Effective June 1, 2020; revised July 31, 2020
Denison University’s policies and protocols for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic will be rooted in maximizing safety and responsibly managing risks for our staff, faculty, and students, and for the broader community. We urge everyone to take time to review these guidelines, which help address potential questions and concerns and describe the steps being taken to minimize COVID-19 risks on campus.
Denison’s plans are informed by state and local public health guidance, as well as recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As knowledge and understanding of COVID-19 continues to evolve, our policies and practices will be updated as appropriate.
Denison has worked hard since this pandemic began to take care of our faculty and staff. This document outlines the many policies and protocols now in place to meet the varied needs and concerns that individuals may continue to experience as a result of COVID-19, especially as we head into the academic year.
This document also sets out the social and public-health obligations we all have to one another. In contrast to the spirit of flexibility that underlies new policies designed to help employees manage COVID-19-related circumstances and concerns, the social and public-health obligations we are adopting as a community -- face coverings, symptom monitoring, social distancing, and more -- are meant to be firm, and it is incumbent upon all Denison employees to take these protocols seriously. We all need to do our part in this important work.
Additionally, while these are workplace guidelines, we encourage all employees to follow precautionary measures even when off-campus to help protect themselves and their families, and to further help protect the Denison campus and community.
Please talk with your supervisor or Human Resources (at firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions about these guidelines.
Workplace Expectations and Guidelines
All employees are expected to comply with the policies, protocols, and guidelines outlined here and in related policies and protocols that are referenced and linked to. Failure to do so may result in corrective action, up to and including separation from the University.
Return to the Workplace Guidance
Symptom Monitoring Requirement
Any employee attending work on campus must conduct symptom monitoring every day before coming to campus. Employees with symptoms of COVID-19 should not report to work and should contact their supervisor and the employee symptoms hotline as described below. As explained further here, Denison has adopted a temporary COVID-19 policy extending additional sick/emergency days to employees to support compliance with these stay-at-home requirements if you are experiencing potential COVID-19 symptoms.
At this time, these symptoms include any of the following:
- Fever of 100.4 or higher
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle pain/body aches
- New loss of smell or taste
If you have symptoms, contact both your supervisor and the employee symptoms hotline at COVID19Questions@denison.edu or call Angie Ferrell, Nurse Practitioner at Denison, at 740-587-5597 for guidance on the appropriateness of coming to work. You should also wear a face mask to avoid possible virus transmission to others and self-isolate until you have received instructions from a medical provider.
Additionally, if you test positive for COVID-19 or you have been identified as a close contact of someone with known COVID-19 through contract tracing outside of Denison’s testing and tracing protocols, please email COVID19Questions@denison.edu or call Angie Ferrell at the number listed above to receive workplace guidance.
According to the CDC, individuals with certain conditions either are or may have a higher risk for COVID-19 infection. Those conditions and risks are described in further detail in this CDC guidance and include but are not limited to:
- Older adults
- Chronic kidney disease
- Severe obesity
- Serious heart conditions
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus
- Asthma (moderate to severe)
- Liver disease
- Being immunocompromised
Employees who are expected to return to work on campus and have concerns about doing so due to a medical condition that places them in a higher risk group or those who may otherwise require Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) reasonable accommodations related to returning to the workplace should contact Human Resources for consultation at email@example.com. In accordance with ADA requirements, Denison honors the confidentiality of medical or health conditions for purposes of determining reasonable accommodations and HR can assist with any questions about these confidentiality parameters.
Phased Return, Remote Work, and Determining On-Campus Work Needs
As we near the start of the fall term, and as on-campus staffing needs evolve, each Vice President and supervisors will continue to be responsible for determining on-site work needs and for implementing plans that provide flexibility where necessary and helpful, recognizing that, for many people, childcare and other constraints remain in place.
Employees should follow the policies and protocols detailed in (and linked to) in this guide for returning to work on campus. Staff who are not currently scheduled to work on campus should not do so without instruction from their supervisor.
Once staff members begin returning to work on-site, there are several options and strategies departments and supervisors can consider to maintain social distancing and reduce density within buildings and work spaces. Supervisors have received more detailed information about these strategies.
Remote work: Those who can work remotely to fulfill some or all of their work responsibilities may continue to do so as deemed feasible and appropriate for campus needs.. Remote work can also be done in full or partial day/week schedules. At this time, the requirement for formal remote work agreements has been paused, but all remote work arrangements must be approved by the immediate supervisor (and for academic administrative assistant’s, by the Provost’s office). We will resume the practice of formal remote-work arrangements further in the future.
Alternative days and staggered arrival/departures: Departments that are able to do so may implement staffing on alternating days, and/or stagger shifts or arrival/departure times to reduce traffic or density in common areas to maintain social distancing.
Personal Safety Practices
See Denison’s complete guidelines for face masks/coverings (and limited, recognized exceptions), and for information about obtaining face coverings from Denison if you need them. Scientific and medical studies have demonstrated that face masks are one of the most effective measures for preventing the spread and contraction of COVID-19, and Denison takes the face mask guidelines very seriously. Face masks or face coverings must be worn by all employees working on campus when in the presence of others and in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (this includes, for example, common work spaces, meeting rooms, when walking in hallways where others travel, including travel to and from restrooms, in break rooms, conference rooms, meeting locations, and even outside when you might be around people for a sustained period of time or where social distancing cannot be reliably maintained).
Appropriate use of face masks or coverings is critical to minimizing risks to others near you and helps protect you against others that may be infected. You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
Face masks are required as a matter of state order and Denison policy. The Village of Granville has also passed an ordinance requiring face masks in public (including indoor establishments) in town. As Denisonians, we care a great deal about our Granville neighbors and all Denison employees should honor Granville’s requirement that face masks be worn in town. Students also are required to wear face masks.
Disposable masks should generally be worn for one day and then discarded. You may also wear a cloth face covering, which must only be worn for one day at a time and must be laundered before use again. Having a week’s supply of cloth face coverings can help reduce the need for daily laundering.
Keeping space between you and others is one of the best tools we have to avoid being exposed to COVID-19 and slowing its spread. Since people can spread the virus before they show any symptoms and know they are sick, it is important to keep distance from others when possible. Social distancing is important for everyone, especially to help protect people who are at higher risk of getting very sick. Staff working on-site should follow these social distancing practices:
- Stay 6 feet from other people
- Do not gather in groups
- Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings
Handwashing: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public space, or after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or touching your face. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropyl alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash your hands after touching your face.
Cleaning of Shared and Personal Spaces: Shared spaces and public spaces will be subject to enhanced cleaning schedules and protocols so custodial crews will be spending additional effort cleaning in those spaces. Consequently, single-occupancy offices will be visited less frequently. Individuals may request disinfection supplies to clean their workspace more frequently and offices will be provided with additional supplies to enable employees to regularly wipe down commonly used and shared surfaces or equipment. You can find full details about Denison’s cleaning and disinfection standards and expectations here.
Coughing/Sneezing/Hygiene: If you are in a personal, enclosed office setting and do not have on your face covering, remember to always cover our mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. Then throw used tissues in the trash. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Using Restrooms: When using a restroom try to ensure at least 6 feet of distance between individuals or, if possible, wait until the restroom is otherwise empty. Wash your hands thoroughly afterward to reduce the potential transmission of the virus. Masks should be worn in restrooms.
Using Elevators: Generally, no more than one person should enter an elevator at a time, so please use stairs whenever possible. If you are using an elevator, wear your mask or face covering and avoid touching the elevator buttons with your exposed hand/fingers, if possible. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer upon departing the elevator.
Concerns: Any employee with concerns about adherence to health and safety practices should report those concerns to their supervisors or Human Resources. The COVID-19 pandemic warrants unique considerations of our care for one another and support of community values of respect and safety. These guidelines will be taken seriously and repeated or serious violations of health and safety measures may result in disciplinary action up to and including separation from the University.
Workplace Set-Ups and Scenarios
If you work in an open environment, maintain at least 6 feet of distance from co-workers and between workspaces where possible. You must wear a face mask or covering at all times while in a shared work space or room. Limit, or eliminate where possible, the sharing of work materials.
Supervisors will assess open work environments and meeting rooms, under the guidance of Denison’s director of risk management and environmental health and safety, to institute measures where appropriate to encourage physical distancing.
Convening in groups increases the risk of viral transmission. Where feasible, meetings -- even among those on campus -- should be held in whole or part using the extensive range of available collaboration tools (Google Hangouts Meet, Zoom, telephone, etc.). During employees’ time on site, face-to-face meetings and conversations should be held judiciously and employees are encouraged and should be supported in communicating by technological means.
In person meetings are also currently limited to restrictions in state orders and may not exceed 50% of a room’s fire code maximum capacity. Individuals should still be able to maintain 6 feet of separation for social distancing. Departments should consider rearranging tables and chairs and/or adding visual cue marks or signage in meeting rooms to support social distancing practices between attendees.
Before and after eating, you should wash your hands thoroughly to reduce the potential transmission of COVID-19. If dining on campus, you should wear your mask or face covering until you are ready to eat and then put it back on afterward.
Dining facilities on campus, once open, will be configured according to social distancing and other safety precautions. Individuals should not sit facing one another. Staff are encouraged to take food back to their office area or eat outside, if this is reasonable for your situation.
If you are eating in your work environment, maintain 6 feet distance between you and others where possible. Individuals should not sit facing one another. Only remove your mask or face covering in order to eat, then put it back on.
Departments should remove or rearrange chairs and tables or add visual cue marks in break rooms or shared spaces to support social distancing practices. Wipe all surfaces, including table, refrigerator handle, etc., after using common areas.
University-related travel should remain limited as much as possible, and all employees must seek approval from their divisional management prior to engaging in work travel.
Health and Leave
To support our employees during this period, and to support adherence to stay-at-home requirements for employees experiencing potential COVID-19 symptoms, or who must quarantine or isolate, Denison has adopted several temporary COVID-19 policies through December 31, 2020, extending additional leave time as follows:
To help our employees through this uncertain time, Denison has developed these temporary policies offering additional paid leave time for employees who need to be off work for health needs related to COVID-19, and to provide child care when employees cannot work remotely due to school closures and child care closures related to COVID-19.
Temporary COVID-19 Health Days Policy
Ten COVID-19 Health Days (prorated as appropriate for part-time staff) will be added on a one-time basis to the banks of our regular full and part-time supporting operating staff. These days can be used for personal health needs related to COVID-19 or to care for children or other dependents. Full-time and part-time regular supportive operating staff employees who need time off due to COVID-related health reasons are eligible. Please see the Temporary COVID-19 Health Days Policy for more information.
Temporary COVID-19 Family Leave Policy
Full-time and part-time regular supportive operating staff, administrative staff, and faculty employees are eligible for Temporary Family Leave needed to provide child care due to school closure or child care closures related to COVID-19.