The University of New Mexico has slowly started to welcome Lobos back to campus with its Bring Back the Pack initiative. Since March 17, UNM has limited its operations and sent staff home to work in alignment with state and federal guidelines in an effort to protect the pack from the COVID-19 pandemic. This began when the COVID-19 pandemic started sweeping the nation earlier this year.
To organize its efforts to return Lobos back to campus, UNM developed a comprehensive plan to Bring Back the Pack in Fall 2020. The initial phase began June 1, allowing a limited group of individuals to return to campus to start up critical functions and support Fall planning.
In the initial phase, each major area of University operations: Academic Affairs, Finance and Administration, the President’s Office, the specialized areas of the Health Science Center, and on each of the branch campuses, had leadership communicate with their units to organize and prioritize the areas that can start to move to an increased on-campus presence.
Employees are encouraged to continue to work remotely. However, some faculty and staff have returned to campus to carry out essential functions. Because of this, UNM’s Main and Branch campuses implemented a daily-screening policy for all employees. On June 8, employees started receiving a daily e-mail asking whether or not that employee will be on campus and if so, checking to see if employees are showing any symptoms of illness.
Summer courses are also underway at UNM but are being conducted online. Meanwhile, some laboratories are ramping up their activities including previous ongoing research studies
During this early summer phase, buildings will continue to be available remotely. Buildings largely will remain locked and campus access will remain limited. However, the UNM Bookstores on Main and North campus re-opened to the public on a limited basis June 1 and continues to monitor public health guidelines, while parking enforcement has returned to its normal summer schedule.
The other phases mentioned in the plan include a mid-summer phase, a hybrid fall phase and the future. Students, staff and faculty should expect communication from their leadership that outlines what each phase specifically means for them. Managers and supervisors should not begin asking employees to return to campus until they receive official notice from leadership.