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Protocols and Supervisor Guidance for Employee Return to Campus

Posted on: Tuesday, June 23, 2020 at 3:04 PM

As we prepare to bring campus community members back, we know that many employees are concerned and feel uncertain about returning to work.  Some are concerned about protocols and practices that will be in place to keep the campus community safe, while others may have concerns about how returning to work impacts work-life dynamics as some employees are caring for elders and children while working remotely.  Below are some initial steps as well as longer term actions supervisors and department leaders can take to prepare work-spaces and support employee needs.
Currently, a telecommuting program is in place for employees in all negotiating units until October 2.  We urge supervisors and employees to work together to continue telecommuting plans and staggered campus schedules to the extent that these plans meet operational needs.  These plans can of course be updated as employee needs and operational needs change.  HRDI is available to help with questions or with altering of telecommuting plans.  Updated plans can be sent to Jodi Papa at   Some units on campus will be deemed essential and will return to campus presence (while maintaining social distancing and using provided personal protective equipment (PPE)) to prepare for operations and instructional needs as students and other employees return to campus this fall.

REQUIRED training for all employees BEFORE returning to campus for work

  • All employees will need to complete a general training video (approximately 12 minutes, requires New Paltz Login) prior to returning to work on campus.
  • Your department may have additional safety protocols that need to be incorporated.  Supervisors are encouraged to contact the Office of Environmental Health & Safety to discuss any additional safety protocols, training or specialized personal protective equipment that may be needed.
  • Assuring that we maintain safe social distancing
The current guidance is that we should maintain at least 6 feet of distance where an office space is occupied by more than one person. 
    • Complete a social distancing assessment of your office area(s) and as warranted contact Environmental Health & Safety with questions and for guidance on how to address the needs in your office. Again, we strongly encourage that you continue to employ practices that avoid or reduce the frequency of in-person interaction. Use email, phones, WebEx for meetings and lock boxes or trays outside of offices.
    • Where six feet of distance difficult or impossible to maintain in the office space, can furniture be reconfigured to maintain distance and still preserve functioning?
    • Consider alternatives your office might need to employ consider for replacing in-person transactions. For example, using email, phones, web-ex for meetings and lock boxes or trays outside of offices for deliveries of paperwork.
    • Will you need to eliminate waiting areas for individuals visiting your office and develop alternative procedures for those waiting for appointments?

Communicating Safety

    • Contact the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) for signage to encourage healthy habits and maintain social distancing per the social distancing and face covering guidance from CDC.
    • If six feet of social distancing is not feasible, a face covering (over the nose and mouth) must be worn per current social distancing and face covering guidance and Executive Orders.  Even if social distancing is feasible, face coverings will be required in classrooms and other settings noted below. Face coverings are available for pick up at the mail room.

Working Differently

    • Determine the capacity for employees to work remotely and identify functions requiring in-person campus presence.  Make use of the telecommuting program which is now extended to October 2, 2020.  Contact HRDI for assistance and guidance if you have questions on confirming a plan.
    • What to do if an employee has indicated they need accommodations or are high risk for COVID-19.
      • The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) allows for employees to self-identify need for accommodations if they (or a family member in the home) are in a high-risk category based upon a preexisting medical conditions, immunocompromised status or disability.  Employees who wish to discuss ADA accommodations should be directed to the college’s ADA process
      • Accommodations are dependent on the specific needs of the individual employee.  HRDI will work with the employee directly to guide the ADA process and will work with departments to ensure accommodation requests are met appropriately.
  • Continue to hold meetings via web-ex or phone.  This reduces the need to gather people in spaces and reduces possibility of transmission.
  • Seek guidance from HRDI before inviting any visitors to campus.
  • If your office allows for paperwork and transactions to occur via email or drop box, continue those practices and reduce the number of visitors and in-person transactions .
  • Small spaces, like break rooms, lounges, kitchenettes or copy rooms etc. should be limited to 10 people or less and maintain required social distancing of 6 ft.
  • Discourage employees from sharing other employees’ tools, desks, equipment and encourage them to clean and disinfect tools, desks and equipment between uses.

Daily Routine:

  • Employees will be required to complete a daily health screening for any day they are planning to work on campus. Information on this screening process will be provided soon.
  • Employees who identify as having elevated temperature (above 100 degrees) or any common COVID symptoms (cough, fever or chills, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, muscle or body aches, headache, sore throat, loss of taste/smell, congestion/runny nose, fatigue, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea) would not be permitted to report to campus to work and would be referred to Jane Gallucci in Benefits for support and guidance.
    • Employees who report a temperature or symptoms but who feel able to work remotely until these conditions resolve are to be accommodated and would not be required to use time.  Employees are encouraged to seek medical attention if temperature and symptoms worsen or do not resolve.
    • Employees who report temperature or symptoms and who are not well enough to work remotely. If an employee is quarantined, they receive 14 calendar days of leave. This does not have to be continuous.
    • In the case that an employee does qualify for leave or has run out of leave, an employee can use sick, FEPSLA or unpaid time.
  • Employees may need reminders and directives to wear mask while traveling between offices.
  • Face coverings are required in public spaces, including when using elevators, and where interaction will be less than 6 ft under NY Forward guidance.
  • Encourage employees to maintain office cleanliness.  Desk and office spaces are easier to clean if there is less clutter or collection of personal items. Employees will be responsible for cleaning and disinfecting their own desk, office common spaces, work equipment and partitions.
  • Encourage employees to rigorously practice hand hygiene, cough etiquette, cleanliness, and sanitation.
  • Disinfecting supplies are available upon request from OEM by area supervisors.

Longer term support

  • Talk with employees in your area. Check-in regularly with employees to discuss their challenges, concerns or questions.
  • Make it clear that you understand that needs may change in their lives and you are open to hearing from them and that you are open to supporting changing needs and transition.  HRDI is a partner in supporting our employees and supervisors.  
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is another resource for support. EAP Coordinators
Lee Degnan –
Avram B. Segall –
Office: SUB 336
Phone: (845) 257-2886
Office Hours: Monday – 12 p.m. – 2:30 p.m., Tuesdays & Thursdays – 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.,  Wednesdays & Fridays by appointment only.
Tanhena Pacheco Dunn
Associate Vice President for Human Resources, Diversity and Inclusion

Message originally distributed via: Campus Update