Elicia Pegues Spearman, JD, general counsel and vice president for human resources, shares six tips for your return to on-campus work.
Expert Advice and Information
COVID-19: In perspective update with David Hill, MD
David R. Hill, MD, professor of medical sciences, discusses: the status of the pandemic; the spectrum of illnesses and risk factors; approaches to therapy and prevention; requirements for re-opening; and considers the course of the pandemic over time.
What you need to know about hand washing
This video from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention answers important questions about hand washing and hand sanitizer.
What older adults need to know about COVID-19
Jay Butler, deputy director for infectious diseases at the CDC, describes preventive measures to help protect older adults from the coronavirus.
Three Phases of Transition
Three phases to ease the transition
Our plan is based on a phased return to campus to:
- Limit exposure to coronavirus
- Reduce density and allow departments to plan their workspaces accordingly
- Address individual accommodations and exceptions to return to on-site work
- Assess and review work-at-home requests
- Assist with operating in the “new normal”
We will begin allowing employees to return to our campuses in three phases to help prevent the spread of the virus. Our priority is to return faculty and staff whose roles are essential to preparing our campuses for any summer activity and for the start of school in August; staff who cannot effectively perform their roles from home; and staff who are critical to ongoing operations.
We are suggesting a 50% on-campus workforce capacity on a daily basis for the foreseeable future, especially if physical office space does not allow for necessary social distancing protocols. HR and Facilities will review each department’s return-to-work plan to balance it with others in the same building or floor to determine if social distancing can be maintained in hallways and public spaces. The 50% on-campus workforce is a key preventive step. Along with this, we will continue to support work-from-home arrangements to enable more flexible scheduling. In addition, medical guidelines advise (but do not mandate) that employees 65 years of age and older, or those with chronic medical conditions, continue working from home if possible. We ask supervisors to remain flexible and compassionate when discussing with staff when and if their departments and employees should return to work during the recommended phases.
QU Phase 1: June 15
- People who work in areas that support graduate students, new student orientation, summer programs and administratively essential operations.
- Offices that are likely to return to campus during this phase include Information Services, Facilities, Public Safety, Student Health Services, some clinical/lab locations and deans’ offices.
- Working from home is preferred if possible.
QU Phase 2: July 13
- People who work in areas that support preparations for students’ return for the fall semester.
- Offices that are likely to return to campus during this phase include Admissions, Financial Aid, Student Affairs, Human Resources, Marketing and Communications, and faculty if their classes or pilot programs begin in the summer.
- Alternating on-site and work-from-home schedules within a department is recommended to reduce density on our campuses.
QU Phase 3: August 10
- People who work in all remaining areas.
- Alternating on-site and work-from-home schedules within your department is recommended to reduce density on our campuses.
Additional guidance will be forthcoming on which departments will return under each phase after managers have completed and submitted to HR their return-to-work plans. It is important to discuss with your supervisor which phase applies to your department or role.
Key Guidelines for QU’s Return to Campus
Key guidelines for your return to campus
It is critical that we all practice the following safety measures — even if you are feeling well — as many individuals who have COVID-19 can remain asymptomatic. In following these measures, you are helping to protect yourself, your family, your neighbors, your colleagues, our students and the entire Bobcat community.
Monitor your health daily
All of us need to monitor our health daily, remain home if we are not feeling well, and report symptoms to our health care providers. If you test positive for COVID-19, please alert the Office of Human Resources. QU is exploring an app-based tool for daily health checks that would make it easy for employees to monitor symptoms and have health care guidelines at your fingertips.
Wear a face covering
Everyone must wear a face covering in public spaces where they interact with others. QU will provide two cloth face masks to every employee (estimated delivery is late June to early July based on current supply chain). Additional masks can be purchased through the Quinnipiac Bookstore.
Practice good personal hygiene and hand washing
Refrain from touching your face and wash your hands frequently, especially after coming in contact with any public areas, such as restrooms. You should wash your hands for a full 20 seconds to kill germs.
The State of Connecticut will require all students to have been tested for COVID-19 prior to their return to campus. Quinnipiac is currently finalizing the testing program it will use throughout the fall semester for ongoing testing of students and other members of faculty and staff based on the latest guidance from the State of Connecticut.
Approximately 50% on-campus workforce
We are suggesting a 50% on-campus workforce capacity on a daily basis, especially in areas where physical office space does not allow for necessary social-distancing protocols.
Stagger work times
Alternating work schedules (employees in the office versus employees working from home), arrival and departure times, and working remotely should be considered through all phases.
University Approach to Safe Work Environments
Physical workspace adjustments
Our Facilities team is reviewing all workspaces across our campuses to determine where physical adjustments may be necessary, such as the installation of plastic shields, spacing out workspaces, assessing one-way traffic patterns. These adjustments will be made in advance of each department’s return to work according to the three phases. If you have questions about your workspace needs, please contact your manager.
Testing and contact tracing
In addition to state-required COVID-19 testing of all students upon their return, all faculty and staff in student-facing roles will be tested. In addition, staff who are not in student-facing roles may be tested when tests become more readily available. All colleges and universities in Connecticut are currently working with the state on a coordinated testing model for students, faculty and staff, and we will provide more information as it becomes available. Employees also can work directly with their health care provider if they feel they need a COVID-19 test, which our QU insurance covers at in-network providers.
The university is also exploring contact tracing technologies, including apps, which give us the ability to trace the contacts of those testing positive for COVID-19 so that we can quickly prevent spread of the virus.
Here is how contact tracing works:
- If an employee tests positive, we will speak with them to determine with whom they came into contact so we can assess potential exposures.
- If an employee has been exposed to, or come in contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19, either at work or elsewhere, that employee must self-isolate at home.
- The identity of employees and students who test positive will not be disclosed beyond a need-to-know basis; however, contact tracing and the need for exposed individuals to self-isolate may result in revealing their identity to some individuals.
Monitoring Your Health
Currently, COVID-19 symptoms include one or more of the following:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Runny nose or new sinus congestion
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- Gastrointestinal symptoms that you haven’t experienced before
- Loss of taste or smell that you haven’t experienced before
Respecting the Community
Reports on the spread of COVID-19 infections are a source of stress and concern for many, but it is critical that we pause and reflect on how our words and reactions can affect others during this global health crisis. Now more than ever, it’s important for all members of the Quinnipiac community to treat one another with care and dignity.
Please consider the following:
- Resist the tendency to make broad generalizations about people. Uncertainty about the coronavirus may lead to anxiety and fear. Harmful behaviors can occur when anxiety and fear are projected onto entire social groups. Such behavior is harmful to the well-being of targeted individuals and does not protect anyone from the coronavirus.
- Treat community members with care and empathy. Try to walk in the shoes of others rather than treating someone with suspicion or implicit bias.
- Be vigilant outside of work about social distancing and proper hygiene at locations you visit during non-work hours.
- Continue to follow recommended health and safety guidelines as Connecticut re-opens for business.
Detailed Guidelines and Policies
Social distancing guidelines
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends that people remain a minimum of six feet apart. Here are some other steps you can take:
- Limit non-essential interaction across campuses, buildings and work sites.
- Increase physical space between your co-workers, students, visitors and vendors.
- Limit gatherings in your workplace (e.g., no face-to-face meetings, one person at a time in kitchen areas, etc.).
- Use Zoom or alternative meeting tools for person-to-person meetings.
- Avoid physical contact, such as handshakes or fist bumps.
Signage is being installed throughout our campuses with reminders about social distancing, especially in public spaces. Please respect these guidelines.
Face Covering Guidelines
Face covering guidelines
Appropriate use of face coverings is critical in minimizing risks to others near you. Keep in mind a face mask is not a substitute for social distancing. Each Quinnipiac employee will receive two washable face masks. If you have an underlying health condition that prevents you from wearing a face covering, you should wear a face shield, if possible, or continue to work remotely.
- Quinnipiac is requiring all faculty, staff and students to wear face coverings when in public. This means anytime you are outside your suite, living quarters, or personal office or workspace, you must wear a face covering.
- Ensure the face covering fits properly over your nose and under your chin.
- Store face coverings in a paper bag when not in use.
- Wash cloth face coverings with regular laundry detergent before the first use and after each use, and do not use for more than one day at a time.
- Replace cloth face coverings immediately if they become soiled, damaged (e.g., ripped, punctured) or visibly contaminated.
- Do not use disposable face coverings for more than one day, and place them in the trash after use, or if they become soiled or damaged (e.g., stretched ear loops, torn or punctured material) or visibly contaminated.
If you have any questions about the policies or information above, please send an email to EmployeeCOVIDHR@qu.edu
Quinnipiac’s COVID-19 task force continues to manage the university’s ongoing plans, and response to COVID-related needs.