For employees returning to work on-site, there are several things departments and managers should consider continuing to limit the spread of the virus in the workplace, including:

Scheduling

  • Alternating Days: In order to limit the number of individuals and interactions among those present on campus, departments should schedule partial staffing on alternating days. Such schedules will facilitate physical distancing, especially in areas with large, common workspaces.
  • Staggered Reporting/Departing: The beginning and end of the workday typically brings many people together at common entry/exit points of buildings. Staggering reporting and departure times by at least 30 minutes will reduce traffic in common areas to meet physical distancing requirements.

Working in Office Environments

If you work in an open environment, be sure to stay at least 6 feet from co-workers. If possible, have at least one workspace separating you from another co-worker. Departments should assess open work environments and meeting rooms to institute measures to physically separate and increase distance between employees, other coworkers, and visitors. The university highly encourages the continuation of virtual meetings, even for employees working on campus.

Face Masks/Cloth Face Coverings

Face masks or face coverings are required for all employees working on campus in all indoor spaces and all enclosed or partially enclosed outdoor spaces. Face coverings will be required in all outdoor spaces where social distancing is not possible or difficult to reliably maintain. In outdoor settings where social distancing is possible, face coverings continue to be strongly recommended.

Appropriate use of face masks or coverings is critical in minimizing risks to others near you. Masks will be provided by MSU, if needed. Please notify your supervisor if you need a mask. Read about appropriate use and wearing of masks.

Notes about wearing face masks/face coverings:

  • If more than one person is in a room, masks/face coverings should be worn.
  • A mask or face covering is not required if you are working alone in a confined office space (does not include partitioned work areas in a large, open environment).
  • Masks/face coverings should be worn by any staff in a reception/receiving area.
  • Masks/face coverings should be used when inside any MSU facility where others are present, including walking in narrow hallways where others travel and in break rooms, conference rooms and other meeting locations.

Employees should avoid using anyone else’s personal protective equipment, phones, computer equipment, desks, cubicles, workstations, offices, or other personal work tools and equipment. There are some situations where work tools must be shared. In those situations, employees should take precautions to sanitize them between use, as well as wash their hands before and after use. In areas where hoteling workspace is in use, cleaning supplies will be made available by the individual unit. Employees are expected to wipe down a hoteling workspace prior to and after using it.

Using Restrooms

Use of restrooms should be limited based on the size of the restroom to ensure at least 6 feet between individuals. Wash your hands thoroughly afterward to reduce the potential transmission of the virus.

Using Elevators

Use of elevators should be limited where possible to avoid being in close proximity to others in a confined space. Those using elevators should wear a disposable face mask or face covering regardless of whether they are traveling alone or with others. You should also avoid touching the elevator buttons with your exposed hand/fingers, if possible. After touching any surface, be sure to wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

Meetings

Convening in groups increases the risk of viral transmission. Where feasible, meetings should be held in whole or part using the range of available collaboration tools (e.g. WebEx, Microsoft Teams, telephone, etc.). In person meetings are limited by the restrictions set in local, state and federal orders, and employees shall 6 feet of distance shall maintain 6 feet of separation. All attendees should wear a mask or face covering while sharing space in a common room. During your time on-site, you are encouraged to communicate with your colleagues and supervisors as needed electronically rather than face-to-face.

Meals

Before and after eating, you should wash your hands thoroughly to reduce the potential transmission of the virus. When eating on campus, you should wear your mask or face covering until you are ready to eat and then replace it afterward. Eating establishments must meet requirements to allow at least 6 feet between each customer, including lines and seating arrangements. Individuals should not sit facing one another. Staff are encouraged to take food back to their office area or eat outside, if that is reasonable. If you are eating in your work environment (break room, office, etc.), maintain 6 feet between yourself and others. Only remove your mask or face covering to eat, and then put it back on. Wipe all surfaces, including tables, refrigerator handles, coffee machines, etc. after using in common areas.

Building Use

Occupants are expected to follow signs in buildings regarding traffic flow, building entrances, exits, elevator usage and similar common use areas.

Visitors who are not directly related to the individual’s or unit’s work are not allowed.

Mental and Emotional Well-being

We acknowledge that this is a challenging time for all of us. Please know that our first priority is the safety, health and well-being of our students, staff and faculty. You have extremely dedicated people working on keeping the workplace safe, addressing emergent needs and communicating frequently.

MSU offers an Employee Assistance Program for their employees and families. The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can help with almost any issue. EAP benefits are available to all employees and their families at NO COST to you. Help is just a phone call away. The EAP offers confidential advice, support and practical solutions to real-life issues, from 24-hour crisis help to financial and legal services to work-life balance support. You can access these confidential services by calling the toll-free number and speaking with a consultant: 866-750-1327. Access Online Support at www.ibhsolutions.com. Select “Members” from the top right corner. Click on the RBH logo. Enter your Access Code: “MUS.” Click the “My Benefits” button.

  • Prepare yourself for a period of time of uncertainty and for many changes in the coming weeks.
  • Be kind to yourself and others around you. Be flexible and adaptable.
  • Stay calm and get plenty of rest. Take care of yourself physically, emotionally and mentally.
  • Refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for valid information about the virus and health recommendations.
  • Contact your medical provider with questions or concerns about your health.
  • Communicate regularly with your supervisor.

Continue Good Health Habits While at Work

  • Remain home if you are sick.
  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Keep a supply of hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze.
  • Regularly clean all high touch areas in your home and workplace.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

For Supervisors

Supervisors may ask employees who report feeling ill at work, or who call in sick, if they have any COVID-19 symptoms so that the supervisor can determine whether the employee must stay away from work (see symptoms of COVID-19). The supervisor’s discussion about the employee’s health symptoms should be limited to asking about the presence of only COVID-19 symptoms.

Supervisors should regularly remind employees reporting to work on campus that they are not permitted to come to work if they are sick or have symptoms such as fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath or sore throat. If an employee does report to work and is exhibiting symptoms, supervisors may require employees to leave the workplace. Supervisors can help guide employees by explaining when they can appropriately use sick leave. Supervisors should work with Human Resources to prepare for any employees returning from leave or needing an accommodation.

Please note that supervisors may not mandate that an employee stay away from work because the employee disclosed, or the supervisor is aware of, a medical condition unrelated to COVID-19. Supervisors shall not inquire about underlying medical conditions. Inquiries about reasonable accommodations should be directed to ADA coordinator at [email protected].

The University acknowledges that it is a community of individuals with different abilities and circumstances. If an individual who has been instructed to return to work on site has concerns about doing so due to a medical condition or other factors that place them at a higher risk, or if individuals wish to seek ADA reasonable accommodations related to returning to the workplace, they should contact their HR business partner or the university’s ADA Coordinator to initiate a review by HR, which will work with them to determine any appropriate accommodation(s).