Most employees will begin working remotely to reduce COVID-19 risk

POMONA, Calif. – Western University of Health Sciences on Thursday directed most of its 1,200 faculty and staff to begin working from home or from other non-campus locations to reduce risk of exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19) through concerted social distancing.

In a message to campus Thursday night, Dr. Daniel R. Wilson, President of WesternU, lauded University employees for taking proactive steps over the past few weeks to reduce risk of exposure to coronavirus – also known as COVID-19 – by curbing events and campus visitors, limiting the size of internal gatherings, suspending University-related travel, and sending regular reminders about infection-preventing personal hygiene methods. The University’s most broadly impactful COVID-19-related action, which took effect Wednesday, was shifting courses at its nine colleges to remote delivery only and directing students to refrain from coming to the WesternU campuses in Pomona and Lebanon, Oregon.

Yet “The rapid spread of the disease has nevertheless begun catching up to these efforts, and the University must take another serious step to help ‘flatten the curve’ of infection rates and do our part to give public health agencies and the health care infrastructure valuable time to respond to this crisis,” Wilson wrote. Therefore, “Effective today, Western University of Health Sciences employees are ordered to work from home until otherwise notified by University leaders.”

Exceptions to the directive will be made for employees identified as critical for protection, recovery, and continued operations. Those employees will continue to work on campus as needed. Additionally, teaching faculty will be permitted to come to campus to conduct online classes if necessary.

As the spread of COVID-19 is difficult to predict, there is no timetable as to when employees will be asked to return to campus. However, WesternU campuses are not closing, and all faculty and staff on both campuses are expected to remotely report for work unless otherwise directed.

WesternU Health Centers in Pomona, Rancho Mirage, and Portland, Oregon, will continue regular operations until further notice.