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The following is our return to campus plan for employees. If you have any questions, please contact us and someone from our Spring 2021 Planning Team will be in touch. 

Please see the 2020-2021 Employee COVID-19 and Campus Resources SharePoint site for additional resources and information.

Guiding Principles

The health and safety of our faculty, staff, students and the public is UW-Superior’s top priority for developing protocols to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and for returning our employees to the workplace.  

UW-Superior’s plan is aligned and consistent with local and state orders and guidance. Our plan follows recommendations from the federal government (Opening Guidelines), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, WI Department of Health Services, American College Health Association, and members of the UW-Superior Recovery Planning Team. 

We will continue to maintain reduced numbers of employees working on campus until restrictions for larger gatherings have been eased. 

Our knowledge and understanding of the COVID-19 virus continue to evolve. Therefore, our guidelines and plans will be updated appropriately as more information becomes available. Please visit our coronavirus microsite for additional COVID-19 information. 


Phased On-Campus Staffing

UW-Superior will phase in a return of employees in a coordinated process to ensure appropriate social distancing, availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and maintenance of healthy work conditions. The need to operate with fewer people on campus (lower density) to meet social distancing requirements will continue for some time.

Each department which intends to return employees to campus is required to submit a return to campus plan for approval by Risk Management, Supervisor, Cabinet Officer and Chancellor. Please see Appendix A and B for additional information. Plans must be submitted two weeks prior to bringing employees back on campus.

As on-site staffing increases and operations expand, university officials will closely monitor and assess the potential spread of the virus. Procedures will be reviewed and adjusted as necessary to help support the health and safety of the campus community.

Beginning July 1, 2020, UW-Superior employees will start to phase back into the workplace.

Phase One | Effective July 1, 2020

  • The determination for phase one will be based on operational needs with prioritization on cleaning and safety needs, student/patron support and customer service.

  • Phase one may also include employees who are not able to telecommute or have difficulty telecommuting due to limited internet capabilities and/or the nature of their work.

  • It is expected that by early August, all student-facing departments will be accessible for on-site customer service needs with at least one employee available during business hours.

  • Face coverings and social distancing are required.

  • Virtual meetings and telecommuting will continue.

Phase Two | Effective August 2020

  • Offices may add employees to the workplace if doing so complies with social distancing.

  • Faculty and instructional staff may return to campus upon approval of the provost.

  • Face coverings and social distancing are required.

  • Virtual meetings and telecommuting will continue.

Phase Three – To Be Determined in Consultation with Guiding Agencies 

  • Most employees return to campus, except for individuals who are in higher-risk categories with approved accommodation requests.

  • Face coverings and social distancing as appropriate.

  • Virtual meetings and telecommuting may continue to be necessary in order to maintain social distancing and operations.

Phase Four – When vaccination is available, or the risk of COVID-19 has substantially diminished  

  • All employees return to campus.

  • Face coverings and social distancing as appropriate.

  • Virtual meetings and telecommuting due to COVID-19 will no longer be necessary.

Alternative Staffing Options 

For those areas that have employees currently working on campus or will have employees requesting to return, there will be several options for departments to minimize in-person interactions and maintain safe practices.

Remote Work: If the employee can fulfill all their work responsibilities from home, they should continue to do so to maintain reduced numbers on campus. If the employee can only complete some of their work responsibilities from home, they should continue to do so and coordinate with their supervisor to complete an on-campus work request for review. This request will detail limited work hours/days on campus to complete necessary tasks only. All requests must be approved prior to coming on campus to complete work. All telecommuting arrangements will continue to be approved through the emergency telecommuting form until further notice. Please note that all previously completed teleworking agreements will be extended; only those that do not have a teleworking agreement.

If an employee has already been working on campus, working limited hours to complete tasks on campus, or approved to conduct research on campus, they will continue to do so, but please note access hours/days may need to change to coordinate the necessary return of others in the same work area.

Alternating Days: For departments or work areas that will have multiple individuals completing work tasks on campus, scheduling partial staff on alternating days will minimize contact between employees. This will be especially important in areas with large common workspaces to maintain social distancing and to limit the number of individuals and interactions among those on campus.

COVID-19 Safety Training

The best way to provide a common understanding about expectations is to implement an educational and training program which orients and equips our campus community to be successful and safe. Each member of our campus community will receive an email with information on how to access this mandatory training. 

Two levels of training are available to employees. 

1. Full-time 12 month employees:  COVID-19 Basics Training*

  • We are requiring all employees, regardless of whether they are telecommuting or spending time on campus, to complete a mandatory training module on COVID-19 Basics and safety protocols so that everyone has a common basis of understanding of the virus, safe behaviors, and what we should expect from each other. 
  • Employees will receive an email with instructions and a link to the Canvas course.  

2. Instructor Community: COVID-19 Basics Plus – Instructor Edition

  • We recognize that instructors will have unique roles in the fall class environments. In order to help our instructor community address the unique situations encountered in the classroom and working with students, training will integrate:
    • A module of the COVID-19 Basics training
    • PLUS two additional modules related to culture of care/citizenship development during COVID in Fall, intervention strategies and conflict resolution 101 for handling non-compliance, and helping students be successful in classes. 
  • This is a mandatory training and a certificate of completion will be provided once an instructor completes it. 
  • This training will also be made available to student facing areas who may wish to have an additional resource on how to orient and interface effectively with students.

Steps to Opening Your Department

Each department must complete a set of steps to open and they must receive approval after an assessment is completed by Risk Assessment. Campus departments that have been operating during the Safer at Home order should also review these steps to ensure their operations comply with the new requirements.

  1. Review all requirements for your department in this document and discuss your plan to open with your dean/division leader.

  2. Research and understand recommendations provided by your professional organizations.

  3. Refer to CDC, OSHA and WEDC for specific recommendations related to your department. 

  4. Review and implement each of the checklists provided in the appendices of this guide.

  5. Complete a fiscal review of your unit to determine if it is financially feasible to open your unit while following the requirements of this document.

  6. Complete the Return to Campus Plan located in Appendix A of this guide and submit your final request to Lindsey Dahlberg for approval.

  7. Once approval is granted, you may proceed to implement your plan.

Safety Responsibility 

Department leaders will be responsible for ensuring their unit follows applicable safety guidelines, including the checklists provided in the appendices of this guide. Failure to adhere to the provisions of this document may result in appropriate disciplinary action as provided under existing procedures applicable to students, faculty, and staff, and/or civil or criminal prosecution. Some departments may have industry-specific CDC, OSHA, or other governing body requirements that must also be followed. Please refer to Appendix C for more information. 

Symptom Monitoring Requirement

Employees returning to the workplace must conduct symptom monitoring every day and be symptom-free before reporting to work. Employees should stay home when sick. Daily symptom monitoring includes:

  • Taking your temperature before you report to work and reporting any fever to your supervisor.

  • Reporting any exposure to COVID-19 positive individuals, respiratory symptoms, sore throat, or dry cough to your supervisor. Supervisors should report this information to Human Resources. 

If an employee reports any of these conditions, the supervisor must require that the employee stay home, and the employee should seek guidance from their healthcare provider.

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear between 2-14 days after contact with someone who has COVID-19. Currently, these symptoms include one or more of the following:

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

  • Fever

  • Chills

  • Muscle pain

  • Sore throat

  • New loss of taste or smell

  • Headache

  • Fatigue

  • New gastrointestinal symptoms

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to people being severely sick and dying. If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop symptoms, call your healthcare provider for medical advice, including whether or not you should be COVID-19 tested.

Employees with these symptoms should not come to work until they are free of fever, signs of a fever, AND respiratory symptoms (for example, cough, shortness of breath) for at least three days (72 hours) without the use of fever-reducing medicine AND seven days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

Individuals being tested for COVID-19 should self-isolate until cleared by the test results. Individuals should notify their supervisor if they are getting tested and remain in contact when self-isolating and awaiting test results. Use of sick, vacation, personal holiday or COVID leave will be handled pursuant to existing UW System and UW-Superior policies and procedures.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), individuals with certain conditions may have a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 infection. Those conditions may include:

  • Older adults (aged 65+ years)

  • People with HIV

  • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)

  • Chronic lung disease

  • Diabetes

  • Serious heart conditions

  • Chronic kidney disease treated with dialysis

  • Severe obesity

  • Being immunocompromised

Employees who have been instructed to return to work on-site and have concerns about doing so due to a medical condition that places them in a higher risk group, those who are pregnant, or those who wish to seek ADA Reasonable Accommodations should complete the ADA Disability Accommodation Request. 


University-funded travel remains suspended with limited exceptions for essential travel with Chancellor approval. Employees are also encouraged to limit non-essential personal travel. Employees are encouraged to review the WI Department of Health Services and CDC websites prior to travel for the latest travel guidance.

Working in Office Environments

Maintain at least six feet distance from coworkers if you work in an open office environment. There should be at least one workspace separating you from another coworker, if possible. You should always wear a face covering while in a shared workspace/room. Face coverings are not required if an employee is alone in their office.

Whenever possible, departments should eliminate shared items in the workplace (e.g., lotions, sprays, pens, markers, shared kitchen supplies). Offices that need to provide shared pens for their patrons should only allow for single-use and must disinfect the pens after each use. A best practice is to maintain a container for disinfected pens and a container for used pens. It is recommended that these containers be clearly marked using labels. Office doors are recommended to remain open to prevent unnecessary contact with high touch surfaces. Please note if a fire alarm is activated, doors need to be closed while evacuating the office.

When completing the Return to Campus plan (Appendix A), departments should assess open work environments and meeting rooms to institute measures to physically separate and increase the distance between employees, other coworkers and patrons. Generally, if you work in an office, no more than one person should be in the same room unless the required six feet distance can be consistently maintained.

Communications, Signage & Training

Signs reminding employees about proper handwashing, coughing/sneezing etiquette, face-covering safe practices, etc., will be posted at entrances, restrooms and common areas as a reminder. Information will continue to be posted on the UWS coronavirus microsite and employees should check it periodically for updates and information.

All employees that work on campus will complete an online COVID-19 awareness training in Canvas. The same training will be completed by all employees prior to returning to campus.

Using Restrooms

The use of restrooms will be limited based on restroom size to ensure at least six feet between individuals. As always, employees should wash their hands thoroughly to reduce the potential transmission of the virus.

Using Elevators

Generally, no more than one person may use an elevator at a time. Signs will be posted by all elevators to remind people of this requirement. If you are able to do so, please use the stairs whenever possible. Since elevator cars are enclosed spaces with less ventilation, employees must wear a face covering. Avoid touching the elevator buttons with your exposed hand/fingers. It is recommended that individuals wash their hands or use hand sanitizer after departing the elevator.


Meetings will continue to be held via Zoom, WebEx, Microsoft Teams, conference call, etc. Only when necessary should there be an in-person meeting. In-person meetings require that all observe social distancing of at least six feet between participants. There will be a maximum of 10 participants, and when possible, those that can attend via alternate modality should do so. Meeting rooms and work areas will be rearranged and visual cue markers to indicate where participants will be to maintain distance. All in-person attendants should wear a face covering while sharing a common space.

Regular communications between colleagues and departments should continue to be done utilizing email, messenger software, telephone or other technologies.

Multipurpose Rooms

The use of multipurpose rooms will be limited based on room size to ensure at least six feet between individuals. Individuals should always wear a face covering while in a shared workspace/room. As always, individuals should wash their hands thoroughly to reduce the potential transmission of the virus, in situations where access to soap and water is not feasible, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.


Promote healthy hygiene practices before and after eating to reduce the potential transmission of the virus. This includes:

  • Wearing a face covering until you are ready to eat and replacing it after finished.

  • Washing hands before and after eating.

  • Maintaining six feet distance between others, including in lines and seating arrangements.

  • Not sitting directly across from other individuals.

  • Not sharing food or utensils with others.

  • Cleaning and disinfecting any shared or common items before and after use (again, beyond furniture and fixtures, it is recommended that these be removed from shared spaces).

  • Promoting social distancing in common areas with visual cues, rearranging furniture, removing chairs, etc.

Cleaning and Disinfecting

SSC custodial staff have been cleaning and disinfecting campus buildings more frequently to reduce the spread of pathogens via frequently touched surfaces. However, it is impossible for custodial staff alone to perform these functions with the frequency and extent needed. Every member of the UWS community has a joint responsibility for sanitation in their own work area and when using shared resources (e.g., meeting rooms, commonly touched surfaces, etc.). Disinfecting wipes (or disinfecting spray and paper towels) will be provided in these areas so occupants can do their part to prevent surface transmission of pathogens.

Reception desks and check-in areas will be equipped with plexiglass barriers and furniture/chairs will be rearranged or removed to maintain social distancing. Face coverings will be required where multiple people could be occupying the area. Hand sanitizer will be provided in these areas for employees and those receiving services. Those working at the reception desk will be responsible for disinfecting their work area and counter.

  • Any counter where customers will be visiting for services will have a taped line on the floor indicating six feet from the worker behind the counter. The counter can be within that six feet if workers can maintain distance. A sign will be posted instructing customers to remain behind the line while transactions or assistance is provided. Additional markers will be placed on the floor when high traffic is expected to help customers identify a six foot distance while in line.

  • If employees are going to be interacting with the public and social distancing cannot be maintained, they will be required to wear a face covering of some sort (fabric or disposable mask or face shield). We will provide all employees with reusable cloth face coverings, however employees may use their own cloth face coverings. Employees need to take care in not touching the front of the mask when putting it on and off. Masks should be handled by the ear loops. These steps will reduce the likelihood of contaminating hands.

  • If employees will be handling credit cards and cash, they will have to sanitize their hands after each customer or wear gloves. If there is no sanitizer at the counter currently or they run out, send an email request to facilities management.

  • It is recommended to wear gloves if employees will be handling large volumes of materials. Employees should refrain from touching their faces while wearing gloves.  Once gloves are removed, the employee will wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds; when soap and water are not available, they will use hand sanitizer.

  • Credit cards and cash should be set down on the counter and not passed hand-to-hand. Online transactions should be completed when possible.

  • Sanitizer spray and paper towels will be used to clean the counter regularly based on usage. Employees should also clean any shared writing utensils when wiping down the counter.

  • Workstations and electronic registers shall be cleaned between shift changes to ensure the next employee has a clean workstation.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Face Coverings  

In accordance with UW System recommendations, face coverings (such as masks or face shields for those who need an accommodation) are required in all indoor public spaces with limited exceptions and outside if social distancing cannot be maintained.

Face coverings will be worn by all employees and visitors unless they have a health condition that limits their ability to wear one. Face coverings are not required when an individual is alone in their office; however, they are required when in the presence of others and in common areas. This includes common workspaces, meeting rooms, hallways, restrooms, elevators, and classrooms. Face coverings are also required outside if social distancing cannot be maintained.

Each employee will be provided two face masks for use on campus. Information on where employees can pick up their masks will be available soon.

Face shields will also be available for use on campus and wear employees forget their face covering. If a replacement shield is needed, please contact the Environmental Health & Safety Office.   

Disposable masks may only be worn for one day and then must be placed in the trash.  

Cloth face coverings should only be worn for one day at a time and must be properly laundered before use again. Having a one-week supply of cloth face coverings can help reduce the need for daily laundering. 

See details regarding mask use and care below.  


Use and care of face coverings

The CDC website details how to createwear and care for home-made face coverings. 

Putting on the face covering/disposable mask:  

  • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer prior to handling the face covering/disposable mask.

  • Ensure the face covering/disposable mask fits over the nose and under the chin.

  • Situate the face covering/disposable mask properly with nose wire snug against the nose (where applicable).

  • Use hand sanitizer

  • Tie straps behind the head and neck or loop around the ears.

  • Throughout the process: Avoid touching the front of the face covering/disposable mask.

Taking off the face covering/disposable mask: 

  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when removing the face covering/disposable mask.

  • When taking off the face covering/disposable mask, loop your finger into the strap and pull the strap away from the ear, or untie the straps.

  • Wash hands immediately after removing, if not available use hand sanitizer.

Care, storage and laundering: 

  • Keep face coverings/disposable mask stored in a paper bag when not in use.

  • Cloth face coverings may not be used more than one day at a time and must be washed after use. Cloth face coverings should be properly laundered with regular clothing detergent before first use, and after each day. Cloth face coverings should be replaced immediately if soiled, damaged (e.g. ripped, punctured) or visibly contaminated.

  • Disposable masks must not be used for more than one day and should be placed in the trash after your shift or if it is soiled, damaged (e.g., stretched ear loops, torn or punctured material) or visibly contaminated.

Special Note on PPE  

Unique departmental needs for other products required to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection and to maintain a healthy work environment may be directed to the Environmental Health & Safety Office. Due to the limited availability of PPE, the ordering of PPE by departments will require approval by Environmental Health & Safety. 

Personal Hygiene Practices

Coughing/Sneezing Hygiene

If in a private setting and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember to always 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 percent alcohol.


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 percent alcohol. Cover 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.

Hand Sanitizer Availability

Generally, most individuals will be able to maintain hand hygiene by properly washing their hands with soap and water from the restroom and department sinks. In situations where access to soap and water is not feasible, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

Hand Sanitizing Stations

Hand sanitizing stations will be positioned at building entrances and other high-traffic areas. Employees should “tap-in and tap-out,” using hand sanitizer upon entering and exiting buildings and offices. If you identify a hand sanitizer station that is inoperable, please submit an email to facilities management.

Mental and Emotional Wellbeing

Employees seeking assistance or support can reach out by calling VITAL WorkLife at any time 24/7 at 1-800-383-1908 and someone will answer. Their staff will ask for basic information such as your name and employer and then will connect you with an EAP Consultant who will talk with you and assess your needs.

Counseling & coaching services helping you face work and life challenges

VITAL WorkLife’s free counseling and coaching services are provided by master’s- and doctorate-level licensed professionals. They encourage face-to-face sessions, but also conduct counseling sessions by phone. They’ll do whatever is most comfortable and convenient for you.

They can help with a wide variety of issues, including but not limited to:

  • Marital and relationship problems

  • Depression, stress and anxiety reduction

  • Drug and alcohol abuse

  • Parenting and child concerns

  • Anger

  • Grief and loss

  • Interpersonal conflict at work or home

  • Legal and financial problems

The Pruitt Center for Mindfulness and Well-Being is also available for assistance at 715-394-8094.

Social Distancing

COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through respiratory droplets when an infected individual coughs, talks or sneezes. These droplets can extend about 3-6 feet from the infected person. Maintaining six feet from others is one of the best ways to prevent being exposed to the COVID-19 virus and slowing its spread. COVID-19 may be spread by individuals not showing any symptoms.

Social distancing is one of the best ways to avoid being exposed to the COVID-19 virus and slowing the spread. Since people can spread the virus without knowing they are sick, social distancing is critical. Remember, it is important to help protect those who are at higher risk of getting very sick. Staff on campus will follow these social distancing practices:

  • Stay at least six feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people at all times

  • Do not gather in groups of 10 or more

  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings