Risk Management and Emergency Preparedness

Western: Return to Work Plan

Updated August 21, 2020 4:27pm - Office of Risk Management & Emergency Preparedness

Western Illinois University is committed to the faculty, students, and staff of this great institution and developed a safe and detailed plan to allow employees to return to work. This plan follows closely the "Restore Illinois" procedures as outlined and provided by Illinois Governor JB Pritkzer.

Restore Illinois Plan

WIU Multi-Stage Approach Guidelines


Daily COVID-19 Self-Check

Beginning Monday, Aug. 24, members of the Western Illinois University community will be required to answer COVID-related questions and take their temperature through an online self-checker before coming to campus. This self-evaluation provides a more thorough assessment of health monitoring than does the temperature check stations on campus, which will be discontinued. Employees who work evening or weekend hours will no longer need supervisors to call into the Office of Public Safety (OPS) before arriving on campus.

All employees must complete the questionnaire at wiu.edu/selfcheck/ . Completion of the self-checker will be required each day (including weekends) that an individual will be on campus property. In support of medical records requirements, medical data will not be stored. Compliance will be monitored and individuals failing to complete the self-evaluation will be notified.

Individuals who do not have access to complete the self-checker before arriving on-campus can do so at a kiosk station located at the Office of Public Safety (OPS Mowbray Hall). Visitor's/guests/contractors will be required to fill out the self-checker before coming to campus. Delivery personnel (i.e. mail, parcel, food delivery) will not be subject to the self-check process.

Sodexo Food Service Employees who are not students will continue with their assessment process and will not need to do the self-checker. Food Service Employees who are registered students of WIU will be directed to do WIU self-checker.

If information is received indicating that a student may have been exposed or has symptoms related to COVID-19, they will be contacted by a member of the Beu Health Center or Student Development and Success Center for follow-up and consultation. Faculty and staff will be directed to their health care provider for further guidance.


* It's important to note that while the Governor's plan for the state is being followed, Western Illinois University's multi-stage approach is what campus employees should be following as we progress from phase to phase. Employees may find that some of the procedures outlined in a specific phase of the WIU plan may be stricter than that of the Governor's plan. The purpose behind this is to provide the campus community enough time to implement the next progressive phase and ultimately to keep staff safe.

Control Plans

We ask that departments compile a detailed Return to Work plan, utilizing the guidance and information provided in the multi-staged approach and additional health and safety information. This plan should be submitted through the appropriate supervisor and then to the Office of Risk Management and Emergency Preparedness at RMEP@wiu.edu for final approval.

Frequently Asked Questions

Staff Questions

When will staff who have been working remotely return to campus?

The university has developed a plan for the reintegration of staff to the campus using a multi- stage approach that follows direction from the federal government, Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Governor J.B. Pritzker, Illinois Department of Public Health, and the Rock Island County and McDonough County health departments.

Employees are encouraged to reference the WIU Return to Work Plan: A Multi-Stage Approach above for full details and procedures. As recommendations and regulations are ever-changing, the guidelines provided in the plan will be updated as necessary.

What will be expected of employees who return to work on campus?

  • Adhere to safety protocols: wear face coverings in common/public spaces, wash hands frequently for no less than 20 seconds, maintain social distance, etc.
  • Clean areas and equipment as noted under safety precautions.
  • Avoid using other employee’s phones or equipment and sharing items that are not easily cleansed, sanitized or disinfected.
  • Close public and/or common areas such as breakrooms and conference rooms to minimize contact by multiple people.
  • Hold meetings virtually.
  • Pay attention to your health. If you are sick or believe you may have been exposed, stay home and follow your doctor’s instructions. Employees who suspect they have or been diagnosed with COVID-19 should not report to work and follow instructions from health officials.

Can my supervisor require me to work on campus?

  • Yes, if your director or dean determines that you are needed to support on-campus operations you must report to work on-campus.
  • Staff members who have been instructed to return to work on-site and have concerns due to a medical condition that places them in a higher risk group and/or those who wish to seek temporary ADA Reasonable Accommodations related to returning to work, should fill out this form which will be submitted to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access.
  • Employees who have questions regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which provides leave of absence options for certain reasons related to COVID-19, should email HR-COVID@wiu.edu.

What if I need additional reasonable accommodations due to underlying conditions outlined by the CDC?

Western Illinois University EOA and Human Resources Offices will work with employees who need additional accommodations to the best of their abilities. Employees should fill the following form to begin this process: https://bit.ly/WIUCovidAccommodations.

What if I want to come part-time, or just one or two days a week? 

Employees will need to work with their supervisors as they have the discretion to approve individual requests.

I want to return to campus to work. Can I do so?

Directors and deans will have discretion to physically staff offices based on need and in accordance with the WIU Return to Work Plan. During each phase of the Return to Work Plan, a different percentage of workforce is permissible in each department/office on campus. Employees should work with their supervisor to be considered as decisions are made.

I would prefer to continue working from home and my presence on campus isn’t necessary to the operations of my office. May I still work at home? 

The supervisors of each area/department/office have discretion to approve individual requests. In reviewing these requests, consider the employee’s effectiveness while working at home and the staffing and other needs of the office. To the extent reasonable, supervisors are encouraged to allow employees who meet these criteria to continue working remotely.

Will visitors be allowed?

Offices are encouraged to assist visitors remotely to the best of their abilities. Understanding that there may be situations where an in-person appointment may need to occur, offices should follow social distancing practices and everyone involved must have a face covering on.

Operations Questions

What is the Return to Work Plan?

The Return to Work Plan is a multi-stage employee reintegration plan that was developed specifically for WIU to assist with the reopening of campus and bringing employees back to work. While the WIU Return to Work Plan does follow the Governor's plan for the state to a large degree, Western Illinois University's plan does provide different protocols and procedures for employees. The purpose behind this is to provide the campus community enough time to implement the next progressive phase and ultimately to keep staff safe. Employees are encouraged to review the plan in full detail here.

A Brief Outline of the WIU Return to Work Plan:

  • STAGE I: WELLNESS:
    Telecommuting should be used when the majority of work can be effectively performed remotely. For employees who are unable to effectively perform the majority of work from a remote location, or if the work demands of an office changes due to evolving campus operations, the following guidelines are suggested:
    • Set alternating schedules so no more than 25% of total office staff are in the office each week or on a given day.
      • Weekly alternating “Purple” and “Gold” schedules (i.e., first week “Gold” team and following week “Purple” team, etc.).
      • Daily alternating “Purple” and “Gold” schedules (i.e., Monday, Wednesday, alternating Fridays; Tuesday, Thursday, alternating Fridays).
    • All meetings should be held via electronic methods when possible.
    • Supervisors should evaluate the work office environment and employee work schedules and prepare for an increased in-person work schedule in following stages.
  • STAGE II: INTEGRATE:
    Telecommuting should be used when the majority of work can be effectively performed remotely. For employees who are unable to effectively perform the majority of work from a remote location, the following guidelines are suggested:
    • Set alternating schedules so no more than 50% of total office staff are in the office each week or on a given day.
      • Add employees to established “Purple” and “Gold” schedules. 
    • In-person meetings and events of less than 10 people are allowed.
    • Encourage virtual office hours or appointment scheduling to limit exposure.
    • Supervisors should evaluate the work office environment and employee work schedules and prepare for an increased in-person work schedule in the following stage.
  • STAGE III: UNIFY:
    Telecommuting is encouraged, and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis in consultation with supervisors when the majority of work can be effectively performed remotely. For employees who report to campus to work, the following guidelines are suggested:
    • Set alternating schedules so no more than 75% of total office staff are in the office each week or on a given day.
      • Add employees to established “Purple” and “Gold” schedules, potentially mixing the two as restrictions are lifted.
    • In-person meetings and events of less than 50 people are allowed.
    • Continue to use virtual options for meetings and conduct business electronically as much as possible.
    • Supervisors should evaluate the work office environment and employee work schedules and prepare for a return to full staff operations.

Will mail and packages be delivered?

  • Beginning Monday, June 8, Document and Publication Services (DPS) will be open from 8 a.m.-noon Monday-Friday. There will be no mail delivery or mail pick-up at Macomb campus offices.
  • Department offices should designate one person to drop-off and pick- up mail at Document and Publication Services between the hours of 10 a.m.-noon Monday-Friday, until further notice.
  • UPS and FedEx packages for departments will be delivered to DPS and may be picked up between 10 a.m.-noon, Monday-Friday. UPS and FedEx will continue to deliver directly to the designated summer residence hall and the University Bookstore.
  • Individuals who are picking up/dropping off mail must call (309) 298-1000 upon arriving at the building. Individuals must have a daily pass and wear a face covering when conducting business with DPS staff.
  • WIU-Quad Cities campus offices mail are shipped via UPS. DPS will ship to the QC campus on Tuesdays. Departments with mail for the Quad Cities campus must bring mail and packages to DPS by noon Tuesdays. The WIU-QC campus should also ship to the Macomb campus by noon Tuesdays.
  • The USPS will deliver residence hall mail directly to the designated summer residence hall.

Will printing services be available to campus? 

  • Printing orders will be completed as needed. Departments will be notified when jobs are complete, and will be required to pick up printed orders at DPS as delivery service will not be available. 
  • Print jobs may be picked up between 8 a.m.-noon, Monday-Friday, unless alternative arrangements are made with DPS staff. Individuals who are picking up print jobs must call (309) 298-1000 upon arriving at the building.
  • Individuals must have a daily pass and wear a face covering when conducting business with DPS staff. For more information or questions, or to make alternative arrangements for printing, email DPS@wiu.edu.

[UPDATED] Will building doors be unlocked? 

Most buildings will have one designated entrance unlocked. These entrances will be marked with appropriate signage. To view a list of designated entrances, please click here.

As campus moves into the last phase of the Return to Work Plan and the academic year begins, buildings will have designated entrance and exits marked appropriately to help assist with traffic flow and to support social distancing guidelines.

What safety precautions will be taken? 

Precautions include the following. Additional steps may be taken as we see new guidelines from health officials.

STAFFING & OPERATIONS

  • Staffing Levels: Directors, deans and chairs of departments were asked to limit the number of people who return to work in in each phase of the Return to Work plan. Stage I: Wellness=25% Stage II: Integrate=50%. Decisions will ultimately be based on the needs of the unit.
  • Area Specific Control Plans: Each area of campus is required to develop and send a copy of a “Control Plan” respective to their area to highlight the specific procedures being implemented to provide a safe environment for their employees. These plans are then reviewed by a committee to provide further recommendations and ensure that consistency across campus is being implemented.
  • Signage: Signage and other messaging will be created and available for campus entities to use to create a consistent look and communication.
  • Training: Before returning to work, all employees will be provided and must complete COVID-19 Training, which provides information on the pandemic, proper procedures for such things as wearing a mask, and provides them guidance on how to return to work.

SOCIAL DISTANCING

  • Rearranging of Furniture: When possible, office furniture will be removed to ensure social distancing. For example, some chairs around conference tables may be removed. In classroom settings, chairs will be moved around to comply with the mandated occupancy guidelines for gatherings. In classroom settings with fixed seating, seats will be wrapped with plastic to take them offline and to properly distance individual seating.
  • Separating Work Stations: Individuals are being asked to ensure that at least six feet be maintained between employee work stations. If this is not possible, alternative work stations will be identified, staggered work schedules may be implemented or other steps will be taken to ensure social distancing.
  • Floor decals or “distance dots”: Decals are available to areas of campus to be used to be placed 6 feet apart for spaces in which individuals typically form lines.
  • Hallway doors: Interior hallway and suite entrance doors should be left open whenever possible to minimize contact by people touching doorknobs. This does not apply to doors to individual offices and laboratories that do not serve as reception areas.
  • Entrances to Buildings: Centralized one point of entry locations were identified and shared with employees for the summer Return to Work processes. As school begins, each building will have doors labeled for ENTRANCE or EXIT accordingly.

HYGIENE PROTOCOLS

  • Face Coverings: Employees will be required to wear a face covering when in an indoor common/ public area of the University. Examples of these locations include: spaces anyone can access, such as reception areas with walk-in access, lobbies of buildings, and laboratory spaces where multiple people are present and social distancing is variable or not possible. It is anticipated that face coverings will be required in the fall as school begins, so the University is working on a plan to distribute masks to all students, faculty, and staff in August.
  • Water fountains: Fountains will be disabled with exceptions for touchless water-bottle fillers.
  • Partitions/Shields: Clear, acrylic shield partitions will be provided for reception areas or between work stations that are less than 6 feet apart and cannot be changed.
  • Sanitizer Stations: Hand sanitizers will be available in each building. The goal is to install one sanitizer station per floor in each building, including residence halls. Due to the low availability of the traditional sanitizer stations, Facilities Management is looking at ways to possibly utilize soap dispensers as a temporary solution.
  • Sinks: Where applicable and where there is more than one sink in a bathroom next to each other, sinks will be shut-off and taken offline.

CLEANING & DISINFECTING

  • Disinfecting and cleaning supplies: Spray bottles with an EPA approved disinfectant and paper towels will be provided in each office area and classroom for students and employees to clean their areas before and after use.
  • Cleaning protocols: Facilities Management is developing specific procedures for campus facilities which include:
    • Restrooms and common areas will be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis.
    • Staff from Facilities Management will clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in public areas, including doorknobs, light switches, toilets, faucets, elevator buttons, and sinks.
    • Employees will be responsible for wiping down their private offices; supplies will be provided upon request by unit directors or designees.
    • Employees should clean and disinfect frequently-touched equipment in their areas such as telephones, keyboards, copy machine buttons, shared break room appliances, etc.
    • Surface disinfectant will be provided for employees to wipe down frequently used countertops.

Should I open windows in my office or classroom to allow more outside air into the space?

Facilities Management mechanical maintenance staff is making every effort to adjust building systems to maximize outside air flow into all campus facilities while at the same time maintaining comfortable temperatures within. It is recommended that windows remain closed in classroom and office locations to assist in this endeavour.

Can I wear a face shield instead of a cloth face covering?

At this time, it is strongly encouraged that a face covering be used in lieu of a plastic shield unless needed to substitute for people who can not tolerate facemasks for medical reasons. Individuals should first work with their supervisor to find a reasonable accommodation and if warranted, contact the office of Equal Opportunity and Access for further guidance.

What do I need to do if I need a face covering?  

WIU Risk Management Office has face coverings available to any WIU employee who may need one. To request your face covering, email rmep@wiu.edu.

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