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V. Promoting Safe Work Environments on Campus

Principle 14: Maintaining a safe work environment protects faculty and staff and student employees, and helps maintain educational and business continuity in the event of an outbreak on a campus location. 

Recommendation 14.A. Work duties, including teaching, academic support, maintenance of campus systems, and other administrative duties that can be effectively completed or provided in a remote environment should continue in this modality in order to reduce overall density of people on all campuses. [See Appendix G: Back to Work Safely

Recommendation 14.B. Work duties, including teaching, academic support, maintenance of campus systems, and other administrative duties that cannot be completed or provided remotely will require employees to return to on-site locations. Units should consider each part of positions to determine if partial remote may be possible; as potential risk reduces, plan to return those employees whose work may be more efficiently or effectively performed on-site. 

  • Deans, chairs, school directors, or appropriate department head determine essential personnel and prioritize positions to return on-site. 
  • For administration and academic support positions, multiple back to work options, including phased in, staged, or staggered approaches should be considered. Information about managing these options will be shared by Human Resources with deans, vice presidents, department heads and supervisors to minimize risk associated with disease while fulfilling university objectives. 
  • Deans, chairs, school directors, or appropriate department heads will evaluate workspace and develop plans and where needed, identify physical modification needs. 
  • Chairs and school directors, college and departmental curriculum committees, and faculty should collaborate on decisions on which courses could be offered through remote modalities, mix-modalities, or required face-to-face modalities to ensure quality instruction and student experience regardless of modality. In alignment with principles and recommendations outlined in Section II, above, academic colleges will determine which classes need to be offered or which might be cancelled or postponed without impairing student progress and on-time graduation. 
  • Develop guidelines for supporting faculty who are at risk or care for/live with people at risk to allow flexibility for remote teaching vs. on-campus presence. 
  • Develop guidelines for faculty that allow flexibility for students who are at risk or live with people who are at risk to ensure their ability to progress toward to degree or graduation. Recommended list of work rules provided. 

Recommendation 14.C. For faculty, staff, and student employees who must work fully or partially on-site, work safety rules shall be established, and information/expectations clearly communicated to all. 

Selected Work Safety Rules* 

  • Immediately prior to reporting to campus, employees shall measure their body temperature and self-evaluate to ensure there is no onset of illness. If employees become ill while at work, they should contact their supervisor and leave the work site.  Leave policies and procedures shall be followed if unable to report to work. 
  • Employees shall practice social distancing by ensuring a 6-foot distance between people at all times. 
  • Employees shall wear a face covering when on campus, in a university building, or in a university vehicle/piece of equipment unless exempted from doing so by their supervisor in accordance with the Ohio Department of Health regulations. 
  • Employees working alone in an office, space, or vehicle, or single operation of a piece of equipment (i.e. riding mower, back hoe, etc.) may remove the mask; however, the mask must be worn properly prior to entering any space where employees could potentially meet/come in contact with another person; including exterior campus spaces (i.e. walkways, parking lots, athletic fields, etc.). 
  • Employees or workers may seek an exemption from the requirement to wear a facial covering from their supervisors. If request is being made based on health reasons, employee’s request should be accompanied by a doctor’s note. Additionally, if an employee needs an accommodation in accordance with the American with Disabilities Act, please contact the Office for University Accessibility at 740-593-2620 or access@ohio.edu
  • Employees shall engage in regular handwashing and hand sanitizing. 
  • Employees shall frequently disinfect their personal workspace. 

*See full set of recommendations [Appendix G: Back to Work Safely Section IV Back to Work Safely - “Suggested Work Rules” p. 6] 

Recommendation 14.D. Mitigate risk of exposure from public by 1) evaluating processes to minimize or eliminate employee/customer face-to-face interaction; 2) determining physical capacities of reception/customer service/classroom spaces; and 3) identifying physical modifications required for public service points.   

  • As much as possible, employees should continue to collaborate and meet using virtual/online technology, including Teams, Zoom, etc.; For essential in-person meetings, assure sufficient space to provide physical distancing; determine cleaning protocols for shared/common spaces.  
  • Place work orders with Facilities Management to request physical modifications required for public service points. Consider options for “scheduling appointments” for necessary services to limit density in high volume areas. 

Recommendation 14.E. Implement a communication plan with the goal of providing timely updates and resources for faculty, staff, and student employees who are working fully remotely, partially remotely, or fully on-campus. This plan should be inclusive of all campuses and locations. 

  • The plan will include a variety of tactics to reach targeted audiences, including but not limited to digital resources (Email, OHIO News, OHIO Employee News, www.ohio/edu/coronavirus page and FAQs) to virtual open forums and signage on campus. 
  • The communications plan should be implemented as soon as possible and will span throughout the summer months and into early fall as we move through the various phases of resuming the on-campus experience. 

Recommendation 14.F. Launch required E-learning training module including key back to work safely concepts such as physical distancing, enhanced cleaning, personal responsibility, new work rules and a knowledge assessment and completion acknowledgement will be developed and deployed prior to the open of fall semester. 

  • Training will be mandatory for all faculty, staff, and student employees. 
  • Training must include ability to track completion. 
  • Needs to be engaging and interactive, not just a slide read and list of work rules. 
  • Operable from mobile devices. 

Recommendation 14.G. Specialized safety protocols for high-contact, intensive public-facing activities and services should be developed and recommended at the unit level for approval at the level of Dean (Academic) or Vice President (Planning Unit).      

  • Examples include but are not limited to Ping Center, Wellworks, Parking and transportation, Campus Recreation, Aquatic Center, etc.  
  • Each College and administrative unit should develop a list of higher-risk activities/services with safety plan and timeline for implementation, in consultation with the public health Group. 
  • Safety plans and protocols for Athletics will be developed in compliance with NCAA, Mid-American Conference guidelines and in consultation with the Public Health Group. 

Recommendation 14.H. Parking and Transportation will resume operation of transportation services in a limited capacity during initial deployment and will adjust service levels throughout academic year based on customer demand and operational capacity. 

  • Continue paratransit services (CatCab). 
  • Require vehicle operators and passengers to wear a face covering in university vehicles and on transit unless exempted from doing so in accordance with the Ohio Department of Health regulations. 
  •  Install barriers/shields to ensure physical distancing between transit operators and passengers. 
  • Discontinue driver assistance with passenger loading activities (luggage, etc.). - exempting paratransit loading requirements. 
  • Eliminate shared ride requests (exempting paratransit personal care attendants) for door-to-door transit services and prohibit front seat passengers. 
  • Require daily disinfection of high touch/passenger contact areas in transit vehicles and routine cleaning/sanitization by service/fleet vehicle operators following use. 
  • Resume campus-parking and permit operations & reinstate permit fees as employees return to campus. 

Recommendation 14.I.  Launch a “Signage” group to develop location-specific signage to communicate rules, guidelines, physical direction, and other instructions. 

Principle 15: Ohio University will invest in necessary personal protection equipment (PPE), physical protection barriers, and cleaning supplies to support safety protocols identified by the public health recommendations articulated in Section I and to support best practices for centrally support cleaning and user-supported cleaning where appropriate.   

Recommendation 15.A. Due to market constraints around availability of PPE supplies, items will continue being procured in bulk for University-wide use/consumption to ensure availability for fall term opening. For the short term, the market demands that central purchasing of these supplies will need to continue. 

Recommendation 15.B. PPE supply costs will, at a future point, move from central-funding and procurement to management and cost-absorption by departments.  At some point soon, the market supply should be able to get caught up and products will be more readily available to procure by departments through the normal purchasing channels.