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Phase 1:  June 15 – June 28, 2020

Incrementally return in a limited capacity. Priorities include positions that are needed for campus safety or reopening or some jobs that cannot be effectively completed from home and are critical to ongoing operations. Employees returning to campus will be required to practice social distancing per the guidance below.

The target date is June 15. However, the target timeline and implementation steps remain fluid and will adhere to updated guidance and data from the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force, the University System of Georgia (USG), the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
 
Workplace Health and Safety includes those components of returning to work that are designed to prevent infection of employees with the COVID-19 virus and to proactively implement measures to keep the university campus community safe and healthy. 

Staffing

Most employees will continue to work remotely.The following units have approval for limited staffing on campus in Phase 1. Leaders in each area are working closely with the COVID-19 Planning Team on their unit’s plan with the health of employees and the community top of mind.

  • Academic and Campus Administrators
  • Athletic coaches and trainers for fall teams
  • Business Office
  • Student Affairs and Enrollment Management
  • Environmental Health and Occupational Safety
  • Facilities
  • Logistical Services
  • Office of Information Technology
  • Public Safety
  • Primary Research Spaces (with authorization and guidance from the Office of Research and Engagement; see Appendix D)

Supervisors may request an exceptionnew window for critical support staff to return to campus, if they meet the priority criteria noted above. Supervisors are asked to consider the Phase 1 strategies and tactics before requesting an exception.

Facility Access

Entry to buildings will be regulated and monitored. Your UNG access card or key is required for entry to all buildings

Meetings & Gatherings

In all phases, internal and external meetings and events on campus are limited to the restrictions of local, state and federal orders.

  • Where feasible, meetings should use the extensive range of available collaboration tools (e.g. Microsoft Teams, Visual Huddle, telephone, etc.).
  • Departments should remove or rearrange chairs and tables or add visual cue marks in meeting rooms to support social distancing practices between attendees.
  • Employees are encouraged to communicate with colleagues and supervisors as needed by email, instant message, telephone or other available technology rather than face-to-face.
  • Employees may not gather in groups in break rooms for meals or other purposes.

Employee Travel

All non-essential travel by USG employees is currently prohibited. Any changes in travel restrictions will be shared as circumstances change.

 

Staffing and Personal Safety Practices

Guidance for all employees working on campus during this phase includes:

  • Every employee shall follow the GDPH and CDC guidelines.
  • To the extent possible, employees are expected to practice social distancing while at work.  Social distancing, also called “physical distancing,” means keeping 6 feet of space between yourself and other people outside of your home.
  • All employees are strongly encouraged to wear a cloth face-covering when on campus. Cloth face-coverings are important in preventing transmission from asymptomatic individuals who have COVID-19. There may be scenarios under which an employee will be required to wear a face-covering, to include those times when social distancing is not possible when interacting with co-workers. Additional guidance will be provided through supervisors.
  • Do not gather in groups.
  • Person-to-person contact, including handshaking, is prohibited during the ongoing community transmission of COVID-19.
  • Employees shall not use other employees’ phones, desks, offices, computers, or other tools and equipment.  In cases where equipment must be shared, employees should disinfect the equipment between users.
  • When employees return to work on-site, there are several options departments should use to maintain required social-distancing measures and reduce population density within buildings and work spaces.
    • Remote Work: Those who can work remotely to fulfill some or all of their work responsibilities may continue to do so to reduce the number of individuals on campus and the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus. These arrangements, which must be approved by the immediate supervisor, can be done on a full or partial day/week schedule as appropriate.
    • Alternating Days: To limit the number of individuals and interactions among those on campus, departments may schedule partial in-office staffing on alternating days. Such schedules will help enable social distancing, especially in areas with large common workspaces.
    • Staggered Reporting/Departing: The beginning and end of the workday typically bring many people together at common entry/exit points of buildings. Staggering reporting and departure times by at least 30 minutes will reduce traffic in common areas to support social-distancing requirements.

Symptom Monitoring Requirement

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.  These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

Daily Self-Screening Before Coming to Work

Employees must conduct the following self-screening daily before coming to work on-site. 

According to the CDC, people with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms including the following:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

If the answer is “yes” to one or more of the following questions, the employee should stay home and follow the steps described in the next section.

  • Are you experiencing any of the COVID-19 related symptoms noted above?
  • Are you living with or caring for an individual who is suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19?
  • Have you been in contact with anyone known or suspected to have COVID-19 in the last 14 days?
  • Have you tested positive for COVID-19 since your last screening?

Sick Employees

Employees who have tested positive or who have symptoms of COVID-19 should seek medical care, notify their supervisor, and stay at home. These employees are eligible to use up to two weeks paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and can use any other available leave.

Employees should use the UNG COVID-19 Health Self-Reporting Form to self-report symptoms, possible exposure, or positive diagnosis. This form will send information via a secure format to UNG’s Office of Human Resources and will initiate employee support services.

Using the GDPH guidelines for discontinuing home isolation, the affected employee may return to work when he or she has met all three of the following criteria:

  • No fever for at least 24 hours (without the use of medicine that reduces fevers), AND 
  • Improved symptoms, AND 
  • Gone at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared.

Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and may stay home and telework when possible.

The employee should follow GDPH recommendations in caring for their family member.

These employees are eligible for up to two weeks paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and can use any other available leave.

Hygiene

The cleaning and sanitizing of campus facilities is an integral part of mitigating and preventing the spread of COVID-19.
  • Cleaning removes germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces or objects. Cleaning works by using soap (or detergent) and water to physically remove germs from surfaces. This process does not necessarily kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.
  • Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces or objects. Disinfecting works by using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces or objects. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.
  • Sanitizing lowers the number of germs on surfaces or objects to a safe level, as judged by public health standards or requirements. This process works by either cleaning or disinfecting surfaces or objects to lower the risk of spreading infection.

During this phase:

  • Limited support will be provided by non-high-risk custodial staff on a rotational basis and only to those buildings that are occupied by essential personnel.
  • Facilities staff will receive training updates on cleaning protocol as needed to remain current on practices.
  • Custodial staff will clean and sanitize campus areas per established USG guidelines.
  • Facilities staff will utilize training and products demonstrated by Georgia National Guard for preventive disinfection of instructional and residential spaces.
  • Access to hand sanitizer will be provided for public use in all hallways and non-residential restrooms.
  • As available, sanitizing and/or cleaning materials for individual offices will be provided.
  • Cleaning frequencies:
    • Main Entrances: Sanitize all door handles, automatic door openers, light switches, and frequently touched door components twice daily.
    • Offices: Office occupants will clean all office surfaces with UNG-provided materials weekly.
    • Instructional Spaces: Clean daily and sanitize twice daily all door handles, automatic door openers, light switches, and frequently touched door components.
    • Break and Copy Rooms: Clean and sanitize all door handles, light switches, and horizontal surfaces once daily.
    • Elevators: Sanitize all request buttons and interior controls twice daily.
    • Public Restrooms: Clean and sanitize all touchable surfaces to include door handles daily. Replenish supplies as needed during the day. Log cleaning activities on cleaning log installed inside the room.
    • Trash Pickup: Remove trash and recycled materials from public spaces and restrooms twice daily. Office waste must be left in hallway for pickup at the end of the day by occupants.

Innovation

During this phase, employees will continue and expand innovative work practices.
  • Due to reduced cleaning staff, offices will be asked to move wastebaskets into hallways at the end of the workday for emptying. This will reduce the likelihood of transmission of the virus by cleaning staff entering offices. Cleaning staff will work short, early morning shifts to reduce the opportunity for encounters with other staff.
  • Virtual meeting software will be used to the greatest extent possible for all meetings.  Those meetings that cannot be conducted virtually will be limited to no more than  25 individuals and will be compliant with social distancing guidelines.
  • Electronic signatures of documents previously requiring hard signatures will be utilized to the extent possible.
  • Plexiglas shields for employees requiring public access will be installed as needed.

Mitigation and Monitoring

Employees will monitor their health to ensure the well-being of themselves and the university community.
  • Teleworking will continue for employees able to reasonably accomplish work requirements outside of the office.
  • Daily self-screening will be required as detailed in the staffing section.
  • Areas known to be used by an infected individual will be isolated for at least 7 days where possible—24 hours minimum.
  • Employees with COVID-19 symptoms or who are exposed to another individual with COVID-19 must either isolate themselves or receive a negative COVID-19 test result prior to returning to work with no symptoms of COVID-19.
  •  The University will support contact tracing in cooperation with Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) for reporting of employees who test positive for COVID-19 or who may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Occupancy limits and/or directional signage will be posted for common areas and spaces where social distancing is constrained.
    • Conference rooms will be limited to 10 people or 1 person/125 sq ft, whichever is less.
    • Elevators: Occupancy limit of 1
    • Private Offices: Occupancy limit of 1
    • Interior Stairwells: Denoted “Up” or “Down”
    • Open Common Spaces: 50% of fire code occupancy limit
    • Campus vehicles will be limited to one (1) occupant, unless face-coverings are used.
    • Shuttle buses will not be operational.
  • Protective screening and queuing guides will be installed as needed for areas where public access is required.
  • Additional signage to assist in educating employees on information related to COVID-19 and preventive practices will be placed in highly visible areas.
  • Food service venues will be limited to take-out only services.
  • Seating and/or computer work stations will be removed or adjusted to enforce social distancing.
  • Most facilities will remain closed to public, except for areas with published open hours of operation.
  • Personal office doors will remain closed when practical with accommodations made for visitors/guests to request entry.
  • Point-of-sale locations will suspend the use of Personal Identification Number (“PIN”) pads, PIN entry devices, electronic signature capture, and any other credit card receipt signature requirements to the extent such suspension is permitted by agreements with credit card companies and credit agencies.  Regular disinfection of these devices is required when used.
  • Intangible services will be delivered remotely when possible.
  • Contractors must provide and keep up to date a COVID-19 protocol document staking how they will comply with guidance from the Georgia Department of Public Health and the CDC and with Georgia Executive Orders.

Resources

To support the strategies and tactics in Phase 1, the University will:
  • Provide PPE to employees whose jobs require it.
  • Encourage all employees to use non-medical face coverings when around others and will provide disposable face coverings if necessary.
  • Enhance cleaning.
  • Provide additional cleaning supplies.
  • Initiate screening protocols and contact tracing support in concert with Georgia Department of Public Health.
  • Provide guidance through the COVID-19 Planning Team on how to improve workspace design and signage to support social distancing and additional hygiene measures.
  • Adjust schedules, shifts, and reporting requirements to help ensure flexibility and social distancing.
  • Maintain transformational work practices as needed.

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