Reducing Workplace Exposure to COVID-19

USU is committed to a safe and healthy working and learning environment for the members of its campus communities. 

COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly person-to-person, and the best way to prevent illness is to get vaccinated, wear a mask indoors, and stay home when sick.

Prevention Measures for All Employees

Prevention for all individuals is achieved through vaccination, wearing a mask in indoor public settings, staying home when sick, and practicing social distancing.

Vaccination

  • USU encourages employees to get vaccinated wherever possible.
  • Current vaccine data suggests vaccination is highly effective at protecting individuals and minimizing the spread of the virus, even in infections caused by the Delta variant.
  • If an employee has an underlying health condition that puts them at a greater risk of serious complications from COVID-19, even if vaccinated, supervisors should be supportive of their concerns and discuss ways in which the risk of exposure to the virus can be reduced.

Stay Home When You are Sick

Employees should stay home when they are sick with any symptoms. Symptoms of COVID-19 vary greatly, and a wide range of symptoms have been reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Employees should not attend classes, go to work, or attend any social events. This protects the entire community, particularly those who are at a higher risk of complications from the disease.

Those who have symptoms of an illness should get tested for COVID-19 immediately. 

Face Coverings

  • Encourage employees to wear a face mask. 
  • Currently, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone, even fully vaccinated individuals, should wear a face covering indoors when in high transmission areas, which includes most of Utah. 

Prevention Hygiene

  • Promote frequent and handwashing and/or use of hand sanitizer.
  • Remind employees to avoid touching their eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Encourage respiratory etiquette:
    • Covering coughs and sneezes
    • Using tissue and throwing away immediately
  • Provide employees and workspace visitors with readily available:
    • Tissues and trash receptacles
    • Hand sanitizer
    • In clinical settings or crowded areas, face coverings for clients or customers

Social Distancing and Worksite Adjustments

  • For fall 2021, supervisors should be flexible and innovative in identifying ways to lessen the risk of COVID-19 exposure to employees, including through social distancing, mask wearing, and plexiglass barriers.
  • Provide a Zoom link for face-to-face meetings as more employees return to onsite operations.
  • Discourage sharing devices, desks, or other work tools or equipment, if possible.
  • Stagger breaks and lunch periods to minimize congestion and congregating in break/lunch rooms. Also, avoid sharing food.
  • An exception to working onsite 100% of the time may not be available to the employee, but the temporary COVID policy allows for staggered or split work shifts to reduce density in the office or flexible work schedules to accommodate caring for an immunocompromised person as long as the work permits this. Requests affecting onsite work must be approved by the supervisor with the support of the vice president or dean over the unit.

Increased Disinfection Protocols

  • Establish and implement disinfection protocols between the use of devices, conference tables, desks, tools and equipment.
  • Perform routine cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces and equipment (using EPA-approved products and following manufacturer instructions).
  • If you need additional supplies, please contact USU Facilities at 435-797-1947.

Containing Cases of COVID-19

  • Inform and encourage employees to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 if they suspect possible exposure.
  • Require workers to stay home if they are sick and send home employees who come to work sick or with symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Encourage employees who are quarantining due to exposure to COVID-19, or isolating for symptoms, to complete the COVID-19 questionnaire.
  • Ensure that employees are aware of COVID-19 temporary policies.

Additional Prevention and Control Measures

In addition to the employee safety measures described here, USU will implement prevention controls at a university-wide level. These prevention measures include symptom checking for employees and other campus community members as well as isolation protocols designed to contain COVID-19 cases. These prevention measures will be addressed in separate guidance and protocols.

High-Risk Individuals

Employees who are at a higher risk for severe illness due to COVID-19 and who cannot currently be vaccinated should work with supervisors to make appropriate and reasonable adjustments to the employee’s work arrangements to reduce the risk of exposure. ADA caccommodations

Appropriate and Reasonable Adjustments

  • Changes to job responsibilities to allow for social distancing.
  • Permitting remote work.
  • Adjusting work schedules as outlined in USU’s temporary policy on work arrangements.

Privacy of Health Information

Supervisors should not make inquiries about employees' vaccination status, disabilities, or non-COVID related health conditions. Instead, supervisors should encourage all employees to get vaccinated and refer individuals who need accommodations to talk with their supervisors and the ADA Coordinator in Human Resources at hr@usu.edu to discuss options for reducing workplace exposure. 

If an employee voluntarily discloses that they have a specific medical condition or disability that puts them at increased risk of COVID-19 complications, a supervisor (and any other USU administrators with a need to know) must keep this information private and may wish to consult with Human Resources for further guidance.