Returning to Work
In order to ensure necessary social distancing, the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE), adequate screening procedures, and other COVID19-related safety measures, Furman will take a phased approach to employees resuming on-campus work activities.
It is important to note that our knowledge and understanding of COVID-19 continues to evolve. Accordingly, Furman’s plans for the Phased Return to Campus are subject to change in light of federal, state, and local laws, regulations, orders, and guidance, as well as other circumstances that may arise.
It is important for each visitor and member of our community to recognize that even though the university will take precautions to reduce the risks of COVID-19 on campus, individuals can never be completely shielded from all risk of illness caused by the virus, and everyone in our campus community shares the responsibility for the health of the community.
Preparations for employees’ resumption of on-campus work activities are listed below.
Safe Operations Assessment:
Departments will complete the following assessment prior to employees’ resumption of on-campus work activities:
Ability to control and manage specific work environments
In consultation with Facilities Service, departments should assess this criterion in light of factors including, but not limited to:
- physical characteristics of the workspace (e.g., open office environment versus individual offices)
- ability to engineer social distancing controls (e.g., designating specific stairways for up or down traffic)
Availability of PPE
All students and employees are required to wear cloth face coverings at all times when in campus buildings unless a specific exception is granted. Cloth face coverings should include at least two layers of fabric that fully cover the nose and mouth, and fit snugly and comfortably against the side of the face.
The Fall Planning Team will assess whether particular positions within the department present a heightened risk of exposure to COVID-19. See OSHA’s Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 [PDF] and Worker Exposure Risk [PDF]. Employees working in positions that present a heightened risk of exposure to COVID-19 will be provided appropriate PPE.
Employees will complete mandatory virtual Return to Work training via Zoom prior to resuming on-campus work activities.
The Paladin Promise
Each Furman student or employee has a shared responsibility for the health of our campus and the greater Greenville community. As an indication of our joint pledge both to ourselves and the health and safety of our classmates and colleagues, all students and employees will be asked to commit to the principles of The Paladin Promise before they return to campus.
Prior to resuming on-campus work activities, employees must respond to questions related to potential exposure to COVID-19 using the LiveSafe app for your smartphone. Employees that do not have smartphones will be required to submit a document to Human Resources that provides responses to the same questions.
If an employee provides a response that indicates any potential exposure to COVID-19, Furman may prohibit the employee from entering the workplace. As an alternative, where possible, the employee may be (i) permitted to work provided that appropriate safety measures are followed, or (ii) continue to work remotely until appropriate steps are taken to rule out a COVID-19 infection or to pass the incubation period of the virus (up to 14 days according to the CDC).
ADA & Other Accommodations
Furman employees who wish to request accommodations for a qualifying disability should contact Human Resources. The university will provide a reasonable accommodation for the disability of a qualified applicant or employee with a disability unless the accommodation would change the essential functions of a position or impose an undue hardship.
According to the CDC, individuals with certain conditions may have a higher risk of COVID-19 infection.
Those conditions include:
- Older adults (aged 65 years and older)
- People with HIV
- Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
- Chronic lung disease
- Serious heart conditions
- Chronic kidney disease being treated with dialysis
- Severe obesity
- Being immunocompromised
Departments are to direct an employee to contact Human Resources if the employee has been instructed to resume on-campus work activities and has concerns about doing so. Departments will not inquire about employees’ underlying medical conditions.
Once staff members have been instructed to return to work on-site, there are several options that have been recommended by the American College Health Association that departments should consider to maintain required social distancing measures and reduce population density within buildings and workspaces.
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 virus. These arrangements, which should be approved by the immediate supervisor, can be organized in a full or partial day/week schedule as appropriate.
In order to limit the number of individuals and interactions among those on campus, departments should schedule partial staffing on alternating days. Such schedules will help enable social distancing, especially in areas with large common workspaces.
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 15 minutes will reduce traffic in common areas to meet social distancing requirements.
The university will closely monitor the evolving circumstances related to COVID-19, along with rapidly developing scientific knowledge and medical resources, to determine the appropriateness for adjustments and contingencies.