Employee Information

What are the return to work guidelines for employees?

At the College, we are committed to supporting our employees as we systematically return to campus over the summer and into the fall.

The College’s three-phase Return-to-Work-on-Campus Plan includes guidelines for employees returning to work on campus.

All employees are expected to fully comply with the protocols and guidelines. Failure to do so may result in corrective action. If at any point you wish to report a concern regarding compliance with these guidelines, please contact Sandra Cultra in the Office of Human Resources at 843.953.7320.

Phase 1 began on May 26, 2020. During each phase, face coverings, wipes and hand sanitizer will be available at a central location on campus.

Employees should review the Return to Work on the Campus Plan along with CDC information about handwashing, stopping the spread of germs and face coverings. Visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

On June 29, 2020, the state announced modified guidance to state agencies regarding Phase 2, which requires a return to normal service levels while maintaining minimal staffing levels. According to the updated guidance, agencies are to begin implementing Phase 2 on July 6. As such, the College will implement a gradual, phased-in process to reopen some key services to the public.

During Phase 2, the College will gradually resume normal operations to the extent possible while adhering to social distancing and other public health–related recommendations. We will continue to stagger employees’ return to workplace schedules or rotating teams of employees into the workplace on different days to promote social distancing. Work-from-home is still strongly encouraged to limit disease transmission.

Staffing During Phase 2

During Phase 2, employees whose in-office presence is not required to support normal service levels may continue to be permitted to work from home to decrease the amount of individuals present in the workplace. Additionally, employees who work in close proximity to other employees in an indoor environment may be permitted to work from home some days of the week to allow for social distancing. For example, an office employs 10 individuals in a cubicle environment may decide to assign five per day to be physically present in the office to allow more space between work stations and should require the remaining employees to continue to work from home on days they are not assigned to report to the workplace. Offices may also implement staggered schedules or rotating teams of employees into the workplace on different days to promote social distancing.

Final decisions regarding which services need to reopen and when, and who should be permitted to return to work on campus during this phase, are the responsibility of the division head.

Only minimal staffing on campus for reopened services will be permitted, and all social distancing, face covering and other public health measures must be maintained.

Screening

As during Phase 1, employees who are directed to return to the workplace in Phase 2 are reminded to self-monitor symptoms and not report to the workplace if sick and/or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Contact your supervisor immediately if you need to stay off campus.

Public Health Guidance and Workplace Modifications During Phase 2

Employees should continue to follow all public health guidance outlined in Phase 1 including social distancing, regular handwashing, cleaning high-contact surfaces, etc. All workplace modifications, display signage, and practices related to PPE and cleaning that were implemented in Phase 1 should be continued in Phase 2. Employees are encouraged to take periodic breaks in the workday to clean their work stations and high-touch areas in the personal work environment.

FACULTY: Request for Special Accommodation Form hr.cofc.edu/forms/#covid

STAFF: Request for Special Accommodation Form hr.cofc.edu/forms/#covidstaff

Leave Options

If you need more information about leave options (emergency paid sick leave, expanded Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA), FMLA, sick leave, annual leave, etc.), please contact Human Resources at 843.953.5512.

Conducting Meetings

During Phase 2, departments should continue to conduct internal meetings through telephone or video conferencing to the maximum extent possible to promote social distancing. In-person internal meetings resume only to the extent that social distancing is possible, and face masks/cloth face coverings are worn and should be done by scheduling appointments in advance.

Interactions with the Public

Departments may resume face-to-face interactions with the public necessary in normal service levels, but should rigorously manage those interactions to promote social distancing and reduce opportunities for transmission of the disease. For example:

  • Both the employee and member of the public will be required to wear face masks/coverings throughout the interaction.

  • To the extent possible, departments should identify one area within the office where all face-to-face meetings with members of the public will be conducted.

  • Areas where face-to-face meetings are being held should have clear social distancing markings. Departments may procure marking supplies from Central Stores. Please refer to the CDC for further guidance on social distancing www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/social distancing.

  • Areas where face-to-face meetings are held should be wiped down with disinfecting solutions or wipes after each meeting is concluded and before another meeting is held. Departments are responsible for ensuring that areas are thoroughly cleaned each evening.

  • When at all possible, interactions should be done by scheduling appointments in advance.

Employee Exposure Protocols

All processes and procedures for handling a positive case in the workplace that were established during Phase 1 will continue during Phase 2.

Where do we go for our mask and hand sanitizer?

The College is providing two cloth face masks and one bottle of hand sanitizer to each faculty and staff member at no charge to their departments.

Each department should submit a request on behalf of all returning faculty and staff in their area(s) so delivery can be made to the department for distribution. Please use the following link to submit a Supply Distribution Form.

You will need to provide the following information on the form:

  • Point of contact name

  • Point of contact phone number

  • Department name 
  • Delivery address
     
  • Total quantity of masks

  • Total quantity of hand sanitizer

  • Names of employees receiving supplies

 

Can I wear a clear mask or face shield on campus?

Currently, there is not sufficient evidence from the CDC that clear face coverings are as effective as cloth face coverings in preventing the transmission of COVID-19.

As per the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidance: faculty, staff, students and campus guests must wear face coverings on campus. The CDC recommends that people wear masks in public settings and when around people who don’t live in the same household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Masks are generally made of cloth and must be snug fitting and cover both the nose and mouth.

Clear face coverings may only be used in limited circumstances such as for faculty or staff who interact with students who are deaf or hard of hearing.Please note that face shields are not considered clear masks. (source: CDC guidelines)

Clear face coverings, and those with clear inserts, should be used only when necessary to provide for an approved accommodation for a disability. This applies to those seeking to communicate with the deaf or hard of hearing for which the mouth needs to be visible. Physical distancing must be maintained at all times, and a cloth face covering must be worn in all other circumstances that require a mask.

When wearing a clear face covering, maintain at least six feet of social distance, and at the conclusion of class, clean surfaces (podiums, desks, etc.) near the instructor's station.

Faculty and staff who need this accommodation should contact the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs. Those who would need to wear clear face coverings to accommodate another individual would be notified.

Faculty may request a special accommodation (when approved by their chair and dean) to wear a clear face covering (e.g.the Badger Face Shield+) as an alternative for teaching purposes only (i.e. inside the classroom/lab).

Where a clear mask is not readily available or is not an appropriate option, consider if written communication, close captioning or other measures can be implemented.

Please note that this information may change as more direction is provided by the CDC and/or S.C. DHEC.

Faculty and staff who need to discuss specific situations should contact their department chair or supervisor.

The clear face coverings below are recommended if you are teaching or working with colleagues approved for this disability accommodation.

Acceptable clear face covering Acceptable clear face covering Acceptable clear face covering

 

Badger Face Shield +

Badger face shield +

 

Clear face coverings pictured below are not acceptable due to the lack of evidence for their effectiveness in source control.

Unacceptable clear face covering Unacceptable clear face covering Unacceptable clear face coveringUnacceptable clear face coveringUnacceptable clear face covering

How/where do I get more personal protective equipment (PPE)?

For additional items or quantities, please initiate a normal requisition/purchase request via eProcure to Central Stores. When submitting the requisition please include the COVID-19 Activity code (A00001) alongside your departmental index and account. This will assist in tracking COVID-19-related expenses for possible reimbursement.

Once orders are received and processed by Central Stores, you will be contacted to coordinate a delivery date and time.

What is the College's office and workplace protocol?

Campus custodians will provide general nightly cleaning to common office areas. Cleaning/disinfection supplies will be available so that employees may clean/disinfect their personal spaces and high-touch common areas throughout the day. Employees should refrain from touching workspaces or personal belongings that are not their own.

Department Responsibility

Departments are responsible for regularly cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces throughout the workday (door handles, light switches, phones, keyboards, desktops, file cabinets, water coolers, coffee pots, etc.). Departments are responsible for regularly wiping down shared equipment, including copiers, fax machines and common workspaces before and after use with a CDC or SCDHEC approved disinfectant. Office electronics should be cleaned with a disinfectant wipe per the manufacturer’s recommended instructions – or departments may contact their local IT support personnel for assistance.

For high-density workspaces, accommodations will be made to limit the number of employees and maximize workspace safety. Changes may include alternate work schedules, alternate workplace locations, workspace reconfiguration and directional signage.

As much as possible, meetings should be held using conference calls, Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other available electronic resources.

Are the emergency paid leave options available through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) still available to employees in 2021?

The paid leave options made available in 2020 related to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) were not extended by the federal government and expired as of December 31, 2020. This includes the emergency paid sick leave and the expansion FMLA option.

What other resources are available to employees to help cope with the stresses related to COVID-19?

We realize this is a stressful and difficult time for employees and their families. For their health and well-being, employees are encouraged to take advantage of the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

What leave options are available to employees who are not able to report to work or work from home because their child’s school or place of care is closed, or the child care provider is unavailable due to a public health emergency?

Employees may use available sick leave, annual leave, compensatory time or holiday compensatory time subject to approval by the supervisor/department head. If the employee does not have available leave, employees may be allowed to take leave without pay. Please visit the leave website for more details.

Can an employee who is on leave related to COVID-19 be advanced sick leave?

Yes. HR Regulation 19-710.03 permits the College to advance up to 15 workdays of additional sick leave to eligible employees in extenuating circumstances, which includes contracting or being quarantined as a result of potential COVID-19 exposure. Medical documentation will be required and the advanced sick leave must be paid back to the College. Human Resources can provide additional details on this option.

If an employee is directed to quarantine by a health professional or based on College protocols, can the employee use sick leave?

Yes. If a health professional recommends quarantine for an employee who accrues leave, or the employee is required to quarantine based on College protocol, the employee can use accrued sick leave pursuant to HR Regulation 19-710.04(B)(2) which permits an employee to use sick leave due to “[e]exposure to a contagious disease such that presence on duty could endanger the health of fellow employees.”

Does the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) apply to COVID-19?

Yes. If an employee or a qualifying family member contracts COVID-19, it may constitute a “serious health condition” under the FMLA and a resulting leave of absence may be FMLA qualifying if the employee meets the other requirements to be covered by the FMLA. However, the FMLA generally does not cover staying home to avoid becoming sick. Medical documentation will be required as a part of the FMLA approval process.

The provisions of the FMLA do not, however, apply to leave taken because a child’s school or place of care is closed, or the child care provider is unavailable.

Additional information can be found on the Human Resources FMLA web page.

Can an eligible employee who contracts COVID-19 receive leave from the leave pool?

Yes. The employee and situation would have to meet eligibility criteria as outlined in the College’s Leave Transfer Pool Program. Human Resources can provide additional information on this option.

How are buildings being set up to be safe for people to work? Are there any buildings that will remain closed when we return back to campus?

Most buildings will remain locked until Sept. 14 and all buildings will be open after that date. Facilities Management has reviewed the operation of the HVAC systems, increased HVAC filter efficiency (MERV rating) where possible, will be posting hydration only signs at water fountains, is providing enhanced cleaning in classrooms and public areas, providing day porters to wipe down frequently touched surfaces, switched to EPA approved cleaning products, installed additional hand sanitizer stations at building entrances, defined building pedestrian circulation plans where applicable, installed Plexiglas barriers at key public facing reception areas and posted various signage regarding safety (face coverings, socials distancing, etc.)

What options do we have for paying for parking? If we pay for parking and don't end up using it, will we be reimbursed?

Employees have several options for parking/transportation for the spring semester. They may:

  • opt for their regular assignment

  • decline a parking permit completely

  • select a new option, including a part-time permit created in response to employees who won't be on campus five days a week

  • opt to use the discounted daily garage parking ($10/day) on a first come, first served basis in WG or PG, using Cougar Cash

  • ride CARTA for free using their Cougar Card

Please refer to parkingservices.cofc.edu/parking/employees.php for additional information about these options.

The parking payment deadline remains Aug. 7 due to the requirements of our permit printer and the first payroll deduction will be Aug. 31; however, should you need to change or cancel your permit after that date, you may do so, and any payroll deductions will reflect the new selection/cancellation.

Additionally, should an employee decline parking at this time, they will be eligible to purchase a permit on a space-available basis upon their return to campus. Some lots and permit types (including part-time permits) may have only limited availability.

All employee lots will require a permit and all garages will return to normal function (entrance and exit gates lowered, permit or payment required) beginning Aug. 25. Student lots will remain open until Sept. 14 unless in use for move-in or maintenance. Please monitor your College of Charleston email for any updates.

How are offices being cleaned?

Facilities Management Custodial Services will conduct weekly office cleaning services that include: floor care and trash removal. Daily general building cleaning services include regularly cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, including building entrance doorknobs, handrails, light switches, elevator buttons, etc.; restroom maintenance; central area trash removal and routine cleaning, as was performed prior to the pandemic.

Departments are responsible for regularly cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces (door handles, light switches, phones, keyboards, desktops, file cabinets, water coolers, coffee pots, etc.); wiping down frequently touched items before and after use; regularly wiping down shared equipment, including copiers, fax machines, and common workspaces before and after use; and running individual faucets (labs, break areas, private restrooms, etc.) for about 10 minutes on the first day back to campus.

Additional information:

Sanitation supplies such as disinfectants and hand sanitizer are available to departments through Central Stores. Please do not throw away any disinfectant or hand sanitizer bottles or canisters that hold hand wipes. Due to shortages of hand wipes and pre-filled bottles of disinfectants, we are asking everyone to keep whatever containers they currently have so they may be refilled if necessary. Central Stores can assist with refill options.

Be certain to frequently wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.

If you need additional service, Facilities Management is available via email at facilitiessupport@cofc.edu f or by telephone at 843.953.5550 to address any questions or concerns regarding your request.

For additional FAQ please visit:

Financial Aid https://cofc.edu/back-on-the-bricks/tuition-and-financial-aid/financial-aid/index.php

Health and Wellness https://cofc.edu/back-on-the-bricks/health-and-wellness/faq/index.php

Residence Halls and Dining https://cofc.edu/back-on-the-bricks/residence-halls-and-dining/faq/index.php