Social Distancing and Hygiene Guidelines

Section: COVID-19 Return to Work on Campus Series
Policy Number: 1101
Responsible Office: Human Resources
Effective Date: 7/1/20
Revised: 8/4/20


This policy applies to all St. John’s University employees. In addition, all visitors to campus, including contractors, vendors, and service providers and guests will be expected to follow these guidelines. 


St. John’s University is committed to supporting the health and safety of its employees. As the University phases back into on-campus work, enhanced cleaning protocols and prevention practices are in place. Facilities Services will continue providing daily cleaning and disinfecting of high touch areas to include classrooms, offices, break rooms, bathrooms, conference rooms and public spaces. Additionally, employees will be required to exercise caution and continue physical distancing and personal hygiene practices in order to limit the spread of COVID-19 as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and University’s guidelines.  

These guidelines shall remain in effect throughout the various phases of reopening our campuses, and for the duration of public health guidance. The University will continue to adhere to the recommendations of local, state and federal authorities for the health and safety of the community. 

Physical distancing and hygiene guidelines for employees 

  • Employees must maintain a minimum 6-foot distance apart from others.  When employees must be within 6 feet of another person, a face covering must be worn that covers the nose and mouth.  Employees must wear face coverings in common areas where social distancing may be difficult to maintain (elevators, entering/exiting classrooms, travel around campus).  Exceptions to the face covering requirement will be made for employees who need an accommodation pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act and for those who have a sincerely held religious belief, practice or observance which conflicts with this requirement.   
  • The number of people at meetings and other gatherings shall be limited pursuant to the New York Governor’s orders, and physical distancing guidelines shall continue to be followed during such times. No events will be approved that exceed the allowable number of participants.  In addition to these requirements, and in acknowledgment of the fact that convening in groups increases the risk of viral transmission, all team meetings must take place solely via teleconference or videoconference.  Further, meetings of any kind must take place via teleconferencing or videoconferencing whenever possible.  When employees must meet other individuals in person, face coverings must be worn and social distancing must be maintained for the duration of the meeting.   
  • Employees should engage in frequent hand washing, the use of hand sanitizer, and sanitizing of surfaces regularly. 
    • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as feasible. 
    • Use hand sanitizer after interactions with people or objects, if soap and water are not readily available. 
    • Cover coughs and sneezes (preferably using a tissue or the inside of your elbow and not your hands). 
    • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces (buttons, door handles, counters, workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, etc.) regularly. Disinfecting wipes or sprays will be provided to departments, classrooms and public spaces for individuals to clean surfaces regularly. 
    • Avoid touching your face and refrain from any physical contact (no handshakes, high fives or embraces). 
  • Employees should avoid using other employees’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment whenever possible. If necessary, employees should clean and disinfect them before and after use. 
  • Employees must observe all social distancing and hygiene signage displayed across the university, including signage displayed in small spaces including elevators, hallways, stairwells, and restrooms. 
  • Employees should eat in a location that allows for appropriate physical distancing (e.g. outdoors, in an enclosed or private space, in an office with the door closed, etc.). 

Employees who exhibit Symptoms of COVID-19 or who have a sick Family Member at home who has COVID-19 

  • Any employee who feels sick, has COVID-19 symptoms, or has been potentially exposed to someone with COVID-19 should not come to campus under any circumstances.  Employees who become ill at work should return to home immediately.  
    • If a person has COVID-19 symptoms and either tests positive for COVID-19 or did not take a test, the individual may only return to campus after completing at least 14 days of self-quarantine and with clearance from a health care provider.   
    • If a person does not have COVID-19 symptoms but tests positive for COVID-19, the individual may only return to campus after completing at least 14 days of self-quarantine and with clearance from a health care provider.  
    • If a person has had close contact with a person with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time (within 6 feet and for more than 10 minutes) and is symptomatic, the individual should follow the above protocol for a positive case. 
    • If a person has had close contact with a person with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time (within 6 feet and for more than 10 minutes) and is not symptomatic, the individual must complete a 14-day self-quarantine.  
  • Prior to arriving at campus each day, all employees will be required to respond to a wellness screening questionnaire. Upon successfully completing the wellness screening, the employee will receive a communication clearing them to be on campus for that day.  
  • All visitors to campus will be required to respond to a wellness screening questionnaire prior to arriving on campus. Visitors will not be allowed on campus until successfully completing the wellness screening.

Employees who have symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath) should notify their supervisor, contact their healthcare provider and stay home. For guidance on what to do if you are sick, follow the CDC guidelines. If applicable, employees must not return to work on campus until they have satisfied the 14-day self-quarantine period set forth above. Review the University's policy on Sick Leave and Paid Family Leave for COVID-19.

Expectations for Supervisors 

VPs/Deans and Department heads will work with Facilities Services and their departments to evaluate the work environment and make the necessary changes and adjustments to ensure physical distancing practices can be followed. In shared offices or workspaces, supervisors shall consider the following: 

  • Implement flexible work schedules, rotations of remote and in-person work, and staggered arrival, departure and meal times, when possible. 
  • Collaborate with Facilities Services to ensure office layout and furniture allows for physical distancing. 
  • Limit or alter congregating in common areas. 
  • Create one-way traffic patterns and demarcate six-feet of space where lines typically form.