Dear Elon faculty and staff,
I cannot thank you enough for the ingenuity, dedication, and resilience you have shown as we shifted the spring 2020 semester to remote learning and for all you are doing to support students and colleagues, and to keep Elon strong.
Now that Governor Cooper has extended the stay-at-home order in North Carolina through Friday, May 8, and established benchmarks for re-opening the state in phases, I want to provide an update on how Elon will proceed this summer. Based on guidance from the state and the CDC, a committee appointed by President Book has developed the following principles and policies to guide our community’s return to work on-campus, including the Law School campus:
- Prioritize health and safety of staff, faculty, students, and visitors.
- All employees should become familiar with the Guidelines for Physical Distancing and Hygiene (see below on this page), which describe specific expectations for employees and supervisors to enhance safety and health. These guidelines include information on wearing cloth masks and employees monitoring their own health daily.
- Pandemic leave will be extended as written for an additional two weeks after the Governor begins to reopen businesses and will be modified over the summer.
- Balance productivity with flexibility as much as possible in the coming months to both ensure a smooth fall opening and support the work of staff, faculty, and student employees.
- As much as possible during the early summer, employees will return to campus in phases and may, under the direction of Vice Presidents and Deans, continue to utilize the Temporary Remote Work Policy, enabling divisions and departments to rotate employees through in-person and remote work.
- Because the Governor did not close colleges and universities and many employees normally deemed essential during weather emergencies are already working on campus, we will begin, during North Carolina’s Phase 1, to bring the full contingent of essential staff back to work on campus to help prepare for re-opening.
- We know that every employee is working to balance multiple considerations. As questions arise, please consult with your healthcare provider, refer to CDC guidelines, talk to your supervisor, etc.
- Communicate in advance and often with students, faculty, and staff regarding processes, timelines, and policies.
- Vice Presidents and Deans will be communicating additional details. They will share schedules and expectations regarding these processes and are prepared to answer questions.
- A new Return to Work on Campus web page and FAQs will be developed once policies and processes are finalized.
- Utilize learning from this time period to refine processes going forward.
- We have learned a great deal from the Temporary Remote Work Policy that was created quickly to meet the needs of this specific time period. This fall we will ask a committee to use insights from this temporary policy and time period to develop recommendations for the future.
- Throughout the summer, the Return to Work on Campus Committee, the EOC, Human Resources, the Infectious Disease Response Team, Health Services, and the Vice Presidents and Deans will monitor and assess return to work policies/procedures and the changing COVID-19 landscape.
- The Task Force on Fall 2020 will utilize these policies and processes to continue efforts to plan for the coming academic year.
Please join me in thanking my fellow members of the Return to Work on Campus Committee (listed below). I look forward to building our safe and healthy work environment with you. Keep an eye out for updates in the days and weeks ahead.
Associate Vice President for Human Resources & Chief Human Resources Officer
Ad hoc Return to Work on Campus Committee
Guidelines for Physical Distancing and Hygiene
Physical Plant will continue providing daily cleaning and disinfecting of classrooms, breakrooms, bathrooms, and public spaces. Additionally, all employees will be required to exercise caution and continue physical distancing and personal hygiene practices in order to protect from the spread of the coronavirus as per the guidelines below. All employees will be asked to daily monitor their own health. Here is a template for Employee Self Health Monitoring.
Expectations of Employees: Physical Distancing and Hygiene Practices per CDC guidelines
Vice Presidents and Deans will work with Department Directors, Department Chairs, and Program Directors to ensure that established physical distancing and hygiene practices (listed below) are maintained by employees.
- Faculty and staff should limit close personal contact and maintain a minimum 6-foot distance apart.
- Faculty and staff in individual offices should consider working with office doors shut.
- Faculty and staff should engage in frequent hand washing, the use of hand sanitizer, and sanitizing of surfaces regularly:
- Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as feasible.
- Use hand sanitizer after interactions with people or objects, if soap and water are not readily available.
- Cover coughs and sneezes into the sleeve or elbow, not hands.
- Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces (buttons, door handles, counters, workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, etc.) regularly. Physical Plant will provide disinfecting wipes, or sprays for computer labs, classrooms, and public spaces for individuals to clean surfaces regularly.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Refrain from shaking hands.
- Faculty and staff are encouraged to wear cloth masks in public spaces and must wear them anytime they cannot maintain a safe physical distance from others.
- Faculty and staff should avoid using other employees’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when possible. If necessary, clean and disinfect them before and after use.
- Faculty and staff should limit the number of people at gatherings, ensuring that North Carolina (NC) law is followed. Examples include:
- When in-person meetings are necessary, no more than the number of people defined in NC law by the Governor’s order should be present, and physical distancing should be in place.
- Video conferencing and conference calls can be used instead of in-person meetings.
- No events, meetings, or gatherings will be approved that include more than what NC law defines.
- Please note that the multi-person limit on gatherings includes other personnel that may be present in that space.
- Faculty and staff should remain mindful of physical distancing in small spaces including elevators, hallways, stairwells, and restrooms.
- Faculty and staff should eat in a location that allows for appropriate physical distancing (e.g. outdoors, in an enclosed or private space, in an office with the door closed, etc.).
Note: Contractors and outside vendors will be expected to follow the same guidelines.
Expectations of Employees with COVID-19 Symptoms or with a Sick Family Member at Home with COVID-19
- Employees who have symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath) should notify their supervisor, contact their healthcare provider, and utilize sick leave to stay home.
- Employees with confirmed cases of COVID-19 should follow CDC-recommended steps, should use pandemic leave (and sick leave after pandemic leave ends), and should not return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met, in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments.
- Employees who are well but who have a family member at home sick with a confirmed case of COVID-19 should notify their supervisor, follow CDC recommended precautions, stay at home, and utilize pandemic leave (and sick leave after pandemic leave ends).
Expectations of Supervisors: Work Environment
Vice Presidents and Deans will work with Department Directors, Department Chairs, and Program Directors to evaluate the work environment and make the necessary changes and adjustments to ensure physical distancing practices can be followed. In shared offices or workspaces, the following should be considered:
- Utilize flexible work schedules, staggered work hours, and staggered arrival and departure times.
- Examples include:
- Rotations of remote and in-person work: Create schedules that rotate employees on in-person and remote work days in order to ensure offices are covered while also supporting physical distancing and decreasing congestion in the office.
- Stagger arrivals and departures: Stagger employees’ arrival and departure times, so that not all employees arrive or depart at the same time.
- Alternate break/lunch scheduling: Alternate work or lunch schedules to minimize the number of individuals working together, congregating in one area, or gathering.
- Examples include:
- Adjust furniture and office layout to allow for physical distancing.
- Examples include:
- Move desks or furniture apart to maximize spacing within offices, office suites, work areas, and lounge or public spaces.
- Relocate individuals to alternate spaces or use larger spaces if possible.
- Based on limited availability, and as a last resort, consider the use of office partitions or plexiglass dividers for areas where the prominent purpose is customer service or interacting with walk-up traffic of students, faculty, staff, parents, or campus visitors.
- Examples include:
- Alter or limit congregating factors or spaces where the virus could be easily spread.
- Examples include:
- Discontinue the use of office coffee pots. Post signage to require disinfecting handles on refrigerators and microwaves, as well as control panels of microwaves and vending machines. Post signage discouraging drinking from water fountains.
- Alter break room setups to increase physical distancing. Limit the number of people who can be present where gatherings often occur such as lunch or break rooms. Encourage outdoor break periods.
- Insure adequate space between personal items in areas of shared storage such as locker rooms or mail rooms.
- Examples include:
Expectations of Supervisors: High Traffic Areas and Forming of Lines
Vice Presidents and Deans will work with Department Directors, Department Chairs, and Program Directors to utilize guidance from Governor’s Executive Order 131 in the following ways in high traffic areas and offices where lines form:
- Clearly demarcate 6-feet of space in lines using blue painter’s tape or approved decals from the Physical Plant.
- Create one-way traffic patterns (such as in aisles or library stacks) to decrease face-to-face interactions. Utilize barriers such as tape or furniture as needed to insure proper traffic patterns and limit access.
- Limit number of people moving through large spaces, like dining halls and the bookstore.
- When walking in corridors or hallways, stay on the right side according to the direction you are heading in order to maximize distance when passing others.