Return to Work Guide
As the University makes final preparations for our reopening in August, we have been diligently planning for the return of our employees. We look forward to reopening all offices and welcoming you back to campus on Monday, Aug. 10.
This Return to Work Guide provides detailed information regarding the transition back to on-campus work. Our plan follows current state requirements and guidance from health experts, as well as best practices based on scientific knowledge of COVID-19. We must all do our part to protect ourselves and our community and to create an environment where our students can feel safe, supported, and ready to learn.
Returning to Campus | Expectations and Guidelines | Symptom Monitoring | Contact Tracing | Personal Protective Equipment | Social Distancing | Personal Hygiene | Cleaning and Disinfecting | Employee Assistance Program
Returning to Campus
For many departments, phased staffing may be required to meet social distancing requirements and will likely continue for some time. Department heads will need to assess their staffing based on business needs and their ability to control and manage specific work environments. Once approved, all decisions will be communicated through your respective department head, dean, vice president, or the provost.
On-Campus Staffing Options
Once campus fully reopens, there are options departments should consider to maintain required social distancing measures.
In order to limit the number of people and interactions on campus, departments should consider scheduling partial staffing on alternating days, with some from the department working on campus while others work remotely. Such schedules will enable social distancing, especially in areas with large common workspaces.
The beginning and end of the workday typically bring many people together at common entry/exit points of buildings. Staggering reporting and departure times by at least 30 minutes will reduce traffic in common areas to meet social distancing requirements. Department heads should work with employees on this alternative scheduling when possible.
Requesting Exceptions to On-Campus Work
We will continue to follow the established process for disability accommodations, including engaging in the interactive process with faculty and staff with disabilities to determine whether they require reasonable accommodations to perform the essential functions of their job amidst the pandemic.
If you have a medical condition that could reasonably affect your ability to safely perform your duties on campus, you must request a reasonable accommodation through HRD and go through the interactive process. Based on the information obtained through that process, a determination will be made as to whether you qualify for a reasonable accommodation.
For employees who may not have a disability but may otherwise be considered “high risk” for serious illness due to COVID-19, we established the process below for you to explore the possibility of alternative work arrangements with your supervisors.
While information regarding COVID-19 continues to evolve, the CDC’s current list of individuals who may be a greater risk of severe illness may be found here. If you fall into one of these categories and wish to request an accommodation, please follow the following process:
• Employees who are, or will be 65 or older as of December 31, 2020, and wish to continue to work from home should contact HRD.
• Employees who believe their own underlying health condition increases the risk for serious complications related to COVID-19 should contact HRD to discuss the situation. HRD will notify the appropriate supervisor if the request is granted.
• Employees who live with someone who is or will be age 65 or older as of December 31, 2020, or who live with someone with an underlying health condition that increases the risk for serious complications related to COVID-19 should contact HRD to discuss the situation. HRD will notify the appropriate supervisor of the staff member’s decision.
• UHart will grant temporary unpaid administrative leave to any staff member who requests such a leave. Requests should be made to HRD, who will notify the appropriate supervisor, and address such requests on a semester-by-semester basis.
Workplace Expectations & Guidelines
Maintaining healthful and safe conditions is a responsibility shared by every employee on campus. All staff are expected to fully comply with the policies, protocols and guidelines outlined in this document as an extension of the Employment Manual, Chapter: 6.12 Health and Safety.
- Monitor your symptoms
- Participate in contact tracing
- Wear a face covering
- Practice social distancing
- Practice proper hygiene
When campus fully reopens, all employees, students, and visitors will be required to participate in daily health screenings via our LiveSafe app. If you log any of the following symptoms, you should notify your supervisor and HRD that you will not be at work. Then, contact your doctor.
- Fever (100° or higher) or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
If you answer “no” to every question about symptoms and you don’t have a fever, you will be authorized to remain on campus.
Contact tracing is a method used to find and follow up with people who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. People who were around this individual are called contacts. By tracing the contacts of COVID-19 cases, having them self-isolate, if necessary, and testing, when appropriate, we can reduce the spread of coronavirus. State and local health officials will continue to take the lead on contact tracing. We are working with the College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions to develop a team of on-campus contact tracers who will work parallel with health officials.
Personal Protective Equipment
Appropriate use of face masks or coverings is critical in minimizing risks to others near you. Please remember that masks are not a substitute for social distancing. We will provide one washable mask for each employee and you are encouraged to bring any extras you may need. If, due to a medical condition, you are unable to wear a mask, please consult with HRD to discuss a reasonable accommodation.
- Masks should completely cover your nose and mouth
- Masks must be worn when in the presence of others and in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., common work spaces, meeting rooms, classrooms, etc.).
- You many remove your mask if you are working alone in a separate space (e.g., cubicles with walls, private offices, etc.). However, you must wear a mask or face covering from the time you enter the building until the time you arrive at your cubicle/workstation, and at any time you are leaving your work station and moving around common areas (e.g., in hallways and stairwells, going to the restroom or break room, etc.).
- For those employees working in larger settings (e.g., areas open to the public, shared offices, or similar settings), you must wear a face covering when you are at your work station.
- Continuous wearing of masks is not required in outdoor workspaces where employees do not regularly come within six feet of others.
The following establishes the foundational criteria for personal protective equipment (PPE) to be used by staff and faculty in the performance of their job duties. This determination is designed to minimize the likelihood of exposure to COVID-19 and doesn’t include PPE to be used for other purposes or functional-related hazards; e.g. exposure to chemicals, occupational noise, heat/high temperature, or related materials.
Masks and face coverings do not include N95 respirators. The CDC does not recommend that the general public wear N95 respirators to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. In addition, because the N95 respirator creates increased breathing resistance and makes breathing more difficult, people with medical conditions; e.g. chronic respiratory, cardiac, or other illnesses, should meet with their primary health care provider to determine the most effective method of face covering to wear to prevent airborne exposure. Based on this, the University will only issue N95 respirators to faculty, staff, and students with a qualified medical condition and to those participating in the respiratory care program of ENHP as required.
According to the CDC, the primary and most important mode of transmission for COVID-19 is through close contact from person-to-person. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this isn’t thought to be the main way the virus spreads. For the general public, the CDC recommends wearing gloves when you are cleaning or caring for someone who is sick. In most other situations wearing gloves is not necessary and may provide a false sense of security. The most effective method of prevention is hand washing with soap and water.
Classroom/Lecture: Face covering (over mouth and nose)
Clinical Laboratory (ENHP):
- Face covering (over mouth and nose)
- Gloves – when performing patient care during clinical time
- Face shield – during situations/procedures when there is a risk of contact with aerosolized substances and/or bodily fluid (intubation)
- N95 respirator as appropriate
Laboratory (other than Clinical):
- Face covering (over mouth and nose)
- Face Shield (when social distancing <6-feet can’t be maintained)
Music/Performing Arts – Vocals & Stringed Instruments (N/A to woodwind and brass): Face covering (over mouth and nose)
Office/Business Function: Face covering (over mouth and nose)
- Face covering (over mouth and nose)
- N95 respirator (providing medical care)
- Gloves (providing medical care
- Face covering (over mouth and nose)
- Face coverings N/A (outdoor work where employees do not come with 6-feet on regular basis
It may be possible that some personnel require more specific PPE based on a pre-existing medical condition where a special accommodation is necessary. In these cases, each situation will be addressed on an individual basis and the University will strive to make necessary accommodations. If you are in need of an accommodation for the fall, please review the previously shared information to engage with the Office of Human Resources Development (HRD) to discuss your specific situation, documentation requirements, and options.
Maintaining space between yourself and others is one of the best ways to avoid being exposed to the COVID-19 virus and slowing its spread. There have been cases of people being diagnosed with COVID-19 despite not having symptoms, so social distance is important all of the time, not just if you feel sick. While at work, stay six feet away from one another.
- Our facilities team is looking at offices and other workspaces across campus to determine whether there is a need for physical adjustments to allow for social distancing.
- Where possible, the University is installing visual social distancing markers to encourage employees to remain six feet apart, and rearranging space to maintain six feet of distance between employees and/or members of the public.
- Supervisors should also consider staggering the position of desks so employees can avoid sitting opposite each other.
- Where possible, segment the workspace into discrete zones, prevent movement between zones, and close spaces where employees congregate.
- Use partitions between employees and/or the public where a six-foot distance cannot be maintained, where possible.
Gathering in groups increases the risk of viral transmission. Where feasible, meetings should be held using the extensive range of available collaboration tools.
- While on campus, you are encouraged to communicate with your colleagues and supervisors as needed by email, instant message, telephone, or other available technology rather than face-to-face.
- In-person meetings should not exceed 50 percent of a room’s capacity, assuming individuals can still maintain six feet of separation for social distancing requirements.
- Departments should remove or rearrange chairs and tables or add visual cue marks in meeting rooms to support social distancing practices between attendees.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after touching frequently used items or surfaces.
- If you are in a private setting and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. Throw any used tissues in the trash. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Disinfect frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible.
- Avoid touching your face.
Other Workplace Considerations
Our Facilities team will be engaging in more frequent and robust cleaning protocols. In addition, we ask you to supplement those efforts by routinely cleaning and disinfecting your workspaces and wiping keyboards, phones and doorknobs, if applicable, at least once a day. We also will have processes in place to perform enhanced, deep cleanings of a workplace if an employee tests positive for COVID-19.
Do not share equipment if possible. If you must share, wipe it down after each use.
You are welcome to eat in your designated work station, but we ask that you not prepare food on site or share meals with co-workers. You may use microwaves and coffee machines provided you properly clean them after each use.
Employee Assistance Program
Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, we have temporarily extended the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) coverage with The Lexington Group from six to eight counseling sessions. The Lexington Group is available 24/7 for help with any personal problem, including counseling relating to depression and/or stress surrounding the pandemic. They are available online by visiting their website at The-Lexington-Group.com or by phone at 1-800-676-4357. An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place.
COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. According to the CDC, older adults and those with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable. By visiting UHart, you voluntarily assume all risks related to COVID-19.