Return to Work Protocol

Return to Work Protocol

A Phased Return to the Workplace

We began a phased return to the workplace on Monday, June 22 with the intention that all year-round (twelve-month appointment) staff will be working on campus by Wednesday, July 15. The second phase includes all staff with appointments of fewer than twelve months. These employees are expected to return the week of August 3. Unless your divisional dean or supervisor informs you of an expected return date, do not return to work the week of June 22. Instead, work with your supervisor to develop a return schedule that allows you to be fully back on campus by the dates noted above. 

The third and final phase is the return of faculty to campus. All faculty are expected to return to campus on Tuesday, August 18. Faculty returning to campus prior to this date should email Kathy.Armstrong@NorthernVermont.edu.

All employees, should share their return to work schedule with Kathy Armstrong by Monday, July 6.

Your safety is our priority. We are taking every effort to follow guidance from VOSHA, the Vermont Department of Health, and CDC.  We recognize that this guidance is changing regularly and we expect to update this guidance as new information is received.  In the meantime, we have put the following measures into place:

Required VOSHA Training

Before you return to the workplace, you must complete the VOSHA training sent to all employees. This training is required.  

Following the completion of the training, a link will take you to a fillable certificate.  Please complete the certificate and send a copy to Kathy.Armstrong@NorthernVermont.edu. Access the COVID -19 VOSHA training here. 

Visitors from Outside NVU

NVU buildings will remain locked to outside visitors at this time, just as they were when we began working from home. We hope to open the doors to our guests very soon.  When ready to do so, we will announce guidelines for visitors.

Masks Are Required at NVU campuses

Research shows that infection with COVID-19 is tied to the exposure to the virus and length of time spent in that exposure: Successful Infection = Exposure to Virus x Time. Learn more here.

Employees, students, and visitors are required to wear masks when in the presence of others indoors, or within 6 ft. of others while outdoors. You will need to bring your own mask to wear on campus. While an N-95 or surgical mask are the gold standard of masks, these masks continue to be in short supply and should be preserved for essential workers. The CDC recommends two-ply fabric masks as a good alternative. To learn more about mask specifications and making your own mask, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

To test if your mask meets accepted guidelines, put the mask on and light a candle. Blow hard to try to put the flame out. If it does not extinguish, or better yet waver, your mask is working!

Guidelines for Working on Campus

You may not report to work if you are showing any signs of respiratory illness or fever.

Per VOSHA guidance, no employee may report to work who experiences signs of a respiratory illness or fever. A fever is defined as a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

Arrival at work—You must check in at Public Safety at the start of each day:

Check in at Public Safety with a mask on. Public Safety will take your temperature and ask you a few questions about the presence of symptoms associated with COVID-19. If you are experiencing any respiratory symptoms, or have a temperature, you will be sent home. To access Public Safety, follow these protocols:

Johnson Campus: Public Safety Office is located in Dewey Hall. Follow the directions posted on the door. Be sure to practice social distancing of 6 ft. while waiting. Having difficulty accessing Public Safety? Call 802.635.1205.

Lyndon Campus: Public Safety Office is located in ASAC. Follow the directions posted on the door. Be sure to practice social distancing of 6 ft. while waiting. Having difficulty accessing Public Safety? Call 802.626.6452.

Masks are required and employees must follow this protocol:

  • In the presence of others, employees must wear a mask.
  • In a private office with the door shut, employees may remove their mask; if meeting with anyone in your office, masks must be worn. A sign on the door will help make this practice easier.
  • In shared offices, employees must wear masks at all times.
  • When an employee leaves their office, even to walk to the bathroom, a mask must be worn.
  • Before entering an employee’s office, knock and request access to enter the private space. Do not enter if you are not granted access. Wear a mask when you enter.
  • In public spaces, e.g., hallways, bathrooms, meeting rooms, classrooms, wear a mask.
  • Break rooms will be open; maintain less than 25% occupancy. Each individual must clean and sanitize anything they touch.
  • Meetings: Use Zoom and Teams to hold meetings. If you are meeting in person, there must be less than 25% occupancy and a distance of 6-ft. between people. A mask must be worn in the presence of others.
  • When outside, a mask is not required as long as you maintain a 6-ft. distance from others.
  • You are strongly encouraged to use a sanitizing wipe or cleaner and paper towel to clean any surface you use in shared areas such as shared offices, classrooms, and conference rooms.  Wipes or paper towels and cleaner will be in these areas for your use.

Hand Washing

Employees are expected to wash hands frequently. You should wash your hands with soap and water (hot or cold) for twenty seconds, or in the absence of water, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. You should plan to wash your hands:

  • When you touch your face, nose, or mouth
  • Before and after eating
  • Before and after you put on your mask
  • After you open a door
  • After using the restroom
  • At other intervals as you determine

Personal Space

Respect the personal space of your colleagues. To make sure we all feel comfortable in our spaces, do not:

  • Enter an empty office space, not even to drop off paperwork. Instead, drop off papers in inter-office envelopes at departmental mail stations
  • Enter an office space unannounced. Instead, always knock and allow your colleague to put on a mask and grant you permission to enter the space
  • Touch items on your colleagues’ desks

Please do:

  • Wear a mask at all times when indoors and in the presence of others
  • Request entry to private office spaces
  • Wash your hands frequently

High Touch Surfaces

Facilities staff have stepped up their cleaning of high touch surfaces such as doorknobs and restrooms.  While we will be hiring temporary custodial staff to assist us with this important work, it is imperative that we each take responsibility for our own personal hygiene. To help keep these high-touch areas clean, sanitizer and paper towels and sanitizing wipes are in strategic areas.

Concerns or Questions

Should you have issues or concerns about returning to the workplace after discussing a return to work plan with your supervisor, divisional dean, or the provost, or feel that you are unable to return to the workplace, please email Kathy.Armstrong@NorthernVermont.edu. Please note: Kathy will be on vacation the week of June 22; but will make every effort to be in touch with employees upon her return.

Thank You for Helping to Keep the NVU Community Safe

This is a team effort. Each of us needs to do our part to keep the NVU community safe. While we cannot guarantee that we will all stay free of COVID-19, we can adhere to CDC and state and local health department guidelines. We each have ownership and responsibility in this effort.