Spring 2022 Department Protocols

These protocols for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic apply to all employees (faculty, staff, student employees) and are rooted in protecting the health and safety of our students, employees and the general public we interact with. This document is aligned with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Iowa Department of Public Health and Black Hawk County Public Health.

Departments should encourage all employees to follow the Forward Together website for any new policies or procedures related to illness, cleaning and disinfecting, work meetings, and travel.

These spring department protocols were last updated Monday, December 13, 2021.  

Assess Spring Staffing

1) Return to Traditional Operations 

UNI will be offering in-person academic coursework, educational experiences, and traditional student life activities to the same extent they were offered in-person prior to the pandemic. Employees will be on campus to the extent their employment responsibilities require.

Ongoing telework, or a combination of on-campus and off-campus work, may be considered in circumstances when there is a legitimate business rationale that serves the best interests of the institution, or as may otherwise be permitted or required by law or established institutional policy. A formal telework agreement will be required in accordance with policy 4.26 for employees who will be teleworking this spring. Additional resources for considering telework arrangements are located on the Telework Resources site

2) Employees at Higher Risk for Severe Illness

For information about the university’s ability to arrange alternate work schedules, job assignments, and teleworking visit the Human Resource Services section of the Faculty & Staff FAQ on the Forward Together site. Employees who express concern related to a medical condition should be directed to HRS Workplace Accommodations Services to initiate the interactive process in accordance with the ADA.  Regularly check in on those being provided accommodations to ensure they continue to foster employee success.

Information about leaves of absence are available in the Faculty & Staff FAQ and COVID-19 Temporary Leave Flowchart. If an employee needs to be on leave, ask them to complete the Panther Health Survey

3) New Employees

All newly-hired employees must complete either of the following trainings:

All new employees are eligible to receive 2 free face coverings, a face shield, and a bottle of hand sanitizer. These materials will be provided at new employee orientation or can be picked up at the Risk Management office

4) Employees Utilizing Public Transit

For employees who commute to work using public transportation or ride sharing, consider allowing employees to shift their hours so they can commute during less busy times. Remind employees to wash their hands as soon as possible after their trip.

5) Employee Contact Information

It is important to keep contact information up-to-date. Personal information can be viewed and updated in the MyUNIverse portal under the Update Personal Information tab.

6) Contractors, Vendors & Guests

Communicate to any contractors, vendors, patrons or on-site visitors about changes that have been made to help control the spread of COVID-19. Ensure they have the information and capability to comply with these protocols. 

Prevent and Reduce Transmission

1) Vaccination

All members of the campus community are strongly encouraged to receive a vaccination against COVID-19. Vaccination is the leading prevention strategy to protect individuals from COVID-19 disease and end the COVID-19 pandemic. Current COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States are safe, effective, and widely available. Learn more about the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Student Health Clinic offers COVID-19 vaccines, additional information can be found on the Vaccine Sign-up page. If you are looking for a COVID-19 vaccine off-campus, search vaccines.gov, text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find locations near you.

Employees (faculty, staff, graduate assistants, and student employees) can utilize the Panther Health Survey to voluntarily submit documentation of having received a COVID-19 vaccine or voluntarily submit a request for a waiver or accommodation as to any potential/future COVID-19 vaccination requirement.

2) Face Coverings

Masks are strongly encouraged. This guideline does not apply to the Student Health Center or other healthcare operations or research laboratories where a formal Environmental Health & Safety hazard assessment has determined face coverings to be necessary.

3) Daily Screening

Prior to every shift, all employees are encouraged to self-screen for the symptoms of COVID-19 before coming to work on campus. Employees may utilize the Panther Health Survey to conduct this self-screening.

Employees who have symptoms should complete the Panther Health Survey and stay home. For information about leaves view the Faculty & Staff FAQ and COVID-19 Temporary Leave Flowchart. Further questions regarding employee leave options should be directed to hrs-leaves@uni.edu.

Employees who have been potentially exposed to COVID-19 should complete the Panther Health Survey.

Completion of the Panther Health Survey also connects employees with information about leave options, specific to their situation. For general information about leaves, view the Faculty & Staff FAQ and COVID-19 Temporary Leave Flowchart.

4) Symptoms in the Workplace

Individuals who appear to have symptoms upon arrival to campus or who become sick during their time on campus should immediately be separated from other employees, students, and visitors, and sent home. In emergency situations where the individual is unable to arrange for safe transport, they should be transported by ambulance. 

Employees and students with COVID-like symptoms more severe than their baseline should call the Student Health Center at 319-273-2100 to determine if testing is appropriate. 

Employees should complete the Panther Health Survey immediately upon receiving confirmation of a positive COVID-19 test result. Due to confidentiality requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act, supervisors must contact HRS when they become aware of employees who may have been exposed to the virus so that individual or group communications can be initiated accordingly.

Contact hrs-leaves@uni.edu for information about leave options for the affected employee. For information about leaves view the Faculty & Staff FAQ and COVID-19 Temporary Leave Flowchart.

5) Suspected or Confirmed Cases in the Workplace

In most cases, supervisors do not need to shut down their entire area. If able supervisors should close off any spaces used for prolonged periods of time by the sick employee and contact UNI Environmental Health and Safety, David Oesterle, 319-273-7491. UNI Environmental Health and Safety will work with the supervisor and the appropriate custodial team to ensure the area is cleaned and disinfected according to CDC guidance.

Employees with confirmed or suspected cases should complete the Panther Health Survey.  

6) Sick Leave and Supportive Policies and Practices

For more information about leaves, view the Faculty & Staff FAQ and COVID-19 Temporary Leave Flowchart. If you need to be on leave, complete the Panther Health Survey.

Employees may use their employee assistance program (EAP) benefits to help manage any anxiety or any uncertainty they are experiencing related to Coronavirus (COVID-19). To access EAP call 1-855-784-2057. UNI’s EAP vendor has created a tip sheet to help employees stay connected to their emotions during a time of uncertainty. Additional information can be found on the HRS Supporting Services web page and from the CDC. Students who have mental health concerns should contact the UNI Counseling Center at 319-273-2676.

Employees in need of medical care should call their healthcare provider prior to visiting the office or clinic. Employees are encouraged to consider telehealth options through their own healthcare provider or through Doctor on Demand.

7) Absenteeism

Determine how you will operate if absenteeism spikes from increases in sick employees, including those who may experience vaccine side effects, those who stay home to care for sick family members, and those who must stay home to watch their children when school or childcare programs are unavailable.

Plan to monitor absenteeism at the workplace and notify HRS in the event of an absenteeism spike.

Implement plans to continue your essential business functions in case you experience higher-than-usual absenteeism.

Cross-train employees to perform essential functions so the workplace can operate even if key employees are absent.

Review the department’s continuity of operations plan and make any changes that may be necessary.

8) Meetings

If possible, implement flexible meeting options.

Information Technology (IT) has created a detailed web site to support faculty and staff, visit the Information Technology Remote Services and Support website.

9) Travel

All university-sponsored, domestic travel is permitted for faculty, staff and students per the normal approval processes. Individuals pursuing domestic travel are encouraged to review the CDC's domestic travel guidance related to COVID-19

International travel must be pre-approved by the President, per direction from the Board of Regents. This does not apply to personal travel. Individuals pursuing international personal travel are strongly encouraged to review the CDC's travel guidance related to COVID-19

Additionally, we encourage employees to follow the CDC’s latest recommendations for travel during COVID-19. Employees who become sick while traveling or on temporary assignment should notify their supervisor and promptly call a healthcare provider for advice if needed.

Maintain a Healthy Work Environment

1) Hazard Assessment

Review the hazard assessment completed by UNI Environmental Health and Safety. If your department’s unique operational needs justify the creation of a separate hazard assessment contact David Oesterle, UNI Environmental Health and Safety, extension 319-273-7491.

To report a safety concern, please go to the Incident Portal.

2) Maintain Necessary Supplies

Ensure you have enough supplies for people to clean their hands and cover their coughs and sneezes. Contact Jeff Van Gelder, UNI Warehouse, jeff.vangelder@uni.edu, to obtain any additional supplies deemed necessary according to a hazard assessment or any other relevant items such as tissue, floor markings, cleaning supplies or sanitizer refills.

3) Maintain Appropriate Signage

Departments should continue to ensure the appropriate signage is posted in a space visible to their employees. See the UNI Sign Library for available signage. Consider assigning an individual to be in charge of this task.

4) Cleaning and Disinfecting

Custodial teams will be cleaning and disinfecting in accordance with CDC Guidelines. Employees should take responsibility to keep their personal workspace clean when working on campus.

For items generally not cleaned and disinfected by custodial teams, develop a cleaning and disinfecting plan. The university has purchased various cleaning supplies in bulk to ensure that the products used meet the EPA’s criteria for use against COVID-19 and that the appropriate personal protective equipment is available. Departments needing to clean their own spaces and objects should contact Jeffrey Van Gelder, UNI Warehouse, jeff.vangelder@uni.edu, to obtain supplies.