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Information for Employees

Westminster College is committed to supporting the health and safety of faculty, staff, students and visitors as part of the College’s learning and living community. Lawrence County was moved to the “green phase” of the Commonwealth’s Emergency Plan on May 30. The College then announced plans to resume in-person residency and instruction for the fall 2020 academic term.

The following provides highlights of the policies and procedures related to COVID-19.

return of employees to work (January 4)

All employees are expected to work on campus after the winter holiday break, except those who have been given permission to work from home by their respective vice president or the director of Human Resources.

mandatory covid-19 testing

During the week of January 4, 2021, all employees will be required to report to campus for a COVID-19 screening test. A schedule for testing will be provided in advance. Employees must test negative and be symptom-free prior to returning to on-campus work. All employees who are able to work remotely will do so until January 11, unless given specific permission from a vice president or the President to work on campus.

medical Accommodation process for spring 2021

Medical accommodations to work remotely in the spring will be subject to medical documentation being provided to the Human Resources office. Requests for such accommodation should be completed prior to the opening of the College in January.

OUt-of-state travel

Employees who plan to travel outside the state or country should notify their supervisor of their plans prior to their departure. An Order from the Pennsylvania Department of Health requires travelers from other states and countries, including Pennsylvanians who are returning home, to complete a COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entering the Commonwealth or to quarantine for 14 days upon entry into the Commonwealth. Employees who travel should not return to campus until either a negative test result has been received or the 14-day quarantine is completed. Employees who elect to quarantine but who cannot work from home must use vacation days and then unpaid leave days during the required quarantine.

Please not the Order does not apply to work-related travel. Individuals commuting to and from the Commonwealth for work are exempt.

Physical Distancing & Hygiene Guidelines Specific to Employees

Physical distancing and hygiene protocols are central to CDC-recommended mitigation strategies. As such, the following adjustments to standard office policy have been made.

  • Close the door if working in a private office. (Cloth face coverings are not required when an employee is in a private office with the door closed and no one else is present.)
  • Avoid using other employees’ phones, desks, offices or other work tools and equipment. If necessary, clean and disinfect them before and after use.
  • Use video conferencing and conference call tools instead of in-person meetings.
  • Eat in a location that allows for appropriate physical distancing (e.g. outdoors, alone in an enclosed or private space, in an office with the door closed).
  • Wellness Center staff, Physical Plant staff and Public Safety will follow guidelines for additional PPE as appropriate for the nature of the work they are performing.
  • Cloth face coverings should be taken home and laundered in hot water and dried on high heat each day.

Failure to follow all Physical Distancing and Hygiene Guidelines may result in disciplinary action.

The Work Environment

The College is committed to making any necessary changes and adjustments to ensure physical distancing practices can be followed in the work environment. In shared offices or workspaces, the following should be considered:

  • Incorporate flexible work schedules, staggered work hours and staggered arrival and departure times, including rotations of remote and in-person work.
  • Adjust furniture and office layouts to allow for physical distancing.
  • Install plexiglass dividers in areas where the prominent purpose is customer service or walk-up traffic.
  • Discontinue the use of shared coffee pots and shared office meals and/or food.
  • Clean/disinfect surfaces of shared spaces and equipment (microwaves, refrigerators, vending machines, etc.).
  • Ensure adequate space between personal items in areas of shared storage.
  • Clearly demarcate 6 feet of space using decals available from the Print Shop. (See the COVID-19 Signage page.)
  • Create one-way traffic patterns (such as in aisles or library stacks) to decrease face-to-face interactions using decals available from the Print Shop. (See the COVID-19 Signage page.)


Employees with Higher Risk for Severe Illness from COVID-19

ALL VULNERABLE INDIVIDUALS should self-identify and consult with the Director of Human Resources if they are concerned about working on campus. Members of households with vulnerable residents should be aware that by returning to work or other environments where distancing is not practical, they could carry the virus back home. Precautions should be taken to isolate from vulnerable residents.

The CDC has identified individuals with higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 as older adults (age 65 years and older) and people who have serious underlying medical conditions, including:

  • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma.
  • People who are immunocompromised (such as receiving cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications).
  • People with severe obesity (Body Mass Index of 40 or higher).
  • People with diabetes.
  • People with heart disease
  • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis.
  • People with liver disease.

Employees in the above groups should consult the CDC’s extra precautions site and speak with their healthcare provider.

covid-related accommodations

Supervisors or employees should contact Human Resources to discuss instances potentially needing an additional accommodation for someone who has self-identified as being at higher risk for severe illness and unable to work in conditions provided to them.

Employees seeking COVID-related accommodations for the spring 2021 semester must provide Human Resources with documentation from a medical provider that verifies a medical condition that requires COVID-related accommodations.

Employees with COVID-19 Symptoms

Employees who have symptoms associated with COVID-19 (i.e., fever, cough or shortness of breath) should notify their supervisor, contact their healthcare provider and utilize sick leave to stay home.

Employees with confirmed cases of COVID-19 should follow CDC-recommended steps, should use pandemic leave (and sick leave after pandemic leave ends) and should not return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met, in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments.

Employees who are well but who have a family member at home sick with a confirmed case of COVID-19 should notify their supervisor, follow CDC-recommended precautions, stay at home and utilize pandemic leave (and sick leave after pandemic leave ends).

Individuals who have been sick with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 symptoms who have self-isolated and who have not been tested for COVID-19 by their medical provider should utilize the following criteria in determining when to return to class or work.

  • Resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications, AND
  • Improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath), AND
  • At least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); AND
  • At least seven days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

If the individual has never tested for COVID-19 but has an alternate diagnosis (e.g., tested positive for influenza), criteria for return to work should be based on that diagnosis.

Employees must NOT report to work if they:

  • Are currently being tested for COVID-19 (in-home isolation is required).
  • Are sick (with any illness). Supervisors will send employees home if they come to work sick.
  • Have traveled outside the state (requires a negative COVID-19 test or 14-day home quarantine). Please check the Pennsylvania COVID-19 Information for Travelers site for continuing updates.
  • Have received notification from public health officials (state or local) that you are a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19. (This requires a 14-day home quarantine.)
  • Are caring for or living with someone who has been notified of potential exposure and/or who are in quarantine.