To: Members of the OSU Community
From: Dan Larson, OSU Coronavirus Response Coordinator and Vice Provost for Student Affairs
and Cathy Hasenpflug, Chief Human Resources Officer
July 9, 2020
Dear Members of the OSU community,
The university’s gradual return to limited onsite activity is well underway, and we appreciate the continued commitment of members of our community to following the OSU Resumption Plan. Beginning July 14, employees who need to be onsite at university locations to provide summer instruction, research, programming, services and operations may return, with approval from their supervisor and in alignment with college and division guidance.
Faculty and staff may return to their offices and workspaces, if:
Face coverings and physical distancing:
OSU’s Face Covering and Physical Distancing policies remain in effect. We know that many have concerns about compliance and enforcement of these policies. While we expect full compliance from everyone, we will primarily rely on community acceptance and personal accountability. In fact, we are observing very good compliance thus far.
Individuals may be asked if they meet an exception in the policy but will not be asked to certify which exception nor will there be a formal exception documentation process. However, a willful violation of university policy can lead to disciplinary action, and faculty, staff and students should feel empowered to request from their supervisors that others comply with all public health measures, including the use of face coverings. If an individual becomes disruptive when asked to wear a face covering, it is appropriate to ask the individual to leave, and if the situation escalates, it is appropriate to contact the Department of Public Safety for assistance.
Resources for employees returning to onsite work:
Human Resources will offer Zoom orientation sessions throughout the coming weeks to provide useful and timely information as well as respond to questions. Schedule information will be posted in OSU Today as well as shared with unit supervisors.
Protecting our community’s health is the collective responsibility of each individual. To be safe, we must each do our part. All OSU employees, volunteers and students are required to conduct a personal daily self-screening for symptoms of COVID-19, prior to arriving at a university setting. Anyone who is experiencing symptoms or is feeling ill must stay home and consult with a medical care provider. Individuals should conduct this screening by following the self-screening guide available within OSU’s comprehensive public health strategy.
We encourage supervisors and employees to explore flexible and creative measures to provide for as many employees as possible to continue to work remotely, particularly with regard to balancing personal needs, family obligations and health risks. To the extent possible, supervisors should allow employees to flex their work schedule within reasonable core hours so employees may juggle demands of working at home, caring for their families and children, while ensuring university work is completed in a timely and fully satisfactory manner.
The University is working actively on providing additional support to employees and graduate students who have caregiving needs, especially related to child care. We know caregiving is a major challenge given the closure of many child care centers and other services, as well as plans underway for partial or remote K-12 school re-opening in many of the communities in which OSU operates. We will provide more information related to OSU’s efforts to support OSU employees and students in the coming days.
Exposure and reporting:
Anyone who has come into direct contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 should stay home and contact their medical provider. Employees should use standard procedures to notify their supervisor if they are ill and need to stay home. An employee who comes into contact with someone who is a close contact of a confirmed or suspected case and is asymptomatic is not be expected to stay home, but should continue to self-monitor for symptoms. The county public health department will work directly with those who test positive for COVID-19, as well as any close contacts of a confirmed case. In the case of a positive test result, medical providers will work with the applicable county health authority to initiate notifications and contact tracing.
Those informed of a positive test result involving an employee should call the appropriate university Point of Contact per the OSU Communicable Disease Response Plan (Section 4 in the OSU Resumption Plan). Please ensure that you are familiar with this plan in advance of returning.
While it is important to keep our community informed, we anticipate that it will be impractical and not immediately useful to provide broadcast notifications for every confirmed case involving a member of the university community. Additionally, such notification is duplicative of updates provided by local health authorities around the state. The local public health authorities will take the lead in notifying anyone who is considered a close contact of a positive case. Once you have notified the appropriate Point of Contact, no additional action is required on your part, unless otherwise directed.
Beginning July 20, OSU will be offering in-person instruction on a limited basis. Courses will be located in classrooms, labs and field environments that have been adjusted to provide for maximum physical distancing and enhanced cleaning.
Holding in-person meetings is acceptable if at least six feet of distance between individuals can be maintained. If meetings are held indoors, all participants should wear face coverings. If some participants in the meeting attend remotely, consider conducting the meeting fully online in order to avoid disadvantaging those members who are not attending in person.
Assistance for employees:
OSU recognizes the current global pandemic and its impacts on employees, though varied in nature and severity, are felt at some level by all. As a part of OSU’s culture of care, the Office of Human Resources is pleased to introduce a new employee assistance program (EAP) called Beyond Benefits. Beyond Benefits EAP is a confidential, no-cost service for employees and their household members. OSU Beyond Benefits EAP is be available through the Office of Human Resources website.
For now, travel remains highly restricted. As we resume university onsite activities, we will update OSU travel restrictions to allow for some essential domestic travel that currently requires an exception by a dean, vice president or vice provost. This policy is under review and will be updated and communicated in the coming weeks.
Please utilize the links below to help create work environments that decrease the risk of COVID-19 transmission and support employee well-being. Additional guidance is provided in the OSU Resumption Plan.
For additional information, please reach out to your college or unit leadership or send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to all of OSU employees for their commitment and shared sense of community. We are stronger together, and we look forward to continuing to meet the challenges ahead in collaboration with one another.
OSU Coronavirus Response Coordinator
Vice Provost for Student Affairs
Chief Human Resources Officer