Information letter from the President of Aix-Marseille University to the whole university community.

Dear all,

In the context of the new confinement that is imposed in France from today until May 3, I would like to express my support for you in the face of the organizational difficulties and weariness that you may encounter. Many of us share this feeling in the face of the strong constraints that aim to preserve us collectively from the transmission of COVID-19.

A new adaptation of our professional and personal rhythms is now necessary. It impacts both students and all staff, without distinction. I assure you that my team and I are doing everything possible to get through this new stage as best we can, which will help us to break the deadlock of the pandemic.

As I announced to you on Friday, remote working is the rule for the next four weeks (except for activities covered by the business continuity plan). We must limit physical exchanges as much as possible and respect the barrier measures even more.

I would like to thank each and every one of you for the unfailing commitment you have shown for many months in the service of our university missions.

I assure you of my personal commitment, my full support to each team and my deep gratitude for your perseverance and the quality of your daily work.

1 - Exceptional financial aid from AMU for childcare in April

In order to support the care of your children in approved childcare facilities in April, I have decided to set up an exceptional social benefit from AMU, which can be adjusted according to the tax income of households. We are in the process of voting on the amounts of this financial aid for the care of children of nursery age, up to CM2. All the modalities to benefit from it will soon be put online on the SCASC web pages.

2 - For everyone: what about childcare, teleworking and the ASA scheme during the period when the crèches and schools are closed?

Following the new ministerial circular which reached us on Sunday evening, the frequently asked questions dedicated to staff have been updated.

The rules that we apply at AMU are clear: Special leave of absence (ASA) is granted to staff (civil servants or contractual employees) whose missions cannot be teleworked in order to look after their child(ren) under 16 years of age. This leave can only be granted to one of the parents at a time. The parent who has to take care of children with disabilities is entitled to ASA, regardless of the age of the child.

Due to the closure of schools, crèches and extracurricular activities, childcare ASAs may be granted on an exceptional basis until 26 April (date of reopening of schools) to staff members whose duties can be performed from home, under the following conditions

  • To ensure the care of one or more children usually taken care of by an early childhood structure, enrolled in kindergarten or in elementary education if they are unable to have their children cared for by an alternative means (spouse, family...)
  • And on request to the head of department who must take into account the individual situation of each agent and the imperatives of continuity of service.

The staff member must provide his or her employer with a sworn statement to the effect that he or she is the only one of the two parents to benefit from the measure for the days in question and that he or she has no alternative means of care.

3 - Adaptation of the April academic calendars by component

The directors of each component will be free to adapt their academic calendar for the next four weeks, according to the specificity of each component. The possibility of modifying the academic calendars will be voted on by the CFVU this Thursday. These modifications to the timetable obviously concern the availability of teaching and research colleagues.

For those who will not be able to give their courses according to the initial modalities (face-to-face practical work, lectures via Zoom) in order to be able to look after their children, they will be able to propose a different distance activity, facilitating the organisations, or to ask for a special authorisation of absence (ASA - see previous paragraph).

4 - Invitation to take weeks of paid leave

Once again, I invite each team leader to propose to colleagues to take one week of paid leave, at least, during the next four weeks. This possibility concerns the BIATSS staff as well as the teaching and research staff.

This request concerns, of course, the agents of the services and the directions, in the respect of the plan of continuity of the activities of AMU.

5- Organization of work within the research units

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the management teams of our research structures have adapted the modes of operation of the units and federations to reduce the risks of contamination, while allowing the continuity of research activities. We will maintain the same strategy, but we will have to be even more attentive to the respect of sanitary instructions and continue to limit the visit of personnel to the laboratories.

Remote work is the rule for all activities that can be carried out remotely.

If the presence of personnel who cannot work remotely does not present any risks for the respect of sanitary instructions, the management teams will be able to authorize them to come to the unit according to the organization which will have been set up. It will be necessary to be attentive to privilege the work of doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows whose project is of a more limited duration

To date, and pending new national instructions, the reception of trainees is authorized but their work must be carried out according to the same sanitary rules as the other personnel of the unit.

Thesis and HdR defenses can continue to be defended, while privileging the distanciel mode, either partial or complete. I remind you that thesis or HdR pots are still not authorized. We hope to be able to relive these moments of conviviality as soon as possible, but today they represent situations that are conducive to the transmission of the virus.

Moreover, the directors of the units still have the authority to issue certificates authorizing travel to the workplace.

Dear all, I thank you warmly for your mobilization.

Yours sincerely

Éric Berton

President of Aix-Marseille University


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