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Carthage and COVID-19

Employees & Offices

The Carthage College campus will reopen in phases this summer, starting with small groups of employees returning to on-site work June 15.

The College’s plans for a safe re-opening are based on current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as local orders and guidelines from the City of Kenosha, Kenosha County (Kenosha County Kickstart plan), and State of Wisconsin (Badger Bounce Back).

This website will be updated regularly as new information becomes available, and as plans for each phase are finalized. Because the world’s understanding of COVID-19 continues to evolve, please note that all policies and plans listed on this website are subject to change.

Return to Work Phase II: July 15-Aug. 1

Staffing:

Carthage employees began their return to work on June 15, returning in subsets of essential functions. These individuals and offices had the opportunity to acclimate to the new #StaySafeCarthage protocols.

As we move closer to the start of the academic year (one week earlier than originally scheduled), other campus offices will return to safe operating capacities. Supervisors will work with the rest of their teams to bring additional functionality back to campus. The plan is to gradually bring employees back to campus by Aug. 1. This will be up to the department leads to assess.

There is an exception to this Aug. 1 return. That includes faculty and staff on the second and third floors of Lentz Hall, as those spaces will remain under construction until later in August.

As we plan to provide students with an on-campus experience, we also want to be present to support them. That said, there are circumstances where individuals have reasons where they may not feel comfortable returning to the workplace this fall. There also could be reasons why supervisors would ask certain individuals to remain in a remote working situation for a duration of time to maintain proper social distancing and a healthy work environment. Ways to accommodate these situations are listed below.

Accommodations:

There are several ways in which the institution is prepared to work with individuals who do not feel ready to come back to campus. We will work with employees as best we can in the fall term to balance the ongoing operations of the College as well as individual health and safety. There are three main ways that arrangements can be made.

  • Temporary Arrangements with the Department or Division: There are certain faculty or staff members who may have reasons for needing accommodations to teach or work differently in the fall. This could be due to health, family, childcare, etc. Some jobs at the College can be done remotely, or done remotely for periods of time, to accommodate safety. In this situation we are asking supervisors to come up with a fall plan with those individuals they supervise. Some jobs cannot operate remotely and would not work in this circumstance. Individuals in these situations would be better in seeking a more formal resolution through ADA or FMLA. We are asking supervisors to work with their staff members for these situations.

  • ADA Accommodations: There are also situations where an individual may seek out more formal protected accommodations. These individuals would go through our normal ADA process. Individuals in this situation should connect with Carthage Human Resources to start the process.

  • Requests from Supervisors to Work Remotely: There also could be circumstances where a supervisor may need an employee to have a modified working arrangement to accommodate office health and safety measures. This could include alternating on-campus assignments with remote work to distance more effectively in classroom and/or office spaces, or potentially continuing to operate in a completely remote working environment.

Traffic Flow and Signage:

Starting July 15, you will notice new signage around campus. The communications and facilities teams have been working this summer to provide the Carthage community visual reminders of the new #StaySafeCarthage operational requirements. These visual reminders include things like distancing markers, pedestrian traffic flow in buildings, mask notifications, and healthy habits, among others.

In addition to these new guidelines, there will also be a new flow of vehicular traffic. Starting July 31, Campus Drive will have restrictions as to open it up to foot traffic. More information will be shared with the community on this and other developments, such as a COVID-19 dashboard in the coming days.

Additional Guidelines:

Please see General Expectations for All Employees listed below. 


Return to Work Phase I: June 15-July 15

The goal of Phase I is to have a soft opening of campus where we can implement our new operations, ensure social distancing, and make adjustments where necessary.

  • Faculty: Most Carthage College faculty are not typically on campus during the summer months. Therefore, faculty are not directly impacted in Phase I. Any faculty who feel they must be on campus regularly during this timeframe for research, SURE, or other campus responsibilities should contact their divisional deans.
  • Staff: Not all offices will have on-campus employees during Phase I. Each area supervisor has been tasked with developing a return-to-campus plan for their area. Many offices will remain remote. Employees should not return to campus for regular work without supervisor approval.

We will continue to evaluate our internal and external environment during Phase I and make necessary adjustments as we plan for Phase II. Our end goal is to be together again on campus safely and engaged in the work of the College.

General Expectations for All Employees

  • All employees are required to follow the guidelines, policies, and protocols as outlined on this website.
  • Guidelines, policies, and protocols may change as this pandemic continues and new information related to COVID-19 becomes available.
  • Any changes to this information will be communicated to the appropriate audiences through email, The Bridge, and on this website.
  • Each employee who comes back to campus will need to complete an online COVID-19 safety training module by SafeColleges before returning.
  • Employees should work with their supervisors to make sure that they understand the expectations of campus operations, as well as any expectations for their individual office or function.
  • These operational modifications are meant to ensure the safety of the Carthage community and need to be followed to ensure a healthy working environment.>

Symptom Monitoring Requirement

COVID-19 spreads quickly and easily. One of the most important ways to keep our community safe is to conduct symptom monitoring every day. All Carthage community members will be expected to monitor their health. See symptom monitoring guidelines

Testing

If you do develop symptoms, or if you have come into contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19, it is advised that you contact your physician and/or access area testing. For information on testing, contact the local hotline at 211 or the Kenosha County Health Department at 262-605-6700. See a list of local testing sites

Returning to Work after an Illness

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued the following guidelines for returning to work following a sickness or having been exposed to someone who has had a positive case. 

Testing Positive: If you tested positive, it is recommended that you stay home for a minimum of 10 days from the positive test. You should be symptom-free before returning to the workplace. In some cases, a physician may issue an additional test for clearance.

Experiencing Symptoms: If you did not receive a positive test result but experienced symptoms, it is recommended that you stay home for 14 days following the onset of symptoms and do not return to work until it has been three days with no fever, symptoms have improved, and it has been at least 10 days since the symptoms first appeared.

Contact with an Individual who has Tested Positive: Anyone who has close contact with someone with a confirmed COVID-19 test result should stay home for 14 days after exposure based on the time it takes to develop the illness. Employees would work with their area supervisors to make arrangements.

Additional guidance for returning to work can be found on the CDC website.

Phased Return to Work:

Carthage College has been working remotely with the intent to reassess on June 15. Following this date, the College will activate the return to campus in phases. It is the intent that faculty and staff will return to work over a period of time in a coordinated process to ensure appropriate social distancing, availability of personal protective equipment (PPE), and time for proper safety measures to be put into place. In the first stage, the College will assess bringing employees back to campus based on mission-critical operations, the ability to control and manage specific work environments, and necessity to access on-site resources. These decisions about who will be included in the first phase of returning to work, once approved, will be communicated through your area supervisor. Employees should not report to campus if they have not been notified to do so by their supervisor and have not completed the training.

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. It is expected that offices will be able to set work schedules to alternate on-campus and remote work to reduce the number of employees in the office at any given time.

In phase one expanded staffing will be monitored and controlled to mitigate potential risks and ensure the safety of faculty and staff, as well as the communities we serve. No unit or department should increase staffing levels beyond current needs to support critical on-site operations without approval from your respective Dean, Provost, or Vice President. Employees on-site should follow the policies and protocols detailed in this guide for returning to work on campus. If localized outbreaks emerge, tighter restrictions and reduced staffing may need to be implemented again.

Higher Risk Groups

Employees who have been instructed to return to work on-site and have concerns about doing so due to a condition that places them in a higher risk group should contact their supervisors to make appropriate arrangements. According to the CDC, individuals with certain conditions may have a higher risk of COVID-19 infection. Those conditions may include:

  • Adults 65 years and older
  • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Diabetes
  • Serious heart conditions
  • Chronic kidney disease being treated with dialysis
  • Severe obesity
  • Being immunocompromised

Accommodations

The College is committed to a safe and healthy working environment for all employees. We realize there may be individuals who do not yet feel comfortable coming back to the workplace. It is important to the College that we are sensitive to these individual circumstances and work with these employees to make reasonable accommodations. For staff, this might mean continuing to work remotely or having blended on-campus and off-campus assignments. For faculty, this could mean that some continue to teach remotely. Faculty and staff who have concerns should contact their supervisor to discuss alternatives. We will make every attempt to make this work for the employee. However, there are some positions with work that cannot be accomplished off campus. Should that be the case, we will need to work with the Human Resources department to follow our normal ADA procedure.

Training

Each employee who comes back to campus will need to complete an online COVID-19 safety training module before returning. This training will be sent electronically through your Carthage email by SafeColleges. Modules should take approximately 10 minutes to complete. Employees will also have to review the information on the COVID-19 website.

Staffing Options for Departments

Area supervisors will be asked to develop a plan for the first phase of returning to work. There are several options departments should consider when developing these plans to maintain required social distancing measures and reduce population density within buildings and workspaces. Supervisors will be working with their area Vice President to discuss and document the most appropriate staffing plan in this first phase and beyond. These plans may change at any time given both internal and external circumstances. Strategies for the first stage of bringing employees back to campus could include a combination of these working arrangements:

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 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.

Cohort Model: There are also benefits in breaking the units into teams that work on campus at alternating frequencies. This way if one person becomes symptomatic, it would not require the entire office to work remotely but rather just that team.

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.

Anticipated Timeline

We will reassess and communicate the next step of our phased return on July 15. As we know, the internal and external environment is rapidly evolving. This timeline is tentative and meant as a guide as we move forward toward the fall. Depending on circumstances both the conditions and schedule could change at any given moment. We will need to remain agile to respond to new developments. The return to work for a limited number of individuals is the first of several steps that we will take in order to prepare for our intent to open again in the fall. Several task forces are working hard to stay on top of developments and prepare for a safe opening. 

Working Environments and Common Spaces

There are several ways that we will need to modify operations to safely move forward in returning to campus. It is important that employees understand and abide by the new policies and modifications to operations. All employees should be aware of the following notable changes:

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. Since people can spread the virus before they know they are sick, it is important to stay away from others when possible, even if you have no symptoms. Social distancing is important for everyone, especially to help protect people who are at higher risk of getting very sick. Employees on-site should follow these social distancing practices:

  • Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people at all times.
  • Avoid gathering in groups (no more than 10 per group at this time per the Kenosha County Kickstart guidelines).
  • Meet virtually wherever possible.
  • Limit guests on campus (see Visitor Policies).

Office Spaces: If you work in an open environment, it is important that employees are practicing social distancing and maintain at least 6 feet distance from co-workers. It may be necessary to reconfigure workspaces to adhere to this guideline. Modifications to support this distancing could include placement of visual cues such as floor decals, colored tape, or signs to indicate to individuals where they should stand while waiting. Directing the flow of traffic in and out of spaces can also aid in distancing. Offices may want to place one-way directional signage for large open workspaces with multiple through-ways to increase distance between employees moving through the space. Rearranging furniture may be necessary to achieve proper distancing. Not every space will have the same ability to operate in the same way. Decisions should be coordinated with campus facilities and area Vice Presidents.

Office Cleaning: Frequent disinfecting of common and high-traffic areas must become the new norm as Carthage works to return to in-person operations. Cleaning supplies will be provided by facilities for use. It is important to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (e.g., door handles, counters, common areas between use as much as possible. Members of the EVS staff will be doing their due diligence, but it will be important that each office develop a routine for high-touch areas.

Masks/Face Coverings: Additionally, employees should wear a face mask or face covering at all times while in a shared workspace/room. Masks/face coverings should also be used when inside any common areas where others are present, including hallways, bathrooms, break rooms, conference rooms, and other meeting locations where distancing cannot be maintained. This is for the safety of yourself, your coworkers, and the students that we interact with on a daily basis. Each Carthage employee will be issued one reusable face mask from Human Resources. Employees are also able to bring their own preferred mask/face covering. It will be the responsibility of the employee to properly care for masks/face coverings they are utilizing and supplement if additional masks are warranted. Human Resources will let employees know when masks are available for pick-up.

Gloves and Hand Washing: It is good practice to 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. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash your hands after touching your face. According to the CDC, gloves are not necessary for general use and do not replace good hand hygiene. Washing your hands often is considered the best practice for common everyday tasks.

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, Google Hangouts, telephone, etc.). Virtual meetings should continue to be the preferred method of meeting. Virtual meetings will be especially necessary in the early stages of returning to work as there will still be individuals working remotely. During your time on-site, you are encouraged to communicate with your colleagues and supervisors as needed by email, instant message, telephone or other available technology rather than face-to-face. You can also use a range of available collaboration tools (e.g. Zoom, Google Hangouts, 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. Departments should remove or rearrange chairs and tables or add visual cue marks in meeting rooms to support social distancing practices between attendees. At the moment the Kenosha Kick-start plan limits gatherings to no more than 10 people.

Personal Workspaces: Due to limited staffing and increased demands for cleaning/sanitizing, EVS staff will be focused on cleaning in the most critical areas of campus.  All staff will be responsible for cleaning their personal office spaces. The EVS team will equip offices and departments with sanitizing supplies (wipes or sprays and rags) and care should be taken to wipe down commonly used surfaces (desk surfaces, telephones, keyboards, door handles, etc.) before starting work each day. It is also advised that employees do not transport any unnecessary items to and from the workplace as to reduce exposure to contaminated surfaces.  Additionally, employees in offices will need to determine if trash receptacles are full to collect the bags, tie them and place them in the hallway outside the office suite door for pick up from an EVS staff member.  They should also insert the new trash bag.  If an office area needs to be vacuumed, please submit a work order through Schooldude.

Meals and Break Rooms: Employees should wash their hands thoroughly before and after eating to reduce the potential transmission of the virus. If dining on campus, employees should wear their mask or face covering until they are ready to eat and then replace it afterward. Campus eating establishments must meet requirements to allow at least 6 feet of distance between each individual, including lines and seating arrangements. Staff are encouraged to eat in less populated areas if this is reasonable for your situation. It is best to eat meals in private workstations where ever possible. We ask that employees adhere to 6ft of distancing in staff lounges. Signs will be posted to remind individuals of this requirement. Please remember to wipe your area with sanitizing wipes after you are finished with your meal. Additionally, due to the high volume of students that need to eat over the lunch hour, in particular, we ask that employees not eat in the general student dining spaces to help accommodate students.

Shared meals, catered food, and potlucks will be suspended on campus until conditions allow for us to bring this option back to campus.

Facilities and Facilities Use Modifications:

In preparation for reopening campus, a variety of modifications to facilities and the use of facilities — residential, academic, administrative, fine arts, and athletic/recreational will be made. These modifications will continue to be communicated to the campus community as they could change over time. Please be mindful of the instructions provided for the use of this space. Failure to do so could limit you from using these spaces in the future.

Campus Conduct Hotline:

As a reminder, the college subscribes to an anonymous way for employees to report campus issues. Carthage employees have the option to report concerns through an online portal. Employees can use this service to make your institution aware of concerns that they might be uncomfortable raising in any other way. These concerns may be about possible fraudulent, unethical, unlawful, or conduct in which you do not feel safe.  Submissions are confidential and can be submitted anonymously. You can access this reporting system here: https://www.intouchwebsite.com/index.asp?Lid=1&Cid=70944.

Events and Activities:  Internal and external camps and on-campus activities have been canceled through June. The institution will reevaluate July events mid-June.

Student Workers over the Summer: Some student employment will move forward this summer for necessary student employees. There are places around the college where this could be mutually beneficial. Just as we are not bringing back offices at full capacity, we are also not bringing back student employment at full capacity. Please request approval for summer student employees here:

https://app.smartsheet.com/b/form/3740890319834174ba67bd72794c75de.

Travel: Non-essential travel for the college is still suspended. Here is our current COVID travel policy

Visitors to Campus: In phase one visitors to campus will be limited to enrollment and athletic recruitment that will not exceed the Kenosha Kickstart guidelines of 10 individuals. We anticipate possible expansion of the policy in phase 2 of return to work.  Visit the Return to Work website to learn more.

Physical and Mental Well-being:

Carthage is doing its best to collect and disseminate information in timely ways that are meaningful as the health and safety of our community is our top priority. We realize that we are facing particularly stressful situations and want to make sure that we are able to support the health of our community both physically and mentally. Employees have access to a variety of services  Please find the following information as it relates to coverage under our benefits program:

Anthem Medical*: Anthem will continue to waive co-pays, coinsurance, and deductibles for the diagnostic test related to COVID-19. In addition, this will be extended to include a waiver of co-pays, coinsurance, and deductibles for visits associated with in-network COVID-19 testing, whether the care is received in a physician’s office, an urgent care center, or an emergency department.

Prescription Drug Plans*: Anthem is relaxing early prescription refill limits for members who wish to receive a 30-day supply of most maintenance medications, where permissible. Additionally, we want to continue to encourage you to talk to your doctor about whether changing from a 30-day supply to a 90-day supply, of any prescription medicines you take on a regular basis, is appropriate. Members filling 90-day prescriptions can obtain medications through home delivery pharmacies and, in some circumstances, select retail pharmacies. Please call the pharmacy services number on the back of your health plan ID card to learn more.

Telemedicine *: For 90 days, Anthem will waive any member cost share for telehealth visits, including visits for mental health, where permissible. Cost-sharing will be waived for members using Anthem’s telemedicine service, LiveHealth Online, as well as care received from other telehealth providers delivering virtual care. Access to LiveHealth Online as well as virtual care via text is available to members through the Sydney Care app. We recommend members use virtual care options when possible, as it can help prevent the spread of coronavirus and improve access to care. Virtual care is a safe and effective way for members to see a doctor to receive health guidance related to COVID-19 from your homes via smartphone, tablet, or computer. You can access video visits with doctors and mental health professionals free of charge through June 14, 2020.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)**: We understand that concern over the spread of coronavirus is growing, and you may experience stress and anxiety associated with it. If this is the case, we encourage you to leverage our Employee Assistance Program which can help whether you are experiencing your own issues coping with the outbreak or looking for guidance on how to talk about a pandemic with your children. Visit www.guidanceresources.com (Username: LFGsupport; Password: LFGsupport1) or call 888-628-4824 for more information.

Short-term Disability and Federal Leave of Absence: Carthage College employees are encouraged to follow normal leave of absence procedures during this time. If you are in need of ongoing leave, you may contact Lincoln Financial Group to request a leave. Please be aware that Lincoln Financial Group will review each leave request on a case-by-case basis since everyone’s circumstances are different during this ever-evolving situation.

*Available to all employees who are enrolled in one of our medical plans through Anthem.

**Available to all employees.