Returning to Work on Campus

YSU Returning to Work on Campus Guidelines

While many Youngstown State University employees have already been called back to work during the month of May, most have been working remotely and off campus for the past several weeks as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. This webpage is an overview of the incremental return to on-campus work for all employees. Given the uncertainties surrounding the ongoing pandemic, this guide is subject to change based on revisions to state and federal health guidelines. Changes will be communicated promptly through the usual communications channels, including this webpage.

Also included on this page is a list of Frequently Asked Questions provided by the Office of Human Resources, as well as a list of Safety and Health Guidelines for returning to campus provided by the Office of Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety.


Return to Work on Campus Guidelines

  • Guiding Principles

    YSU’s response to the coronavirus has been and will continue to be guided foremost by the safety of our students, faculty, staff and the public. As we gradually move forward to re-engaging on campus, our primary goal is to ensure everyone’s well-being while continuing to offer high-quality educational services.

    The university’s response will also continue to be fully aligned with all guidance from the Governor, the Ohio Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the YSU Office of Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety and recommendations from the Take Charge of Our Future Focus Group on Calendar Scenarios for a Safe YSU, appointed earlier this Spring to plan for the incremental resumption of full campus operations.

    Also note that there remain many uncertainties surrounding the pandemic. Our knowledge and understanding of the coronavirus continues to evolve. As such, our policies and plans will be updated as appropriate as more information becomes available.

  • Expectations

    These guidelines and safety practices are in place to protect the entire YSU community. Unless you have received a written exception from EOHS, you are required to comply. Failure to do so places the YSU community at risk and will be addressed as a discipline/corrective action issue.

  • Fall Semester 2020

    At this time, the university intends to open campus for Fall Semester as scheduled on Aug. 17. While this guide addresses the return of employees to on-campus work, the Focus Group on Calendar Scenarios for a Safe YSU will release similar guidelines for the return of students to campus in the weeks ahead.

  • Incremental return

    In preparation for the new academic year, YSU is planning a gradual and safe return to on-campus work for all employees starting June 1. Employees will return to work on campus over the course of the summer based on their duties and pending the readiness of facilities. Managers and supervisors will determine and inform employees of their specific return dates and schedules. Please do not come to campus without first being contacted by your supervisor.

    For employees who have not been told to return to campus, remote work can continue. However, if your supervisor has informed you that you are to report to work to fulfill your job duties, you are required to do so.

    As stated above, return to campus work depends on the readiness of facilities and the implementation of safety and health guidelines in work areas.

  • Readiness of Facilities

    Offices/units/departments are developing campus return-to-campus plans that include safety and health guidelines. Plans are submitted to EOHS for review. Only after these plans have been approved by EOHS will offices/units/departments begin re-staffing on campus.

    Four Building Leads have been appointed to coordinate with the contacts for each campus building to ensure the return to work plans are completed in each building, that parameters in the plans are followed, and that social distancing and other protocols are followed.

  • Campus Safety and Health Guidelines

    To help ensure the safe resumption of on-campus work, the university is adopting the following safety and health guidelines:

    • Employees Must Stay Home If They Are Sick. (Health Assessment)
    • Social Distancing.
      • Ensure a minimum of six feet between people at all times.
      • Where this is not possible, appropriate barriers or other controls must be used to reduce transmission between people.
      • The use of staggered work schedules may be useful to minimize the number of people in an area at one time.
      • Limit occupancy of an area to 50 percent of fire code capacity and a maximum of 10 people gathered together for single event.
      • Limit the use of elevators and other areas that cannot accommodate social distancing.
    • Clean and Disinfect Work Areas.
      • General janitorial services provided in public areas such as bathrooms, lounges, lobbies and hallways. Janitorial services will also continue to empty trash and vacuum/clean floors of personal offices.
      • Otherwise, the cleaning/disinfecting of your personal office or work area remains your responsibility.
      • Offices or work units will be provided with cleaning material through EOHS.
    • Good Health Hygiene.
      • Regularly wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.
      • Cover coughs and sneezes with tissue and wear face coverings to reduce the transmission of droplets to others.
      • Face coverings are required at all times within campus buildings except when working alone within an enclosed area. Any employee that feels an exemption to this requirement is warranted should request approval from their supervisor. Rationale and approval will be documented and forwarded to EOHS.
  • Symptom Monitoring

    The university requires employees to take the following steps to ensure the safety of the campus and fellow workers:

    • Daily health assessments performed by every employee before coming to work. This includes checking for a fever (100.4 or greater) and other coronavirus symptoms, such as shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, runny nose or new sinus congestion, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, fatigue, loss of taste or smell. It is the employee’s obligation to monitor their temperature each day and to only report for work on campus if their temperature meets the guidelines. The employee is not required to inform their manager of their temperature unless it is greater than 100.4 and/or if they are exhibiting symptoms. In that case, the employee should not come to campus, should inform their supervisor, report off sick and use sick leave and continue that until symptom-free for 72 hours.
    • The university will have temperature-screening stations on campus for those who cannot do this from home.
    • Employees who have underlying medical conditions or believe they cannot return to on-site work should contact the Chief Human Resources Officer via e-mail at benefits@ysu.edu regarding their concern.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • My supervisor told me I am required to come to campus to work, what if I’m not comfortable coming to campus?

    It is understandable that you may be uncomfortable returning to work on campus. The Responsible RestartOhio program and the DIRECTOR’S STAY SAFE OHIO ORDER of the Ohio Department of Health, have provided standards for employees to safely return to their worksites. YSU, in accordance with the guidance from the state of Ohio, will utilize these standards in order to gradually and safely return employees to campus. These guidelines include the requirement that managers/supervisors submit a Return to Campus Plan (RTC Plan) to the Office of Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (EOHS). Worksite issues addressed in a RTC Plan include employee health assessments, social distancing, and cleaning of shared work areas. Once an RTC Plan has been reviewed and approved by the EOHS Office, offices/units may begin to re-staff their work areas.

    Again, while you may feel uneasy about returning to campus, many YSU employees have already been working on campus and following these safety precautions. In addition, YSU does not plan on bringing all employees back to campus at the same time and will phase in campus returns. While this is being done, remote work can continue for employees who have not been told to return to campus. However, if your supervisor has informed you that you are to report to work to fulfill your job duties you are required to do so. Failure to abide by a supervisor’s directive will be addressed as a possible corrective action issue.

  • Why can’t I continue to work remotely and perform “meaningful work”?

    Initially and in order to comply with the directives of Governor DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health, the University transitioned employees to remote meaningful work. This included work, duties and projects which were not necessary typically performed by an employee but which maintained, assessed or improved a University function or service. However, remote work and meaningful work were a temporary response to Ohio’s Stay-at-Home Directive. In order to meet the operational needs of the University, employees will be transitioning back to performing their job duties/responsibilities on-site.

  • Can I have a combined schedule of remote and on-campus work or a flexible schedule where I use accrued time?

    While the University transitions back to on-site work, the option of a flexible schedule or combined schedule of on-site and remote work is possible, if your supervisor, with the approval of the executive administrator, determines that such a schedule meets the operational needs of the University and is an appropriate means to fulfill your job responsibilities.

    However, if your supervisor has determined that you need to be on campus to fully perform your job responsibilities and you cannot do so, you are required to submit a request to utilize accrued vacation or personal leave for the time when you unable to have no work. This non-work time must be taken in full work day increments. If you do not have accrued vacation or personal leave available, you can then utilize sick leave; if no other leave is available you may request unpaid leave. Your supervisor must approve all requests for accrued leave usage. Unpaid leave required the approval of the Chief Human Resources Officer.

  • My children’s school or childcare is not open and I don’t have childcare, can I still work remotely?

    Contact your supervisor to determine if your job duties can be fully performed remotely, or whether a combined or flexible schedule is appropriate. Please remember that remote work is not a substitute for child or dependent care. When you cannot fully perform you work due to a lack of child or dependent care you must inform you supervisor. With the approval of your supervisor accrued vacation or personal leave may be utilized to care for a child/dependent. Sick leave may be utilized for appropriate sick leave criteria. Such an arrangement will be temporary and dependent on the operational needs of the University.

    You may, however, qualify for emergency childcare leave or FMLA leave pursuant to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Contact Human Resources at Benefits@ysu.edu if you have questions or wish to apply for emergency childcare or FMLA leave under the CARE Act.

  • What if I refuse or someone in my area refuses to comply with University return to work guidelines or established practices?

    The return to work guideline and safety practices are in place to protect the entire YSU community. Unless you have received a written exception to a guideline[s] from the EOHS office, you are required to comply with the established guidelines and practices applicable to you and your work area. Failure to comply places the YSU community at risk and will be addressed as a discipline/corrective action issue.

    If a guest or visitor refuses to comply with University guidelines or practices, the YSU Police Department should be contacted at 330-941-3527.

  • When will I be working on campus? Will other changes occur?

    You will be contacted by your manager/supervisor regarding when you will begin working on campus.

    YSU cannot predict when and how circumstances and state and federal directives related to COVID-19 will change and how these changes will affect YSU.

  • This is all very stressful. Where can I get help?

    While the physical health of employees is a top priority, the mental and emotional well-being of us all in these stressful and uncertain times is equally important. IMPACT Solutions, YSU’s employee assistance program, offers online resources, telephonic counseling and one-on-one counseling sessions. Employee should call 1-800-227-6007 or access www.myimpactsolution.com (member login: ysu).

Safety and Health Guidelines

  1. Stay Home If You Are Sick. Daily health assessments should be performed before coming to work. This should include checking for a fever (100.4 or greater) and other COVID-19 symptoms. There will be temperature-screening stations located throughout campus for those who cannot do this from home. It is the employee’s obligation to monitor their temperature each day and to only report for work on campus if their temperature meets the guidelines. The employee is not required to inform their manager of their temperature unless it is greater than 100.4 and/or if they are exhibiting symptoms. In that case, the employee should not come to campus, should inform their supervisor, report off sick and use sick leave and continue that until symptom-free for 72 hours.
  2. Practice Social Distancing. Ensure a minimum of six feet between people at all times. Where this is not possible, an appropriate barriers or other controls must be used to reduce transmission between people. The use of staggered work schedules may be useful to minimize the number of people in an area at one time. State recommendations limit occupancy of an area to 50 percent fire code capacity and a maximum of 10 people gathered together for single event. Limit the use of elevators and other areas that cannot accommodate social distancing.
  3. Frequently Clean and Disinfect Work Areas. General janitorial services will be provided in public areas such as bathrooms, lounges/lobbies, and hallways. Faculty and staff must be responsible for their personal workspaces. Appropriate cleaning and disinfecting is dependent on the work area. CDC recommends disinfecting high touch surfaces multiple times throughout the workday.
  4. Practice Good Health Hygiene. Regularly wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer. Cover coughs and sneezes with tissue and wear face coverings to reduce the transmission of droplets to others. State recommendations require people in public settings to wear a face covering of some type to reduce the virus transmission to others; this is not for your personal protection but for the protection of others. Face coverings are required at all times within campus buildings except when working alone within an enclosed area. Any employee who feels an exemption to this requirement is warranted should request approval from their supervisor. Rationale and approval will be documented and forwarded to EOHS.
  5. Document Safety and Health Protocols. Return to work plans must be developed and documented for each department/area. These protocols should include the above guidelines as they apply to your work force and work areas. Written protocols must be submitted to the Environmental and Occupational Safety and Health Department for review before returning to campus.

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