Delta State University's response to Coronavirus

COVID-19 Staff Protocols

Guiding Principles

Delta State University’s policies and protocols for responding to the COVID‐19 pandemic are rooted in the safety of our students, staff, and faculty, and of the public with whom we interact.

Primary goals for DSU’s response to the COVID‐19 pandemic are to keep our Delta State family and our campus safe and virus‐free, protect public health, and maintain the academic mission of Delta State.

DSU’s plans align with local orders and ordinances of the City of Cleveland and Bolivar County, policies and guidelines of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, the State of Mississippi’s Reopening Model, and the Mississippi Department of Public Health. DSU’s plans also follow recommendations from the federal government (Opening Guidelines) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This pandemic continues to be a very fluid situation; thus, recommendations are best available thought. Adjustments will continually be required due to the constantly evolving situation.

Here are guidelines for employees.

Workplace Expectations and Guidelines

All employees are expected to comply fully with the policies, protocols, and guidelines.

According to the CDC, older adults (age 65 and older) and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Employees who are considered “high risk” for COVID‐19, and have concerns regarding their vulnerability in the workplace, should contact their supervisor and the Office of Human Resources to determine possible options. Under extenuating circumstances, a “work from home” option may be available, if approved by the respective department head and vice president.

Symptom Monitoring Requirement

Temperature Check:

Employees must participate in a COVID‐19 symptom and temperature check before they begin their work each day. Employees are strongly encouraged not to come to campus if they do not feel well.

Entry to buildings will be regulated and staffed with someone to screen employees for compliance with CDC regulations and to take the temperatures of employees. If an employee is cleared, they will be given a sticker that must be worn for the duration of the day. If an employee is ineligible to report to work due to the results of the symptom and temperature check, the Office of Human Resources and the employee’s supervisor will be notified.

Employees must report to work and depart work through the designated building access and at the designated time in order to limit the number of people entering and exiting buildings at any one time.

All employees will be screened for COVID‐19 symptoms each day when they report to work via a temperate check through a no-touch thermometer and via a questionnaire. An employee who has a temperature of 100.0° Fahrenheit or higher will not be eligible to report to work and must be “fever free” for 72 hours before returning to work.  An employee who answers “yes” to any question related to COVID-19 symptoms will not be eligible to report to work and will be asked to return home.

Travel

Faculty and staff professional travel, domestic and international, should be discouraged. Essential travel must be approved by the appropriate vice president.

Faculty and staff who have traveled recently must notify their supervisor of their travel before returning to campus. Also, anyone experiencing a fever or flu-like symptoms should not come to campus until the symptoms are resolved and approval has been granted to return to work.

Before returning to campus, all faculty and staff who traveled internationally are to notify, by phone or email, their supervisor and vice president of the fact that they traveled internationally. They will be required to quarantine themselves for 14 days before returning to campus.

Before returning to campus, all faculty and staff who traveled outside of Mississippi are to notify, by phone or email, their supervisor and vice president of the fact that they traveled out-of-state. Based on travel locations, employees may be required to work from home for 3-5 days to see if symptoms arise. These employees must receive clearance from their supervisor before returning to campus.

Personal Safety Practices

Face Masks:

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 social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., common workspaces, meeting rooms, classrooms, etc.). Delta State will provide reusable masks to all employees at no cost to the employee (four masks per employee). The mask or face covering is not a substitute for social distancing. Cloth face coverings must be worn for only one day at a time and must be properly laundered before use again.

Social Distancing:

Employees should follow these social distancing practices: stay at least 6 feet from other people at all times; do not gather in groups; stay out of crowded places; and avoid mass gatherings.

Hand Washing:

Employees must wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in a public place, or after blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing, or touching their face. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Personal Disinfection:

While custodial crews will continue to clean office and workspaces based on CDC guidelines, employees should take additional care to wipe down commonly used surfaces. Before starting work, and before you leave any room in which you have been working, employees must wipe down all work areas with EPA‐registered 60% alcohol solution. Each building manager will be supplied with sufficient disinfectant. This includes any shared‐space location or equipment (e.g., copiers, printers, computers, A/V and other electrical equipment, coffee makers, desks and tables, light switches, doorknobs, etc.).

Coughing/Sneezing Hygiene:

If you are in a private setting and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember always to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Protocols for Employees Who Have COVID-19 Symptoms or Have Been Exposed to COVID-19

If a DSU employee, or an individual in his/her household, has COVID‐19 symptoms or has been exposed to COVID‐19, the employee should consult his/her doctor or the medical staff at the O.W. Reily Health Center on campus. The employee should notify his/her immediate supervisor and the Office of Human Resources to ensure appropriate guidelines are followed. The decision to begin or stop home isolation should be made in consultation with an employee’s healthcare provider and state and local health departments.

Employee Considerations:

Employees should follow the guidelines below in order to protect their health and reduce transmission of germs:

  • Avoid office gatherings, break rooms, and unnecessary visitors in the workplace.
  • Monitor for presence of COVID‐19 symptoms (see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/).
  • Stay home (or leave the workplace) and notify the supervisor if symptoms develop.
  • Wear masks or face coverings in all public spaces and spaces used by multiple people.
  • Know where to find local information on COVID‐19 and local trends of COVID‐19 cases.

Supervisor Considerations:

Supervisors should follow the guidelines below in order to protect the health of their employees and reduce transmission of germs:

  • Conduct meetings electronically, even when working on campus. If meetings cannot be conducted virtually, keep participation to fewer than 10 participants and enforce appropriate physical distancing and wearing of masks or face coverings.
  • Encourage single occupancy in workrooms.
  • The University will procure sufficient disinfectant products and cleaning supplies so employees can frequently clean their own workspaces.
  • The University will provide hand sanitizers at all entrances and high‐traffic areas. Additional hand sanitizer will be available upon request by contacting Facilities Management.
  • Monitor and secure inventories of personal protective equipment (PPE), hand sanitizer, wipes, cleaning products, and hand soap.

Facilities Considerations:

Building managers and/or Facilities Management staff who are responsible for maintaining facilities or ordering materials and supplies should follow the guidelines below in order to protect the health of employees and reduce transmission of germs:

  • Maintain at least 6 feet between workstations/workers. Place plexiglass or other barriers in workspaces where people must face each other or are unable to be 6 feet apart.
  • Place appropriate signage at entrances indicating how to proceed.
  • Make face coverings available to employees. Re‐usable masks will be provided by Delta State (four masks per employee). Employees can purchase additional masks for $2.50 by contacting Student Business Services.
  • Provide sanitizing supplies for individuals to clean their areas before and after use.
  • Provide hand sanitizer at all entrances and high‐traffic areas.
  • Monitor and secure inventories of PPE, hand sanitizer, wipes, cleaning products, and hand soap.
  • Ensure that entry to buildings will be regulated and staffed with someone to take temperatures and screen employees for compliance with CDC regulations. Only one entrance and exit will be used at each building.

Visitor Considerations:

Visitors must obtain prior approval from the associated department/office before visiting the worksite(s) and must provide their own face covering/mask. Violation of these guidelines may result in the immediate revocation of building access privileges, as well as corrective action.

Other Considerations:

If an employee is unable to make arrangements for proper care of their children while at work, and is unable to take personal leave (due to insufficient amount of leave time available for use), the employee should contact his/her supervisor to report their circumstances and to request emergency approval for the opportunity to work from home. For the safety of the children and our colleagues, as well as to minimize the increased opportunity of spreading germs, children should not be brought to the workplace.