Returning Remote Workers to Campus

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When Employees Will Return

With the opening of school approaching, and SUNY Morrisville’s Return to Campus Plan approved by SUNY System Offices, additional details are available on employees’ return to work.

Classes are scheduled to resume Aug. 24, 2020. Students will be able to return to campus and move into residence halls from Aug. 17 to Aug. 21. To best meet student needs and facilitate the college’s necessary operations, all offices should develop a plan to be open and functioning no later than Monday, Aug. 10. It may be necessary for departments that provide critical services to students, faculty and staff to open prior to Aug. 10. Where feasible, operations will begin with 25% of the staff returning in each area. Department heads and supervisors will work with their areas and individual direct reports to finalize these plans, which may include a staggered schedule, continuing intermittent remote work, or changes to work spaces, depending on what best meets the needs of the college and provides a safe environment for our staff.

Phase IV of the NYS Reopening Plan

Madison County is currently in Phase IV of the NYS Reopening Plan. According to the forward.ny.gov/phase-four-industries webpage this includes the following mandates for individuals and the institution:

Physical Distancing

  • Any time individuals come within 6 ft. of another person who does not reside in the same residence (i.e., roommate), acceptable face coverings must be worn. This provision should not be construed to require physical distancing among roommates or to require face coverings be worn while inside an individual’s residence.
  • In consultation with the local health department, identify where students who are exposed to, or infected with, COVID 19 will be residing and how daily needs (e.g. food, medication) will be met if it becomes necessary to have a period of quarantine or isolation.
  • Reference relevant industry-specific guidelines provided by the Department of Health and available on the New York Forward website for operations of dining halls, research, office workspaces, gyms, transportation, retail stores, and other activities, as applicable.

Protective Equipment

  • Any time individuals come within 6 ft. of another person who does not reside in the same residence (e.g. roommate), acceptable face coverings must be worn.
  • Employees, students, and visitors are required to wear face coverings in common areas or situations where physical (social) distancing may be difficult to maintain, such as riding in elevators, entering/exiting classrooms or student centers, and traveling around the campus.
  • Provide face coverings to employees who directly interact with students or members of the public while at work, at no cost to the employee.
  • Train employees on how to adequately put on, take off, clean (as applicable), and discard PPE. See CDC guidance for additional information.

Hygiene Cleaning and Disinfection

  • Adhere to hygiene, cleaning, and disinfection requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Health (DOH) and maintain logs that include the date, time, and scope of cleaning and disinfection. Identify cleaning and disinfection frequency for each facility type and assign responsibility.
  • Provide and maintain hand hygiene stations throughout the institution, including handwashing with soap, running warm water, and disposable paper towels, as well as an alcohol based hand sanitizer containing 60% or more alcohol for areas where handwashing is not feasible.
  • Conduct regular cleaning and disinfection of facilities and more frequent cleaning and disinfection for high risk areas used by many individuals and for frequently touched surfaces. Refer to Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) products identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as effective against COVID-19.
  • Ensure regular cleaning and disinfection of restrooms.
  • Provide for the cleaning and disinfection of exposed areas in the event an individual is confirmed to have COVID-19, with such cleaning and disinfection to include, at a minimum, all heavy transit areas and high touch surfaces. Refer to CDC guidelines

Communication

  • Affirm you have reviewed and understand the state-issued industry guidelines and submit reopening plans prior to reopening.
  • Conspicuously post completed reopening plans for employees and students to access.

Screening

  • Implement mandatory health screening practices (e.g. questionnaire, temperature check) for employees, students, and, where practicable, scheduled visitors (e.g. on-campus tour groups) asking about, at minimum: (1) COVID-19 symptoms in past 14 days, (2) positive COVID-19 test in past 14 days, and/or (3) close or proximate contact with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case in past 14 days. Assessment responses must be reviewed every day and such review must be documented.
  • Employees reporting to work on-campus must be screened on a daily basis.
  • Students must be screened periodically as determined by the higher education institution, but are not required to be screened on a daily basis. SUNY Morrisville has opted to conduct daily screening.
  • An individual who screens positive for COVID-19 exposure or symptoms must be immediately sent home, to their residence, or to the designated quarantine or isolation location with instructions or arrangement for health assessment and testing.
  • Immediately notify the state and local health departments of confirmed positive cases.
  • In the case of an individual testing positive, develop plans with local health departments to trace all contacts of the individual, in accordance with the New York State Contact Tracing Program. Confidentiality must be maintained as required by federal and state law and regulations

Special Considerations

Requests for reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act should be referred to the Human Resources office. If a health condition prevents employees from complying with these policies, reasonable accommodations may be requested through the Office of Human Resources.

Safeguarding the Campus Workforce

Guidance from the CDC states that the virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person:

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
  • Studies have shown that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.

As preparations to return to the physical workspace are underway, new practices with regard to health and safety must be applied across campus, in accordance with guidance from the CDC, state and local health authorities and Morrisville leadership.

1. Face Coverings / Masks

Employees must wear face coverings which cover their nose and mouth when in a public space or not alone, such as in a private enclosed office. Particular care must be taken to wear face protection when transiting public spaces (e.g., hallways, elevators, bathrooms) in case of unexpected infringement of physical (social) distancing. Employees will be provided with face coverings, if requested. Employees may also opt to wear their own face coverings.

2. Physical Separation / Social Distancing

  • Separation of personal workspaces to achieve minimum 6’ distance, or other barriers between personnel when otherwise needed. Examples include:

    • Staggered use of space or staggered work schedules
    • Use of tape on benchtops and/or floors to delineate space and maintain separation of personnel.
    • Use of Plexiglass barriers - Physical alterations to space should be a last resort when all other scheduling options and other administrative control alternatives have been vetted. Requests for physical alterations should be submitted as soon as possible, and will be reviewed and given priority if approved.
    • Separation of or limited access to commonly used equipment to avoid close contact and cross-contamination.
  • Post appropriate signage at entrances and at essential locations on campus and within buildings to remind personnel of safeguard procedures.

3. Health Screening

In the near future, Morrisville will begin requiring employees to complete a daily self-health assessment prior to reporting to the work place. This assessment will be available in an app format, and will be a short survey to assess whether you may pose a risk of exposing individuals to COVID-19. Additional information and instructions will be released as the functions are finalized.

If an employee reports that they are symptomatic, or has tested positive within the past 14 days, or has knowingly been in close contact with anyone who has tested positive or who has had symptoms of COVID-19, the employee should be directed to contact Human Resources at 315-684-6038 for instructions including possible quarantine.

4. Cleaning Protocols

Protocols for regular cleaning and/or disinfecting of buildings

Cleaning definitions in accordance with CDC guidelines:

  • Disinfection (or Deep Cleaning) - a process that eliminates pathogenic microorganisms, except bacterial spores, on inanimate objects. Objects are usually disinfected by liquid chemicals or wet pasteurization. Custodial staff use an EPA-approved disinfectant to coat and wipe down all accessible/visible surfaces. Disinfectant is known to kill COVID-19 on hard non-porous surfaces.
  • Regular cleaning - the removal of visible soil (e.g., organic and inorganic material) from objects and surfaces and normally is accomplished manually or mechanically using water with detergents or enzymatic products.
  • Sterilization - describes a process that destroys or eliminates all forms of microbial life and is carried out in health-care facilities by physical or chemical methods. Steam under pressure, dry heat, EtO gas, hydrogen peroxide gas plasma, UV lighting exposure and liquid chemicals are the principal sterilizing agents used in health-care facilities.

Cleaning protocol for areas where someone suspected of having (or confirmed to have) COVID-19 has been:

  • Access to the immediate work area should be restricted.
  • Cleaning staff will wait 24 hours after the person has left the area before entering to clean and disinfect. If 24 hours is not feasible, cleaning staff will wait as long as possible. Cleaning staff will wear face masks, disposable gloves, gowns and goggles for all tasks in the cleaning process, including handling trash.
  • Cleaning and disinfection will be performed in accordance with guidelines from the NYSDOH and CDC.This includes the use of EPA-approved disinfectants, following the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products for concentration, application method and contact time, etc.
  • Disinfecting these areas (i.e. deep cleaning) includes safely providing a full saturation of disinfectant to all surfaces including walls, ceilings, fixtures, floors, under cabinets, behind machines, tops of cabinets, etc.In some larger areas, electrostatic sprayers and UV foggers with disinfecting agents are also used.
  • If it has been more than 7 days since the person with suspected/confirmed COVID-19 was present, neither additional cleaning nor disinfection is necessary according to the CDC.In these cases, cleaning staff will follow normal procedures for regular cleaning including disinfection of high-traffic, high-touch areas.

Regular cleaning protocol:

  • Regular cleaning, as prescribed by building occupancies, continues. Priorities have been adjusted to provide for increased cleaning and disinfecting of high-traffic, high-touch surfaces.
  • Examples of high-touch surfaces include:
    • Stair railings
    • Exterior and interior door hardware and surfaces
    • Light switches
    • Restroom fixtures, partitions, faucets, toilet paper/paper towel dispensers
    • Elevator control panels and call buttons
    • Common area kitchen countertops and appliances
    • ADA handicap door push plates
    • Water fountains and bottle filling stations
  • Examples of high-traffic areas include:
    • Restrooms
    • Building entrances
    • Classrooms, lounges, and meeting spaces
    • Hallways
    • Dining areas
  • Disinfecting high-touch surfaces in high-traffic public areas is performed at least daily (and more frequently as schedules allow).
  • Regular cleaning follows check-outs from all residential rooms, with additional focus to disinfect surfaces which are not normally accessible under occupancy.
  • Hand-sanitizing stations are installed throughout the campus at main entry/exit points of buildings. Additional hand-sanitizing stations will be provided in high-traffic areas as supplies become available.
  • The Campus Community is encouraged to practice preventative cleaning in their personal offices and/or residential spaces which are not normally accessible to the cleaning staff. Supplemental cleaning of teaching spaces and office spaces not regularly accessible to the custodial staff should be performed as needed by room occupants / faculty with supplies provided by their department. Individual departments may request a disinfectant materials from custodial staff in their building. Custodial staff will provide guidance for the proper use, but campus disinfectant should be allowed to sit on surfaces for 10 minutes to kill virus. Departments or personnel are not prohibited from using their own bacteria and virus killing wipes, but they should follow the instructions and the campus will not supply those. They should only be thrown in the trash after use.

Interfacing with students

Faculty and staff are encouraged to develop and use virtual appointment platforms to meet with students. These virtual appointment offerings and access directions should be clearly communicated within the department webpage on the college website. There will be instances when students need to meet face-to-face to complete a process or receive advisement. In this instances, scheduled appointments are encouraged to reduce traffic and density within the physical space. If a scheduled appointment is not possible, discretion should be used by the office supervisor to ensure compliance with physical distancing and density protocols.

Each office will be provided hand sanitizer, face coverings, and face shields. Office supervisors are encouraged to review their workspace, determine traffic flow, and post signage. Signs unique to office work space may ordered through Office of Communications & Marketing.