April 22, 2020
It is my sincere hope that you are healthy and safe. These are incredibly challenging and trying times and I know that each of you feels the pain from this pandemic in different ways. Whether emotionally, physically or financially it has affected everyone, including our students. Everyone is eager for the day we can reopen our campuses.
Our top priority remains the health and well-being of every member of our community. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) offer benefits that may assist you as you navigate K-12 school closures, a lack of summer childcare options, and added stress and anxiety. Please read the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Benefits & Employment FAQ to see if any of the benefits available will provide needed support.
In addition, I want to share three temporary COVID-19 policy changes the University System of New Hampshire administrative board (the four USNH presidents and the chancellor) has approved to help with cash preservation, while supporting employees. The three policy changes (for employees not covered by a collective bargaining agreement) include a temporary reduction in minimum age compared to our existing early retirement policy, an enhanced layoff policy that extends the duration of health plan coverage at the same employee cost share by three months, and a new emergency furlough policy. As many of you know, UNH refunded $27.2 million to our students in prorated dining, housing and student fees. This was the right thing to do for our students and their families, but it had a large financial impact on the institution.
These updated policies are in place if we need to use them. We are facing a large budget deficit but at this time don’t have any plans to lay off or furlough employees. We continue to gather information and make decisions that will guide us in the coming weeks, months and years. We are working hard to ensure a solid financial future for UNH while making every effort to be compassionate and mindful as we contemplate difficult decisions.
Thank you for your flexibility and patience, and your continued support of our students. We are grateful that you are a part of our community. Be well.
James W. Dean Jr.