Transition resources among the topics covered at APAC/CSC reentry meeting
Increasing compliance with measures such as social distancing and wearing face coverings and ensuring a fast and effective response to positive COVID-19 cases are among the most critical components of a successful reentry to campus, leaders said at a meeting last week.
More than 300 people joined a virtual meeting held June 30 by the Appointed Professionals Advisory Council and the Classified Staff Council in which leaders gave reentry-related updates and fielded questions from employees.
Four University leaders participated: Steve Holland, chief risk officer, Christopher Kopach, assistant vice president for facilities management, Amanda Kraus, assistant vice president for campus life, and Chante Martin, interim assistant vice president for human resources at University of Arizona Health Sciences.
"Understandably, there is a lot of interest in how the campus will move back into more in-person operations and how it will impact them," Jennifer Lawrence, APAC chair and business and finance manager in the Department of Neuroscience, told those who joined the meeting. "We wanted staff to have an opportunity to hear information directly from the people who are working on the solutions and be able to ask them questions. With so many of us working remotely, offering regular opportunities to come together and discuss common interests and share information is essential."
Following their updates, the leaders answered questions from employees. Some of the questions, and the answers, are outlined below.
What are Facilities Management and Risk Management doing to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and what will the team do in the case of a positive case?
Custodial workers will increase classroom cleaning frequency from three to five times per week, Kopach said. In addition, Facilities Management will distribute sneeze guards, signs outlining precautionary measures, disinfectant and bottles of hand sanitizer for us in buildings throughout campus.
When a positive case is reported, he said, the FM team will be ready.
"I will automatically get an alert notice, along with several of my staff, and that will initially make us move toward getting our 'germ busters' ready to go into those areas within an hour and do a deep disinfection," Kopach said.
Holland said Risk Management's Safe Workforce Return Team has developed a four-tier "hierarchy of controls" – or practices – being used to prevent spread. The tiers are:
- Elimination – Physical distancing, working from home, not coming in if you're sick, reducing the number of people in classrooms and offices, hybrid course offerings.
- Engineering controls – Ventilation, physical barriers like plexiglass, enhanced cleaning schedules.
- Administrative controls – Disinfection, rotating in-person work schedules, personal hygiene.
- Personal protective equipment – Use of respirators, gloves and protective clothing.
Does Facilities Management plan to hire additional custodial staff to help with the load?
At this point, Kopach said, there are no plans to hire additional staff. Instead, FM is looking at which buildings may or may not reopen and will reallocate staff accordingly. Custodial staff members are receiving time-and-a-half hazard pay for the time they work in particularly high-risk situations, he added.
If someone is unable to wear a face covering, how should that be handled?
Employees who have trouble with face coverings can be referred to the Disability Resource Center, which will work with them on alternatives, Kraus said. Because a wide variety of face coverings and shields are acceptable, it will be a "rare instance" when, based on disability, someone would not be able to wear any face covering at all, she added.
She suggested following up with concerned students or employees privately, rather than calling them out in a classroom or office.
Kraus emphasized that it is important for supervisors to model appropriate behavior by wearing face coverings and practicing social distancing.
Will supervisors be provided with any resources to help with the transition when employees return to campus?
Human Resources at University of Arizona Health Sciences is developing training to help supervisors throughout the University address employee concerns about reentry, Martin said. The training, she explained, will focus on helping supervisors become "reentry knowledgeable" by displaying empathy, promoting wellness while respecting privacy, and providing flexible work options.
A recording of the meeting is available online.