Planning for Fall 2021

DATE: May 7, 2021

TO: NMSU-Las Cruces Faculty and Staff

FROM: Dan E. Arvizu, Chancellor

             John Floros, President


SUBJECT: Planning for Fall 2021

Congratulations, everyone, on another successful academic year. Looking ahead to the Fall 2021 semester, we are asking our entire campus community to apply all we have learned this year to shape a future that continues to prioritize student success and allows our workforce more options while achieving our strategic goals. You should be collaborating now with colleagues and supervisors to plan what a more conventional fall semester looks like for you and your unit in a way that ensures you are fully functional and able to serve your missions. Fall semester transitions should be completed by Monday, August 2, with in-person or hybrid work arrangements fully operational. We encourage you to be creative, learn from what worked during this past year and know we don’t need to do things just like we did them before the pandemic. Know we will also pivot if we need to—these plans are not set in stone but are a guidepost for us as we navigate the future.

All return plans need to address the following key elements:

  • A list of functions that must take place on campus to support our mission;
  • An assessment of safety and risk points, such as proximity of staff and interface with the public, and review by EHSRM if operating differently than before;
  • Mitigation plans for each of these risk points, including safety practices such as workspace or schedule modifications, personal protective equipment usage, controlled public access, and training; and
  • An assessment of potential internal action triggers, such as an employee who reports likely exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

If your unit has decided to continue telework or staggered schedules, ensure your dean; director; or vice president concurs and that the required alternative work arrangement forms have been completed. As you plan, please keep in mind some guiding principles. Your plan should seek to:

  • Understand and mitigate individuals’ risk related to COVID-19, including wearing face masks indoors, unless in private areas;
  • Protect the health and wellness of the NMSU community and the communities we serve; and
  • Support the mission, vision, goals, and values of NMSU LEADS 2025.

Additional guidance will be coming from Gena Jones, assistant vice president for Human Resource Services, and leader of the Future of Work Tiger Team. This will include information on alternative work arrangements, safety ideas, decision trees, and other information to help you plan. Look for this in mid-May.

Please don’t wait to craft and discuss these plans; the plan for each college or administrative unit is to be completed no later than June 15 and implemented, no later than August 2. Your unit does not have to wait until August to implement; you can begin that transition at any time after agreement with your dean or vice president. These plans will reside with your dean, director or vice president and do not have to be submitted centrally. If you have any questions, please plan on tuning in to the next town hall session on Tuesday, May 18, at 3 p.m. As always, you can submit questions at

Again, we thank you for your commitment to our mission and your tireless work on behalf of New Mexico State University.

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