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Resolved and Ready / Workplace
Resolved and Ready: Rider University’s plan for a safe, enriching and adaptive academic year

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Overview and Guiding Principles

Rider University remains committed to maintaining a safe and healthy environment for our students, employees and all other community members. As an employee with supervisory responsibility, we especially rely upon you to familiarize yourself with the guidelines contained in this document, and assist with ensuring its compliance within your span of control.

In preparation for the return of on-campus operations this fall, the University has developed policies and procedures to help ensure the health, safety and well-being of our entire community. These policies and procedures are outlined in Rider’s Resolved and Ready Plan. They are no more or less restrictive than necessary to support the University’s mission and its commitment to maintaining a safe and healthy environment for all members of the Rider community. The Plan aligns and will remain consistent with CDC and State of New Jersey guidelines and requirements. All supervisors are expected to remain current with the Plan.

These guidelines were written with the expectation that the State of New Jersey will enact Stage 3 of its reopening guidelines. Should the State not move into Stage 3 prior to our plans to re-open campus, Rider will continue to follow all guidelines as required by the State at that time. Any changes to these guidelines, in addition to changes resulting from our ever-evolving knowledge and understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic, will be communicated as quickly as possible.

General Workplace Expectations & Guidelines

Our collective success relies upon our cooperation and collaboration in following the lawful and reasonable guidelines set forth herein, which are all consistent with federal, state, and/or local mandates. We appreciate your professionalism, patience, and collegiality as we navigate these unchartered waters, and ask that you remain engaged and feel free to reach out to your departmental leaders and/or Human Resources with any questions.

The University will continue to regularly communicate with students, faculty and staff, informing all of the latest safety and health information including administrative controls/physical distancing requirements, hygiene practices, personal protective equipment (e.g. face masks), monitoring and surveillance (e.g. temperature checks, testing and tracing) as well as other best practices.

Employee Workplace Expectations

Gradual Return to Work

Rider will begin a gradual return to on-campus work on August 17, 2020. This will be based on departmental needs to meet operational obligations and with the division head’s stated support.

To the extent possible, a limit of 50% occupancy should be adhered to in all common work environments until further notice, even in those offices that have been outfitted by Facilities to help minimize interaction. This restriction responds to the need to decrease the number of people on campus at any given time to meet physical distancing guidelines and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Prior to Returning to Campus

There are two important requirements all faculty and staff must complete before returning to campus for any reason. Further information regarding both will be provided via email a week or so prior to August 17:

  • A short, online training program which is designed to provide a basic understanding of COVID-19: how it is transmitted, recommended hygiene practices, available resources for the latest information, and University expectations and guidelines.

Supporting Physical Distancing Practices

Staffing Models

Consideration for the following options should be taken by departmental leaders and division heads to maintain physical distancing best practices. Mission-critical, on-campus presence will be given priority. Implementation of these staffing models will be made at the departmental or division level, and at the discretion of the supervisor.

  • Teleworking and Remote Work: Those who can work remotely to fulfill their work responsibilities, as determined by each department head, should continue to do so. This is the default option until further notice.
  • Alternating Days: In order to limit the number of individuals and interactions among those on campus, departments should consider scheduling partial staffing (no more than 50%) on alternating days to eliminate having too many staff members in shared office space at once.
  • Staggered Reporting/Departing: The beginning and end of the workday typically bring 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.

In situations where the number of employees preferring to continue to work remotely into the fall semester exceeds the on- campus staffing needs, after assessing the extent to which each individual’s position allows for remote work (or can be reasonably altered to allow for remote work), supervisors will give priority consideration to individuals with the following factors:

  • Employees in general at-risk categories as defined by the CDC (see below)
  • Employees with child care or family care obligations resulting from the pandemic

In addition to the above, any employee with a documented medical condition containing specific accommodation requests should reach out to Human Resources directly, as described below.

As on-site staffing increases, we will closely monitor and assess the potential spread of the virus, as well as existing policies and procedures to mitigate it. If localized outbreaks emerge, tighter restrictions and reduced staffing may need to be implemented.

At-risk Campus Populations

According to the CDC, individuals with certain conditions may have a higher risk for COVID-19 infection. Those conditions may include:

  • Adults 65 and older
  • People with HIV
  • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Diabetes
  • Serious heart conditions
  • Chronic kidney disease being treated with dialysis
  • Severe obesity
  • Being immunocompromised

Staff members who have been instructed to return to work on-site and have concerns about doing so as a result of a medical condition that falls within one of the CDC High Risk Categories or is pregnant should consult with Human Resources.

Assessing/Modifying Work Spaces

The Facilities Department has been provided all of the responses to the facilities needs survey conducted earlier this summer and is in the process of implementing as many of the submitted requests as is feasible. Department heads should reach out directly to Tim Drury in the Facilities Department to discuss ideas for additional physical changes and to further assess open work

environments and meeting rooms to institute measures to physically separate and increase distance between employees, students and visitors. These can include the following:

  • Placing additional visual cues such as floor decals, colored tape, or signs to indicate to customers where they should stand while waiting in line.
  • Placing one-way directional signage for large open work spaces with multiple through-ways to increase distance between employees moving through the space.
  • Designating specific stairways for up or down traffic if building space allows.

Workplace Expectations

General Expectations

The following requirements are in effect for faculty and staff:

  • Complete daily symptom monitoring via CampusClear before coming to campus and only come to campus if you are cleared accordingly. Supervisors have the authority to check employees’ CampusClear results.
  • Never come to campus if you are feeling ill or have been in contact with someone who is diagnosed or symptomatic without first contacting your primary healthcare provider and Capital Health Care Management.
  • Maintain at least six feet distance from co-workers, particularly in more open, shared environments. Where possible, have at least one workspace separating you from another co-worker.
  • No more than one person should be in the same office space unless the required six feet of distancing can be consistently maintained.
  • Wear a face mask or covering at all times while: 
    • in a shared work space/room in close proximity to others.  
    • in a reception/receiving area while others are present and potentially in close proximity.  
    • inside any facility where others are present, including walking in narrow hallways. 
    • in break rooms, conference rooms and other meeting locations.
  • In-person meetings are discouraged and should be held virtually under most circumstances. If a meeting must be in-person, it must be in a large room with attendees six feet away from each other and wearing face masks or covering.
  • Break rooms, lunchrooms and gathering areas are closed for gatherings. They may still be utilized for food preparation, but only with one individual in the room at a time.
  • Visitors who are not directly related to the individual’s or unit’s work are not allowed.
  • Maintain healthy hygiene practices: 
    • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer frequently. Additional hand sanitizer dispensers are being added at various locations throughout campus. 
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow. 
    • Regularly clean all high touch areas in your direct workspace.
    • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

Expectations Specific to Classrooms

Safe classroom spaces are being prepared that adhere to current state and CDC guidelines. A particular focus is being placed on specialized areas (e.g., science laboratories, music and dance instruction). There will be a reconfiguration/seat delineation of furniture in rooms to promote social distancing for spaces that do not already lend themselves to physical distancing. The front row of classrooms will be arranged so that it is an appropriate distance from the white/chalkboard, providing faculty with the ability to continue to lecture away from their podium, while at the whiteboard, without a face shield.

While in a classroom setting, we recognize that faculty may have difficulties teaching with a cloth mask. Given these facts, we will provide a clear, plexiglass face shield to any faculty member that wishes to wear this alternative type of mandatory face covering while teaching, in lieu of a cloth face mask. Alternatively, if a faculty member wishes, we can arrange to place a plexiglass shield on a classroom podium, although this option will limit the range of movement in the front of the class. Seating in classrooms will also be altered to allow greater

distance between the instructor and the students in the class. Students will be required to wear their face mask or covering and faculty are empowered to enforce this requirement as they would any classroom rule that they might establish.

We are developing guidelines for traffic flow along with providing enhanced cleaning plans. We have also identified unique areas on campus to create opportunities to further deliver the academic curriculum while maintaining social distance (e.g., Cavalla, Mercer Room, BLC/Yvonne theaters, outdoor spaces).

Daily Symptom Monitoring, Campus Clear and Capital Health Care Management

Faculty, staff and students are required to monitor daily symptoms, including temperature taking, prior to coming to campus, class or work on any day, and indicate the results of their daily monitoring via CampusClear, a free mobile application available for iPhone and Android devices and the web.

Depending on what someone enters each day, CampusClear will either indicate they can or cannot come to campus that day and instruct them to contact Capital Health Care Management (CHCM) for further information and next steps. Students cannot attend class and employees can not come on campus to work if they are not cleared to do so by CampusClear or CHCM.

Faculty and staff are welcome to try out CampusClear. You will find it in your phone’s app store. The directions are self-explanatory. Use of the app will be required beginning August 17 prior to coming to campus whenever you plan to do so.

Rider is finalizing a partnership with CHCM to provide centralized care management that will serve as the point of contact for students and employees who:

  • present any COVID-19 symptoms as per their daily symptom tracking.
  • test positive for COVID-19.
  • come in direct contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 or is COVID-19 symptomatic.

CHCM nurses, social workers and other health care professionals will conduct intake calls with students and employees and follow-up outreach, directing them regarding next steps related to testing, contact tracing and/or quarantine/isolation. CHCM will engage and guide students and employees from their symptom onset, as identified through CampusClear or otherwise, through clearing them for return to campus, work and/or classes. CHCM will work closely with Human Resources and will be an additional resource for employees who have questions or concerns related to COVID-19. We will provide CHCM contact information as soon as it is available.

Supervisors are authorized to check that their employees have completed their CampusClear requirements and are cleared to come to work that day. Faculty are authorized to check that students have completed their CampusClear requirements and are cleared to come to campus that day, and that they are wearing face masks or coverings, before allowing them to attend in-person classes. Students who do not cooperate with these requirements will not be allowed to attend their in-person classes and run the risk of violating the Student Code of Social Conduct.

Contact Tracing

Rider is working closely with the Lawrence Township Health Department to provide contact tracing for faculty, staff and students who test positive for COVID-19 and/or who come in close contact, as defined by the CDC, with someone who tests positive or is symptomatic. Rider’s team of contact tracers will work closely with the Student Health Center, Human Resources, Capital Health Care Management and the Lawrence Township Health Department. This is a requirement of all higher education institutions in the State.

Contact tracers will be trained as per the Johns Hopkins contact tracing course. They will conduct their work with confidentiality and sensitivity. Employees who receive a call from one of Rider’s contact tracers are expected to cooperate with them as part of the student responsibility pledge and their obligation as a member of the Rider University community.

Testing, Quarantine and Isolation

Employees will be responsible for securing their own COVID-19 tests as needed via their primary health care provider, testing site or other testing provider. Employees also have the option of setting up a video visit with a Capital Health Medical Group primary care physician who can generate a prescription and direction for COVID-19 testing. Capital Health Hopewell will provide drive-up testing for Capital Health Medical Group patients.

Employees who test positive for COVID-19 or who have been identified by contact tracers to be in close contact with someone who tests positive or is symptomatic must be cleared by CHCM before returning to work. CHCM will work closely with Human Resources which, in turn, will inform deans and department heads when employees require quarantine or isolation.

Wellness Fair and Health Screenings

Rider University typically holds a Wellness Fair every fall semester in late October for all faculty and staff. This event includes an opportunity to have a flu shot. Since it is strongly recommended by the CDC that employees get their annual flu shot when it becomes available in the Fall, this year, while a comprehensive on-campus event may be postponed due to the virus, the University has arranged to provide on campus flu shots for all faculty and staff earlier than normal. Given the current pandemic situation, we have rescheduled the on-campus flu shot component of this program to be September 30th.

Facilities Cleaning and Sanitization Practices

Rider has engaged the services of an industrial hygienist, an architectural firm and a mechanical engineer to examine campus building cleaning protocols, room layouts and HVAC/ventilation, respectively.

Housekeeping staff will clean offices, classrooms, restrooms and residential spaces based on CDC guidelines for disinfection and Occupational and Environmental Safety Office (OESO) protocols. There will be increased nightshift deep cleanings and more frequent classroom cleaning. Facilities Management will also maintain anti-bacterial soap dispensers, paper towel dispensers, hand-sanitizer stations and sanitizing wipes throughout campus buildings and residence halls. Building occupants should also wipe down commonly used surfaces before and after use with products that meet the EPA’s criteria for use against COVID-19 and are appropriate for the surface. This includes any shared-space locations or equipment (e.g., copiers, printers, computers, A/V and other electrical equipment, coffee makers, desks and tables, light switches, door knobs, etc.). All university vehicles for Athletics, Public Safety, Student Life, Science and Facilities will be frequently sanitized.

  • Computer labs: Computer labs that are open during the fall semester will do so with enforced minimum spacing for social distancing, and may require use by appointment if space is restricted. Lab use is subject to change based on state regulations, sustainability of operations, and necessity. Laptops are available to those in need to offset lab use. Computer labs will be disinfected daily in entirety and both before and after use by individuals. Disinfectants will be made available for individual use. Face coverings will also be required while using computer labs. Sanitizing wipe stations will be available and should be used before and after computer lab use.
  • Elevators: Use of elevators should be limited where possible to avoid close proximity with others in a confined space. Those using elevators are required to wear a face mask or face covering regardless of traveling alone or with others. You should also avoid touching the elevator buttons with your exposed hand/fingers, if possible. Wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers upon departing the elevator. Additional disinfecting protocols will be established to assist in maintaining a safe space.
  • Library: Plexiglass shields will be installed in the Library at the circulation desk and virtual meetings and consultations with librarians will be promoted to reduce density.
  • Mechanical and HVAC systems: These will be assessed and readied prior to reopening of buildings. Rider will follow the recommendations outlined in the “American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Position Document on Infectious Aerosols” dated April 14, 2020. For most campus buildings and areas, the HVAC system will operate under normal conditions. Where possible, additional ventilation and outdoor air will be increased. Filtration media will be increased to be a minimum of MERV-13 rated, if possible, for each system. Additional ventilation may be considered for certain higher risk areas, if identified. Temperature and humidity control will be maintained as normal. CDC guidance states that while HVAC improvements can aid in lowering the transmission of the virus, none of it can compare to physical distancing and wearing masks while indoors.
  • Research labs: Rider University maintains a small number of faculty research laboratories. During the academic year, these are used at a minimal level by approximately 5-7 faculty members in the sciences, along with 1-2 undergraduate students working on independent research projects. These spaces are large enough to accommodate 6 feet of social distancing for up to 2 people at any given time. These requirements will be adhered to during the fall semester. As with our other policies, all individuals will wear masks or cloth face coverings at all times.
  • Restrooms: Limited maximum occupancy of restrooms will be posted based on the close proximity and number of sinks to ensure appropriate social distancing. Face coverings will be worn in all restrooms. Prominent signage will be displayed advising all occupants to wash hands thoroughly afterward using the facilities to reduce the potential transmission of the virus. Additional disinfecting protocols will be established to assist in maintaining a safe space.

Dining and Meals on Campus

When dining on campus, you should wear your face mask or covering until you are ready to eat and then replace it afterward. Campus eating establishments will be set up to allow for physical distancing between each customer, server and staff, 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 this is reasonable for your situation (“grab and go”). If you are eating in your work environment (break room, office, etc.), maintain six feet distance between you and others. Departments should remove or rearrange chairs and tables or add visual cue marks in employee break rooms to support social distancing practices between employees. All surfaces must be wiped, including table, refrigerator handle, coffee machine, etc. after using in common areas.

Tents will be provided at various locations on campus to provide additional outdoor dining options.

Travel

Non-essential university-related travel will be restricted, especially to areas of heightened COVID-19 activity (hot spots). Individuals are encouraged to visit the CDC’s webpage for the latest guidance on travel. In addition, all existing State guidelines will be followed for any personal (non-work related) travel.

In Closing

Now, more than ever, our University community must rely on each other’s sound judgment, professionalism, patience, compassion and sense of responsibility and community. While we cannot guarantee a COVID-free environment, we are working hard to limit infection and spread of the disease. However, only by all of us exercising extreme caution and concern for all in our daily interactions and decision making, and modelling the behavior that we expect of our students, can we meet this shared responsibility.