Office of the Provost releases return to campus guidelines for employees

As Kent State continues to prepare for a safe return to campus in the fall, while also adhering to guidelines from government agencies and public health experts, the university developed protocols and requirements for employees detailed in an email on June 8 from interim Associate Provost for Academic Affairs Manfred van Dulmen.

Whether employees are already on campus or planning to return during the university’s phased reopening, all Kent State community members are required to adhere to the Flashes Safe Seven Principles

Additionally, a return to campus checklist for employees was developed to help guide returning preparations. All employees are required to follow the safety measures outlined in the checklist and will be asked to submit a signed checklist before returning to campus. Some of the requirements include wearing a facial covering, monitoring one’s health and indicating whether assistance is needed to connect equipment to work remotely. 

The email also states that the university will centrally fund cleaning supplies and Personal Protective Equipment [PPE] and provide each employee with two facial coverings.

The requirements for employees continue on a separate checklist detailing the “while at work” requirements. 

All employees will be required to clean and sanitize their workspaces and common spaces throughout the day, between shifts and at the end of the day. This includes door knobs, light switches, tables, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, etc. Employees should also take personal items home for cleaning. Meanwhile, the University Facilities Management [UFM] custodial staff have been cleaning buildings, classrooms and offices, including carpeting. All offices have been cleaned and are ready for use. 

While at work, employees should also maintain at least six feet from other individuals whenever possible. PPE, like facial coverings, hand sanitizer and disposable nitrile gloves, are required. Employees should also wash or disinfect their hands while at work and after any interaction with other employees, constituents or items in the workplace. 

Employees should also not provide or share food or drink in the workspace or at events or meetings. All in-person meetings should be replaced with video or phone call when possible.

In addition to employees, supervisors will complete an assessment of their workspaces to determine plans for proper physical distancing and safety plans. Supervisors will be required to complete the return to campus checklist for supervisors to determine any necessary modifications to workspaces to create a safe environment. The assessment may include changing traffic patterns, modifying staff schedules and ordering cleaning supplies.

Prior to the return to campus, supervisors should determine the essential need for their area to be on campus and discuss the employees’ ability to return to on-campus work, while keeping in mind that some employees may choose to continue to work remotely.

Supervisors should also consider their area’s workspace, workflow, constituent flow and work priorities to determine if there is adequate space to maintain physical distance. If not, supervisors should determine what changes need to be made, including which positions can continue to work remotely, which rules are necessary to have in office and if flexible hours may be used for physical distancing and decreased density. 

While at work, supervisors should make sure themselves and employees are adhering to the Flashes Safe Seven Principles, physical distancing and PPE requirements. Supervisors should also conduct regular check-ins with employees working both on-campus and remotely to discuss any challenges, concerns or questions they may have.

Contact Maria McGinnis at [email protected]