Effective March 1, 2020

Units will ensure that coverage is provided during university Standard Operating Hours. While best practice is for offices to remain open, with a physical presence during Standard Operating Hours, it is recognized that external conditions necessitate a change in how we provide service.

Reason for Policy

The intent of this policy is to clarify the College of Arts and Sciences’ expectations regarding office coverage, and to allow individual business units/departments to assess and determine the necessary operational level (coverage) during periods of reduced operations. This policy supports a culture which allows departments the agency to best meet the needs of its constituents while providing flexibility for office coverage. Additionally, this policy allows for more proactive office coverage planning and resource utilization, expanded departmental service offerings, and resources for incoming departmental leadership (staff, faculty and Chairs/Directors) to proactively assess and support office coverage.

The College of Arts and Sciences leadership recognizes that employees are able to respond to student and departmental needs and maintain business continuity through multifaceted communication methods (phone, email, interactive technology such as zoom, websites, etc.).


Units within the College of Arts and Sciences shall now utilize this policy to ensure consistency with regard to office coverage for periods of reduced operations. Overall, it is the expectation of the College of Arts and Sciences that units shall post Standard Operating Hours and any deviations to include coverage changes. Any and all changes to a unit’s Standard Operating Hours shall be published via websites, bulletin boards, etc., and communicated by email, etc., with satisfactory advanced notice. See Appendix A and B.

Departmental personnel (Chair/Director, faculty, and staff) will participate in the process of assessing and implementing office coverage guidelines in support of faculty, staff, and students, which also fosters trust and respect.


  • Designated Correspondent: The Chair/Director and/or the Unit Supervisor who is responsible for communicating any and all changes to office coverage.
  • Planned Long-Term Coverage: Employee utilizing leave during fall break, winter break, etc.
  • Planned Short-Term Coverage: Professional development opportunities, employee engagement/appreciation events, etc.
  • Standard Operating Hours: CU Boulder standard hours are 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. during the academic year (Aug. – May), and 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. during the summer (June – July).
  • Unplanned Short-Term Coverage: Inclement weather, unexpected illness, etc.


Department Chairs, Directors, and Unit Supervisors shall consult with their staff to determine the necessary standard office coverage for their unit based on university Standard Operating Hours.

Department Chairs, Directors, and Unit Supervisors shall consult with their staff to determine the necessary office coverage for their unit during periods when physical presence during core business hours is not essential to the operation of the office. This will enable staff to close office(s) in order to engage in professional development opportunities, as well as under circumstances such as periods of reduced operations (university breaks) and inclement weather, etc.

Planned Long-Term Coverage

  • Designated Correspondent shall notify unit of the upcoming breaks at least one to two months in advance so employees can submit requests for planned usage of leave during the fall, winter, and summer breaks.
    • Designated Correspondent shall review all requests received and in collaboration with the Chair/Director/Unit Supervisor, determine and approve the appropriate coverage.
      • Employees will then be asked to submit leave requests via MyLeave.
    • Once the coverage schedule is finalized, the Designated Correspondent will provide unit with a schedule of coverage for the break, at least two to three weeks in advance.
      • One week prior to the closure, Designated Correspondent will ensure signage is posted, and any other notification measures are taken (out of office message, etc.). Please refer to Appendix A and B.

Planned Short-Term Coverage

  • Designated Correspondent shall communicate to unit in advance any upcoming events that may close the office.
    • One week prior to the closure, Designated Correspondent will ensure signage is posted, and any other notification measures are taken (out of off messages, etc.). Please refer to Appendix A.

Unplanned Short Term Coverage

  • In the event of an emergency, unexpected illness, etc., a request for leave shall be communicated with a supervisor, Chair/Director, and/or the Designated Correspondent, as soon as reasonably possible.
    • Requests for leave shall be in accordance with departmental guidelines and follow applicable classified and university staff leave policies.
  • For all other unplanned coverage needs, employee shall work with their supervisor to determine the best possible outcome.
    • Please refer to the Flexible Work Arrangements policy

Appendix A

Below are a range of resources which may help to communicate office coverage. Departmental leaders are encouraged to work within their unit as well as between units (within the same building, functional areas, academic divisions, etc.) in order to best utilize resources to support coverage within and between departments.

Prior to office closure email example:

“This email is to inform you that the (department name) office will be closed starting (starting date/time) through (end date/time). You will need to contact staff before (starting date) if you need assistance during this period.

During this time, our departmental email at (department email address) shall remain available if you have any queries. We will respond as soon as possible.”

Individual staff member email auto-response example

“I will be out of the office starting (starting date/time) through (end date/time), returning (date of return). If you need immediate assistance during this time, please contact our departmental email at (department email address).
Thank you,
(Your Name)

Department email auto-response example

“Thank you for your email. Your message is important to (department name). We will respond as soon as possible. Please contact (resource/department) if you have an urgent need.
Thank You!”

Department signage example

“The (department name)'s office will be closed (date and time) for (event name).

Staff will return (date and time). In an emergency, contact (resource/department)."

Appendix B

Here are some examples of resources which may help to communicate office coverage: