Plan for Gradual Return to Campus – Summer 2020

Under the guidelines issued by the NYS Governor, the NYC region entered Phase 2 of reopening on June 22, 2020.  The Phase 2 reopening guidelines include certain on campus research activity and higher education administrative functions. In preparation for resuming certain on campus activities, in compliance with applicable federal, state and local laws, the University has developed this Plan for Gradual Return to Campus – Summer 2020 (the “Plan for Gradual Return to Campus”).

Based upon applicable guidance, St. John’s will implement a tentative schedule to gradually reopen its campuses for certain activities and functions. Employee, student and visitor safety are first and foremost as we implement these reopening plans. Accordingly, as discussed below, prior to returning to campus, all employees must sign and acknowledge this Plan for Gradual Return to Campus.  The University must have the full cooperation of all employees to help protect students, employees and visitors, and slow the spread of COVID-19.

Anticipated Reopening Schedule

Under a best-case scenario, the NYC region will reopen under the following schedule:

  • Phase 1: June 8, 2020 –June 21, 2020
  • Phase 2: June 22, 2020 –July 5, 2020 (Research, Clinics and Administration)
  • Phase 3: July 6, 2020–July 19, 2020
  • Phase 4: July 20, 2020 (Higher Education)

During Phase 2, capacity is capped at 50% building occupancy with appropriate social distancing, health and safety requirements.

In order to limit density on campus and enhance social distancing, St. John’s has set the following caps for employees working on campus as part of a phased approach to gradual reopening:

  • 30% per day (non-faculty): June 24, 2020– July 19, 2020
  • 60% per day (non-faculty): July 20, 2020–August 9, 2020
  • 90% per day: August 10, 2020

All employees are expected to be working full-time. Thus, these caps represent the maximum number of employees working on campus during each phase of gradual reopening. All employees should check with their supervisor before attempting to gain access to campus. 

Employee Preparation for Returning to Campus

  • Prior to returning to campus, carefully read this Plan for Initial Return to Campus. Please sign the acknowledgement and send it to your supervisor prior to returning to campus.
  • All employees are encouraged to continue to work remotely when possible. Through July 20, 2020, employees should only work on campus to complete tasks that require them to be physically present.  Once the task is completed, the employee should leave campus to work remotely.    
  • If you are not comfortable returning to campus due to a medical reason, you should contact Dominique Torres at [email protected].
  • 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-isolation 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 for more than 15 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 for more than 15 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 an online COVID-19 symptom screening that will be made available through Information Technology. Upon successfully completing the COVID-19 symptom screening, the employee will receive a communication clearing them to be on campus for that day. Should you become ill during the day with symptoms of COVID-19, please notify your supervisor and go home and follow the protocols set forth above for those that are symptomatic.
  • All visitors to campus will be required to respond to a COVID-19 symptom screening prior to arriving on campus. Visitors will not be allowed on campus until successfully completing the COVID-19 symptom screening. The number of visitors will be limited and must be pre-approved by the leader of your department.
  • Employees are required to be familiar with all applicable Human Resource policies regarding social distancing, and health and safety requirements

Protocols when Arriving on Campus 

  • In Queens, employees must enter campus through Gate 6. At all campus locations, employees will be greeted by a Public Safety Officer upon arrival. All employees must provide Public Safety with their names and show evidence of successfully completing the COVID-19 symptom screening questionnaire. 
  • The University will supply all employees with an appropriate face covering at no-cost. Upon arriving on campus, employees should display their face covering to the Public Safety Officer. If an employee does not have an appropriate face covering, the Public Safety Officer will provide the employee with one.
  • Employees who need to access the Speech and Hearing Center and the Center for Psychological Services at the off-site Seton Complex must make arrangements with Public Safety prior to the beginning of each week. Employees will be greeted by a Public Safety Officer upon arrival. All employees must advise the Public Safety Officer of their name and show evidence of successfully completing the COVID-19 symptom screening questionnaire.
  • Employees and students engaged in after-hours research activities must make arrangements with Public Safety prior to accessing the campus.

Employee Workspace Safety Plan

  • A minimum of 6 ft. should be maintained between all individuals on campus. When employees must be within 6 ft. of another person, acceptable face coverings will be worn (covering the mouth and nose). Individuals must be prepared to put on a face covering if another person unexpectedly comes within 6 ft.
  • The University has modified and reconfigured employee seating areas and work schedules, so that workers are at least 6 ft. apart in all directions.
  • The University is limiting the use of shared workstations. In addition, employees will not share work stations without first ensuring that the area has been cleaned and disinfected between use.
  • Barriers are being installed where needed in high traffic areas, e.g., using plexiglass shields.
  • Signage has been posted around campus to remind individuals of social distancing guidelines, capacity limits, proper hygiene, reporting of symptoms of or exposure to COVID-19, appropriate use of PPE, and cleaning and disinfecting protocols. There are also distancing markers posted to denote 6 ft. of spacing in commonly used areas.
  • Employees are to avoid congregating in narrow hallways, stairwells and spaces. Where possible, the University has reduced bi-directional foot traffic by posting signs with arrows in these areas.
  • Tightly confined spaces (e.g., elevators) should not be used by more than one individual at a time, unless all individuals are wearing face coverings. There are reduced capacity limits posted for all elevators.  Priority should be given to individuals with disabilities.
  • The University is leveraging technology to support flexible work arrangements where possible, including staggered work schedules, staggered meal breaks, and reduced on-site workforce.
  • The University has adopted workplace policies prohibiting handshaking, hugs and other physical contact. (See Attachment No. 1.)
  • Employees should avoid sharing objects, such as tools, laptops, notebooks, telephones, touchscreens, and writing utensils, as well as touching shared surfaces.
  • Employees are encouraged to meet virtually to the maximum extent possible, and where meetings must be in person, social distancing must be observed, including wearing of appropriate face coverings if six feet social distancing is not feasible.
  • All non-essential business travel is prohibited. In addition, all large-scale fall 2020 study abroad programs have been cancelled.
  • All non-essential common areas, including the fitness center and recreational space remain closed.
  • If an employee observes an unsafe condition on campus, or individual(s) not adhering to applicable social distancing and safety protocols, please advise your supervisor of the concern.
  • Workspace plans for specialized facilities, e.g., research laboratories and clinics, have been developed in alignment with CDC guidance.

Face Coverings 

  • Cloth face coverings are an additional step to help slow the spread of COVID-19 when combined with every day preventive actions and social distancing in public settings.
  • According to CDC guidelines, children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone unable to remove the mask without assistance should not wear a face covering. 
  • Acceptable face coverings for COVID-19 include cloth-based face coverings and disposable masks that cover both the mouth and nose.
  • Surgical masks and N-95 respirators will be reserved for needed research personnel, healthcare workers and other first responders, as recommended in CDC guidance.
  • Employees, students and visitors are to wear face coverings in common areas, including elevators, lobbies, and when traveling around the campus.
  • It is important to always remove face coverings correctly and wash your hands after handling or touching a used face covering. Cloth face coverings should be washed after each use. Please see the attached CDC guidelines regarding how to safely wear and take off a cloth face covering, and how to wash a cloth face covering. (See Attachment 2 and Attachment 3.) 
  • Employees are prohibited from sharing face coverings. 

Hygiene and Cleaning

  • The University has adopted all hygiene, cleaning and disinfection requirement established by the CDC and Department of Health. Facilities Services will regularly clean and disinfect all campuses, and more frequently clean and disinfect high risk areas such as: door knobs, levers, handrails, horizontal surfaces, restrooms, elevator buttons, etc. The University will maintain cleaning logs that document the date, time and scope of cleaning.
  • We recommend that employees regularly wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Employees are encouraged to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use the inside of their elbow. Used tissues should be thrown in the trash and hands washed immediately and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • The University has increased the number and location of hand sanitizer dispensing units throughout the campus. We are also completing the installation of touchless faucets, soap and paper towel dispensers.
  • All masks, gloves and sanitizing wipes can and should be discarded in the regular waste receptacles.

Laboratory Research and Clinical Site Activity

The return of principal investigators, post-doctoral fellows, graduate students and associated research personnel to campus to continue research must be implemented in phases beginning at a small scale with restricted numbers of individuals and restricted access.  A Plan for Gradual Resumption of Laboratory Research and Clinical Site Activities is provided in Attachment No. 4: Plan for Gradual Resumption of Laboratory Research and Clinical Site Activities.