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Eberly College of Science

Return to work on campus guidelines

Life Sciences Bridge at the University Park campus during the spring.

At this time, employees who can effectively work remotely should continue to do so until further notice. In the event of a return to work of staff on campus, the university, through the Return to Work task force, has created a comprehensive set of guidelines to assist with the process. This information can be found at and on the EHS website. To assist with this decision-making process, the college’s Return to Work committee has identified those pieces of the university guidelines most helpful to the process and summarized them below. These websites will be updated on a regular basis by University officials.

As the Eberly College of Science anticipates a future return to campus, we must remain flexible and think creatively about on-site work adjustments. The health and safety of our employees, students, and visitors on campus is our highest priority.

As a return to campus decision is made by the university, a phased approach will be employed. This will allow for a coordinated and controlled return of employees. The college also wants to ensure that plans are in place for social distancing, that employees have access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and personal hygiene supplies, and that appropriate cleaning and disinfectant procedures have been established.

  • During each phase, units will need to determine who needs to work on campus and who can continue to work remotely.
Phases 1-3

FAQs for Working on Campus

All employees whose work can be accomplished remotely will continue to work from home until further notice. In the event that a return to campus is necessary, supervisors should use these guidelines in conjunction with the Leadership Toolkit (emailed directly to supervisors) and the decision tree below to inform their decision making for return to work on campus planning.  

For additional information, supervisors should contact their Department Head or the Eberly Human Resources Office. No office or department within the college should increase staffing levels without the supervisor’s approval and completion of the proper Return to Work Authorization form. Once a decision to expand on-site staffing has been made, all employees are expected to follow the protocols and guidelines detailed in this document.

Return to workplace decision tree
  1. Addressing Workplace Concerns:

    • Employees who have concerns about returning to work due to medical concerns that place them or a member of their household in a higher risk group or who wish to seek other accommodations should contact their supervisor. or the HR office.
    • Managers should work with their employees to provide flexibility, stability, and appropriate working environments (on-campus or remote).

B.  Refusal to Return to Work:

  • If an employee refuses to return to work on-site, the supervisor should attempt to resolve the matter informally with the employee. If unable to resolve, please contact the Eberly Human Resources Office. 
  • If informal accommodations cannot be agreed upon between supervisor and employee, the supervisor will need to reach out to their local HR unit to begin a formal process for addressing the situation.

All faculty, staff and students are expected to follow the health and safety guidelines identified below in order to protect themselves and others on campus.

A. Wear face masks/cloth face coverings

  • Face masks or face coverings must be worn by all employees and students working on campus when in the presence of others and in a public setting where social distancing measures can be difficult to maintain (i.e. common workspaces, meeting rooms, classrooms, etc.). The appropriate use of face masks or coverings is critical for minimizing risks to others. According to the CDC, you can spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. The mask or face covering is NOT a substitute for social distancing.
  • Masks may be removed when alone in a private office however it must be worn at all other times.

B. Social Distancing

Maintaining space between you and others is one of the best tools to use to avoid being exposed to the COVID-19 virus and slowing its spread.  Since the CDC guidelines indicate 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 a higher risk of getting sick. Staff working on-site MUST follow these social distancing practices:  

  • Always stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people. 
  • Do not gather in groups of 10 or more 
  • Always stay out of crowded spaces and avoid mass gatherings  
  • Avoid or limit contact with as many surface areas as possible   
  • Avoid sharing tools, phones, desks, and other objects in the workplace  

C. Handwashing (Personal Hygiene) (Page 2 of Leadership Toolkit)

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (singing Happy Birthday two times) especially after you have been in a public place or after blowing your nose.  
  • If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol covering all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.  
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash your hands after touching your face.  
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues into trash cans.
  • Stay home when you are sick and notify your supervisor immediately.  
  • Further guidance can be found here:
Stay Well
Stay masked apart clean home covered

D. Monitor Your Health

Self-symptom monitoring is critical for the protection of all who are on campus and should be done every day before reporting to work. Below is the list of symptoms as outlined by the CDC.  If you are experiencing any symptoms, please follow the CDC guidelines here. If you are feeling sick, please notify your manager and stay at home.

Do you have any of the following COVID-19 symptoms? OR at least TWO of these symptoms  


Shortness of Breath


Repeated Shaking with Chills  
New loss of taste or smell  
Muscle Pain  
Sore Throat   


E. Cleaning/Disinfecting

  • Clean frequently touched solid surfaces when you arrive at work and when you leave at the end of the day and additionally as needed.
  • Departments/units should develop a cleaning schedule for their area to determine who will conduct the cleaning. Doing so will help to conserve cleaning supplies.
  • Employees should keep their workplace clutter-free and wipe down their workspace at the end of each day.
  • Develop procedures within the office to assist with cleaning protocols OPP Cleaning and Disinfecting Procedures
  • Computer Cleaning Tips
  • The following protocols will be taken across the University:
    • Hygiene stations
    • Plexiglass (Where needed)
    • Signage
    • Physical distancing signage

A. Restrooms:

  • Use of restrooms should be limited based on size to ensure at least 6 feet distance between individuals
  • Sanitize or wash hands upon entering and/or departing the restroom

B. Elevators and Stairwells

  • When using the elevator, ensure that you are wearing your mask or face covering and avoid touching the elevator button with your exposed hand or finger.
  • When using the stairwells maintain 6 feet social distancing when possible. Do not congregate in stairwells for discussions with other personnel.
  • Sanitize or wash hands upon entering and/or departing the elevator or stairwell.

A.          Reporting COVID-19 cases.

  • If you or someone you know have suspected or confirmed a COVID-19 diagnosis in your work unit, please report this to your supervisor. Supervisors will have access to a COVID-19 Reporting Tool which has been prepared by the Office for Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) in coordination with University Health Services and Occupational Medicine.
  • Supervisor Instructions for Reporting COVID-19

B.          Reporting Non-compliance 

  • If you have concerns or witness non-compliance within your work unit, please report this to your supervisor or facilities manager. 
  • Supervisor should remind employee to wear a mask and if non-compliance continues, disciplinary action may occur
  • The University is complying with the PA requirements for universal masking. ( If the employee has a medical reason or some other concern about wearing a mask, the current interactive process handled by Occupational Medicine should be utilized.