UMW Healthy Fall 2020 Plan / Staff Campus Operations

Staff Campus Operations

Introduction

The primary goals for the University’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic are to protect public health and continue the institution’s vital mission of education.

 

Work Environments

Employees are required to wear a face mask or face covering at all times while indoors (unless they are alone in their enclosed office) and outdoors when a distance of 6 feet cannot be ensured from other individuals. In an open-office, cubicle or common environment, be sure to maintain at least 6 feet between workers and masks are required. If possible, have at least one workspace separating workers.

Departments will assess open work environments and meeting rooms to institute measures to physically separate and increase distance between employees, other coworkers and customers, such as:

  • No more than one person should be in the same room unless the required 6 feet of distancing can be consistently maintained.
  • Masks/face coverings are required to be worn by employees in reception/receiving.
  • Masks/face coverings are required to be used when inside any UMW facility where others are present, including walking in narrow hallways where others travel and in break rooms, conference rooms and other meeting spaces.
  • Place visual cues such as floor decals, colored tape or signs to indicate to customers where they should stand while waiting in line.
  • Place one-way directional signage for large open workspaces with multiple through-ways to increase distance between employees moving through the space.
  • Consider designating specific stairways for up or down traffic if building space allows.

UMW Facilities Services has Plexiglas and the ability to construct barriers to use in areas where close contact occurs (i.e. where financial transactions occur, areas with “counter/customer service areas”). Contact Facilities Services to learn more or order a barrier by calling 406-683-7142.

Convening in large groups increases the risk of viral transmission. Where feasible, meetings should be held in whole or part using the extensive range of available collaboration tools (e.g. Zoom, WebEx, Microsoft Teams, telephone, etc.).

In-person meetings are limited to the restrictions of local, state and federal orders and should occur in places where individuals can still maintain 6 feet of separation for physical distancing requirements. Departments should remove or rearrange chairs and tables or add visual cue marks in meeting rooms to support physical distancing practices between attendees.

Employees are encouraged to communicate with colleagues and supervisors via email, instant message, telephone or other available technology rather than face-to-face whenever appropriate. A range of available tools (e.g. Zoom, WebEx, etc.) can assist with virtual collaboration.

Building occupants are expected to follow signage on traffic flow through building entrances, exits, elevator usage and similar common-use areas.

Employees who are required to work on-site, and have concerns about doing so due to a medical condition that places them in a higher risk group, may request accommodations through their supervisor. Those who wish to seek ADA Reasonable Accommodations related to returning to the workplace should contact the Dean of Students/ADA Coordinator, Nicole Hazelbaker, (nicole.hazelbaker@umwestern.edu or 406-683-7900) and then speak with their physician to start the “reasonable accommodation” process. A doctor’s note is required for ADA Reasonable Accommodations.

 

Phased Staffing

UMW will phase in a return of employees to campus over time in a coordinated process to ensure appropriate physical distancing and other mitigation measures.

UMW will assess expanded staffing based on mission-critical operations, ability to control and manage specific work environments and necessity to access on-site resources. These decisions, once approved, will be communicated through your respective vice chancellor or dean.

Sector vice chancellors, deans, directors and other unit heads are expected to refrain from increasing staffing levels beyond current needs to support necessary on-site operations.

Supervisors should seek approval from their respective vice chancellor or dean before expanding staffing levels. When employees return to campus, they should familiarize themselves with this guidance and follow it. If localized outbreaks emerge, tighter restrictions and reduced staffing may need to be implemented again.

 

Staffing Options

As staff members begin to return to work on-site, there are several options departments should consider to maintain required physical distancing measures and reduce population density within buildings and work spaces.

 

Remote Work

Those who can work remotely to fulfill some or all of their work responsibilities may continue to do so to reduce the number of individuals on campus and the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus. These arrangements, which must be approved by the immediate supervisor, can be done on a full- or partial-day/week schedule as appropriate.

 

Alternating Days

In order to limit the number of individuals and interactions among those on campus, departments could schedule partial staffing on alternating days. Such schedules will help enable physical distancing, especially in areas with large common workspaces.

 

Staggered Reporting/Departing

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 physical distancing requirements.

 

Physical Distancing

Physical arrangements should be made to ensure safe distances are maintained among staff while they work within offices. These include separation of desks, installation of Plexiglas protective shields and strategic placement of cleaning supplies and/or sanitizer.

The University’s shared governance representatives serve on the Healthy Bulldog and Fall Course 2020 Committees. All policies, procedures and timelines will be designed to comply with contractual obligations as appropriate for all employees.

The University has a business continuity plan to ensure the availability of services despite the disruption presented by COVID-19. This includes plans for in-person services where they can be safely delivered and remotely-delivered assistance (telephone, online, or web-based) when necessary.