Skip to main content

Dear Faculty and Staff,

We look forward to welcoming you back to campus June 1. Your supervisor will be contacting you this week to discuss your department’s return-to-campus plans. These plans were created following university-wide guidelines, developed in alignment with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

USD highly encourages faculty, staff and students to download USD Safe, its campus safety app, before their return to campus. USD is in the process of adding new features to the app, including regular self-screening assessments for COVID-19. USD Safe can be downloaded via the Google Play or Apple app stores.

As a reminder, USD will host a virtual town hall on Wednesday, May 27 at 1:30 p.m. to help address any questions or concerns. To register, please visit the USD website.

University guidelines include:

1. Enhanced Hygiene and Health Practices

All CDC-recommended guidelines for enhanced hygiene will be expected of all employees. These include:

  • Frequent hand washing. (Soap and water are the best defense against coronavirus! Sanitize or wash your hands before and after touching surfaces such as light switches, doorknobs, copiers, etc.)
  • Cough and sneeze etiquette. (Be considerate of others.)
  • Avoid handshaking and elbow bumping. (Nod. Wave. Yote hand sign!)
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Stay at home if sick (with any illness.)
  • Stay at home if you are exposed to a person diagnosed with COVID-19. Employees exhibiting common symptoms of COVID-19 will be immediately asked to leave the premises. Persons exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms may be asked to provide medical clearance to return to work.

It is highly encouraged that all employees receive the annual flu shot. This protective vaccination is provided to all employees free of charge, and work time may be used.

2. Physical Distancing

Workspaces should allow employees to maintain 6’ of separation from colleagues, students and office visitors. When this is not possible, other means of protection should be implemented. These might include such things as plexiglass barriers, stanchions, signs, etc.

In-person meetings should be avoided if possible. The use of telephones and video conference application should always be the first option considered. If in-person meetings are essential, ensure 6’ separation is possible, wear masks if appropriate, clean conference tables, and/or implement other protective measures.

Breakrooms and small conference rooms that do not allow for physical distancing and should be closed and/or not used.

3. Shared Equipment and Supplies

As a rule, equipment for personal use such as phones, staplers, pens, keyboards, etc. will not be shared between employees. Fully upholstered chairs used by multiple persons should be removed or tagged out-of-use.

In some cases, a unit may decide to do additional cleaning of certain shared equipment. The plan for this should be included in the department return-to-campus plan, including identification of the person responsible, and what cleaning supplies should be used and where the cleaning supplies will be obtained and stored.

Departments should consider if common refrigerators and coffee pots should be used. If yes, be certain to post signs regarding washing/sanitizing hands. Additionally, food should not be consumed in common areas and candy dishes should be removed.

4. Masks

Cloth masks prevent the spread of coronavirus. They are not intended as protection for the person wearing the mask, but rather as protection of others. Respect and consideration for others provide the impetus for cloth masks.

The use of cloth face masks is highly recommended for all employees when entering public spaces or when meeting with colleagues. (Do not use N-95 masks for this purpose, as they should be reserved for health care professionals.) The care and cleanliness of personal face coverings is the responsibility of each employee.

5. Cleaning and Disinfection

Custodial staff clean and disinfect campus restrooms at least one time per workday. This process includes but is not limited to removing trash and debris, restocking supplies, and disinfecting surfaces and fixtures.

The responsibility for cleaning individual workstations lies with each individual employee. 

The responsibility for cleaning common work surfaces (countertops, conference tables, etc.) should be defined in department plans.

6. Visitors

Visits to other work areas should be kept to an absolute minimum. Consider calling, e-mailing, or hosting a videoconference.

Each department should include visitor protocol in department-specific plans. Consider these options:

  • Posting a sign requesting that visitors call a specific phone number rather than enter an office. 
  • Installing plexiglass shields at reception desks.
  • Installing stanchions and ropes to form a defined queue.
  • Putting in floor markers at 6’ intervals

7. Customer Service

If providing customer service or support to others, departments will develop a specific plan to maintain social distancing and other enhanced hygiene practices.

Consider factors such as:

  • Speaking to another person in close proximity 
  • Physically touching a different person’s computer, equipment, tools, etc. (e.g., use of gloves, pre-cleaning, handwashing after handling, etc.)
  • Entering a different department’s workspace
  • Traveling in a shared vehicle
  • Stanchions & floor markings

8. Employees unable or unwilling or not advised to return to campus on June 1.

As of June 1, 2020, all employees are expected to return to the workplace. COVID-19-related administrative leave will no longer be available after May 31, 2020. However, there are a variety of circumstances in which an employee may be unwilling, unable, or not advised to return to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. The options for remote work or leave that a supervisor can offer an employee during this time are as follows:

  • Family First Corona Response Act (FFCRA) leave, which may be available to those with childcare needs after May 31 or if a local stay-at-home order is issued by a government entity. Contact HR for eligible employees.
  • Employees over 65 years of age and/or having a certain underlying medical condition making them especially vulnerable to COVID-19 may be allowed to work remotely, with vice president approval. If utilized for an underlying disability, contact HR to ensure the necessary documentation for ADA accommodation purposes.
  • Employees with a family member who is over 65 years of age, and/or having a certain underlying health condition making them especially vulnerable to COVID-19 may be allowed to work remotely, with vice president approval.
  • Employees for whom a safe work environment (6’ physical distancing, etc.) cannot be provided, may be allowed to work remotely, with vice president approval.
  • Employees who live with an individual that is regularly exposed to known cases of COVID-19, such as emergency room doctor, first responder, or other health care worker, may (and are encouraged to) work remotely, with vice presidential approval.
  • If the employee can routinely effectively perform their work remotely, their vice president may allow remote working. For the short term, this may be used to accommodate childcare needs at the discretion of the supervisor.

Thank you for your continued dedication to keeping USD safe. We look forward to your return to campus. If you have any questions, please contact Human Resources at hr@usd.edu.

- COVID-19 Task Force