Employee

What are the College's current guidelines for mask wearing and social distancing for employees?

The College requires face coverings for all members of the campus community, regardless of vaccination status, while around others indoors in all of its campus facilities, including classrooms and laboratories. The mask requirement does not apply in a student’s own residence hall room, a faculty or staff member’s private office (if alone) or while eating/drinking indoors on campus.

This requirement for wearing face coverings will be reviewed on a monthly basis to determine its appropriateness and duration.

The requirement of wearing face coverings when around others indoors aligns with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC). Thanks to our students, faculty, staff members and visitors’ willingness to comply with this directive so that the College of Charleston may mitigate the possible spread of COVID-19 and keep our campus community safe and healthy.

In terms of social distancing, spaces used for meetings and events are restored to their pre-COVID-19 capacity and six feet of social distancing is encouraged where possible.

What if I see someone not compliance with the face covering mandate?

If you see any member of the campus community who is not in compliance with the face covering mandate, please report it using the following form: https://cm.maxient.com/reportingform.php?CollegeofCharleston&layout_id=26.

Are face masks still required for scheduled academic instruction?

Yes. The College requires face coverings for all members of the campus community, regardless of vaccination status, while around others indoors in all of its campus facilities, including classrooms and laboratories. The mask requirement does not apply in a student’s own residence hall room, a faculty or staff member’s private office (if alone) or while eating/drinking indoors on campus.

The requirement of wearing face coverings when around others indoors aligns with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC). Thanks to our students, faculty, staff members and visitors’ willingness to comply with this directive so that the College of Charleston may mitigate the possible spread of COVID-19 and keep our campus community safe and healthy.

What is the College going to do in light of President Biden's announcement about requiring COVID-19 vaccines or weekly testing?

As you may have heard or read in the news, President Joe Biden announced on September 9 numerous actions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including an emergency temporary standard requiring employers with 100 or more employees to require COVID-19 vaccines or undergo weekly testing.

The College of Charleston has been in contact with the S.C. Department of Administration regarding the impact of the announcements on state government (the College of Charleston is a state agency). At this time, the emergency temporary standard has not been released. Until then, it is unknown whether it will apply to state government.

The S.C. Department of Administration is closely monitoring the developments and is consulting with the S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. The College will share any updates regarding these measures as they become available.

What is the College's most current return-to-work-on-campus plan?

Governor McMaster's executive order (2021-12), issued March 2021, mandated that all state agencies expeditiously return all non-essential employees and staff to the workplace on a full-time basis. As a public agency of the state of South Carolina, the College of Charleston has complied with this directive. The College is returning to normal operations to the greatest extent possible for the fall, 2021 semester. As such, all employees are expected to resume their pre-COVID-19 work arrangements, with continuing mitigation measures remaining in effect on campus.

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 may be made to limit the number of employees and maximize workspace safety. Changes may include alternating 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.

How are buildings being set up to be safe for people to work?

Facilities Management has reviewed the operation of the HVAC systems, increased HVAC filter efficiency (MERV rating) where possible, has 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, installed Plexiglas barriers at key public facing reception areas and posted various signage regarding safety (face coverings, socials distancing, etc.)

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 in public areas 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. To promote sustainable practices, we are asking everyone to keep whatever containers they currently have so they may be refilled if necessary. Central Stores and Facilities Management 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 or by telephone at 843.953.5550 to address any questions or concerns regarding your request.

Are there incentives for employees who voluntarily submit their COVID-19 vaccination documentation?

Yes, employees who upload their COVID-19 vaccination documentation, will be part of the College's random drawings for employee work-related travel, professional development or work supplies. All employees who upload their vaccine information prior to the drawing dates are eligible. See below for drawing dates and awards.

Drawing Dates:

  • Thursday, August 26
  • Thursday, October 7

Awards:

  • Thirty $1,000 grants to be used for employee work-related travel, professional development or work supplies
  • Fifteen grants will be awarded for each drawing

Grants will be awarded to the department or office in which the winning employee works and must be used in support of the winning employee.

Departments/offices will have up to three years to use the grants.

Grants are not to be paid to the winning employee as earnings under any circumstances.

Are we in Phase 2 or Phase 3 of the state's COVID-19 re-entry plan?

As of June 1, 2021, the College (and state government) remains in Phase 2. Refer to the College’s Return to Work on Campus Plan issued in 2020. While some of the requirements of Phase 2 have been modified by recent executive orders from the Governor, the College will continue to implement measures to help mitigate transmission of the virus in the workplace to help protect our community. Once a move to Phase 3 is issued, we will be expected to return to all pre-COVID operations.

If an employee is required to quarantine or isolate due to COVID-19, what options are available for remote work or leave during this time?

If an employee is required to quarantine or isolate based on the College’s or S.C. DHEC’s guidance, the College has discretion to allow the employee to telework during the period of quarantine if the employee can perform his or her job functions remotely. Managers have the sole discretion to determine whether to permit telework while an employee is quarantining or isolating. If an employee is permitted to telework while quarantining, the College must return the employee back to the workplace immediately upon completion of the quarantine period.

If the employee’s job is not suitable for temporary remote work, employees may use available sick leave, annual leave, compensatory time or holiday compensatory time (if available) 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. If the employee does not have sufficient leave to cover the need, contact Human Resources for other possible options.

What options are available for employees who have need to remain at home to care for a child/dependent who has been ordered to quarantine or isolate?

Managers have discretion to allow the employee to telework during the period of quarantine or isolation for a child/dependent, if the employee can perform his or her job functions remotely. If an employee is permitted to telework in this situation, the College must return the employee back to the workplace immediately upon completion of the quarantine/isolation period. If the employee’s job is not suitable for temporary remote work, employees may use available sick leave, annual leave, compensatory time or holiday compensatory time (if available) 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. If the employee does not have sufficient leave to cover the need, contact Human Resources for other possible options.

What options are available for employees who have the need to remain at home with a child/dependent whose school or daycare has been temporarily closed due to COVID-19?

Managers have discretion to allow the employee to telework during the period of school or daycare closure, if the employee can perform his or her job functions remotely. If an employee is permitted to telework in this situation, the College must return the employee back to the workplace immediately upon completion of the temporary closure. If the employee’s job is not suitable for temporary remote work, employees may use available sick leave, annual leave, compensatory time or holiday compensatory time (if available) 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. If the employee does not have sufficient leave to cover the need, contact Human Resources for other possible options.

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

Possibly. 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.

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

Possibly. 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. Medical documentation will be required as a part of the FMLA approval process.

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?

Possibly. 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.

If a fully vaccinated employee has been identified as a close contact for positive COVID-19 case, will the College require the employee to quarantine?

For team members who are fully vaccinated, College protocols and CDC guidelines indicate that you do not need to formally quarantine unless you are symptomatic. However, please continue to take precautions to keep yourself safe (socially distance, wear a mask, frequently wash hands, etc.). Additionally, please wear a mask when around others and monitor yourself for any symptoms that may present over a full 14-day period that begins the day after you were last exposed. If asymptomatic, testing is recommended between days 3-5. If you have symptoms, immediately self-isolate, contact your local public health authority/healthcare provider, and seek testing to confirm infection.

If an unvaccinated employee has been identified as a close contact for a positive COVID-19 case, will the College require the employee to quarantine?

For team members who are not vaccinated or partially vaccinated (less than two weeks out from final dose of COVID-19 vaccine or have only had one dose of a two series vaccine): College protocols and CDC guidelines indicate that you should return home immediately and quarantine yourself for a period of 10 days after your last date of exposure.

You will be able to return to normal activities/return to campus on day 11 if you remain asymptomatic.

If you had a documented COVID-19 positive test result within the last 90 days, you will also be exempt from quarantine provided you are currently asymptomatic. If you have symptoms, immediately self-isolate, contact your local public health authority/healthcare provider, and seek testing to confirm infection.

What are the requirements if an employee tests positive for COVID-19?

Employees who test positive for COVID-19 (regardless of vaccine status) must isolate for 10 days from the date of the positive test. If asymptomatic, isolation runs 10 days on their positive test date. Employees are free to resume work on campus on day 11* as long as:

1. they have no new or worsening symptoms, and

2. they remain fever-free for 24 consecutive hours prior to leaving isolation without the use of any fever-reducing medication.

*Isolation should be extended for 24 hours at a time until criteria 1 and 2 are met.

Are employees required to use their leave to receive COVID-19 vaccinations or testing?

Employees are not required to take leave to be vaccinated or tested at on-site clinics. Employees are encouraged to be vaccinated or tested during lunch breaks, outside of work hours or on-site, if available. Divisions are encouraged to be flexible to allow employees the opportunity to obtain the vaccine or get tested as necessary.

If an employee is unable to receive the vaccine or get tested during non-work hours or to make up the work time missed, the employee will be required to use sick leave, annual leave or compensatory time for their time away from work.

What accommodations may the College consider if an employee desires to work remotely due to COVID-19?

Pursuant to orders from the State, the College is returning to normal operations to the greatest extent possible for the fall 2021 semester. Employees are expected to return to their pre-COVID-19 work arrangements, with continuing mitigation measures remaining in effect on campus. The College is no longer permitted to offer the special temporary accommodations due to COVID-19 that were made available in the spring 2021 semester. Employees should speak to their supervisor or department head about any issues or concerns regarding compliance with the State return-to-work requirement, and Human Resources may be consulted in exploring options. Supervisors can work with employees where possible on flexible scheduling options, or discuss the possibility of using sick leave or annual leave for times when the employee cannot be working on campus.

If an employee needs to request a reasonable accommodation under the ADA related to a disability, they may do so by contacting the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs. They will work with you on a case-by-case basis to identify an accommodation, as needed.

If an employee needs to request leave from work for their own serious health condition or to care for an immediate family member who has a serious health condition, they may contact the Office of Human Resources for assistance with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

We realize the situation is constantly changing and will update this information as may be warranted.

What if I am pregnant and need an accommodation?

The College has an accommodation process for employees based on medical needs caused by pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. Please contact the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs, and they will work with you on a case-by-case basis to identify an accommodation, as needed.

What if I have a medical condition and need an accommodation under the ADA?

The College has an ADA accommodation process for employees with disabilities. Please contact the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs, and they will work with you on a case-by-case basis to identify an accommodation, as needed.

What options do employees have if they are electing not to return their children to daycare or k-12 school in-person?

Pursuant to orders from the State, the College is returning to normal operations to the greatest extent possible for the fall 2021 semester. Employees are expected to return to their pre-COVID-19 work arrangements, with continuing mitigation measures remaining in effect on campus. The College is no longer permitted to offer the special temporary accommodations due to COVID-19 that were made available in the spring 2021 semester. Employees should speak to their supervisor or department head about any issues or concerns regarding compliance with the State return-to-work requirement, and Human Resources may be consulted in exploring options. Supervisors can work with employees where possible on flexible scheduling options, or discuss the possibility of using sick leave or annual leave for times when the employee cannot be working on campus.

What resources are available to help employees with childcare issues?

Visit the South Carolina Child Care Resource and Referral website or call a CCR&R referral specialists at 888.335.1002 to obtain personalized childcare information and regionally based provider lists.

Additional childcare resources are available through the Deer Oaks Employee Assistance Program website. You can also access Deer Oaks by going to their website deeroakseap.com and entering login: cofc and password: cofc. On the EAP website, select the "Parenting" tab, then "Child Care" from the drop-down menu. Or call Deer Oaks EAP at 866.327.2400.

What 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 website (EAP). They offer a number of great resources to help employees and families cope with stresses related to the pandemic. These services are free to our employees.

Deer Oaks EAP provides assistance to our employees for short-term counseling, referrals & community resources such as child/elder daily care, mindfulness-based stress reduction programs, and many other work-life services (health and well-being, locating pet sitters, tutors, moving services, etc.). You can also take advantage of a multitude of webinars through the website. Alternatively, you can still participate in the Stress Management Webinars recently held for our employees. The links are provided below.

Recent Training Webinars from our Summer Series on Stress Management:

Deer Oaks EAP

Website: DeerOaks EAP (login: cofc, password: cofc)

Toll-Free Number: 866.327.2400

Email: eap@deeroaks.com

Additionally, all employees have access to free online self-help modules through TAO – Therapy Assistance Online. Self-help programs are offered in the following areas:

  • Stress and Coping with Stressful Situations
  • Resilience, Grit, Personal Strength
  • COVID-19
  • Relationships and Communication
  • Health Related Concerns
  • Anxiety, Worry, Specific Fears
  • Depression
  • Substance Abuse

Website: TAO Connect v3 (you will need to “register” with your CofC email, receive an email verification, and then login to peruse the library of self-help training modules available)