COVID-19 Department Operation Plans

During the COVID-19 pandemic, and prior to resuming on-site operations, all USU departments must have an approved department operation plan to minimize the risk of exposure to employees, students, and the public. 

Creating Your Department Plan

Each department’s COVID-19 operations plan should address the topics outlined below. The department’s vice president or dean must review, approve, and submit the department’s proposed plan to the employee safety committee for its approval. Submit your final plan to

Getting Help

  • Review the model operation plan for an example of how to create your own.
  • If you have questions or need assistance developing this plan, please contact USU Risk Management or a member of the Employee Safety Committee.
  • To order materials or supplies, such as plexiglass, sanitation supplies, or personal protective equipment, please contact USU Facilities at 435-797-1947.
  • USU will provide two face coverings free for each employee. Order your department face coverings from USU Publication Design and Production.
  • USU has created approved signage and floor decals that must be used during the COVID-19. These may be printed or ordered from printing through PDP.

Understanding the Risks to Your Department

According to the CDC, COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person-to-person, and it may be spread by some people who are not showing symptoms. When identifying the potential COVID-19 exposure risks in your workplace, consider who your department employees interact with. Do they regularly meet with students, employees, the public, or international travelers? Do they share workspaces or equipment that could become contiminated by COVID-19? These questions should help guide you as you consider how to minimize risk in your own department.

Determine Work Schedules for Employees

This involves balancing flexibility and the continuity of business operations.

  • Where possible, continue or arrange for telework.
  • For on-site work, consider staggered or rotating days or shifts, or modified hours to limit the number of employees in the workplace at the same time.
  • Use videoconferencing or teleconferencing when possible, even when working on-site.
  • Accommodate employees who are considered high risk for severe COVID-19 illness (see employee safety guidance for high-risk).
  • Plan for absenteeism due to sick employees, childcare interruptions, or employees in quarantine. Consider cross-training employees and developing shared job responsibilities.

Implement Employee Safety Guidelines for Onsite Work

Consult the USU guidance for Reducing Workplace Exposure Risk to develop your plan for employee safety. The employee safety plan should:

  • Implement the general employee safety guidelines from the USU Plan for Reducing Workplace Exposure Risk.
  • Implement employee safety guidelines specific to certain job responsibilities.
  • Develop an implementation plan that addresses what materials you need to purchase and the quantity you will need, how you will inform your employees of the employee safety plan, and how you will monitor compliance with your employee safety plan.

Develop Facility Protocols to Protect Employees and Visitors

Review the state of Utah’s Phased Guidelines for the General Public and Businesses, if your department includes ancillary services such as retail, dining, or events services or if your department is responsible for events, including arts and sporting events. Incorporate prevention guidelines outlined for the function applicable to your department.

  • Identify frequently touched surfaces (counters, doorknobs, keyboards, etc.) in your workplace and develop a plan for increased cleaning and disinfection.
  • Modify workspaces to increase physical space (6 feet) between employees’ workstations and to increase space (6 feet) between employees and customers. You may order approved floor decals through PDP to encourage physical distancing.
  • Close, limit or stagger access to common areas where employees are likely to congregate.
  • Adjust business practices and workflow to reduce close contact between individuals.
  • Ensure you have appropriate resources for prevention hygiene:
    • Tissues and no-touch trash cans
    • Disinfectant spray and paper towels or disposable wipes
    • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer

Outline Training and Communication Plan for Return to On-site Operations

Develop a training and communication plan that addresses the needs of your department and reflect your current communication and training methods. Suggestions for this plan include:

  • Hold virtual department meetings and Q&A sessions to discuss the department’s COVID-19 operations plan.
  • Post signage setting expectations for staying home when sick, respiratory hygiene and etiquette, and workplace behavior. Approved signs are available for download.
  • Plan for in-person and email employee reminders.
  • Routinely check USU’s COVID-19 website for resources and updated information.

Review Events and Programming Carried Out by Department

Events are sponsored activities that occur one or a few number of times during the academic year. Programs are sponsored activities that are connected to the services offered by a department and are offered on an ongoing basis.  For example, for the student recruitment department, A-day is an event and campus tours are a program.  

  • Review the programming and events offered by your department that involve hosting groups of people.
  • Determine which programs and events can be carried out with appropriate prevention measures in place, including physical and social distancing.
  • Develop a plan that incorporates guidance on events from the state of Utah and the CDC.

Discuss Travel Needs and Limitations for the Coming Year

  • Review the travel needs for your department for the coming year. Minimize non-essential travel and follow USU guidance (forthcoming) for planning and seeking approval of any necessary travel.
  • Advise employees to check themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 before starting travel and to notify their supervisor and stay home if they have any symptoms.
  • Plan for absenteeism of employees due to travel-related quarantine or isolation for illness.
  • Ensure employees who become sick or symptomatic while traveling or on temporary assignment understand that they should notify their supervisor and promptly call a healthcare provider for advice if needed. Develop contingency plan for the traveler to return home or extend stay if they become sick while traveling.