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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 RE-entry and Surveillance testing

For the spring 2021 semester, the Pennsylvania Department of Health requires re-entry COVID-19 testing, as well as surveillance testing of a sample of our population weekly. For detailed information, please see Westminster College COVID-19 Testing Protocols.

Staff, administration and some faculty will be scheduled for testing between January 4-6. Faculty will be scheduled for January 11. Employees will receive more detail from Human Resources about testing appointments.

Employees whose immediate return to campus is essential for College operations will be tested using both rapid antigen and PCR and will be cleared for on-campus work immediately following the testing appointment so long as the rapid test results are negative. All other employees will be tested using PCR, and results will be returned within 48 hours. Employees may return to on-campus work once a negative test result is received. Employees who test positive will be required to isolate per the CDC guidelines.

Additionally, in accordance with state requirements, the College will perform ongoing testing of a random selection of 10 percent of students, faculty, and staff each week.

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. For more information, see Employees with Higher Risk for Severe Illness from COVID-19.

 

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.)

 

Travel advisory and re-entry protocols


Westminster College supports the CDC recommendations to minimize travel outside your home region if possible, though we recognize that some travel is necessary.

Employees who must travel outside their home region should:

  • Report their travel plans to their supervisor prior to their departure.
  • Get tested as part of the College’s surveillance testing following their return.
  • Consider following the CDC ‘After You Travel’ recommendations, as appropriate.

Individuals who have been vaccinated must still be tested upon return from travel outside their home region. Employees who elect to quarantine after travel, but who cannot work from home must use vacation days and then unpaid leave days during the required quarantine. 

Supervisors should notify Human Resources of the dates of return of employees who travel outside their home region in order to facilitate scheduling COVID testing for the employee.

Additionally, employees are expected to comply with any Pennsylvania Department of Health mitigation orders related to travel. See the Pennsylvania Department of Health COVID-19 Information for Travelers for the most up-to-date information.

All employee nonessential business travel requires permission of the employee’s vice president or director. In compliance with State Department guidelines, no College-sponsored international travel for employees or students is authorized at this time.

 

Employees with Higher Risk for Severe Illness from COVID-19


The CDC has identified individuals at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 as older adults (age 65 years and older) and people of any age with certain underlying medical conditions. Individuals who are at an increased risk, or who live in households with individuals at increased risk, should be aware that by returning to work or other environments where physical distancing is not practical, they are at risk for contracting the virus. Employees who may be at an increased risk for severe illness due to COVID-19 should consult the CDC’s extra precautions site and speak with their healthcare provider.

Employees who are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should self-identify and contact the director of human resources to discuss instances potentially needing an accommodation. Employees must provide documentation from a medical provider that verifies a medical condition that requires COVID-related accommodations.

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 or any sign of illness 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 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 10-day home quarantine.)
  • Are caring for or living with someone who has been notified of potential exposure and/or who are in quarantine.

The College also supports the CDC's recommendation to minimize travel outside your home region if possible.