Visitors annually on each plan objective. Read the strategic plan.

Training is one of the areas that the Strategic Plan is looking to implement across the board.  Individuals in leadership positions are not excluded. We should keep each other accountable if we want to see a transformational change. Training is only part of the success.

We are unable to comment on this or provide clarification as the report was developed independently by the Community Advisory Board for Diversity & Inclusion. We recommend reaching out to either Chair Gil Bland or committee member Susan Colpitts with your question.

We have developed metrics in the strategic plan and monitoring and reporting strategies through the institutional strategic planning and effectiveness process, the Continuing Quality Improvement process and the strategic plan. We have also included reporting on diversity and inclusion efforts in the annual evaluation of department leaders.

We have included EVMS staff broadly in our strategic planning process on diversity, inclusion and equity and plan to ensure that all our EVMS constituencies are represented in future diversity task groups and standing committees.