Safety-First Tech Support for Fall 2020

August 18, 2020
6-foot apart floor sign for social distancing guidelines during COVID-19 pandemic

Our lives have changed in many ways due to COVID-19, but ITS is still committed to providing the best technical support we can for our students, faculty, and staff. To help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and to promote a community of care, we have established “Safety-First Tech Support” protocols and procedures for ITS staff and everyone we serve to follow.

Remote support whenever possible

To minimize the physical handling of computers and peripherals, ITS technicians will use virtual support tools to provide assistance for any software-based issues or requests. We use BeyondTrust, also known as “Bomgar,” to provide remote assistance for any software-based needs, such as application issues, updates, and installations. BeyondTrust allows our technicians—with your permission—to securely view and control computers and mobile devices. To initiate a support session, visit our Remote Support Portal and use the Issue Submission section at the bottom of the page.

 In addition to BeyondTrust, ITS technicians may also utilize other screen-sharing applications, such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, to provide support, as needed.

Remote support methods will be used for the first attempt to resolve any software-related incident. In the event that an issue cannot be resolved using virtual methods, you may visit one of our walk-up locations or schedule an appointment with an ITS staff member. View hours and contact information in our Knowledge Base.

Safety protocols for in-person service

All ITS technicians are required to wear a mask when providing in-person service, including at all walk-up locations, classrooms, and offices. All individuals requiring in-person service from ITS are also required to wear a mask.

All devices that must be handled by an ITS technician will be sanitized before and after service. Disposable gloves may also be used when appropriate.

 All individuals are expected to maintain appropriate physical distance when possible during in-person service. 

Reduction of shared computers

To minimize the spread of COVID-19 on shared surfaces, ITS has removed most of the computers from public labs and shared spaces on campus. A limited number of computers are available in the Libraries and other service locations for printing and quick access. 

We recommend that individuals use their own devices whenever possible. If you need to use a shared computer, you are responsible for sanitizing the keyboard, mouse, and surrounding surface before and after each use. Hundreds of paper towel dispensers and spray bottles have been installed by Facilities Management on both campuses.

Hardware repairs and the importance of cloud storage

If your St. Thomas computer requires a hardware repair, we recognize the need to get you up-and-running again as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of the issue and availability of parts and technicians, repairs may take days or weeks to complete. This means that we will likely need to provide you with different device, either temporarily or permanently, while yours is being repaired.

Since hardware inventory is currently limited, all individuals must first check with their department to see if a spare device is available. If one is not available from your department, we will do what we can to provide you with the same model, but you might receive a different model than that of your current device.

To expedite your ability to resume teaching and working, it is more important than ever to save your files to supported cloud services. Data saved to OneDrive, Teams, or SharePoint can be immediately accessed on another device while your device is being repaired. Storing files in cloud services also saves time for ITS staff, since we do not have to transfer data between devices.

We’re in this together

Thank you for your cooperation as we work together to create a safe environment on campus during this pandemic. As always, we value the safety and wellness of our community members above everything else and we are here to support you.