Executive Order regarding remote instruction and research

March 18, 2020

Dear colleagues,

The adoption of the Bay Area shelter-in-place was a dramatic action that has suddenly changed all of our lives. The University’s employees are permitted by the shelter-in-place orders to continue to come to work in order to carry out the University's essential functions. We write to provide clarity regarding who should and should not be coming to work at the campus to perform duties related to distance learning and research consistent with the procedures that the campus has now established for providing remote learning and research continuity.

This Executive Order issues directions regarding which employees and faculty members are permitted to come to campus today through April 7, while the Alameda County shelter-in-place order is in effect, for the purpose of carrying out remote instruction and engaging in essential research activities. This directive supersedes all earlier communications.

Please see the detailed information below. These are campus directives that everyone in our research and teaching communities must follow. They are not guidelines.

Who this directive covers  

This message is a formal employment directive issued by the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost and the Vice Chancellor for Administration and it applies to all employees and faculty, including visiting scholars and visiting student researchers, who are engaged in instruction and research activities. This directive does not apply to those employees who already are working from home except as necessary to support essential activities, consistent with the direction of their supervisor. This directive does not apply to administrators and managers whose presence on campus is essential. Employees and faculty who come to campus for reasons inconsistent with this directive are subject to discipline.   

Remote instruction

Employees and faculty members may come to the campus only to engage in and directly support the delivery of remote learning instruction (and the limited, specific preparation necessary for such instruction) that cannot be accomplished from home. We have suspended our course capture service as of today. As you make the change to fully-remote instruction, please visit our Instructional Resilience Resources site to take advantage of the virtual consultation services (outlined below) offered by Research Teaching and Learning (RLT). The team is here to support you as best as possible as you transition in a virtual environment. We offer individual virtual consultations with staff who can help guide you on best practices and technical tools. Consultation services can be scheduled in the following ways:


Principal investigators (PIs) and their research groups/staff may engage in only those research continuity activities that have been specifically approved by the Vice Chancellor for Research. See Calmessages of March 9 and March 17 for further detail. If you are uncertain as to whether the research activity that you are presently supporting is approved to continue during this period, fill in this form by 5 pm today. PI s will be notified about whether they have approval to continue their research on a rolling basis starting March 18, through March 20.

No one supporting the campus research enterprise can come to campus to support or engage in activities that have not been designated by the campus as appropriate. If you are being inappropriately pressured to come to your workplace, please contact the Vice Chancellor for Research, the Vice Provost for Graduate Studies, or the Assistant Vice Chancellor for People & Culture.

Building access

Please be advised that suspension of building access (including key-card access) to many campus administrative and research buildings is imminent. This action is necessary to secure and clean campus buildings. Building managers will be informed prior to suspension of access and will communicate information regarding building closure to occupants.

Supervisors, chairs, and building managers should begin compiling lists of employees and faculty who will continue to require building access on an exceptional basis in order to enable distance learning activities and research activities approved by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. Employees and faculty who believe that they should have such access should immediately communicate their needs to their supervisor or department chair.

When working from home has limitations

Instructors and the staff who support them may come to campus in order to access the internet and other campus resources for the purpose of delivery of remote learning. No employee or faculty member supporting instruction or research may decide to come to their office to work, for purposes other than delivering instruction, solely because their home internet access is not adequate or because their conditions at home are otherwise not conducive to working efficiently.  The University understands that employees may not be able to work with normal efficiency during this period. The campus has adopted an emergency procurement process to enable employees and faculty to obtain equipment and internet access to enable them to work from home. Employees and faculty who need these resources should request them from their supervisor or Chair.     

A word of thanks

We know that a number of changes have gone into effect quickly and during an already stressful time. We want to thank you for your support and reiterate that these changes are designed to protect our community and to follow the new shelter-in-place order, while maintaining the essential, critical functions of the university.

Please continue to support each other as we work through these challenging times, and be well.


Paul Alivisatos, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
Marc Fisher, Vice Chancellor for Administration
Randy Katz, Vice Chancellor for Research

This message is being sent to the UC Berkeley research and teaching communities (faculty, postdocs, graduate students). Please share with relevant researchers, support staff, and PIs.