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The College of St. Scholastica

The College of St. Scholastica is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace for all of our employees. To ensure that, we have developed the following Employee Reopening Plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. All employees are responsible for understanding and complying with all aspects of this plan. We know our community at CSS is unique. As followers of the Benedictine values, we care deeply for each other, our students, and their safety and wellbeing. Together, by adhering to this plan, we can mitigate the potential for transmission of COVID-19 at CSS and create a safe and welcoming community for our students when they return.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a fluid situation and circumstances can change quickly. As such, this plan will change as needed. We will provide updates when changes are made. This plan is heavily informed by medical experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), and follows the guidance from Governor Walz.

This plan has been informed by the SaintsRiseUp Steering Committee and approved by the College’s Cabinet. Facilities management, safety and security, health services, and human resources staff played key roles in the development of this plan. We also want to acknowledge the employees who have remained on campus during the Shelter-in-Place to maintain our grounds, perform deep cleaning and administrative functions, and ensure the security and safety of the campus. Without their sacrifice and service, this reopening plan would not be possible.

Reopening Phases

As was already announced and consistent with the State of Minnesota’s direction, we have gradually begun allowing more employees back on campus using a deliberate and diligent approach. Employees who can come on campus are those who have been listed as essential or those who have received approval from their supervisors and/or Vice Presidents. The additional employees that have been allowed on campus are mostly those who need to prepare coursework for students that cannot be completed remotely. Employees coming to campus still need prior approval from their supervisor and/or VP so that Security can be notified. If this is not done prior to arriving on campus, employees will not be allowed through the checkpoint.

As we prepare for students arriving for the fall semester, employees will be allowed to return to campus in two groups over the course of the summer. A third group will remain working remotely through the fall semester. Our reopening criteria were created by gathering feedback from supervisors, managers, directors, deans, employees and Cabinet with the goal of returning employees to campus in a manner that ultimately best serves our students while providing a safe working environment.

Currently, given the Governor’s Stay Safe Order, all employees who are able to work remotely, must continue to do so on a regular basis. Employees who have been approved to work on campus may continue to do so.

Employees should work with their supervisors to develop a plan to return to work or continued remote work and complete the required paperwork such as a telecommuting agreement and/or a request for remote work form. Both forms are accessible later in this plan.

Accommodations will be made for those in a vulnerable group or those who live with someone who falls in a vulnerable group. (See Accommodations for Vulnerable Persons later in this plan.)

Depending on the configuration of the department space, department managers also have the flexibility to use one or more of the following options to ensure proper physical distancing:

  • Staggered work days on campus
  • Staggered start and end times
  • Various combinations of on-campus and remote work
  • Use of “swing” space that is thoroughly cleaned after each use

If one or more of these options is desired, department managers should propose a plan for review by human resources at hr@css.edu.

GROUP 1 Criteria: Return to Campus as Needed

  • All faculty so they can adequately prepare for classes
  • Student workers whose work cannot be done remotely
  • Staff whose functions:
    • Must be done on campus and/or where work is meaningfully affected by working on-campus
    • Include a physical presence on campus to facilitate on-campus enrollment events
    • Support students for the semester that requires a physical presence on campus
    • Require them to be physically present to support a return to face-to-face operations

GROUP 2 Criteria: Continue Remote Work throughout at Least the Spring Semester

Employees whose functions can continue to be performed remotely and are not meaningfully affected by working remotely. Periodic access to campus is allowed.

Policies for Symptomatic Employees

Daily Screening Process

Employees are expected to complete a daily screening using one of the following methods before coming on campus:

App — Apple COVID-19 Screening Tool App — CDC Coronavirus Self-Checker (part of the CDC app)
Computer Based: https://www.apple.com/covid19/
Computer Based: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html — click on Self-Checker Paper Self-Check — provided only for those who may not have phone or computer access

Employees are expected to follow the recommendations noted after the screening questions have been answered. The recommendations may include self-quarantine or a visit to your primary health provider. Employees should notify their supervisors if the recommendation is they should not report to work. If the recommendations are not followed and the violation is reported, disciplinary action may be taken.

Reporting Confirmed Positive COVID-19 Illness Policy While at Home

  1. Employee Steps:
    1. Notify the supervisor of illness and the need to stay home
    2. Do not come to work
    3. Follow a primary health provider’s guideline
    4. Complete the CSS Employee COVID Reporting Form to report your illness
    5. If sick and unable to work remotely, contact HR at hr@css.edu to discuss a possible FMLA
    6. Provide any requested information to the MN Department of Health for contact tracing
    7. Provide a return to work statement from a primary care provider to Human Resources before returning to work
  2. Supervisor Steps:
    1. Notify human resources at hr@css.edu that an employee is out ill
    2. Human Resources, will be notified by the MN Department of Health of employee positive results. Please note that these notifications may be delayed which is why we ask employees and supervisors to be sure Human Resources is notified. Facilities, Human Resources, or the supervisor will arrange for the affected employee’s area to be thoroughly cleaned. MDH performs contact tracing.
    3. Please remember that private health information is confidential and should not be shared without employee approval. Notifications to others in the department should be vague and not disclose private health information, unless authorized to do so.

At a minimum, employees must stay home until they are fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication and at least ten days since the onset of symptoms and only if they are improving, or as directed by a primary care provider.

Please note that a loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation.

Reporting Confirmed Positive COVID-19 Illness Policy While at Work

  1. Employee steps:
    1. Ensure you are wearing a face covering
    2. Inform your supervisor
    3. Call Student Health Service or your primary care provider to review symptoms
    4. Make preparations to leave work immediately. If immediate departure is not possible, you should stay isolated in your office or in your department’s closest space for isolation until able to leave campus.
    5. Keep your supervisor informed about your need to be out and expected return
    6. Complete the CSS Employee COVID Reporting Form to report your illness
    7. If sick and unable to work remotely, contact HR at hr@css.edu to discuss a possible FMLA
    8. Provide any requested information to the MN Department of Health for contact tracing
    9. Provide a return to work statement from a primary care provider to Human Resources before returning to work
  2. Supervisor steps:
    1. Ensure your employee is wearing a face covering
    2. The employee must leave campus as soon as feasible. If immediate departure is not possible, the employee should stay isolated in your office or in your department’s closest space for isolation until able to leave campus.
    3. Notify Human Resources at hr@css.edu that an employee is out ill
    4. Arrange for deep cleaning of the employee’s work area. Human Resources can also assist with this step.

Please remember that private health information is confidential and should not be shared without employee approval. Notifications to others in your department should be vague and should not include assumptions about the employee’s condition.

At a minimum, employees must stay home until they are fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication and at least ten days since the onset of symptoms and only if they are improving, or as directed by a primary care provider.

Please note that a loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation.

Communication of Exposure

If an employee has been diagnosed with COVID-19 (clinically or test-confirmed), MDH will notify individuals having been identified as direct contacts of a potential exposure and advise about next steps. This notification is usually delayed so we ask that supervisors and/or employees let HR know of positive diagnoses.

On Monday, November 23, 2020, Governor Walz announced a new app that is available to alert close contacts that they may have been exposed to COVID. The new app is COVIDaware MN and can be downloaded from the App Store or from Google Play. For more information about the app, please see the Frequently Asked Questions web page.

Isolation and Quarantine

Isolation is what employees must do if they tested positive for COVID. At a minimum, employees must stay home until they are fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication and at least ten days since the onset of symptoms and only if they are improving, or as directed by a primary care provider.

Please note that a loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation.

Quarantine is what employees must do if they were in close contact with someone who tested positive. Direct or close contact is defined as being with the person infected and at a distance of within 6 feet for a cumulative time of 15 minutes or more over a 24 hour period, without personal protective equipment (i.e. N95 face mask). The most recent quarantine guidelines can be found in this document from the MDH.

For Those Who Have Been Vaccinated and Exposed to Someone Who Tested Positive for COVID: Vaccinated employees with an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • Are fully vaccinated (i.e., ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine)
  • Are within 3 months following receipt of the last dose in the series
  • Have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure

Persons who do not meet all 3 of the above criteria should continue to follow current quarantine guidance after exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. Employees should still monitor symptoms for 14 days post exposure.

Health Privacy Policy

All COVID-19 data collected from Student Health Service or Human Resources is confidential. Test results are shared with the MN Department of Health as it is a reportable illness.

Travel

Given the continued uncertainty regarding the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, the College has extended its travel restriction for all College-sponsored international and domestic business travel until further notice. In some exceptional cases, employees may be given permission to travel for critical purposes.  To request business travel, the travel request form must be completed and sent to your Vice President or Dean for approval prior to booking or commencing travel.  Maintaining the health and safety of our community is the College’s highest priority, and continued understanding and compliance with this updated policy remains essential in our effort to minimize risks related to the spread of COVID-19.

College-Sponsored Travel

International Air Travel

The CDC recommends delaying international travel until you are fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated is defined as two weeks after a second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or 2 weeks after a single dose vaccine such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

If not fully vaccinated:

  • Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel AND stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel
    • Even if you test negative, stay home and self-quarantine for the full 7 days
    • If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected
  • If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel
  • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms
  • Follow all state and local recommendations or requirements

If fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine:

  • You should continue to follow CDC’s recommendations for traveling safely and get tested 3 – 5 days after travel
  • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms
  • You do not need to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States

Please refer to the CDC international travel site for more information.

Domestic Air Travel

If not fully vaccinated:

  • After you travel:
    • Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel AND stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel
      • Even if you test negative, stay home and self-quarantine for the full 7 days
      • If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected
    • If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel
    • Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not
    • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms
    • Follow all state and local recommendations or requirements
  • Visit your state, territorial, tribal or local health department’s website to look for the latest information on where to get tested

If fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine:

People who are fully vaccinated can travel safely within the United States.

  • Fully vaccinated travelers do not need to get tested before or after travel unless their destination requires it
  • Fully vaccinated travelers do not need to self-quarantine
  • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms
  • Follow all state and local recommendations or requirements.

Unless advised to quarantine by a medical provider where sick time may be used, vacation time is used if unable to work remotely.

Please refer to the CDC domestic travel site for more information.

Personal Travel

For employees who are not yet fully vaccinated, the College strongly discourages all personal international travel and urges caution and careful judgment for domestic trips. We recommend that community members avoid high-risk areas in the U.S. as defined by the CDC and global high-risk areas as identified by the WHO or CDC, and generally minimize interactions with others outside of trusted family or friends. The CDC Travel Risk Guidelines explain what is considered lowest or highest risk activities and should be reviewed before personal travel.

If traveling outside of your local area, inform your supervisor before you leave so he/she knows what to expect regarding your work arrangements when you return from personal travel. See travel section of this plan for more information.

For more tips and things to consider when traveling, see CDC: Travel during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

COVID-19 Testing

If employees experience COVID symptoms or were exposed to someone who tested positive, employees should start self-quarantine and not return to work until further information is known.  If tested and the results are positive, follow the procedures noted in the policies for symptomatic employees section of this plan.

If the test is negative, the following quarantine measures must be followed:

  • If tested on day five or later post exposure to a person who tested positive, employees can end quarantine after day 7 as long as they are not exhibiting symptoms
  • If no test was conducted, quarantine can end after Day 10 as long as employees are not exhibiting symptoms

In both situations noted above, employees must continue to monitor symptoms for the full 14 days after exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID.

Employee Leave Policies for COVID-19

Caring for Yourself

For employees who are unable to work due to being ill with COVID-19, employees should contact hr@css.edu to inquire about FMLA. Sick time should be used to cover-time away from work. If sick leave is depleted, vacation time should be used. If sick and vacation leave banks are depleted, an additional 80 hours of sick leave may be available to use with VP approval, however, this will cause employees to have negative sick bank balances. CSS sick leave plans normally allow for usage of up to 40 hours of additional sick time, with VP approval, when sick leave is depleted. The change to 80 hours in this plan is temporary and directly related to COVID-19. The College will review this temporary change after the spring semester.

Caring for Relatives

Sick time can also be used to care for relatives ill with COVID-19. Employees should contact hr@css.edu to inquire about FMLA. Sick time should be used to cover time away from work. If sick leave is depleted, vacation time should be used.

Quarantine Policy

Employees will not be allowed on campus if they have been in direct contact with someone who has been diagnosed with or suspected to have COVID-19. Direct contact is defined as being with the person infected and at a distance of within 6 feet for a cumulative time of 15 minutes or more over a 24 hour period, without personal protective equipment (i.e. N95 face mask). For more information, refer to the CDC website regarding quarantine and isolation. The scenarios on this page may be helpful.

For Those Who Have Been Vaccinated:

Vaccinated employees with an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • Are fully vaccinated (i.e., ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine)
  • Are within 3 months following receipt of the last dose in the series
  • Have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure

Persons who do not meet all 3 of the above criteria should continue to follow current quarantine guidance after exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. Employees should still monitor symptoms for 14 days post exposure.

If quarantined, employees must/will:

  1. Inform their supervisor
  2. Monitor self for symptoms to determine if testing is needed
  3. Work remotely to the degree their position allows
  4. Begin using sick or vacation time, as needed, if unable to work remotely during quarantine. The employees should contact HR at hr@css.edu to determine if FMLA is applicable.
  5. Contact Human Resources to determine if FMLA is applicable

Accommodations for Vulnerable Persons

We recognize and support the need to provide accommodations for employees who are vulnerable to COVID-19 or employees who live with or care for individuals who are vulnerable to COVID-19. Currently, per the CDC, an individual falls into the vulnerable category if they are age 65 and over and/or have one or more of the following conditions:

  • Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
  • Serious heart conditions
  • Immunocompromised (e.g., cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplant, immunodeficiencies, prolonged use of steroids or immune-weakening medication)
  • Severe obesity (BMI 40 or higher)
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
  • Liver disease
  • Other conditions

If you would like to request continued remote work for the remainder of the fall semester or the spring semester due to at-risk factors, please download and complete the form to request remote work and return it to HR at hr@css.edu. No supervisor approval is required. Any specific medical information will not be shared with department leadership and will be kept in HR only. Individuals requesting continued remote work will be notified by email of the outcome of the request review.

The form to request remote work can also be used if employees do not feel comfortable working on campus due to COVID-19. Decisions regarding remote work requests will be sent to employees via CSS email. If employees have found remote working to be successful and want to request continuation of the arrangement on an ongoing basis, a telecommuting application should be completed instead of the form to request remote work noted above.

The form to request remote work and the telecommuting application are both fillable pdfs. Please download the forms first in order to complete them electronically.

Employees Who Cannot Work Remotely

If an employee’s work cannot be completed remotely, or only on a limited basis, the following accommodations may be made in priority order below:

  1. Remote work from another department will be sought on their behalf, paid at their normal
    position rate
  2. If the employee has vacation time available, they will need to use this time when not working and apply for FMLA. Sick time may be used if FMLA applies.
  3. If neither of the above are available, employees will have the option to apply for unemployment

Telecommuting

Because of the success of remote work during this time, some employees have received approval from their supervisors to work remotely on an on-going basis. This arrangement is not due to any accommodation being requested for vulnerable persons as noted above, but rather a determination was or will be made that certain jobs can be successfully performed in remote working environments. To request an on-going telecommuting arrangement, the telecommuting application should be downloaded, completed and submitted to the supervisor and Vice President before being routed to HR at hr@css.edu for final written approval. Please remember that this form is a fillable pdf and should be downloaded first in order to complete the form electronically.

Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette

Practicing basic hygiene and respiratory etiquette has been proven to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It also demonstrates to others our care and concern for their health and wellbeing. While practices such as frequent hand washing or wearing a cloth mask may seem inconvenient to us personally, to those around us, especially to those in the vulnerable category, these are tangible expressions of thoughtfulness for one another.

Face Coverings

Face coverings (masks, shields, etc.) are required in all public indoor campus spaces such as classrooms, hallways, lounges, restrooms, etc. Face coverings are required in outdoor spaces where physical distancing is difficult to maintain. In addition, where workstations do not permit at least six feet between employees, employees must wear face coverings at all times. The use of face coverings is encouraged within office suites even if physical distancing measures can be practiced.

Employees may bring their own face coverings to work. If employees need cloth masks, the Safety and Security Manager has some available. CSS will be providing a reusable CSS branded mask in mid-August to each employee at no cost. Additional masks can be purchased through the Saints Shop.

Please note: If you use a buff or bandana as a face covering, be sure to double or triple it for maximum effectiveness.

Hand-Washing

Employees are expected to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water frequently throughout the day, at the beginning and end of their time on campus, after visiting high traffic locations, prior to and after any mealtimes, and after using the restrooms. Hand sanitizer dispensers are also available and can be used for hand hygiene in place of soap and water if hands are not visibly soiled.

Cover Your Cough or Sneeze

Employees are expected to cover their mouth and nose with their sleeve or a tissue when coughing or sneezing and avoid touching their face — in particular their mouth, nose, and eyes — with their hands. Tissues should be disposed of in the trash and individuals should wash or sanitize their hands immediately afterward.

Physical Distancing

To ensure the protection of employees and students, the following physical distancing practices must be followed:

  • Until further notice, we strongly encourage continuation of virtual meetings
  • Employees and students must not gather in groups in confined areas, including elevators
  • Elevator usage is limited to one person at a time. There may be exceptions if assistance is required
  • Employees and students are discouraged from using anyone else’s personal protective equipment, phones, computer equipment, desks, cubicles, workstations, offices, or other personal work tools and equipment. There are some situations where CSS-owned vehicles or work tools must be shared. In those situations, employees should take precautions to sanitize them between use. Sanitation materials will be provided by the facilities department.
  • Employees are asked to be respectful of the limited space in break rooms and lounges. The recommendation is that only one person be in the break rooms or lounges at any given time. When possible, employees are encouraged to bring meals that do not require refrigeration or heating.

Campus Visitors and Contractors

CSS will selectively allow visitors on campus, unless the employee lives on campus. Where business- critical, in-person visits must occur on campus, such as to allow equipment or facilities to remain operational, adherence to this plan is required.

All visitors will be expected to follow the screening protocols as stated above for employees before entering campus. The campus forbids visits from persons who have had known exposure to persons with COVID-19 within the past 14 days, or who are exhibiting symptoms of illness consistent with COVID-19.

Cleaning Protocol

Regular cleaning practices are being enhanced by CSS, including routine cleaning and disinfecting of work surfaces, equipment, tools, and machinery, and other areas in the work environment. Frequent cleaning and disinfecting will be conducted in areas with highly touched surfaces such as door knobs and handles, classroom furniture, handrails, light switches, vending machines, elevators, and water fountains. Facilities management will also clean public spaces such as building lobbies and restrooms at least once daily, and more frequently if deemed necessary.

Departments will be provided with sanitizing products for shared-use equipment so that they have the ability to disinfect areas, including the following, after each use:

  • Department reception areas
  • Break rooms and kitchenettes
  • Workrooms
  • Conference rooms
  • Training areas
  • Shared computers, printers, copiers, or other technology
  • Other shared resources

All custodial staff and their supervisors have been provided refresher training on proper cleaning techniques, as well as background information on COVID-19. All cleaning products meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements. If there is a confirmed positive case reported to CSS, the facilities department will coordinate cleaning and disinfecting of that employee’s work space and other places they have touched or used.

Employees are highly encouraged to clean personal work spaces on a daily basis.

Confidential Reporting of Violations

Faculty, staff, and students are strongly encouraged to promptly report suspected violations of the reopening plan requirements to their supervisor, to their vice president, or to anyone in management one is comfortable approaching. The College also has a confidential, toll free hot line (1-800-477-6064) that can be used to report suspected violations. All reported violations will be researched by either HR or the Pandemic Coordinator and actions will be taken if it is determined a plan requirement was violated.

No Retaliation

No member of the College community who, in good faith, reports a violation shall suffer retaliation, harassment, or adverse employment consequences. An employee who retaliates against someone who has reported a violation in good faith is subject to discipline up to and including termination.

Communications and Training

At the end of August, all employees received an email regarding required training to complete before the start of the new academic year. This training included safe practices and information related to COVID-19 and College expectations. All employees are required to complete an attestation regarding the expectations following the training.

Review of Plan

This plan has been reviewed and adopted by Cabinet of The College of St. Scholastica. It was first distributed to all faculty and staff on July 15, 2020. It will be updated, as necessary. The most up-to-date version of this plan will be posted on the css.edu/safereturn web page.

Additional communication will be ongoing as circumstances surrounding the pandemic require. Supervisors, managers, directors, deans, and Cabinet are required to monitor the program and report observations and concerns to their supervisor and Human Resources at hr@css.edu.

The College of St. Scholastica is working extremely hard to control COVID-19. We appreciate everyone’s participation and efforts as we reopen our campuses.

Published July 14, 2020
Updated April 22, 2021