Employees whose work either supports the student experience or needs to be done on campus for a successful fall operation should make plans to return to their campus workspace by Aug. 3, President Wendy Wintersteen announced in a July 2 email to the Iowa State community. Supervisors should be identifying and communicating with those employees as part of their local workspace plan, which can include variables such as staggered daily start and end times or day-of-the-week rotations to accommodate physical distancing in the office.
The goal, Wintersteen wrote, is to ensure campus is ready for fall semester when classes begin Aug. 17. She also acknowledged it will take time to fully adjust to the "new normal."
"We know that circumstances continue to change, and we continue to make decisions based on the best information we have available," she wrote. "We deeply appreciate the commitment of our faculty, staff, postdocs, graduate students and students as we work toward resuming as a residential campus this fall."
Workspace plans may need ongoing tweaks as employees return to campus, she noted.
As part of a strategy to limit the number of people on campus, supervisors also may ask some employees to continue working from home after Aug. 3 if their duties permit it. The important thing, Wintersteen said, is to "communicate continuously" and have clear expectations between employees and their supervisors.
Alternative work requests
Noting that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in late June updated its guidance on who is at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, Wintersteen reminded employees they may submit a request for an alternative work arrangement if they -- or someone they live with -- meets the criteria. That process is outlined on university human resources' COVID-19 website. Employees who already submitted a request may update it via an email to COVIDHRSupport@iastate.edu.
Travel and a quarantine
Consistent with CDC guidelines for returning from international travel, faculty and staff who have left the United States on personal travel this summer should self-quarantine for 14 days when they return. They must complete their self-quarantine before they come to campus.
International travel for university business, which the state Board of Regents is regulating at all three regent universities, remains prohibited.
Wintersteen said employees may resume domestic business travel with approval from their direct supervisor. Travelers should follow CDC domestic travel guidelines and plan ahead for any restrictions they may encounter at their destination.
Face coverings required
Effective July 1, everyone on campus is required to wear a face covering that covers nose and mouth in offices, classrooms and any other areas -- indoors or outdoors -- where physical distancing of six feet can't be maintained. Plans for enforcing the requirement among the employee and student populations are being finalized and will be shared with the campus community as soon as they're ready.
Wintersteen also encouraged ISU employees and students to wear face coverings when they leave campus. The Ames community, spearheaded by city staff, is promoting the Cyclones Care behavior messaging campaign to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Testing site on campus
Faculty and staff who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have been in contact with someone with a confirmed case can get a COVID-19 test at the Thielen Student Health Center on campus. They should complete the online questionnaire, and Thielen staff will follow up with them.