Employee Return to Campus Announcement
On July 6, 2020, the State of Vermont released its Safe and Healthy Return to Campus Mandatory Guidance for College and University Campus Learning that provides guidelines for a healthy and safe return of students to campus. On July 9, Norwich University announced the provisions pertaining to its students’ and employees’ return in August. This communication addresses employee requirements for returning to campus and the vital role every member of the Norwich community will play in keeping our campus and each other safe and healthy during this unprecedented time.
Over the past few weeks, with the assistance of an external consultant, the University has conducted an assessment of every office space and determined the optimal solution necessary to meet the safety standards established by the State of Vermont. The temporary measures include separating desks to a six-foot distance, erecting “sneeze guards” at high-volume customer service locations, placing barriers between conjoining work stations, or informing supervisors of the need for alternate work schedules when the university is unable physically to meet the health and safety guidelines established by the Vermont Department of Health, CDC, and our own high standards for operating our campus safely. Facilities Operations will obtain and erect barriers and guards, and separate desks. In the coming days and weeks our Office of Communications will be working with individual work centers to assist in the creation and posting of signs regarding office occupancy and other information.
Facilities Operations personnel will be cleaning and disinfecting offices and classrooms regularly throughout the work day and removing trash daily. To support their work, it is imperative that employees keep their areas clean, and constantly wash their hands. Employees will be tasked with cleaning their offices throughout the day in keeping with good sanitation practices. Ample supplies will be provided by Facilities Operations to facilitate the cleaning, which should occur at the beginning and end of each shift, with intermittent cleaning during the day.
Employees on Campus
At this time, Senior Leaders or their designees may authorize employees to work on campus. In making return decisions we must keep in mind the State’s requirement that remote work continue to the greatest extent possible, balanced with the necessity to meet the operational commitments of the university to students’ academic and leadership experience. We must perpetuate and elevate Norwich University’s standards of excellence. Flexibility and agility to respond to these challenging times are paramount.
Before staff or faculty return to campus, they must meet two requirements:
- Required training – the employee must complete the Vermont Protecting the Safety and Health of Workers course (supervisors must also complete the Return to Work and Exposure Control course). These courses can be found at the Norwich Single Sign-On page (sso.norwich.edu), going to the KnowBe4 Security Awareness Training app, entering their Norwich email, and then clicking on their name or email address in the top right and selecting My Training.
- Health Assessment – the employee must complete a health assessment each day before coming to campus. If an employee is experiencing any of the following, the employee MUST remain home:
- Temperature of 100.4F or higher
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle or body aches
- Congestion or runny nose
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
- Nausea or vomiting
A process will be introduced for employees to attest each day that they have assessed their health and are symptom-free.
I recently distributed guidance to minimize the density of employees on campus while maximizing in-person instructional support for our students. To support these goals, Senior Leaders or their designees may authorize remote work for their employees. Faculty remote work must be approved by the Chair/Director, Dean, and the Provost; staff remote work must be approved by the Supervisor, Director, and Chief Officer/Vice President.
Before Student Arrival
Prior to the first group of arriving students on August 8, all employees need to complete their Maroon and Gold Employee Health and Safety Contract found in the KnowBe4 app. By executing this contract, the employee is agreeing to comply with the health and safety requirements established by the State of Vermont and by Norwich University.
Employees are required to undergo COVID-19 testing prior to student arrival or their interactions with students, and then at various times after student arrival and throughout the academic year. This testing is required of all employees who may be on campus for university business, no matter how brief. Specific dates for staff and faculty testing are in the final stage of scheduling and will be communicated as soon as they are confirmed. 27 July 2020 is the anticipated date to publish the finalized testing schedule.
The guidelines established by the Vermont Department of Health provide a standard for reopening our campus safely; however, protecting the health and safety of the entire Norwich community is our highest priority. Thus, our University’s standards may in some cases exceed those established by the State. We will continue to monitor this ever-changing situation and modify our safety requirements and practices accordingly.
Your individual commitment to the safety of our community and your compliance with these requirements is the only way that we all, together, can maintain a safe and healthy campus.
Vermont Agency of Commerce & Community Development COVID-19 Center
Vermont Agency of Commerce & Community Development Cross-State Travel
Vermont College Restart Plan
Vermont Work Safe Business Re-opening Guidance
Vermont Department of Health
Pending final completion and dissemination by late July include:
- Return to Campus Policy
- Return to Campus Procedures to include COVID-19 Employee Testing Plan
- Return to Work and Exposure Control Plan
- Daily Health Assessment Checklist and Protocol
Norwich Together, Norwich Forever!
Mark C. Anarumo, PhD
Col, USAF (Ret) President