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Phased Return General Information{expander}

Taskforce Response Team Goal:
Converse College's policies and protocols for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic
will be rooted in safety for our staff, safety for our faculty and students, and for the public we interact with.

COVID-19 Response Team Members:
Krista Newkirk, President
Jeff Barker, Provost
Boone Hopkins, Sr. Assoc. Provost for Student Success and Dean of School of the Arts
Dianne Crocker, VP for Finance & Business Administration
Zach Corbitt, Chief Information Officer
Jenn Bell, Director of Athletics
Jamie Grant, VP of Enrollment Management
Krista Bofill, VP for Institutional Advancement
Keshia Jackson Gilliam, Director of Human Resources
Bethany Garr, Director of Counseling and Wellness
Gee Sigman, Associate Provost for Institutional Research & Registrar
Gladden Smoke, Director of Facilities
Holly Duncan, Chief Communications Officer
Kathy Hennigan, Director of Residential Life
Larry Jones, Director of Campus Safety
Rhonda Mingo, Dean of Students
Food Service - AVI Foodsystems, Alexis Coppola and Walt Miller
David Kreft, Director of Housekeeping – Budd Group
Madelyn Young, Faculty Senate President
Danielle Stone, Director of Community and Inclusion

Workplace Expectations & Guidelines:
All employees are expected to fully comply with the policies, protocols, and guidelines outlined on this
site as part of Converse College Workplace Expectations and Guidelines. 

Symptom Monitoring Requirement:
Employees who have been instructed to return to the workplace must conduct a self-screen questionnaire
every day before reporting to work. You must be free of ANY symptoms potentially related to
COVID-19 or have had evaluation and clearance by the Wellness Center, Teladoc, or another medical provider to be eligible to report to work.

Phased Staffing:
Converse College will phase in a return of staff overtime in a coordinated process to ensure appropriate
social distancing, availability of PPE (personal protective equipment) and self-screening protocols for
COVID-19. Converse will assess expanded staffing based on mission-critical operations, the ability to control and
manage specific work environments, and the necessity to access on-site resources. These decisions,
once approved, will be communicated through your respective supervisor.

The need to reduce the number of people on campus (density) to meet social distancing
requirements will continue for some time. Support units that can continue to effectively work
remotely will likely continue to do so until restrictions are eased for larger gatherings.
Expanded staffing will be tightly controlled and coordinated to mitigate potential risks and ensure
the safety of faculty and staff, as well as the communities we serve. No department should
increase staffing levels beyond the current needs to support critical on-site operations without
approval from your supervisor. Once decisions to expand on-site staffing in certain areas have been made,
staff should follow the policies and protocols detailed in this guide for returning to work on campus.

As staffing on-site increases and operations expand, the COVID-19 response team will closely monitor and assess the
potential spread of the virus, as well as existing policies and procedures to mitigate it. If localized outbreaks emerge,
tighter restrictions and reduced staffing may need to be implemented again.

Staffing Options:
Once staff members have been instructed to return to work on-site, there are several options
departments should consider maintaining required social distancing measures and reduce
population density within buildings and workspace.

  • Remote Work: Those who can work remotely to fulfill some or all of their work responsibilities
    may continue to do so to reduce the number of individuals on campus and the potential spread of
    the COVID-19 virus. These arrangements, which should be approved by the immediate supervisor,
    can be done in on a full or partial day/week schedule as appropriate.
  • Alternating Days: In order to limit the number of individuals and interactions among those on
    campus, departments should schedule partial staffing on alternating days. Such schedules will
    help enable social distancing, especially in areas with large common workspaces.
  • Staggered Reporting/Departing: The beginning and end of the workday typically bring many
    people together at common entry/exit points of buildings. Staggering reporting and departure
    times by at least 30 minutes will reduce traffic in common areas to meet social distancing
    requirements.

Converse Return to Work Video -President Newkirk

Personal Safety Practices:
Face masks or face coverings must be worn by all employees working on campus when in the presence of others and in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., common workspaces,
meeting rooms, classrooms, etc.). Appropriate use of face masks or coverings is critical in minimizing risks to
others near you. You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. The mask or
cloth face covering is not a substitute for social distancing.

Social Distancing: Keeping space between you and others is one of the best tools we have to
avoid being exposed to the COVID-19 virus and slowing its spread.

Handwashing: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have
been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or touching your face.

Cleaning/Disinfection: Budd Group Housekeeping teams will clean based on CDC guidelines for disinfection and Occupational and Environmental Safety Office (OESO) protocols. Facilities Management will also maintain hand-sanitizer stations at major building entrances, elevator stops, and high-traffic areas. Mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and monitoring systems will
be assessed and readied prior to the reopening of buildings.

Working in Office Environments: If you work in an open environment, be sure to maintain at
least 6 feet distance from co-workers. If possible have at least one workspace separating you from
another co-worker. You should wear a face mask or face covering at all times while in a shared
workspace/room. Departments should assess open work environments and meeting rooms to institute measures to
physically separate and increase the distance between employees, other coworkers, and customers,
such as:

  • Place visual cues such as floor decals, colored tape, or signs to indicate to customers
    where they should stand while waiting in line.
  • Place one-way directional signage for large open work
    spaces with multiple through-ways to increase distance
    between employees moving through the space.
  • Consider designating specific stairways for up or down
    traffic if building space allows.

A mask or face covering is not required if you are working alone in a confined office space
(does not include partitioned work areas in a large open environment).

Using Elevators: Use of elevators should be limited where possible to avoid close proximity with
others in a confined space. Those using elevators are required to wear a disposable face mask
or face covering regardless of traveling alone or with others.

Using Restrooms:  Wash your hands thoroughly afterward to reduce the potential
transmission of the virus.

Meetings: Convening in groups increases the risk of viral transmission. Where feasible, meetings
should be held in whole or part using the extensive range of available collaboration tools (e.g.
Zoom, WebEx, Microsoft Teams, telephone, etc.). In-person meetings are limited to the restrictions of local, state, and federal orders and should not exceed 50 percent of a room's capacity, assuming individuals can still maintain 6 feet of separation
for social distancing requirements.

Meals: Before and after eating, you should wash your hands thoroughly to reduce the potential transmission of the virus. If dining on campus, you should wear your mask or face covering until you are ready to eat and then replace it afterward.

Mental and Emotional Wellbeing Employee Assistance Progam: (EAP) is available to offer emotional support during this stressful period.Your EAP services are provided by ComPsych, an independent firm. The EAP counselors are not employees of Converse. This is one way we ensure confidentiality to you and your family members.

Username: LFGSupport
Password: LFGSupport1

Laboratory Work: Please meet with your department chair/supervisor to discuss specific criteria for faculty and staff
working in laboratory environments.

OSHA
Workers’ Rights
Workers have the right to:
• Working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm.
• Receive information and training (in a language and vocabulary the worker understands) about workplace hazards, methods to prevent them, and the OSHA standards that apply to their workplace.
• Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses.

 

Campus Self-Screening Questionnaire {expander}

The daily self-screening questionnaire is a tool that will help you assess your symptoms and determine if you are able to return to work. It also offers guidance on when to seek medical care and what to do in the meantime. This information is based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and recommendations for reopening.

Faculty and Staff are required to do a self-screen every morning prior to coming in to work and submit a form HERE.  It is a daily requirement to ensure the safety of everyone on campus. If you respond "yes" to any of the questions and you are advised to stay home, please communicate with your supervisor in a timely manner per the absence reporting and call-in requirements policy. 

**Please note the RAVE app is being reviewed to replace this temporary process to collect the same data.

Faculty and Staff Return to Work Guide, Policies, and Procedures{expander}

 

  1. Converse College Return to Work Guide - COVID19
  2. Converse College People Management During COVID19 Guide

Converse College is committed to supporting the health and safety of faculty, staff, students, and visitors as part of the nation’s finest learning community. The multi-phased Return to Work on Campus plan is designed to:

  • Safely return staff and faculty to work on campus after the Governor of South Carolina has modified the stay at home orders.
  • Provide guidance on social/physical distancing, hygiene, policies, self-monitoring of health, prior to the first phase tentatively scheduled for June 15th. 
  • All employees will be required to follow the guidelines for social/ physical distancing, face-coverings, and hygiene in order to protect the health and safety of students, staff, faculty, and visitors.

In an effort to maintain compliance for reopening from the CDC, SCDHEC, and OSHA, the following policies were developed. Employees should review and acknowledge the policies prior to their return to work date.  The health and safety of all members of the Converse community and neighbors is paramount to the work of the Task Force. 

Please note: COVID-19 continues to be a fluid situation, and college guidelines/policies may continue to evolve. We will provide further updates to our community if revisions are deemed necessary.

Vulnerable Populations as defined by the CDC{expander}

Updated as of June 25, 2020, per CDC Guidance


Submit Request for Temporary Workplace Adjustment of Reasonable Accommodation(s)

Request for Temporary Modifications/Accommodations

Converse College acknowledges that the COVID-19 outbreak has brought changes and challenges to the college, its operations, and its employees. Many employees face unique and individualized challenges related to health and their work due to COVID-19 during this unprecedented time. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has published information on groups of people who are at higher risk or more vulnerable to COVID-19 due to serious underlying medical conditions.  Documentation is required for all accommodations.

  1. Among adults, the risk for severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age, with older adults at highest risk. Severe illness means that the person with COVID-19 may require hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator to help them breathe, or they may even die.

  2. Risk for Severe Illness Increases with Age
    As you get older, your risk for severe illness from COVID-19 increases. For example, people in their 50s are at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 40s. Similarly, people in their 60s or 70s are, in general, at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 50s. The greatest risk for severe illness from COVID-19 is among those aged 85 or older.

  3. People of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19:
  1. Chronic kidney disease
  2. COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  3. Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
  4. Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 or higher)
  5. Serious heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  6. Sickle cell disease
  7. Type 2 diabetes mellitus

    COVID-19 is a new disease. Currently, there are limited data and information about the impact of underlying medical conditions and whether they increase the risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Based on what we know at this time, people with the following conditions might be at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

  8. Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
  9. Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
  10. Cystic fibrosis
  11. Hypertension or high blood pressure
  12. Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
  13. Neurologic conditions, such as dementia
  14. Liver disease
  15. Pregnancy
  16. Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
  17. Smoking
  18. Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)
  19. Type 1 diabetes mellitus
 
Those Who Also Need Extra Precautions
  1. Racial & Ethnic Minority Groups
  2. People with Disabilities
  3. People with Developmental & Behavioral Disorders
  4. Pregnant People
  5. People Experiencing Homelessness

Employees who are at higher risk for COVID-19 may make requests for temporary modifications during the outbreak to help mitigate their risk and better enable them to perform as many of their essential job functions as possible while COVID-19 remains a threat. Temporary modifications may include but are not limited to, moving classes to an online format, personal protective equipment for essential in-person work, remote work for essential job functions that do not require in-person duties for employees deemed essential in-person personnel, modified or flexible schedule, modified assignments for in-person work, or leave.

Converse understands that many health care providers are overloaded due to the COVID-19 outbreak and may not be able to see employees or complete paperwork to support requests in a timely manner. To help expedite employee requests for temporary modifications, the college is providing guidance on the steps supervisors and employees should take during this extraordinary time:

  1. Employees should make every effort to work with employees who request a temporary modification due to high risk or increased vulnerability to COVID-19. 
  2. Employees who request a temporary modification due to high risk or increased vulnerability to COVID-19 and have not previously submitted documentation through the ADAAA process should be asked to submit documentation of the underlying medical condition to hr@converse.edu for assessment and granted interim accommodations pending receipt and assessment of documentation by Human Resources. Due to the extraordinary circumstances presented by COVID-19, the Office of Human Resources will accept documentation that includes a diagnosis such as a health insurance claim/benefits form, health care visit summary, or other medical records within the last two to three years documenting the condition in lieu of a signed health care provider evaluation form.
  3. All temporary modifications requested and granted must be reasonable and appropriate in connection with the employee’s job and potential COVID-19 risk, be documented, and have an end date. Temporary modification requests that are deemed, through an interactive process facilitated by Human Resources, to be an undue hardship on the department or university will not be granted.
  4. As the COVID-19 crisis evolves, temporary modifications and end dates may be revisited by the supervisor, employee, and Director of Human Resources.
  5. Modifications granted during the COVID-19 crisis are not permanent modifications or reasonable accommodations as defined by the Americans With Disabilities Act and Amendments Act. If a need exists for reasonable accommodations post COVID-19 crisis or if modifications are necessary for a period of more than six months, the interactive process with the Director of Human Resources must be followed resulting in a determination whether reasonable accommodations are required and, if required, what are appropriate reasonable accommodations.
  6. Employees experiencing challenges accessing or using assistive technology while teleworking can contact the helpdesk@converse.edu

 

Faculty and Staff Required COVID-19 Awareness Training{expander}

All returning employees will be registered two (2) Wright eLearning courses via Human Resources:
  • COVID-19 Pandemic Response
    Length: 10 Minutes [0.17 Hours]
    Language: English

    This course covers the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic and separates the myths from the facts so you can protect yourself and those around you in uncertain times. It features important tips on social distancing, as well as steps to follow to avoid exposure, reacting to infection, and maintaining good mental health during times of uncertainty.

  • Practicing Hand Hygiene
    Length: 15 Minutes [0.25 Hours]
    Language: English

    Germs are the disease and infection producing microscopic agents that live everywhere. You can't see them, but they exist on literally every surface. Germs responsible for the common cold, as well as some of the nastier ones like Salmonella, E. coli, and norovirus, can enter your system and make you, and those you come into contact with, very, very sick. This course covers proper hand hygiene, when to wash your hands, and how to wash your hands in order to prevent the spread of disease-causing germs.

    Please complete the training modules and acknowledge your completion of the training HERE.  

 

Supervisor Resources{expander}

Leading Converse employees in times of change can be challenging in the best of circumstances. As a supervisor faced with guiding your employees through change due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is only natural to feel like you are navigating uncharted territory. In many ways, you are doing just that. However, while the circumstances surrounding the current public health crisis are very different from most work-related change, the principles of effective leadership and change management remain the same. The following resources are in place to assist with providing you with guidance.

 

All supervisors should complete the  (4) Wright eLearning courses:
  • COVID-19 Pandemic Response
    Length: 10 Minutes [0.17 Hours]
    Language: English
    This course covers the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic and separates the myths from the facts so you can protect yourself and those around you in uncertain times. It features important tips on social distancing, as well as steps to follow to avoid exposure, reacting to infection, and maintaining good mental health during times of uncertainty.

     

  • Practicing Hand Hygiene
    Length: 15 Minutes [0.25 Hours]
    Language: English
    Germs are the disease and infection producing microscopic agents that live everywhere. You can't see them, but they exist on literally every surface. Germs responsible for the common cold, as well as some of the nastier ones like Salmonella, E. coli, and norovirus, can enter your system and make you, and those you come into contact with, very, very sick. This course covers proper hand hygiene, when to wash your hands, and how to wash your hands in order to prevent the spread of disease-causing germs.

  • Preparing Your Workplace for COVID-19
    Length: 25 Minutes [0.42 Hours]
    Language: English
    Learn the latest guidance from OSHA and the CDC regarding your response to COVID-19 in the workplace. This course helps employers and supervisors in non-healthcare settings prepare their workforce and workplace for Coronavirus 2019’s effects.

  • Being an Effective Manager During COVID-19
    The way we manage our departments and staff, as well as our personal lives, during this time of the coronavirus pandemic is new to everyone. In Being An Effective Manager During The COVID-19 Pandemic, we discuss suggestions and tips to help you in your job as a manager.
    Please complete the two training modules and acknowledge your completion of the training HERE.  

 

 

 

Remote Work Guidelines{expander}

Remote work can be helpful in urgent situations such as a pandemic, allowing for continuity of operations.  This guide outlines key considerations, best practices, and college guidance specific to COVID-19 remote work. 

Employee Sick at Work{expander}

If an employee has been directly exposed to COVID-19 or feels they are exhibiting symptoms at work, these are the guidelines we will use for our office workspaces as suggested by the CDC:
 
1. Close off the employee's work area and wait to 24 hours to deep clean if the case is confirmed. Once we know test results we will have Budd Group clean.
If it has been less than 7 days since the sick employee has been in the facility, close off any areas used for prolonged periods of time by the sick person.

2. Wait 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting. If waiting 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible.
During this waiting period, open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area.
If it has been 7 days or more since the sick employee used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection are not necessary. Continue routinely cleaning and disinfecting all high-touch surfaces in the facility.
3. Follow the CDC cleaning and disinfection recommendations:
  • Clean dirty surfaces with soap and water before disinfecting them.
  • To disinfect surfaces, use products that meet EPA criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and are appropriate for the surface.
  • Always wear gloves and gowns appropriate for the chemicals being used when you are cleaning and disinfecting.
  • You may need to wear additional PPE depending on the setting and disinfectant product you are using. For each product you use, consult and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use.
Please remember any time you are coming in close contact with other employees or their workspaces to wear masks, keep a safe distance, and wash hands often. Please remember "the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to persons from surfaces contaminated with the virus has not been documented. Transmission of coronavirus occurs much more commonly through respiratory droplets than through objects and surfaces, like doorknobs, countertops, keyboards, etc." but we realize the importance of disinfecting all surfaces, to make sure we are providing maximum health and safety measures. (Ref: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/cleaning-disinfection.html)
 
If you are going to work at someone else's space, please wipe down surfaces both BEFORE and AFTER you are sitting in their area.
 
Employees must have a release to return to work from the Wellness Center, Medical Provider, EAP, etc.
 
Please note Converse does follow the guidelines from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFRCA) that provided eligible employees with FFCRA Sick Leave. If you believe you are eligible to use the FFRCA Sick Leave please contact hr@converse.edu.

Eligible Employees: All employees of covered employers are eligible for two weeks of paid sick time for specified reasons related to COVID-19. Employees employed for at least 30 days are eligible for up to an additional 10 weeks of paid family leave to care for a child under certain circumstances related to COVID-19.

Qualifying Reasons for Leave:

Under the FFCRA, an employee qualifies for paid sick time if the employee is unable to work (or unable to telework) due to a need for leave because the employee:

  1. is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  2. has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19;
  3. is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
  4. is caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2);
  5. is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19; or
  6. is experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury.

Generally, the Act provides that employees of covered employers are eligible for:

  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; or
  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), or to care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Labor; and

 

 

CDC Posters & Animated GIFs {expander}

These printable posters can be used to help raise awareness about handwashing and other COVID-19 related matters, in highly visible public areas, such as schools, workplaces, and restrooms. They are designed for all audiences, and some are available in multiple sizes and languages.

Signage - Developed by the Communications Dept.{expander}

Building occupants are expected to follow signage on traffic flow through building entrances, exits, elevator usage, and similar
common use areas. Signs and fliers can be downloaded for posting in buildings and other facilities. The following posters have been created for placing on desks or posting. If you are in need of additional signage please contact communications@converse.edu.

Employee Assistance Program{expander}

In an ever-stressful world, it gets harder and harder to balance our workload with our personal lives. Each day, we put on our work clothes and our work faces and concentrate on getting the job done. It is extraordinary, really, how much gets done by people who are facing worry, trouble, and concerns in their lives.

Many of our co-workers and friends appear calm and focused on what they are doing, yet worry is with them always. Nearly half of all marriages end in divorce today. Some of our co-workers might be grieving the death of a loved one. Others may be struggling with drug and alcohol issues, caring for an aging parent, or dealing with the challenges of raising children.

Converse College realizes the difficulty of this balance and appreciates the achievements you bring to the workplace. That is why they provide you and your dependents an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

Your EAP services are provided by ComPsych, an independent firm. The EAP counselors are not employees of Converse. This is one way we ensure confidentiality to you and your family members.

Username: LFGSupport
Password: LFGSupport1

CDC Health Topics
The CDC Streaming Health channel on YouTube currently hosts over 2500 videos on a variety of health topics, from flu to HIV/AIDS and many more. Visit CDC Streaming Health to watch,

Informational CDC Videos {expander}

A core component of understanding COVID-19 is through education and training. The CDC participates in online video sharing which is a popular and powerful activity for exchanging information.  Using video-sharing sites to disseminate tailored health education and health communication messages helps provide an engaging experience for consumers to view and create health and safety information. Here are a few videos that can assist with understanding COVID-19 and recommended precautionary measures.

To learn more view CDC videos at www.cdc.gov/CDCTV.

 

 

Leave Resources {expander}