Here we are in August, getting ready for a new semester to begin—but in a way we never could have imagined. This fall is going to look a lot different for all of us, whether we are continuing to work from home, working on campus to support university operations, or some combination of both.
The fall also marks the continuation of a difficult situation for working parents. With local school systems offering virtual school and many young children home from daycare, the pandemic has brought incredible challenges to working families. The Staff Senate is trying to identify ways it can support Mason parents, perhaps by sharing resources or creating new channels to connect with other parents. We want to know what might help you as a working parent. Please reach out and tell us your ideas. We are collaborating with HR/Payroll and the Working Moms and Dads groups on this topic—all of which are here to support you.
We know the challenges of this pandemic also extend to those who do not have children at home. Staff members who do not have dependents, or do not qualify for high-risk accommodations, may be feeling pressure to return to campus or take on additional projects. The Staff Senate wants to hear from you, too, so we can stay informed of these issues and connect you with resources for assistance.
In July, we held the annual Staff Senate election. It was a very competitive race, with more names on the ballot than any of us remember in recent years. I am so impressed by the tremendous amount of interest in joining the senate right now. During a time when so many of us are working harder than ever, there are staff members who want to do more—talented and passionate people who want to help Mason through these challenges and sustain a positive work-life culture at the university.
I want to thank all those who were on the Staff Senate ballot this summer. Congratulations to all our new senators, and a sincere thank-you to all our outgoing senators for their service to Mason.
Chair, Staff Senate