Employees Returning to Work for Fall Semester 2021: Questions and answers

What Will be Expected of Employees for the 2021 Fall Semester?

Will employees be returning to campus, and if so, when?

  • For those employees who have been working remotely during the pandemic, you are welcome to come back to work on campus at any time. All employees returned to work in person as of Monday, Aug. 2, with faculty back on contract beginning Sunday, Aug. 22.  All employees should consult with their supervisors about when they are expected to be back on campus.
  • As a reminder, any employees who return to campus are required to completed the return to campus form and must continue to follow the Flashes Safe 8.

May I still work remotely if I prefer? What about individuals who are higher risk for severe illness?

  • The university is currently developing a policy regarding telecommuting. Details of this policy are expected to be released in the coming weeks.

Can I reinstate my parking permit?

  • Yes, employees can reinstate their parking permits by contacting Parking and Transit Services at 330-672-4432 or by visiting the department’s website. Parking permits are valid from June 1 to May 31 and will be sold at a prorated rate to anyone who will not be on campus for a full year.

How will my department determine if our workspaces meet the COVID-19 requirements from the CDC?

What ongoing safeguards will be in place for employees? 

  • For up-to-date information on facial covering and physical distancing requirements, please visit the Facial Covering and Physical Distancing Guidelines.
  • In addition, the university architect’s office has made many space adaptations across campus to increase safety.

Can employees hold in-person meetings or must they be remote?

  • In-person meetings can occur in accordance with health requirements and the Flashes Prevention Information, which addresses facial coverings and physical distancing. Attendees must wear a face covering and all seating in meetings must be at least 3 feet apart. When determining the need for an in-person meeting, consider campus location, number of participants and availability of technology in the room space before scheduling.

This is all very stressful. Where can I get help? 

The Employee Wellness Office provides services and resources to support Kent State faculty and staff physically, mentally and emotionally. Because there can be many sources of stress, many of the educational resources, programming and training focus on how to build and enhance stress and resilience. IMPACT Solutions can assist with stress, anxiety, depression, child and eldercare needs, marital concerns, financial planning, substance abuse and a variety of other issues. IMPACT services are confidential and provided by credentialed professionals. Many services can now be offered remotely, which provides additional convenience and flexibility to busy schedules as well as eliminates travel barriers.

To access these online resources, visit www.MyIMPACTSolution.com, click “Member Portal & App,” and enter company code kenteap, on initial login. For more information please visit the Employee Wellness-Impact Solutions page for additional instructions. You can reach IMPACT directly at 1-800-227-6007. IMPACT is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. For more information on what additional resources may be available, please contact the Employee Wellness Office at 330-672-7505 or wellness@kent.edu. More information can be found on the wellness webpage at www.kent.edu/hr/wellness

What Changes Can I Expect on Campus for Increased Safety?

What modifications will be made to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to help prevent the spread of COVID-19?   

The university is following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) that relate to the university’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, university Facilities Management has extensively researched these issues and has consulted with appropriate healthcare professionals to prepare the document titled Kent State University – COVID-19 HVAC Response.  All HVAC concerns should be brought to the attention of the Building Curator and entered in  FlashTrack.  At the Regional Campuses and the College of Podiatric Medicine, please contact your facilities manager on-site.  

What cleaning requirements must I adhere to?

Please refer to the cleaning enhancements and requirements: questions and answers.

I have my own separate office or work area, who will clean my office/workspace?

Please refer to the cleaning enhancements and requirements: questions and answers.

What is the protocol for using the bathroom in a public building? 

Signage is being installed to encourage proper distancing. Hand-washing signage is also being placed in bathrooms. Bathrooms with doors that swing inward will be fitted with a foot handle. 

Will signage be provided? 

Signage for common areas, such as classrooms, entrances, restrooms, elevators, etc., will be installed at all campuses/locations. Printable signage for individual office suites and workspaces can be found via this link from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/communication/print-resources.html?Sor...

When I am working/returning on campus, what kind of changes will be in effect?  

Consistent with the Flashes Safe Eight principles, you will see additional health and safety precautions in work and classroom spaces. These include the use of face coverings by faculty, staff, students and visitors; increased cleaning protocols; physical distancing; and self-monitoring guidelines. For health questions about COVID-19, call University Health Services at 330-672-2322, or after hours, contact the Kent State Nurse Line at 330-672-2326. Visit the university’s coronavirus information page for more information. 

Read more about other safety guidelines

Questions About Use of Face Coverings

If I am alone in my office space, must I wear a face covering?  

The answer to this question depends on your office space. If your office space is shared and there are no barriers to prevent air currents between you and others (e.g., a cubicle, open work area), you must continue to wear a face covering. Employees in enclosed workspaces (e.g., a single-person office with the door closed) with no other person in their workspace may remove their face covering. It is very important to note that a face covering must be used when leaving your personal office space and any situation when interaction with other employees will occur.

How do we eat lunch if we can't take face coverings off at desks and the kitchen break areas are closed?

You will need to use good judgment about where you take off your face covering so as to ensure you are not in close contact with someone else.

Can we take face coverings off to drink water throughout the day?

See above about using good judgment.

Where do staff go for a face covering break? How often do they get a face covering break?  

There are no designated face covering-free areas. Again, you will need to apply the guidelines and good judgment.

How do we talk on the phone while wearing a face covering?  

Depending on where you work, you may or may not need to use a face covering when on the phone at your workstation.

are there tips for choosing a face covering?

If I am interested in face coverings beyond the one provided to me by Kent State, what should I consider? When selecting a face covering and verifying best practices for how to wear a face covering, please see this CDC web page. Per the CDC, bandanas are not suitable face coverings as they are too thin and too loose to provide the needed protection.