Return to On-Site Work
Procedure for Return to On-Site Work
Issued: May 21, 2020
Purpose and Implementation
This procedure is intended to give work units direction on safely returning employees to campus during Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan. These procedures will take effect when Sangamon County has officially entered Phase 3 and will be reevaluated if the county moves to a different phase.
All faculty and staff returning to work on campus are expected to fully comply with this procedure and must receive permission from their division leader before resuming on-site work.
This procedure may be updated as additional COVID-19 related information and guidance becomes available.
Return to On-Site Work Directive
The health and safety of the UIS campus community is the primary concern of this directive.
There is a presumption that employees who can continue to work remotely will be allowed to do so. Remote work remains appropriate for employees who can complete the essential functions of their job or effectively perform their job duties while working remotely to the satisfaction of their supervisors. This does not preclude periodic visits to campus, as necessary. Units are encouraged to allow vulnerable populations and employees with childcare needs to continue working remotely, if possible. Remote working arrangements due to the COVID-19 pandemic are, by their very nature, temporary and will be reevaluated as the pandemic progresses or is resolved.
Work units will identify positions where essential functions of the job cannot be performed effectively off-site and develop a plan to return those employees to on-site work, as necessary. Units are encouraged to implement strategies to reduce the number of employees in any given workspace. For example:
- Stagger arrival/departure times by 30 minutes.
- Assign employees to reduced and/or staggered shifts.
- Divide employees into teams that work on alternating days or weeks.
Units are encouraged to be as creative as possible in determining a work arrangement that accomplishes the work of the unit while promoting the health and safety of employees.
Phase 3 of Restore Illinois prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people. Such restrictions shall be strictly observed and gatherings of 10 or fewer must adhere to the six-foot social distancing rule. Face-to- face meetings are discouraged. If possible, meetings will continue to be conducted via phone, Skype or Zoom, even for employees who are working on-site.
Deans and Directors should immediately begin developing a plan for Phase 3 that is consistent with this procedure. Plans must be submitted for approval to the appropriate Division Head (Chancellor, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs) before employees return to on-site work.
Social Distancing and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Pursuant to Gov. Pritzker’s Extended Stay-at-Home Order and the Restore Illinois plan, all employees working on-site at UIS or a UIS-affiliated property must maintain at least six-foot social distancing from other individuals and must wear an appropriate face covering that covers the nose and mouth where maintaining a six-foot social distance is not possible. If an employee is working independently in a secluded area or sitting at a desk in an enclosed private office, it is not necessary to wear a face covering. However, once an employee enters a hallway, conference room or common space where other individuals are present, a face covering must be worn. If it is necessary to have a face-to-face meeting, a face covering must be worn.
Many employees have already secured their own face covering(s), which can be used in the workplace if the face covering covers the nose and the mouth. The university has also ordered two cloth face masks for each employee, including Extra Help, as well as student workers and graduate assistants. These masks are 100% cotton and reusable/washable. Masks will be distributed by Human Resources. Deans and Directors must contact Human Resources Associate Ceitha Steele at email@example.com to arrange a time for delivery. The UIS Police Department will maintain a limited, reserve supply of disposable masks for employees.
Employees who are not medically able to tolerate a face covering need to contact Human Resources Officer Tony Lozzi at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an appropriate accommodation.
The university will provide hand sanitizer at building entrances and in high-traffic areas in the academic and auxiliary facilities on campus. Disinfecting products will be provided in key locations to help the campus community practice proactive disinfecting in public areas and on high-touch surfaces before and after individual use.
Employees will be provided additional PPE when work circumstances require.
The cleaning and disinfecting of university workspaces will be done daily. In addition, the university will continue to clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in common areas/public spaces (examples listed below) multiple times throughout the workday. However, employees are encouraged to continue to use caution, as others may touch the surfaces throughout the day.
- Light switches
- Door handles + pushes
- Chairs + armrests
- Elevator buttons
- Stair railings
- Keyboards + mice
- Remote controls
- Printers / Copiers
- Touch screens
- Marker boards + pens
- Vending machines
- Water fountains
- Shared equipment
- All bathroom fixtures
- All breakroom fixtures (sink, refrigerator handle, coffee pot, toaster, microwave buttons, etc.)
In common areas, classrooms, conference rooms, etc., hard-surface furniture will be disinfected daily and positioned and spaced to meet social distancing requirements. Excess furniture will be either removed from the space, cordoned off and identified as “not for use,” or if large or immobile, identified as “not for use.”
In common areas, furniture with porous (e.g. fabric) will either be:
- Removed from the space,
- Moved within the space and cordoned off and identified as “not for use”, or
- Identified as “not for use.”
In offices, porous surfaced furniture will remain in place. Employees are not permitted to use items marked as “not for use,” or which have clearly been positioned to prevent use.
Many workspaces on the UIS campus are already set up to accommodate social distancing. If additional measures need to be taken, Facilities and Services will work closely with supervisors to help ensure requirements are met and that practical, cost effective and safe solutions are implemented and/or installed. Employees who have questions or concerns related to their workspace should raise those concerns with their direct supervisor.
No more than one person should enter an elevator at a time. When using the elevator, users are expected to wear a mask or face covering and avoid touching the elevator buttons with exposed hand/fingers, if possible. Users are also advised to wash hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers upon departing the elevator.
Candy, magazines and pens should be removed from reception areas. Sponges should be removed from shared kitchen spaces. Replace plates, bowls, cups, mugs and utensils with disposable items.
Visitors and Guests
Visitors and guests to campus are expected to follow the guidelines set forth in this procedure, including the wearing of a face covering if six-foot social distancing is not possible. Units that receive walk-in traffic can consult Facilities and Services to designate six-foot distances, where practicable, with signage, tape or other means so individuals can maintain appropriate distancing.
Education and Training
All employees are encouraged to read and view the education and training materials on the Covid-19 Resources page. It is the responsibility of the unit head to make each employee aware of these resources and to encourage employees to become familiar with the safety precautions contained in these resources. Unit heads are expected to provide additional education and training opportunities that may be more applicable to the unit’s specific work site or working conditions.
Employees must wear face coverings at work when six-foot social distancing is not possible.
Employees should practice good hand hygiene by washing their hands with soap and water on a regular basis and by utilizing alcohol-based hand disinfectants.
Employees should practice respiratory etiquette by sneezing or coughing into a disposable tissue and disposing of used tissues safely. If a tissue is not available, employees should cough or sneeze into an arm or sleeve to prevent hands from becoming contaminated.
Employees need to monitor themselves for the presence of COVID-19 symptoms.
Employees must stay home or leave the workplace if symptoms develop.
Employees who have been working on-site must notify the university if COVID-19 symptoms develop.
If a supervisor becomes aware of an employee experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, they must immediately notify Human Resources. For privacy reasons, the identity of the individual experiencing symptoms must remain confidential.
Employees are encouraged to call a healthcare provider to seek guidance if feeling ill.
Additional resources for employees experiencing symptoms can be found here:
Protocol for Positive Test
Employees who test positive for COVID-19 must notify the university and are not to report to the workplace.
If a supervisor becomes aware that an employee has tested positive for COVID-19, they must consult with their Division Head and Human Resources to determine the risk of exposure and what additional safety measures may need to be taken. For privacy reasons, the identity of an employee who has tested positive for COVID-19 must remain confidential.
If it is determined that other employees or members of the campus community have been exposed to a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, self-quarantine for 14 days from the date of exposure is recommended. Employees who need to self-quarantine but who are experiencing no symptoms shall be allowed to work remotely, if possible.
All employees must cooperate with contact tracing efforts by campus and public health officials.
Employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 must follow current public health and CDC guidelines for when to return to work, keeping in mind that this guidance is in flux.
Medical certification may be required before an employee can return to work.
Leave Options for COVID-19 Related Absences
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides up to two weeks of Emergency Paid Sick Leave and expands the Family Medical Leave Act for COVID-19 related absences. Additional information, forms applicable to these specific leave types, and additional guidance are offered on the System HR Families First Coronavirus Response Act resource page. UIS employees seeking to take one of these leaves need to contact Tony Lozzi at email@example.com or by phone at 217-206-7237.
Employee Assistance Program
COVID-19 has caused many disruptions to daily lives on a personal and professional level. The State Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a confidential assessment and referral service that provides problem identification, counseling, and referral services for employees and their families. All EAP care managers are professional, licensed clinicians and experienced in providing support, understanding, and guidance for a broad range of needs. Faculty and staff who participate in the state’s group insurance plan are eligible for EAP services.
Employees shall avoid work-related travel when feasible.
Employees with questions related to travel can be directed to the following resources for the most up-to-date guidance:
Employee and Labor Relations
UIS will abide by applicable state/university laws, rules and regulations, including collective bargaining agreements.
Employees who refuse to wear face coverings whenever social distancing is not possible or refuse to follow other directives in this procedure may be subject to disciplinary action.
Employees are encouraged to consult the UIS COVID-19 homepage for additional information and the latest developments, including information on facility openings.
Questions about this Procedure should be directed to Human Resources at firstname.lastname@example.org.