An Employee Guide to Returning to Work

  • Rowan University's Glassboro campus

An Employee Guide to Returning to Work

An Employee Guide to Returning to Work

(For additional information and FAQs, please visit rowan.edu/HR.)

During the next several weeks, the University will have a better understanding of when employees will be permitted to return to our campuses for work. We fully expect regulations and guidance to change frequently throughout the summer and well into the fall semester. Our policies and plans will be updated as information changes.

The goal of this guidance is to prepare for the return of staff over the next 90 days, while anticipating updates based on changing circumstances, health information and resources. Based on our current knowledge, we can begin to take some action, acknowledging the need for adaptability at every level and every stage.

Rowan will continue to work with leaders across higher education, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), public health officials and the state of New Jersey to determine the best time to resume operations.

Repopulating Our Campuses

Returning employees to the workplace during and after the COVID-19 pandemic won’t be as simple as announcing a reopening or return-to-the-workplace date and carrying on business as usual. Not only will many workplaces be altered initially, some changes may be long-term.

Departments with the immediate need to access files or computer systems to prepare for the fall semester will be prioritized. Departments will be notified of which phase they are assigned. An appeal process will be in place if an adjustment is requested. The guideline will be no more than 30% of a department’s staff onsite at any time during phases 2 and 3. This will be necessary to provide the required social distancing. Managers will be provided guidance regarding occupancy as part of the planning process.

Policies and Training
Human Resources, in partnership with the Wellness Center, Facilities, Public Safety and others, will revise policies and will develop training to ensure that employees understand processes, procedures and expectations.

Policies will be created or revised as follows:

  1. Sick Leave and Centralized Call-off Reporting, Attendance and Return to Work (In Process)
  2. COVID-19 Workplace Expectations (Completed)
  3. Accommodation Policies (Completed)
  4. Workplace Assignments (In Process)
  5. Return to Work Complaint Process (Completed)
  6. Leaves (Completed)
  7. Ethical and Professional Requirements for a Safe Environment (Completed)

In addition, all employees will be required to complete Return to Work training to ensure everyone understands and can work within the new workplace.

Testing is Key to a Safe Return
Under the direction of the Wellness Center, plans will be in place for testing, both for disease and antibodies in accordance with applicable law. The Wellness Center will provide medical oversight for tracking body temperatures and symptoms, and will engage actively with recovered employees prior to their return to work. All tracking will be maintained with the strictest medical confidentiality.

The Wellness Center, on behalf of Gloucester County Health Department, will train contact tracing specialists to provide investigation and communication with individuals who may have been exposed to a positive-testing individual. Individuals testing positive will be monitored for appropriate isolation or quarantine.

Employees who demonstrate symptoms, have experienced a close contact as defined by public health, or who are suspected of infection for other appropriate reasons will not be permitted to participate in in person employment. They will be required to perform their duties remotely if possible or to use appropriate leave to the extent permissible by law. Employees will not be permitted to return to campus until they have a negative test or the adequate period of self-isolation. Rowan will assist employees in procuring a test to the extent test supplies at Rowan permit. If Rowan is unable to procure a test for an employee, employees will be provided with other testing resources. Employees will not be required to test at Rowan; they may test with their own provider or at another location of their choosing. The Wellness Center will develop the appropriate policies and procedures to manage testing, data analysis, isolation and any change in levels of operations.

A Safe Working Environment
As part of the effort to address the ongoing pandemic situation and to establish a return-to-campus work environment, Rowan has developed a set of protocols to help ensure that reasonable measures will be in place for a safe working environment. Although some apprehension is understandable, Rowan will implement processes to fairly and consistently review requests for accommodation using governmental directives and CDC guidelines. Some of these accommodations may be university-wide, and others may vary by department, depending on specific practical realities and requirements. These measures may include:

  • Staggered shifts
  • Temperature scans
  • Social distancing

In instances where an employee feels that the applicable university or departmental accommodations may not reasonably and adequately address the employee’s particular set of health-related circumstances, the employee may request from Human Resources further accommodations or modifications.

These requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis to see if any further reasonable accommodations/modifications can be provided to address the employee’s circumstances beyond the measures already adopted by the University and/or department or otherwise not addressed by other relevant University policies or governmental laws/programs.

Workplace Environment
A critical component in returning employees to work is an assessment of the work site and the implementation of processes and procedures, social distancing, protective equipment, engineering controls, enhanced cleaning protocols and building access control.

Below are rules likely to be required. This is NOT an all-inclusive list and will continue to evolve as more scientific data is collected and operational planning occurs. Department heads should work with their employees to post signage specific to their work areas. Facilities & Operations has pre-printed signage available upon request.

Social Distancing

  • Occupancy of rooms will be restricted in the workplace according to social distancing standards.
  • Employees should remain at least 6-feet apart to the fullest extent possible.
  • Signs will be posted reminding employees and students of social distancing requirements.
  • Floor markings will be used to identify 6-foot parameters in high-traffic where waiting lines for services form.
  • Handshakes and physical contact will be prohibited.
  • Workstations, conference rooms, reception areas and common areas may be reconfigured to provide distancing depending on a department’s needs. Department heads should work with their employees to post signage specific to their work areas.
  • One-way directional traffic flow will be considered, where possible.
  • Restrooms will be marked and reconfigured as possible. Occupancy signs will be provided.
  • Guidelines for common areas such as kitchens will follow social distancing protocols.
  • Sharing of phones, headsets, desks, etc. will be prohibited. Adaptations and cleaning protocols will be implemented as necessary if sharing is required.
  • Number of people in an elevator will be limited according to social distancing standards.
  • Meetings should occur via video. Any in-person meetings will require the use of approved table and desk configurations. All requirements regarding social distancing set forth by the University and the CDC will be followed.
  • If weather permits, in-person meetings and other activities requiring less social distancing should be held outside.

Enhanced Cleaning and Building Maintenance

  • Main buildings’ entrances will have hand sanitizer dispensers.
  • Offices, restrooms, hallways, classrooms, etc., will be equipped with soap and sanitizer.
  • There will be more frequent cleaning schedules for high-touch areas.
  • Trash will be regularly emptied to avoid overflow of cleaning supplies.
  • Deep cleaning will occur. Staggered work schedules will assist Facilities and Environmental Services to schedule more focused cleaning in areas that have been used that day.
  • HVAC filters will be upgraded and changed more frequently.
  • Structural barriers will be assessed and modified wherever possible.

Employee Safety
Protocols will be coordinated between Public Health, Environmental Health & Safety and Human Resources. The following requirements will be addressed:

  • Face masks/cloth face coverings: Face masks or face coverings must be worn by all staff working on campus when in the presence of others and in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., common work spaces, meeting rooms, classrooms, etc.). Appropriate use of face masks or coverings is critical to reduce risks to others nearby. The mask or cloth face covering is not a substitute for social distancing.
  • Employees will be required to document temperature and symptoms upon logging onto their Rowan computers each day.
  • Sick employees are expected to remain home and to secure appropriate clearance prior to returning.
  • Employees will abide by safety rules including building access, touch surface contact (i.e., time clocks, shared copiers, lab equipment)
  • Employees will complete assigned training and follow policies and procedures as required.

Visitors
Guests are discouraged from visiting campus in the early phases of opening. Their visits should be scheduled in advance to prevent social distancing concerns. Visitor logs will be required. Visitors must follow face covering and social distancing policies. Rowan employees who host visitors must inform their guests of all public health policies. 

Flexibility and Patience
We expect new health and safety information to continue to develop in the weeks and months ahead. It is critical that we remain flexible and seek to better understand how to protect everyone, especially the most vulnerable in our academic community and those around us.

If you have any questions, please contact Human Resources: HR@rowan.edurowan.edu/HR.

Thank you for your commitment to work with us in what is sure to be a dynamic and evolving work-life environment.

Personal Travel

We continue to strongly urge against international and domestic out of state personal travel (vacations, visiting friends/family) given the uncertainty of travel and the possibility of flight cancellations, travel restrictions, and self-isolation periods. However, personal travel is not prohibited.

Domestic Travel
For individuals who are considering domestic travel, you are advised to consult the State of New Jersey’s Travel Advisory. This list is updated daily. Employees are expected to self-isolate if they return from a state on the travel advisory, even if the state was not on the advisory list when the employee sought approval or started the trip.

If you are returning from an impacted state included on the Travel Advisory, you must quarantine for 14 days upon your return as the 14-day quarantine period will start when the employee leaves the last restricted State You will be required to use sick or vacation time, in accordance with state regulations, if you are scheduled to be on site in person during the period of self-isolation. (Employees who are covered by Civil Service and cannot be accommodated for remote work will be temporarily reassigned to duties that will limit direct contact with students, faculty and staff in lieu of accumulated leave.) As a result, we are asking that you do not schedule personal travel to any impacted states unless such travel is unavoidable due to emergent personal or extraordinary circumstances, such as an immediate family member’s death or sudden illness or similar emergency and you have received approval of your Divisional Senior Vice President or the Provost for the travel and subsequent period of quarantine.

If you do not obtain advance approval in accordance with this policy, you will be subject to discipline for taking unapproved leave. Rowan reserves the right to deny requests relating to personal travel if anticipated quarantine periods disrupt orderly University operations.

Exemption
Employees who reside in a state listed on the advisory are exempt from this regulation by governmental directive and may come to campus for work or educational pursuit.

International Travel
If you choose to engage in international personal travel, you should enroll in the DOS Smart Traveler’s Enrollment Program (STEP) (or similar programs offered by other governments for their citizens/nationals) and closely monitor local travel advisories.

Notification Requirements
Please notify Rowan at mytravelplans@rowan.edu of your international and domestic personal travel plans and please observe any periods of self-isolation imposed by the State or local health department.