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Fall Work Plan - Return to Work Protocols for COVID-19

Staff walking down stairs social distancing and wearing masksCal Poly’s policies and protocols for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic are rooted in the California’s Roadmap to Resilience and in maintaining the safety of our students, employees and community. In collaboration with the CSU Chancellor’s Office, state and county health officials, and campus leadership, the following plan provides for a phased return of employees to campus to support critical campus operations, research and student success while prioritizing the health and safety of the Cal Poly community.

Staff who are not explicitly approved to return to work should continue to telework. Managers will assess what services need to continue on campus to protect and serve students in residence and maintain other critical operations, such as delivery of remote learning, student housing/dining, Campus Health and Wellbeing services, etc. Employees will receive direction and notification from their managers if they are approved to come to the campus in order to work. People who are working from home should continue to do so. Employees with underlying health issues identified by the CDC as being more vulnerable to the virus should contact Human Resources to discuss reasonable accommodations and available leave programs; additionally, leave programs will be available to employees dealing with COVID 19 health related or child care issues.

Key Concepts

  • Public health guidance, scientific knowledge, and clinical best practices will change, so these guidelines may require updates. We can anticipate that restrictions and limitations in activities will be in place for the next six to 18 months, or until a vaccine or other viable treatment options are available.
  • Resumption of activities will be gradual and phased based on local public health conditions as well as institutional capacity. Return to an active on-campus environment will depend upon approval from the CSU Chancellor’s office, widespread testing, contact tracing, and isolation/quarantine of ill and exposed individuals both on campus and in the community. We should prepare for the possibility of a local rebound of infections that may result in a return to more restrictive mitigation measures and physical distancing for periods of time.
  • Meticulous adherence to public health practices is extremely important including not coming to work, hand hygiene, physical distancing, and proper cough/sneeze etiquette, frequent disinfection of common and high traffic areas, symptom assessment, and facial covering in public as the campus’ new normal.

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Staffing Options

Expanded staffing will be coordinated through the EOC to mitigate potential risks and ensure the safety of faculty and staff, as well as the community. No unit or department should increase staffing levels beyond current needs to support critical on-site operations without approval from the EOC. Once decisions to expand on-site staffing in certain areas have been made, staff should follow the safety protocols detailed in this guide for returning to work on campus.

Once staff members have been instructed to return to work on-site, there are several options departments should consider to maintain required social distancing measures and reduce population density within buildings and work spaces.

Phased Staffing

Cal Poly will assess expanded staffing based on mission-critical operations, ability to control and manage specific work environments through physical distancing and PPE, and necessity to access on-site resources. These decisions, once approved by the Emergency Operation Center (EOC) will be communicated through divisional vice presidents. For assistance, please review, “Workplace Readiness Assessment.”

The need to continue to reduce the number of people on campus (de-densify) to meet physical distancing requirements will continue for some time. Employees who can continue to effectively work remotely will continue to do so until restrictions are eased during Phase 3 of the governor’s plan or when the EOC /cabinet repopulates campus more broadly.

Remote Work

Those who can work remotely to fulfill some or all of their work responsibilities may continue to do so to reduce the number of individuals on campus and the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus. These arrangements, which should be approved by the manager, can be done in a full or partial day/week schedule as appropriate.

Returning to Campus

Alternating days

In order to limit the number of individuals and interactions among those on campus, departments should schedule partial staffing on alternating days. Such schedules will help enable physical distancing, especially in areas with large common workspaces.

Staggered reporting/departing

The beginning and end of the workday typically brings many people together at common entry/exit points of buildings. Staggering reporting and departure times by at least 15 minutes will reduce traffic in common areas to meet physical distancing requirements.

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Guidance for Specific Workplace Scenarios

  • Post and Promote Prevention Strategies
    • Wash hands frequently.
    • Maintain physical distance: stay 6 feet apart at all times.
    • Know the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and what to do if symptomatic:
      • Stay home when you are sick (or leave work immediately) and notify your supervisor.
      • Call your health care provider’s office in advance of a visit.
      • Limit your movement on campus and wear a face covering in public.
      • Call your health care provider for instructions regarding return to work.
  • Public transportation

    If you must take public transportation, wear a mask before entering the bus and avoid touching surfaces with your hands. Upon disembarking, wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

  • Working in office environments

    If you work in an open environment, be sure to maintain at least 6 feet distance from co-workers. If possible have at least one workspace separating you from another co-worker. You should wear a face mask or face covering at all times while in a shared work space/room.

  • Open work environments and meeting rooms

    Departments should assess open work environments and meeting rooms to institute measures to physically separate and increase distance between employees, other coworkers and customers.

  • Review departmental office spaces

    Department heads/manager should review departmental office spaces and consider placing visual cues such as floor decals, colored tape or signs to indicate to customers where they should stand while waiting in line.

  • One-way directional signage

    Department heads/ managers should consider placing one-way directional signage for large open work spaces with multiple through-ways to increase distance between employees moving through the space.

  • Stairways for up or down traffic

    Consider designating specific stairways for up or down traffic if building space allows. If you work in an office, no more than one person should be in the same room unless the required 6 feet of distancing can be consistently maintained. If more than one person is in a room, masks/face coverings should be worn at all times. Masks/face coverings should be worn by any staff in a reception/receiving area.

  • Masks/face coverings

    Masks/face coverings should be used when inside any Cal Poly facility where others are present, including walking in narrow hallways where others travel and in break rooms, conference rooms and other meeting locations.

  • Convening in groups

    Convening in groups increases the risk of viral transmission. Where feasible, meetings should be held in whole or part using the extensive range of available collaboration tools (e.g. Zoom, WebEx, telephone, etc.). Departments should remove or rearrange chairs and tables or add visual cue marks in meeting rooms to support physical distancing practices between attendees. All attendees should wear a mask or face covering while sharing space in a common room. During your time on-site, you are encouraged to communicate with your colleagues and supervisors as needed by email, instant message, telephone or other available technology rather than face-to-face. You can also use a range of available collaboration tools (e.g. Zoom, WebEx, etc.).

  • Using restrooms

    To maintain physical distancing, use of restrooms should be limited based on size to ensure at least 6 feet distance between individuals. Wash your hands thoroughly afterward to reduce the potential transmission of the virus.

  • Meals

    Before and after eating, you should wash your hands thoroughly to reduce the potential transmission of the virus. If dining on campus, you should wear your mask or face covering until you are ready to eat and then replace it afterward. Eating establishments must meet requirements to allow at least 6 feet of distance between each customer, including lines and seating arrangements. Individuals should not sit facing one another. Staff are encouraged to take food back to their office area or eat outside, if this is reasonable for their situation. If you are eating in your work environment (break room, office, etc.), maintain 6 feet distance between you and others. Individuals should not sit facing one another. Only remove your mask or face covering in order to eat, then put it back on. Departments should remove or rearrange chairs and tables or add visual cue marks in employee break rooms to support physical distancing practices between employees.

  • Using elevators

    Use of elevators should be limited where possible to avoid close proximity with others in a confined space. Those using elevators are required to wear a disposable face mask or face covering regardless of traveling alone or with others. You should also avoid touching the elevator buttons with your exposed hand/fingers, if possible.

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Trainings will be assigned to employees that address:

  • COVID-19 Symptoms
  • Self-Care:
  • Cleaning
  • Bias Awareness: COVID-Related
  • Ergonomics

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Follow these steps if an employee begins having suspected COVID-19 symptoms or feels ill during the workday

Immediately separate the employee who is ill from other workers, customers and visitors.

If safe to do so, send the employee home and instruct them to follow up with a healthcare provider; otherwise, call 911.

If possible, close off all areas that the ill employee was using

Refer to the CDC guidance for cleaning and disinfecting the area when someone is ill.

  • What Symptoms Should I Be Watching For?

    Patients with confirmed infection with COVID-19 reported these symptoms (as of May 12, 2020). Symptoms can range in severity from very mild to severe.

    icons of symptoms
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fever
    • Chills
    • Muscle pain
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Other less common symptoms: nausea, vomiting or diarrhea

    According to the CDC, individuals with certain conditions may have a higher risk for COVID-19 infection. Those conditions may include:

    • Older adults, especially adults ages 85 and older
    • People with HIV
    • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
    • Chronic lung disease
    • Diabetes
    • Serious heart conditions
    • Chronic kidney disease being treated with dialysis
    • Being immunocompromised

    Employees whose ages or health conditions fall within one of the CDC High Risk Categories or are pregnant should continue to telework; if teleworking is unavailable, employees should speak with Human Resources to explore leave options.

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Keeping Each Other Safe

Taking these preventative steps will help protect the safety of our entire community. Learn more about protecting your health and well-being while living or working on campus. 

Icon of a mask

Wear a Face Covering

You are required to wear a mask or face coverings in most public settings.

Icon of two people seperated

Keep Your Distance

Avoid close contact and remain at least 6 feet away from others both on and off campus.  

Icon of water dripping on a hand

Wash Your Hands

Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds throughout the day.

Icon of a spray bottle

Keep Things Sanitary

Clean and disinfect the surfaces and items you frequently touch.

Icon of a thermometer

Monitor Your Health

Run through a symptoms checklist daily and stay home if you don't feel well.

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  • Workplace Readiness Assessment - Step by Step Guide

    Step 1:

    Complete the Workplace Readiness Assessment Form (Adobe Sign Power Form)

    Step 2:

    Department Head (individual listed above) will receive an email from Human Resources Department ( Click the Review and Sign button. You will then be directed to Adobe Sign to complete the assessment and checklist.

    Step 3:

    Complete the Fall Work Plan Form and sign. The form will then be routed through Adobe Sign to the appropriate Division Vice President/Provost for approval. Once the Division Vice President/Provost signs, the form will be sent to the EOC for review and approval. The Department Head will receive notification emails as the form moves through the process.

    Step 4:

    The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will review the document to ensure proper safety protocols are being met in addition to notifying Facilities Management and Development (FMD) of space occupancy for cleaning and sanitation. Once EOC approves the plan, an email will be sent to the Department Head listed on the initial form.