Middlebury is responsible for ensuring that its workplace is safe for staff and faculty—and by extension, the communities of which we are a part. Our policies and protocols for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic are rooted in safety for our faculty, staff, and students. Returning faculty and staff to on-campus work will occur in a gradual, measured way. On-campus work will be aligned with the phased approach to mitigate potential risks and protect the safety of our community.
Some members of our community face a greater risk from COVID-19 than others. Processes are in place to allow faculty and staff to seek accommodations or adjustments as warranted by their individual circumstances. Visit the Working Safely at Middlebury web page for detailed information and resources.
Departmental Planning for Return to Work
The initial resumption of on-campus activities does not mean a return to normal operations. No unit or department should increase on-campus activity levels beyond current needs to support critical on-site operations without approval from their vice president or senior leadership member.
Departmental plans are being developed to determine which employees will resume working on campus. Employees who can work from home should expect to continue to do so. Some faculty and staff whose work is more easily completed on campus will be invited back to modified office space where they can be physically distanced from others. Staff who support campus operations and whose work must be performed on-site will receive area-specific training on new protocols and safe work practices. Any faculty or staff who work on campus are required to complete health and safety training and follow an area-specific exposure control plan.
Visit the Working Safely at Middlebury web page for the Return to Work Guide and more information and resources.
Working Safely on Campus
Limiting the spread of COVID-19 is essential to protecting the health of our community and maintaining business operations. Middlebury’s COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan documents the measures used to protect the health and safety of our employees and comply with mandatory health and safety requirements. This plan should be reviewed by department managers and supervisors as they develop their own workplace plan for on-campus work.
An employee’s risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace depends in part on the type of work and the need for working within six feet of people known to be, or suspected of being, infected with COVID-19. As faculty or staff perform different tasks in the course of their workday, they may move from one exposure risk level to another.
Once a department is approved to work on campus, a workplace plan must be developed. The plan includes a hazard assessment to determine when, where, and how likely it is that employees may be exposed to COVID-19 based upon job functions and implementation of exposure control measures to minimize and adjust activities that present greater risk. A COVID-19 Exposure Control Checklist is available on the Working Safely at Middlebury web page. When completed for a specific area, this checklist serves as an exposure control plan and training tool for employees as they return to on-site work.
Quarantine and Testing Requirements for Faculty and Staff
All faculty and staff must comply with current state requirements regarding travel and quarantine. COVID-19 testing is not currently required for faculty and staff before returning to campus. However, individuals who have traveled out of state must comply with current Vermont cross-state travel restrictions and quarantine requirements in order to return to campus. These requirements change regularly, so consult the Vermont cross-state travel webpage to stay up-to-date with the requirements.
Employees who need testing due to COVID-19 symptoms or exposure would arrange that testing through their healthcare providers. In certain cases, such as a known outbreak, the Vermont Department of Health would arrange testing for exposed individuals. Pop-up testing sites for asymptomatic individuals who have no known exposure are available through the Vermont Department of Health. Middlebury will provide testing if these options are not possible.
Middlebury will perform twice-weekly testing for randomly selected students, faculty, and staff. A small portion of this testing capacity will be reserved to assist in clinical testing of symptomatic individuals if appropriate; however, individuals with symptoms will be directed to follow a testing procedure separate from the testing centers.