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By Jillian Riches

Faculty Staff Returning to the Workplace Policy

Control Plan  
POLICY 05-06-01    Effective Date:05/20/20        Date Last Revised: 01/19/21   

The following are responsible for the accuracy of this information contained in this document:

Responsible Policy Administrator

Vice President for Operations

Responsible Department

Human Resources


(508) 213-2111

1.0.- Primary Purpose:

Nichols College’s policies and protocols are designed to protect the safety of our employees, students and the public with whom we interact.  Our plans will be aligned with local, state and federal guidelines.  As our knowledge and understanding of the COVID-19 virus continues to evolve, our policies and plans may be updated as appropriate.

2. 0 – Expectations:

All staff and faculty are expected to comply with the guidelines outlined in this document.  Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action.

3.0 – Symptom Monitoring Requirement:

Staff who are returning to the workplace must conduct symptom monitoring every day before reporting to work. You must be free of ANY symptoms potentially related to COVID-19 to be eligible to report to work. At this time, these symptoms include one or more of the following:

  • Cough
    • Shortness of breath
    • Fever in excess of 100 degrees
    • Chills
    • Muscle pain
    • Sore throat
    • New loss of taste or smell

According to the CDC, individuals with certain conditions may have a higher risk for COVID-19 infection. Those conditions may include age or underlying medical conditions. If you feel you are immunocompromised and have concerns about returning to the workplace due to a condition that places you in a higher risk group, or if you wish to seek ADA Reasonable Accommodations related to Returning to the Workplace, you should contact human resources.  Also, if you have other concerns about returning to working onsite, such as cohabitating with a high-risk individual, please speak to human resources.

4.0 – Phased Approach:

We will need to limit the number of people on campus to meet social distancing requirements. Expansion of staffing will be controlled and coordinated to mitigate potential risks and ensure the safety of faculty and staff.

5.0 – Social Distancing:

  • We will require all faculty and staff members to practice social distancing at all times while on site.  This means that all persons should remain at least six feet apart, both inside and outside of buildings.                                                                                                         
  • Social Distancing:
  • Employees should alternate on-site working days within each area to limit occupancy to state guidelines.
  • Faculty and staff members should stagger start/end times and breaks to minimize hallway movement.
  • Common areas such as breakrooms, copy rooms and restrooms should be limited to one individual at a time.
  • When social distancing is not possible, and when in any common area including hallways, employees should wear a facemask (see Universal Mask Policy).

Wear a Mask in Public:

  • All meetings should continue to occur via Microsoft Teams or Zoom.  Conference rooms should not be utilized for gatherings.
  • Physical contact with coworkers should be avoided completely.  This includes handshake greetings, or any other type of touching.
  • External visitors should be limited and avoided when possible.  If an external guest is on campus, they will be expected to adhere to all social distancing guidelines at all times.
  • Signage regarding social distancing will be provided in several locations. 

6.0 – Hygiene Protocols: 

  • The college will ensure access to handwashing facilities on site, including soap and running water and encourages frequent hand washing.  Alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol can be used as an alternative.                                                                                   
  • Stop the Spread of Germs:
  • Employees should avoid using any shared office supplies or supplies belonging to others. 
  • Sanitize high touch areas, such as workstations, equipment, screens, doorknobs, etc. throughout the day.

7.0 -Staffing and Operations:

  • We will limit on-site staffing to a maximum of 50% occupancy in each building/office area.
  • Exceptions may be allowed to the maximum occupancy level based on demonstrated need for relief, and public health or public safety considerations or where strict compliance may interfere with the continued delivery of critical services.
  • Training will be provided on these guidelines and signage will be posted to educate employees on social distancing and hygiene protocols. 
  • Employees will be expected to self-certify their ability to safely work on-site asking themselves the following questions.  If any individual answers yes to any of the questions, they should report it to their supervisor or human resources and not come to campus.  By working on-site, you are confirming that you answered no to all questions.  They are as follows:
    • Have you had any of the following symptoms in the last 14 days?
      • Cough
      • Shortness of breath
      • Fever in excess of 100 degrees
      • Chills
      • Muscle pain
      • Sore throat
      • New loss of taste or smell
    • Have you had any contact lasting longer than 15 minutes with a person known to have COVID-19?
    • Have you traveled outside of your usual geographic area in the last 14 days? For example, have you traveled out of state on vacation or to visit a friend or family member?
  • Employees who have COVID-19 like symptoms will be advised not to report to the office or will be sent home. 
  • Employees who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to remain off campus for a minimum period of 10 days from diagnosis.  Additionally, employees will not be permitted to return until they have been symptom free for a period of 24 hours without the use of medication, and a minimum of ten (10) days have passed since the onset of symptoms.
  • If an employee develops symptoms, has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or tests positive for the virus and has been on-site, we will ask them to provide us with information regarding who they have been in close contact with at Nichols.  Close contact is defined as within six feet for a cumulative period of 15-minutes or more.  Human Resources will notify any employee who may have been exposed and will ask them to self-isolate for a 7-10-day period.

Additionally, if you reside in a state other than Massachusetts, you will need to comply with your state’s guidelines as well.

8.0 – Testing:

  • Employees will be required to sign a two-part consent form and participate in weekly COVID-19 tests that will be conducted on campus.

9.0 – Cleaning and Disinfecting: 

  • Cleaning supplies will be furnished in common areas.  Employees are asked to wipe down high touch areas and equipment.
  • If an employee who is diagnosed with COVID-19 has been on campus, the area will be thoroughly disinfected by facilities management.
  • The college will conduct frequent cleanings and disinfection of facilities (at least daily and more frequently if feasible).
  • Cleaning logs will be kept indicating date, time and scope of cleaning.
  • In heavy transit areas, high-touch surfaces will be frequently disinfected.

10.0 – Links Provided Within and Additional Resources: 

Wear a Mask in Public: 

Stop the Spread of Germs:

Social Distancing:


Coping with Stress and Anxiety:

10.0 – Related Policies: 

Universal Mask Policy 05-02-02


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