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EMPLOYEE-BASED PROTOCOLS FOR RETURNING TO CAMPUS

EMPLOYEE-BASED PROTOCOLS FOR RETURNING TO CAMPUS

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Training

Prior to returning to work on campus, all employees are required to complete COVID-19 training. Training will cover best practices to prevent the spread of the virus and offer a variety of resources to help keep the College community safe. 

Directions regarding access to the Employee COVID-19 Training Program will be provided by Human Resources as employees are notified to return to campus.

In addition, all Supervisors/Center Chairs will be required to attend a Zoom meeting for additional training on COVID-19 in the work place. Details will follow from Human Resources.  

COVID-19 Testing

Employees with confirmed cases of COVID-19 should follow CDC-recommended steps, should use the Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSLA) and sick leave after EPSLA 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/Center Chair, follow CDC recommended precautions, stay at home, and utilize the Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSLA) and sick leave after EPSLA leave ends. 

However, in the situation where the employee is home, well and able to fulfill their job responsibilities, a remote work option may be possible in lieu of using sick leave with the approval of the employee’s Supervisor/Center Chair and Human Resources.

Positive COVID-19 Cases

Employees who are sick with the COVID-19 virus should self-isolate at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to other people. The decision to discontinue home isolation for employees with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 should be made in the context of local circumstances. Options below include a symptom-based (i.e., time-since-illness-onset and time-since-recovery strategy) or a test-based strategy.

Employees cannot return to work until they meet the following CDC criteria to discontinue home isolation

FOR EMPLOYEES WITH COVID-19 UNDER HOME ISOLATION:

1. Symptom-based Strategy

Employees with COVID-19 who have symptoms and were directed to care for themselves at home may discontinue isolation under the following conditions:

  • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications, AND 
  • Improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) AND
  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

2. Test-based Strategy

Employees with COVID-19 who have symptoms and were directed to care for themselves at home may discontinue isolation under the following conditions:

  • Resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications AND
  • Improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) AND
  • Negative results of an FDA Emergency Use Authorized COVID-19 molecular assay for detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA from at least two consecutive respiratory specimens collected at least 24 hours apart (total of two negative specimens). 

All test results should be final before isolation is ended and employee returns to work.

FOR EMPLOYEES WHO HAVE NOT HAD COVID-19 SYMPTOMS BUT TESTED POSITIVE AND ARE UNDER ISOLATION:

1. Time-based Strategy

Employees with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 who have not had any symptoms and were directed to care for themselves at home may discontinue isolation under the following conditions:

  • At least 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test assuming they have not subsequently developed symptoms since their positive test. If they develop symptoms, then the symptom-based or test-based strategy should be used. Because symptoms cannot be used to gauge where employees are in the course of their illness, it is possible that the duration of viral shedding could be longer or shorter than 10 days after their first positive test.

2. Test-based Strategy

A test-based strategy is contingent on the availability of ample testing supplies and laboratory capacity as well as convenient access to testing.

Employees with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 who have not had any symptoms and were directed to care for themselves at home may discontinue isolation under the following conditions:

  • Negative results of an FDA Emergency Use Authorized COVID-19 molecular assay for detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA from at least two consecutive respiratory specimens collected at least 24 hours apart (total of two negative specimens). 

All test results should be final before isolation is ended and employee returns to work.

Employees returning to work after recovering from COVID-19 will be required to complete the Return to Work COVID-19 Certification and Acknowledgement form. Notification for return to on-campus activities is directed through Human Resources.

Contact Tracing

To help determine the risk of potential exposure to co-workers and others on campus, Human Resources will conduct a phone interview with the employee who has shown symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive. Human Resources will contact the Supervisor/Center Chair if further contact tracing of the COVID-19 positive employee is needed; however, the actual test result (and any other protected health information) will not be disclosed.

Employees who have been exposed to a COVID-19 positive person will be entered into a Human Resources symptom monitoring database that is updated daily. The objective is to inform employees of known exposures and to closely monitor each employee to ensure that any signs of infection are immediately addressed.

Employees with Higher Risk for Severe Illness from COVID-19

Among adults, the risk for severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age, with older adults at the highest risk. Employees age 65 years and older and employees with other factors such as underlying medical conditions are at an increased risk for COVID-19 infection. Those underlying medical conditions include:

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) 
  • Immunocompromised state (from solid organ transplant)
  • Obesity (BMI of 30 or higher)
  • Serious heart conditions such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Type 2 diabetes

In addition, an employee might be at an increased risk to COVID-19 complications with the underlying health conditions that include: 

  • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
  • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain), 
  • Cystic fibrosis, 
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure, 
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines, 
  • Neurologic conditions, such as dementia, 
  • Liver disease, 
  • Pregnancy, 
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues), 
  • Smoking, 
  • Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)
  • Type 1 diabetes.

Employees in any of the above groups should consult the CDC’s extra precautions site and speak with their Supervisor and/or Center Chair and their healthcare provider.

Employees who believe that they fall into the high-risk category may seek an accommodation related to returning to campus. Please contact the College’s Human Resources Office at 215.248.7036 or HROffice@chc.edu for details regarding the process of requesting an accommodation.

Chestnut Hill College acknowledges higher-risk groups as a specific subpopulation, and that special contingency plans may be needed for the voluntary return to campus by employees of those groups, for example, by allowing employees of those groups to continue to work remotely when possible. 

If employees of higher-risk groups return to campus voluntarily, even when the Employee Return to Campus Guide suggests they may be safer at home, we may ask them to acknowledge the risk associated with being on campus.

Staffing Options 

Remote Work

Employees who can work remotely to fulfill their work responsibilities should continue to do so to limit the number of employees on campus and mitigate the risk of spread of the COVID-19 virus. Remote work arrangements must be approved by the employee’s immediate Supervisor/Center Chair. Please refer to the Remote Work Policy 2.31 for more details.  

Alternating Days or Alternating Weeks

To limit the number of employees and interactions on campus, department managers should consider scheduling partial staffing on alternating days or weeks with employees who are essential and required to be on campus. Such scheduling will enable physical distancing, especially in work areas with large common workspaces. To mitigate the spread of the virus, it is best to schedule the same employee on the same days to limit any employee’s exposure to other employees when possible. Please consult with Human Resources if additional guidance is needed.

Staggered Reporting/Departing

The beginning and end of the workday typically brings many employees together at common entry/exit points of buildings. Staggering reporting and departure times by at least 15 minutes will reduce traffic in common areas to meet physical distancing requirements. 

Flexible Work Arrangements

Flexible work arrangements are based on the specific needs of the department — either on an ongoing basis or at a particular time — and the ability of the staff member to work effectively in a flexible work arrangement. Please refer to the Flexible Workplace Policy 2.32 for more details. You can find the Flexible Work Arrangement Form here.

Expectations of Supervisors

Work Environment

Vice Presidents and Deans will work with Department Supervisors and Center Chairs 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 suggestions provide guidance for configuring work and teaching spaces:

  • Utilize flexible work schedules, staggered work hours, and staggered arrival and departure times. 
    • 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 social distancing and limiting the number of employees in the office.
    • Staggered scheduling: 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 employees working together, congregating in one area, or gathering. If sharing a meal with other employees, remember to socially distance and do not sit directly across from one another.
       
  • Adjust furniture and office layout to allow for social distancing. 
    • Move desks or furniture apart to maximize spacing within offices, office suites, work areas, and lounge or public spaces.
    • Relocate employees 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 Plexiglas dividers for areas where the prominent purpose is customer service or interacting with walk-up traffic of students, faculty, staff, parents, or campus visitors.
       
  • Alter or limit congregating factors or spaces where the virus could be easily spread. 
    • Discontinue the use of office coffee pots and water coolers. 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. Employees are encouraged to bring their own water bottles.
    • Alter break room setups to increase social distancing. Limit the number of employees 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.

High Traffic Areas and Forming of Lines

  • Clearly demarcate six (6)-feet of space in lines using blue painter’s tape or approved decals from 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 employees moving through large spaces, like dining spaces 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 other employees.

Personal Travel

In July 2020, the Wolf administration announced a recommendation for domestic travelers returning from certain states with high numbers of COVID-19 cases to quarantine for 14 days upon return to Pennsylvania. A list of states to which the quarantine recommendation applies to can be found on the PA Department of Health Travelers Information website.

Therefore, if an employee works on campus and plans to travel or has traveled outside their home state, in the past 14 days, to certain states where there are high amounts of COVID-19 cases, it is required that the employee stay at home and work remotely for 14 days prior to returning to work on the College’s campus. Employees should stay in their quarantine location for the full 14 days and avoid interacting with anyone including those in their household. 

Employees should check their home state’s travel restrictions prior to commuting to campus for work. 

The CDC recommends that employees planning on travel that is different from their everyday activities, away from their local community, should follow state and local travel restrictions. For up-to-date information and travel guidance, check the state or local health department where you live, along your route, and at your planned destination. While you are traveling, it is possible a state or local government may put into place travel restrictions, such as stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders, mandated quarantines upon arrival, or even state border closures. Employees should plan to keep checking for updates as they travel. In addition, we ask that all employees returning to campus follow the CDC Guidelines set out for traveling throughout the United States:

Until further notice, no College-sponsored domestic or international travel is approved, with the exception of off-campus athletic events.

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