HR Updates and Limited Campus Reactivation (May 8)

— Written By

[View COVID-19 Updates from Administration]

Dear NC State Faculty and Staff,

As addressed in Chancellor Woodson’s recent communication, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued a new executive order outlining a Phase 1 plan to ease some statewide restrictions effective Friday, May 8 at 5 p.m.

NC State is moving forward with a phased reactivation plan for critical operations and activities in adherence with the Governor’s Phase 1 mandate. Our top priority in all decisions is the health, safety and well-being of our Wolfpack community. NC State will follow all state orders and UNC System guidance, as well as CDC guidelines to help ensure a safe on-campus environment.

The majority of NC State’s workforce will continue to work remotely until further notice and only mandatory on-site employees should be on campus. Current mandatory employees should continue on-campus work shifts as directed by their supervisors. NC State nonmandatory employees who are currently working remotely should continue to do so unless otherwise notified by their supervisor.

Please review the following information which provides several important updates and resources regarding:

  • Human Resources Updates
  • Limited Campus Reactivation
  • Commitment to Workplace Safety
  • Workplace Safety Standards and Guidelines
  • Additional University Resources

Human Resources Updates

Please carefully review the following Human Resources updates as some parameters pertaining to special COVID-19 compensation for eligible mandatory on-site employees have changed.

Nonmandatory Employees Required to Continue Working Remotely

As stated above, all NC State nonmandatory employees should continue to work remotely until further notice. Doing so will help ensure a healthy campus community.

Designated Mandatory On-site Employees

NC State’s definition of a mandatory employee will remain as follows until further notice: mandatory on-site employees are those employees who are directed by their supervisor to physically report to work at a university-designated work site. Employees’ residences and other remote work locations are not considered university-designated work sites.

As we proceed into this next phase of reactivating limited campus operations and activities, supervisors may change or expand which employees are designated as mandatory on-site employees and needed to perform critical university functions or work in areas that have been prioritized to begin limited on-campus operations.

Mandatory on-site employees will be required to follow the university’s, as well as their college’s, unit’s and division’s standards and guidelines on physical distancing, safety and the wearing of protective personal equipment.

Mandatory Employee Compensation

In light of the modifications to the state’s stay-at-home order and our need to meet the operational and fiscal needs of the university, NC State will no longer pay special COVID-19 compensation to mandatory employees. Beginning May 9, 2020, all employees working on-site will be paid at their regular rate of pay.

The university community is extremely grateful for the continued service of these dedicated employees who have reported to work during the initial phase of this challenging time to keep the university operational.

Paid Administrative Leave (PAL)

The University of North Carolina System has extended paid administrative leave provisions for eligible employees until further notice.

Due to evolving changes to paid administrative leave and the complexity of the Family First Coronavirus Response Act, University Human Resources is developing additional tools and resources to help managers and employees navigate the COVID-19 leave programs. The tools and resources will be available next week on UHR’s pandemic website. University Human Resources will notify employees when the tools and resources are available.

Community Service Leave

The Office of State Human Resources has extended the use of community service leave for qualifying COVID-19 community support and volunteer work until May 22, 2020. With supervisor approval, nonmandatory employees can use up to 160 hours of community service leave. Opportunities through the state’s volunteer organization include delivering meals, sorting food donations, supporting nonprofit organizations working with vulnerable populations and conducting wellness checks by calling or texting from your home. For more information, visit the state’s volunteer page. Employees can also use community service leave for other COVID-19-related efforts.

For More Human Resources Information

University Human Resources (UHR) will keep faculty and staff updated of any new HR guidance that we receive from the UNC System. For more detailed information about HR’s COVID-19 resources, visit the university’s coronavirus response website and UHR’s pandemic website.

Limited Campus Reactivation

The following areas have been prioritized to begin reactivation of limited on-campus operations and activities:

  • Research
  • Extension
  • Veterinary Hospital
  • Industrial Expansion Solutions
  • Talley Student Union (both bookstore and some food service for takeout)
  • Select operations and maintenance
  • Environmental Health and Safety

Employees required to support campus in these areas of reactivation should be prepared to return to campus, when notified, in limited capacities. On-campus work schedules and work areas will be adapted, where possible, to ensure physical distancing of employees, and precautions such as face coverings will be highly recommended and, for certain units and functions, sometimes required.

The university will provide face masks and hand sanitizer to on-campus employees during this phase. In addition, any campus gatherings will be limited to 10 people or less with appropriate physical distancing. To stay informed, please see NC State’s COVID-19 response website.

Commitment to Workplace Safety

Consistent with federal, state and UNC System direction, and following guidance from the CDC and other regulatory government agencies, NC State has developed workplace safety standards specific to COVID-19 for all campus employees. These standards will be updated as the university progresses through the summer and fall. It is critical that each member of the Pack do their part to protect and promote the health and safety of themselves and the NC State community.

Workplace Safety Standards and Guidelines

Workplace safety is a shared responsibility. Before returning to an on-campus work environment, employees should familiarize themselves with NC State’s workplace safety standards and are expected to discuss safety protocol expectations with their supervisor. In addition, please review the following safety guidelines.

On-campus employees are expected to maintain physical distancing from others

  • Keep your distance. Employees are expected to practice physical distancing and keep a minimum of six feet distance from others to help minimize the risk of infection.
  • Supervisors will be required to limit the number of employees in campus spaces to meet physical distancing expectations.
  • If six feet minimum of separation is not possible, employees are expected to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when near others.
  • Employees are expected to follow signage on traffic flow through building entrances, exits, elevator usage and similar common use areas.

Minimize in-person meetings

  • Employees should minimize in-person meetings, and use teleconferencing as possible.
  • In-person meetings must be ten people or less who are spaced at least six feet apart. If not feasible, teleconferencing should be used.
  • Supervisors should provide visual guides such as floor tape, or rearranging/removing furniture to indicate physical distancing requirements in areas subject to employee gatherings (time clocks, customer service centers, mailrooms, breakrooms, etc).

Clean and disinfect often

  • Employees are expected to wash hands (and/or use hand sanitizer) frequently and avoid touching their face.
  • Employees are expected to cover coughs and sneezes with tissue or their elbow, and avoid touching their face.
  • Personal work spaces, items, university vehicles and equipment are expected to be cleaned and disinfected before and after use by the employee.
  • High touch surfaces and common spaces will be cleaned by University Housekeeping.
  • For more information on cleaning and disinfecting, see handwashing and work area.

Correctly use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Employees are highly encouraged to wear personal protective equipment as defined by NC State’s workplace safety standards.
  • NC State University will provide face masks and hand sanitizer for on-campus employees.
  • Employees are expected to wear a face covering that covers the nose and mouth when they are unable to maintain a minimum of six feet of physical distancing from others. This includes when employees are interacting with or near others such as hallways, stairwells, elevators, restrooms, kitchens and when riding Wolfline transport.
  • Face coverings are in addition to, not a substitution for, physical distancing, hand hygiene and staying home when sick.
  • Employees are encouraged to carry a face covering for use while on campus, should they encounter a situation where physical separation cannot be maintained.
  • Gloves do not give the wearer immunity and any germs that might be on your gloves can be transferred to other surfaces. To avoid cross-contamination safely remove gloves immediately after use.
  • For more information on face coverings and other PPE, see workplace safety standards.

Employees who are sick are expected to stay home

  • Do not come to campus if you are sick. Employees who are sick are expected to stay home and are advised to seek medical care early.
  • Employees should notify their supervisor and follow CDC guidelines to stay home if experiencing symptoms of coronavirus or other illness, or are required to self-quarantine or isolate due to reasons outlined by the CDC.
  • See the Families First Coronavirus Reponses Act for information regarding employee leave. Employees with questions about leave should also contact their HR lead.
  • If an employee is diagnosed as having COVID-19, please self-report this through the Occupational Medicine Employee Self-reporting Program.

Prevent Exposure to COVID-19

Employees are encouraged to do all they can to prevent exposure to COVID-19.

  • Identify the Hazards – The virus is spread from person-to-person. Person-to-person transmission occurs when an infected person’s respiratory droplets travel through the air. Surface contact can occur when a person touches something or someone that has the virus on it then touches their mouth, nose and eyes.
  • Assess the Hazards – Review your job tasks and think about possible sources of exposure to COVID-19. Will you be in close contact with others? Will you be in contact with high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, light switches, handrails, phones, keyboards/mouse, steering wheel, seatbelts, time clocks, elevator buttons?
  • Control the Hazards – Remember, practice and encourage six steps for yourself and your colleagues:
    1. If you feel sick, stay home.
    2. Avoid close contact, stay at least six feet away from others.
    3. Wear a face covering when close to others (six feet or less).
    4. Wash hands often (or use hand sanitizer).
    5. Cover coughs and sneezes.
    6. Disinfect often, especially shared items and touch points.

Additional University Resources

University resources have been developed and are available to assist in preparing to return to the campus work environment as well as implementing safety protocol for work areas.

Training

Return to Campus’ training materials are available for campus units to tailor for their specific needs. Environmental Health and Safety, along with large operational units such as Facilities and Campus Enterprises, are developing focused training programs specific to their units. As campus operations and activities continue to reactivate, more training materials and opportunities will be provided.

Face Masks

Procurement & Business Services is securing face masks for on-campus NC State employees and is working with Environmental Health and Safety on a distribution protocol. Once the process is established, updates will be communicated to campus. For more information, see: Environmental Health and Safety.

Hand Sanitizer

Procurement & Business Services is securing hand sanitizer and working with Facilities and Environmental Health and Safety to determine the most effective placement across campus. For more information, see: Environmental Health and Safety.

Workspace Cleaning and Disinfection

University Housekeeping staff are trained in cleaning and disinfecting high touch areas and high traffic areas throughout university buildings. For more information regarding cleaning and disinfection of personal workspace and materials, see NC State’s cleaning and disinfecting factsheet.

Signage and Posters

Downloadable safety instructional posters and directional signage are among materials available for printing and display throughout offices, workspaces and common areas. Additional downloadable materials will continue to be added throughout the summer and fall.

Health and Medical Expertise

The University’s Medical Director and staff at Student Health Services Occupational Medicine Program are medical professionals who are available to assist with medically related questions specific to COVID-19. The staff will also be doing contact tracing for employees and students in order to identify and protect campus contacts. For more information, see Student Health Services Coronavirus webpage.

Environmental Health and Safety

Experienced personnel within the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) department administer and implement occupational health and safety policies for the university. Staffed by professionals in biological safety, radiation safety, chemical and laboratory safety, occupational safety and health and environmental affairs, and COVID-19 related safety, EHS employees are available for lab and workspace reviews. Contact Environmental Health and Safety for more information.

Emergency Management and Mission Continuity

Working@NC State During COVID-19, an operations oriented website maintained by EMMC, provides information regarding specific essential university functions and resources. Direct emergency operations, mission continuity and Pack Ready Emergency questions to EMMC.

ADA Accommodations or Religious Exemptions

For information or questions relating to ADA accommodations or religious exemptions, or to discuss other equal employment opportunity concerns related to returning to the campus workplace, please email ada_coordinator@ncsu.edu or equalopportunity@ncsu.edu.

University Human Resources

For HR COVID-19 resources, please visit the university’s coronavirus response website and UHR’s pandemic website. For general Human Resources questions or information, please contact your unit/college HR representative or University Human Resources.

One Pack

As we enter into this new phase for both our university and the State of North Carolina, we wish to thank all faculty and staff for your perseverance and steadfast commitment to NC State. Thank you for reviewing and adhering to the workplace safety standards noted above, to ensure that our campus work environment is as safe as possible for our Wolfpack community.

Whether working remotely or on-campus, we look forward to working together to reactivate campus operations and activities during this new phase. Again, thank you for your contributions to NC State University during this unprecedented time.

Thank you,

Warwick Arden,
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

Charles Maimone
Vice Chancellor, Finance and Administration