CofC announces phased return to campus

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The College of Charleston (CofC) on Wednesday released a guide to their three-phased return to campus plan. According to CofC, the protocols are “rooted in protecting the safety of our students, our employees, and the public with whom we interact,” and are subject to change in accordance with guidance from public health officials.

Comprehensive prep-work will be done before phase one even begins. CofC says that campus facilities and office common areas will be thoroughly cleaned (which will continue on a routine basis) and signage encouraging social distancing will be posted across campus.

Phase one will see the return of employees dubbed “critical” by department heads. This should be limited to “employees who cannot readily complete their job duties while working from home and those necessary to support critical operations.” CofC says that “in this phase, the vast majority of employees should continue working from home.” Each department/office is expected to keep a detailed schedule of when employees are on campus, and to report the number of employees working on campus, remotely, or on leave to human resources daily. Employees returning to work “must wear a face mask or cloth face covering over the nose and mouth while on campus in the presence of others, including in public settings.”

Courtesy of: CofC

Phase two will begin at a minimum of two weeks after phase one, but possibly later based on guidance from health professionals. During phase two, more employees can be brought back at the discretion of department heads. CofC encourages those whose “in-office presence is not required to support normal operations” to continue working from home, and offices with dense populations to operate staggered shifts, with employees still working from home some days of the week. If childcare/schools are still closed, “supervisors are encouraged to provide scheduling flexibility and other accommodations.” Employees returning in this phase will be required to wear masks as well.

If interaction with the public is necessary during phase two, CofC suggests the following:

  • Both the employee and member of the public should be required to wear face masks/coverings throughout the interaction.
  • To the extent possible, departments should identify one area within the office where all face-to-face meetings with members of the public will be conducted.
  • Areas where face-to-face meetings are being held should have clear social distancing markings.
  • Departments may procure marking supplies from Central Stores. Please refer to the CDC for further guidance on social distancing.
  • Areas where face-to-face meetings are held should be wiped down with disinfecting solutions or wipes after each meeting is concluded and before another meeting is held. Departments are responsible for ensuring that areas are thoroughly cleaned each evening.
  • When at all possible, interactions should be done by scheduling appointments in advance.

Phase three can begin at a minimum of two weeks after phase two, or later based on expert advice. It is “contingent on the advice of health professionals, the reopening of schools, and the widespread availability of child care options.” Phase three will see the college return to normal operations, with “only those employees that were already working from home before the COVID-19 health emergency, or those identified as being appropriate to remain on work-from-home status” working remotely. A decision on mask requirements will be made at a later time.

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