COVID FATIGUE RESOURCES

THIS IS WHAT WE’RE WORKING ON RIGHT NOW:

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  1. We have some immediate suggestions and recommendations listed below to begin implementing for ourselves and within our teams today.

  2. Next week, we will begin assigning work groups to address some of the larger system ideas

  3. We are working with Dr. Katherine (Katie) Lingras, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, to provide some guidance around early childhood resources for people with children at home. Follow Dr. Lingras on Twitter for a great thread of free resources for keeping children occupied during the day.

About COVID Fatigue and the Following Resources

In August, Medical School faculty, staff, trainees and students were invited to provide suggestions about how best to support our academic community during the enduring pandemic. The listening sessions focused on caregivers and those parenting school-aged children, while also managing their professional duties.

Major themes are addressed on this page, providing suggestions and resources as you move forward this fall and next spring. Every action we take is grounded in diversity, equity and inclusion. Review the COVID Fatigue Recommendations.

IMMEDIATE RECOMMENDATIONS THAT WE CAN IMPLEMENT FOR OURSELVES AND WITHIN OUR TEAMS:

  1. Team leaders should initiate conversations with employees, asking what flexibility is needed during this time.
  2. Adjust schedules and expectations to account for caregiving obligations, designate ‘no meeting’ hours.   
  3. Set maximum meeting time to 20 or 45 minutes, allowing for breaks between meetings.
  4. Consciously plan times for emails and expected responses. 
  5. Empower teams to implement ‘no meeting’ days, ‘no zoom’ days, or ‘no meeting zones’ within the day to support blocks of time for distant learning activities for school-aged children. 
  6. Record/take notes at all meetings for those unable to attend, use alternative methods to make decisions. Stay inclusive.
  7. Leaders are accountable for ensuring that all faculty/staff utilize time away and monitor compliance.
  8. Focus expectations on core missions only and delay any non-essential new initiatives.   

#UMNMEDCARES COVID FATIGUE CAMPAIGN

Members of the Medical School community share with us how the stress of the past few months have affected them personally, and what has helped them cope with the stressors. Help our community understand that they’re not alone during this time and join the conversation via Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, using the hashtag #UMNMedcares.

University Resources

Information for Working Parents
We committed to supporting faculty and staff as they continue to advance the research, teaching, and service of the University while fulfilling their personal commitments.

The Office of Human Resources has provided information related to: 

  • Leaves that Support Parents
  • Additional resources for mental health resources, financial counseling, and wellbeing.

Faculty and Staff with Family Responsibilities
The Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost has provided information related to: 

  • Childcare resources, including mid-year flex spending accounts; identifying available caregivers; and hiring in-home care. 
  • Tenure-track faculty have received an automatic tenure clock extension of one year. 
  • Faculty and staff have access to the emergency paid leave program and the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act leave program. 
  • Faculty and P&A employees have access to the discretionary unpaid leave option.

Pandemic Caregiver Tips
Download Pandemic Caregiver Tips from Dr. Lingras, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences.

IDENTIFYING AVAILABLE CAREGIVERS

The Office of Human Resources maintains a child-care resource page that has a summary of both on- and off-campus resources. This includes Child Care Aware of Minnesota (previously called the Minnesota Child CareResource and Referral Network), a free online resource portal that operates in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Human Services. ChildCareAwareMN.Org has been widely endorsed by experts as a preferred resource because: a) it focuses on licensed providers and b) it is linked to a quality rating system developed/maintained by the state DHS in partnership with agencies and programs across the state.

HIRING IN-HOME CARE

Faculty and instructors who wish to hire an in-household caregiver can advertise the position to University students and alumni through GoldPASS powered by Handshake, the University’s, no charge, central employer self-post system. By using GoldPASS powered by Handshake you are agreeing to abide by EEOC policy

When you sign up on GoldPASS you will be asked to enter a website. You can use anything tied to your identity like your UMN staff page, a LinkedIn or Facebook profile, family website, etc. Then, make sure to use "Private Household: [your last name] Family" in the “Company” field when signing up as an employer. When you post the positions be sure to include as much information as possible. Here are some suggestions on what to include:

  • At least 3 Qualifications
  • At least 5 Responsibilities, be as detailed as possible
  • Whether or not they will need a drivers licence or vehicle
    • If not, provide bus lines that are near your home
  • Steps you commit to take to provide the safest work environment possible for the selected candidate. This can be a big area of concern for job seekers. Steps can include
    • disinfecting surfaces prior to each shift
    • opening windows before and during shift, or as requested by the candidate
    • wearing/providing PPE in your home. 
  • Hours to be worked 
    • (i.e 4hr, 10am -2pm or if schedule is flexible in a certain time frame like 4hrs between 8am and 4pm)
  • Pay

Note: Please allow up to 48hrs for staff to review your employer profile and job posting.

You may also wish to review the Minnesota Department of Revenue guidelines on hiring an employee. Here are some resources you may find helpful: 

Need help? Visit Handshake's Employer Site

UMP Resources

Are you a clinical faculty member? Additional resources exist for clinical faculty members through the University of Minnesota Physicians organization. Review the resources on the RESOURCE Intranet site. 

Minnesota Resilience Action Plan (MinnRAP)

The Minnesota Resilience Action Plan (MinnRAP) is a program developed at the Medical School to address the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on members of our community. We are all having different reactions, and there are strategies we can use to increase our resilience.

There are 2 components to the program:

1. The 1-on-1 Battle Buddy system, adopted from the U.S. Army

2. Access to a mental health consultant (MHC)

Learn more about MinnRAP.

Other Resources

Our goal is to acknowledge the additional burden of caregiving and offer resources to support the home-life needs of our community members. We are also committed to updating our workplace culture to account for the changing nature of how, where, and when work gets done; redefining expectations of productivity, prioritizing the wellbeing of our faculty, staff, trainees, and students; and focusing on the absolute essentials of our mission right now (clinical care, research, and education).

While we are not making specific recommendations for vendors and companies to order from, we do recommend that you consider taking advantage of services to help manage your time including grocery delivery, meal delivery, lawn/snow services and other services in your community.

Other recommendations we are currently working on: home office support, tutoring options, supervisor training, expansion of mental health resources and others.