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 and consistent with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Iowa Department of Public Health, and Black Hawk County Public Health.
All departments will remain open throughout summer 2021 and into the fall semester. Our knowledge and understanding of the COVID-19 virus continues to evolve, and these protocols will be updated as appropriate as more information becomes available.
These summer department protocols were last updated Monday, June 14, 2021.
Regularly Assess Summer Staffing
1) Remain Open & Transition Staff
With plans underway for fall classes and events to return to a primarily in-person format (less than 10% of UNI courses will be offered online this fall, similar to pre-COVID numbers), offices will continue to be open to the public. Departments and offices should also be planning for employees to be primarily back to on-campus work by July 1, 2021. Consider which staff can begin transitioning to more on-campus work, either on a continuous or intermittent schedule.
The university is considering the possibility there will be staff members interested in more long-term telework, or a combination of on-campus and off-campus work. Potential teleworking scenarios and considerations are currently under review by the UNI Remote Work Task Force charged with exploring ways to continue to provide flexibility for staff. The task force will submit their recommendations to university administration in early summer. Resulting telework protocols, along with guidance for supervisors, will be communicated in June. A formal telework agreement will be required starting July 1, 2021 in accordance with policy 4.26 for employees who will continue to or begin teleworking beyond the summer.
Where teleworking isn’t readily feasible and the employee has indicated they have a medical condition, direct the employee to HRS Workplace Accommodations Services to initiate the interactive process in accordance with the ADA.
2) Review the Governor's Disaster Proclamations
Continue to review the Governor's Disaster Proclamations to ensure compliance with updates to the governor’s directions. Contact University Counsel with any questions, Tim McKenna, extension 319-273-3241.
3) Contact Employees
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.
When returning employees to their normal work location, a minimum of two weeks should be offered before requiring them to be in the office. Employees may waive the two-week notice and request supervisor approval to return earlier.
Employees may need additional time to return to working on campus, given constraints with childcare or other COVID-19 related impacts. The Iowa Childcare Resource & Referral program may be of assistance to them. Supervisors are encouraged to be flexible.
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) 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. Regularly check in on those being provided accommodations or alternate arrangements to ensure they continue to foster employee success as public health circumstances transition.
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.
6) Workplace Policies and Training
All newly-hired employees must complete either of the following trainings:
COVID-19 Slow the Spread Training: General COVID-19 safety training. This course takes about 20 minutes to complete.
COVID-19 Slow the Spread Training - Plus Cleaning, Disinfecting, and Hazard Communication: Training for employees who will be cleaning and disinfecting shared spaces or objects for COVID-19. This course takes about 35 minutes to complete.
Encourage employees to follow the Forward Together website for any new policies or procedures related to illness, cleaning and disinfecting, work meetings, and travel.
Regularly Assess the Workspace
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. Consider if your department's hazard assessment should be updated, especially as employees report back to primarily on-campus work by July 1, 2021.
To report a safety concern, please go to the Incident Portal.
2) Maintain Necessary Supplies
Each department received a COVID-19 kit in August 2020, which included two transaction counter dividers, two large floor stickers, two transaction counter stickers, one sanitizer station, one bottle of Purell, two packages of Terri towels, one bottle of hand sanitizer per employee, and appropriate signage. In January 2021 each department received one additional bottle of hand sanitizer per employee. Ensure you have enough supplies for people to clean their hands and cover their coughs and sneezes. Contact Jeff Van Gelder, UNI Warehouse, email@example.com, to obtain any additional supplies deemed necessary according to the hazard assessment or any other relevant items such as tissue, floor markings, cleaning supplies or sanitizer refills.
3) Physical Distancing
At UNI, departments should begin to transition to normal occupancy in common areas (e.g., offices, break rooms, conference rooms, classrooms, etc.).
Contact Facilities Management for additional assistance if required, extension 319-273-4400. For workspaces shared across departments or units, supervisors should work together.
4) Maintain Appropriate Signage
Departments should continue to ensure the appropriate signage is posted in a space visible to their employees. For example, see the Stop the Spread of Germs poster.
Consider assigning an individual to be in charge of this task. This signage was included in the COVID-19 kit provided to your department. Additional signage can be found in UNI’s COVID-19 sign library.
5) Contact Facilities Management
Contact Facilities Management so the appropriate maintenance specific to COVID-19 responses can be completed as needed, extension 319-273-4400.
Maintain Healthy Business Operations
1) 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 or contagious side effects from a COVID-19 vaccination 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Employees who are well but who have been potentially exposed to COVID-19 should complete the Panther Health Survey. A potential exposure means being a household contact or having close contact (less than 6 feet for greater than 15 minutes where one or more individuals are not properly wearing a mask) with an individual who is COVID-19 positive. The timeframe for having contact with an individual includes the 48 hours before the individual became symptomatic.
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.
2) Face Coverings
Face coverings are generally not required on campus. There may be limited tasks or areas (healthcare and childcare settings) where face coverings could still be required as determined through the hazard assessment process.
Those who have not been fully vaccinated are strongly encouraged to continue wearing face coverings in accordance with CDC guidelines. Individuals who are fully vaccinated can continue to wear face coverings on campus if they choose to do so.
In August 2020, all employees were provided two free cloth face coverings and a face shield courtesy of the university. In December 2020, all employees were provided up to five free face coverings. These items are still available for new-employee pickup at the UNI Bookstore. A UNI ID must be provided at the time of pickup.
3) 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. In addition to utilizing the Student Health Clinic, care can also be accessed through their primary care provider or the TestIowa site.
Employees should complete the Panther Health Survey immediately upon receiving confirmation of a positive COVID-19 test result. Due to confidentiality requirements under the American’s 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.
4) 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.
5) Sick Leave and Supportive Policies and Practices
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 and social distancing. 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.
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.
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.
8) 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. Limit on-site visits or replace them with videoconferencing or teleconferencing when feasible.
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 check themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 before starting travel and to notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick. Employees who become sick while traveling or on temporary assignment should notify their supervisor and promptly call a healthcare provider for advice if needed.
10) 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, email@example.com, to obtain supplies.