Return to On-Site Work

Procedure for Return to On-Site Work


Issued:  May 21, 2020

Amended: June 22, 2020

Amended: July 20, 2020, to reflect updated requirements on the use of face coverings as set forth in the Return to the Prairie (pdf) plan and clarify guidelines for employees who test positive for COVID-19.

Amended July 31, 2020

Purpose and Implementation

This procedure is intended to give UIS work units direction on returning employees to on-site work during Phase 3 and Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan and will remain in effect through Dec. 31, 2020.

All faculty and staff returning to work on site are expected to fully comply with this procedure. Employees who have not been called to return to campus by their supervisor must have permission from the 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.

Faculty and staff should refer to the Fall 2020 Academic Plan for detailed information on remote, blended, on-ground and online instruction for the Fall semester.

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 dependent-care 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. Phase 4 of Restore Illinois prohibits gatherings of more than 50 people. Such restrictions shall be strictly observed, and gatherings 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 must develop a plan consistent with this procedure and submit to their Division Head (Chancellor, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs) for approval before employees return to on-site work.

For Fall 2020 semester, if amendments to the plan are needed to address new or additional operational needs during the semester, an amended plan must be submitted to the Division Head. Plans developed under this Procedure shall remain in effect through Dec. 31, 2020, subject to amendments approved by the Division Head.

Social Distancing and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Pursuant to the Return to the Prairie plan, face coverings that cover the nose and mouth are required on campus when six-foot social distancing from others is not possible. When inside university facilities, face coverings are required in common areas and in classrooms.

Employees may use their own face coverings, as long as they cover the nose and the mouth. The university has also ordered two cloth facemasks for each employee, including Extra Help, as well as student workers and graduate assistants. These masks are 100% cotton and reusable/washable. Masks are distributed by Human Resources upon request. Deans and Directors must contact Human Resources Associate Ceitha Steele at 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 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.

Workspace Safety

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
  • Tables
  • Elevator buttons
  • Stair railings
  • Keyboards + mice
  • Remote controls
  • Phones
  • Printers / Copiers
  • Touch screens
  • Marker boards + pens
  • Vending machines
  • Water fountains
  • ATMs
  • 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 most common areas, furniture with porous (e.g. fabric) will either be:

  1. Removed from the space,
  2. Moved within the space and cordoned off and identified as “not for use”, or
  3. Identified as “not for use.”

In offices, the furniture will remain in place. In some common areas (e.g. Student Union) where porous surfaced furniture may be needed, the furniture will remain in place and be cleaned on a reoccurring basis.

Employees are not permitted to use items marked as “not for use,” or that have clearly been positioned to prevent use.

Many workspaces on the UIS campus have been 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 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, including the wearing of face coverings, as set forth in this procedure. 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.

In addition, all UIS employees must take COVID-19 Safety Training, which is available on Ability LMS. Employees must complete this training by Sept. 30, 2020.

Employee Health

Employees must wear face coverings inside university facilities in common areas and in classrooms. When on campus, employees must wear face coverings outdoors 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 and inform their supervisor regarding their absence or any inability to work due to illness.

Employees are encouraged to call a healthcare provider to seek guidance if feeling ill.


UIS has partnered with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to implement COVID-19 SHIELD surveillance testing on campus. Employees with valid UINs may visit one of the on-campus test sites for a free COVID-19 test if non-symptomatic. Symptomatic employees may not visit the on-campus testing sites and should instead contact their personal medical provider for directions. The on-campus locations are:

  • Public Affairs Center – lower level tunnel
  • Founder’s Residence Hall – first floor

Employees who have been notified that they are required to be tested must sign up for a testing timeslot and take the test with the frequency required.

The following off-campus local sites are available for COVID-19 testing. (Please note that the availability at these testing sites is subject to change):

Memorial Respiratory Clinic – ExpressCare South Sixth Street location (Must have symptoms or be a contact of a positive. By appointment only.)
2950 South Sixth St.
Springfield, IL
Call ahead: 217-588-4019
8 a.m. to 8 p.m. 7 days a week

Walgreens (Testing anyone 18 or older.)
1155 N. Ninth St.
Springfield, IL
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.  Drive thru 7 days a week
Walgreens COVID 19 testing

SIU School of Medicine (No symptoms and no age requirements)
Sangamon County Department of Public Health Parking Lot
2833 South Grand Ave. E.
Springfield, IL
9 a.m.- 11:00a.m. and 4:00p.m.-7:00 p.m. Drive thru Monday, Tuesday., Thursday, and Friday

Additional resources for employees experiencing symptoms can be found here:

Local testing sites

COVID-19 Screening Tool

CDC Recommendations: What to do if you become sick

CDC Recommendations: What to do if suspected case in the workplace

Protocol for Positive Test

Employees who test positive for COVID-19 should not return to the workplace and should immediately notify their supervisor that they need to be excused from work. The employee should reach out to Human Resources ( for information on Family First Coronavirus Response leave or remote work options. Human Resources will notify the supervisor that any required absence is excused. The employee will also be advised about the requirements that will need to be met before returning to work.

If a supervisor becomes aware that an employee has tested positive for COVID-19, they should consult with 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.

The appropriate health department will determine if other employees or members of the campus community have been exposed to a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 and whether they should isolate or self-quarantine. Employees who need to isolate or self-quarantine but are feeling well enough to work remotely can do so, 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 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:


CDC Travelers

CDC Travelers Returning From International Travel

CDC Travelers Returning From Cruise Voyages

CDC Recommendations Within US

CDC Foreign Travelers Prohibited From Entry To US

IDPH Tourism-Travel

IDPH Travel-Guidance

IDPH Workplace-Health-and-Safety 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 as set forth in this procedure or refuse to follow other directives in this procedure may be subject to disciplinary action.

Additional Information

Employees are encouraged to consult the UIS COVID-19 homepage for additional information and the latest developments.

Questions about this Procedure should be directed to Human Resources at