COVID-19

Return to Work on Campus Guide

Guide By Topic

As we plan for a return to residential liberal arts education this spring, the health and safety of the Morehouse community is our paramount concern. There is no single strategy that will stop the pandemic or make it possible to return to pre-pandemic life at Morehouse. However, using multiple layers of protection does make it possible to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

The Return to Campus Guide describes Morehouse College's phased approach to opening our campus for staff, students, and faculty and the multilayered protective protocols we will operate under for spring 2021. The details in the guide will inform our campus community about health and safety requirements, policy changes, adjustments to academics and campus life, and updates to available services required for the safe use of our campus.

Limiting the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 is essential and requires changes to how we live, study, and work together on campus.  Our strategy for a successful campus reopening is multilayered, with many control strategies combined simultaneously to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Each of our behaviors directly impacts not only our health but also the health of those around us. These required individual actions protect us and those around us:

  • Daily Health Checks
  • Face Coverings
  • Physical Distancing
  • Hand Hygiene
Training

All employees must complete an online training called "Keeping our Campuses Safe" and take the AUC Safety Pledge. This training will provide information on AUCC COVID-19 guidelines and shared responsibilities, as well as strategies for limiting the spread of COVID-19. All employees are required to complete the training.

In addition, if additional training is required, all employees must complete it within the timeframe specified. Training completion may be a pre-requisite to authorization to return to campus.

Testing

All employees must adhere to Morehouse's COVID-19 protocol, which requires pre-arrival testing, day of arrival testing, and frequent surveillance testing.

Pre-Arrival Testing

To reduce the possibility of a faculty or staff member reporting for work during the spring semester while they are COVID-19 positive, Morehouse requires that employees test negative before reporting to work for the first time during the semester.

Before reporting to work, employees are required to take a COVID-19 PCR test and receive a negative result within a period beginning no earlier than three days before they report to work. To meet the requirement, the employee cannot take the test prior to three days before their scheduled report date and must receive and submit the result of their test before arriving on campus. For example, an employee reporting to work on Thursday cannot take their PCR test any earlier than Monday of that same week and must receive and submit a negative test result before arriving on Thursday.

  • Georgia residents may use this link to schedule a test through county health departments.
  • Non-Georgia residents may use this link to find the nearest COVID-19 testing locations.
  • Employees may consult their private physician to obtain testing where insurance may or may not apply.
  • Employees may participate in designated testing days for employees at the Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM). Employees will be notified of those testing days.

Employees should submit pre-arrival COVID-19 PCR test results to the designated contact in the Office of Human Resources. All results will be kept confidential. However, the results will be used to inform access to campus decisions and contact tracing. The test results for any employees participating in designated testing days at MSM will be forwarded directly to Human Resources.

Within the two weeks before returning to campus, employees who test positive for COVID-19, have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, or have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 must stay home and contact Human Resources for further direction prior to returning to campus.

Arrival Testing

Upon arriving on campus, employees will be tested again with Abbott Rapid Ag COVID-19 tests. Tests administered will be coordinated on the first day of arrival. Employees will be notified of the time and location for testing.

Employees who test positive or have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should adhere to CDC guidance for isolation, which can be found here. They should contact Human Resources for further direction prior to returning to campus.

Test results will be reported to the Georgia Department of Public Health.

Frequent Surveillance Testing

Mitigating the spread of COVID-19 means closely monitoring the incidences of COVID-19 on our campus. This includes ongoing regular testing for all campus stakeholders, with varying frequency for employees, students who live on campus, commuter students, student-athletes, and others who work on campus or otherwise have a regular presence on campus. Some of this testing may occur through self-administered tests, in which a student or employee collects specimen samples from their bodies (usually through a nasal swab) that can be used to indicate the possible presence of COVID-19. The process for collecting and submitting specimen samples through self-administered tests is simple, not painful, and streamlined to take approximately one to two minutes (self-swab instructions will be provided in Keeping our Campuses Safe training). In general, the self-administered testing process is as follows:

  • Faculty and staff will be assigned days (once every 7 days) on which they must undertake specimen collection.
  • Test kits will be made available at various locations on campus and instructions on how to self-administer a specimen collection will be provided.
  • Specimen collection submission locations will be available at multiple locations across AUC campuses.
  • Test results are returned via email within 36-48 hours after a specimen has been picked up at a submission location.
  • Employees with inconclusive results should retest themselves within 48 hours of notification. Employees should contact the Office of Human Resources for further guidance.
  • Testing not obtained through Morehouse or AUCC must be PCR tests taken in compliance with the AUCC testing frequency protocol.

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Daily Health Checks

All students, faculty, and staff must complete a daily health check prior to interacting with anyone on the campus, which includes going to class or work, going to a dining hall, or participating in any on- or off-campus educational or College-sanctioned activity. This daily health check requires an individual to verify that he or she has no symptoms of COVID-19 and has not been in close contact (within six feet of) of an individual who is positive for COVID-19.

Faculty and staff who experience any symptoms that may be associated with COVID-19 or who believe they have been in close contact with someone who is positive for COVID-19 should not come to campus. They should contact their supervisor or department manager. If they are at work when symptoms begin, they should leave immediately and contact their healthcare provider.

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Contact Tracing

Employees are expected to comply with all contact tracing efforts undertaken by the AUCC and Morehouse contact tracers in collaboration with the Georgia Department of Public Health. Employees identified as close contacts of any individual confirmed to have COVID-19 must quarantine at home for 14 days and must contact Human Resources for further guidance before returning to campus.

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Quarantine and Isolation

Employees who test positive for COVID-19, who are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection, or who are identified as a "close contact" should: 1) stay at home and isolate/quarantine themselves from others; 2) notify their human resources department, and 3) consult their private physician for instructions. They must contact Human Resources for further guidance before returning to campus.

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Face Coverings

Face coverings must be worn by all faculty, staff, students, and visitors when on campus in both indoor and outdoor locations with the exceptions noted below:

  • Any individual working alone in a private office
  • Any individual eating in an appropriate physically distanced location from others
  • Any individual exercising alone outdoors

Face coverings should be carried on the person in the event circumstances warrant their use.

Face coverings must completely cover the nose and mouth. Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to provide face coverings of their choosing. Morehouse will provide two cloth face coverings and two disposable face coverings to each faculty and staff member. Employees may pick-up their face coverings between Jan. 25-29 from 9:30 a.m. to noon in the Office of Human Resources, located in Gloster Hall, Suite 100.

The ability to wear face coverings in a variety of settings (indoors and outdoors) and temperatures (hot and cold) and for extended periods of time will be an essential requirement for faculty, staff, and students who will be on campus. Any faculty or staff member who has a disability or medical condition that requires accommodations for a specific type of mask or face covering should consult Human Resources.

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Social Distancing

One of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is to maintain physical distance. Because the virus mainly spreads among people who are in close contact, and a person can spread the virus before knowing they are sick, it is important to maintain physical distance from others, even if there are no symptoms.

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Hand Hygiene

Students, faculty, and staff should wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially when entering a new area, after being in a public place, or after blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing, or touching their face. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, and do not touch any personal items (keys, cell phone, etc.) or eat with unwashed hands.

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Workspace Protocols

Employees are expected to adhere to the workspace protocols in place for their area, which may include, but are not limited to, office occupancy rates, use of physical barriers, and limits on face-to-face meetings. Employees may also take steps to clean their own space by wiping down door handles and other equipment that they may use.

Signage and Posters

Building occupants are expected to follow signage on traffic flow through building entrances, exits, elevator usage, and similar common use areas.

Enter/Exit Control

Entry to buildings will be regulated and monitored. You may not hold or prop open exterior doors for any other person. Staff arrival and departures should be scheduled in 30-minute increments to reduce personal interactions at building access points, hallways, stairs/elevators, etc. Once you have been instructed to return to the workplace, you should report to work or depart work through the designated building access and at the designated time to limit the number of people entering and exiting buildings at any one time. Visitors, trainees, guests, and pets are not allowed on worksites during this time.

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Mental and Emotional Well-Being

It is recognized that COVID-19 creates stress from fear of becoming ill or loved ones becoming ill, financial insecurity, and the impact on our normal routines, including having to practice physical distancing. Morehouse offers a variety of support resources:

Life Assistance Program (LAP):

LAP is available to offer emotional support during this stressful period. Telephonic or video counseling is available, and you can access this service by calling 800-538-3543 or visiting the LAP website.

Resources for Employees

Morehouse is committed to supporting your overall health and well-being as we deal with the effects of COVID-19. Visit the Resources pages for more information and resources to offer support, manage stress, and enhance your resilience.

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Resources
Federal and State Agencies

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): 
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): 

Cleaning and Disinfecting

CDC Guidance

Cloth Face Coverings

CDC Guidance
DIY Cloth Face Coverings
Cloth Face Coverings Information

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COVID-19 Policy for Protective Behavioral Protocols

Morehouse is taking action in light of COVID-19 to promote a safe working and learning environment for our students, faculty, staff, and community. Compliance with health and safety directives by employees is critical to achieving this goal. Morehouse adopted this temporary administrative policy to immediately address any behaviors that violate the College standards for protecting everyone’s health. 

Policy Statement

Failure to comply with the health and safety directives adopted by the College to combat the spread of COVID-19 will subject employees to corrective actions. Deliberate refusal to comply with health and safety guidance and directions may result in being removed from campus.

To promote the health and safety of our entire campus community while continuing to provide educational services, conduct research, provide clinical services, and perform other aspects of the Morehouse mission, all employees are required to: 

  1. Comply with the measures described in the Morehouse’s Return to Work Campus Guide and all other applicable college and campus guidance or directions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, as amended and updated. 
  2. Wear a face covering that covers both your nose and mouth at all times while inside a Morehouse building (except while alone in a private office with the door closed, or during eating or drinking as long as adequate physical distancing is possible), and in outdoor spaces when physical distancing is difficult. 
  3. Practice good personal hygiene (washing hands frequently with soap and water or a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol if soap is unavailable).
  4. Be screened or tested for COVID-19 as required.
  5. Stay home and not come to work if you are sick, have a fever, or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
  6. Self-quarantine or self-isolate in accordance with instructions from a physician and pursuant to College guidance.
  7. Cooperate fully with contact tracing conducted by the College and public health officials.
Sanctions

Depending on the nature and occurrence of the violation, campus officials may impose sanctions that range from a verbal warning, written warnings, suspension, or removal from campus.

Non-Academic Staff and Temporary Employees

For staff and temporary employee violations of this policy, supervisors will consult with the Office of Human Resources. In light of the public health emergency presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and, most importantly, to protect the health of the entire College community, the following sanctions may apply to violations of this policy: 

  1. The first step in the disciplinary process will be a verbal warning.
  2. The second step in the disciplinary process will be a 2nd verbal warning.
  3. The third step in the disciplinary process will result in a written warning with a three-day suspension without pay.  
  4. A fourth instance may result in the removal from the campus.

The above is intended to be a guide only. Disciplinary decisions are at the discretion of the appropriate supervisory authority, and disciplinary measures will depend on the circumstance of each case. 

Deliberate refusal to comply with health and safety guidance and directions may result in removal from campus. This policy does not revoke existing corrective actions or policies for non-academic staff and temporary employees unrelated to COVID-19. These sanctions apply only during the pandemic period, after which time this policy will be rescinded.

Academic Appointees

Failure or deliberate refusal to comply with the health and safety guidance and directions adopted by the College to combat the spread of COVID-19, including failure or deliberate refusal to wear a mask in compliance with this policy, shall constitute an act of “other bases for terminations” as outlined in the Faculty Handbook, chapter 7, section 7.3. Disciplinary proceedings will be referred to the campus academic affairs office.

Because knowledge and understanding of COVID-19 and applicable guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and federal, state, and local authorities continue to evolve, this policy is subject to update as further information becomes available. Morehouse will continue to adjust policy and guidance based upon the latest public health information, regulatory guidance, and peer best practices. 

Removal from Campus

If an employee is required to leave campus, they will ordinarily be asked to work remotely for the remainder of the semester. For staff positions requiring work on-site, Human Resources will discuss options with the appropriate supervisory authority, including unpaid leave.

Additional discipline, such as termination or other action as deemed appropriate under the circumstances, may be imposed in accordance with the procedures outlined in the Faculty Handbook and the Employee Handbook as applicable.

How to Report a Violation

Morehouse takes all reports of possible violations of health policies seriously, and all students and employees are subject to the COVID-19 Policy for Protective Behavioral Protocols. Morehouse is committed to working toward racial equality and to preventing the profiling of underrepresented populations. As such, we will not investigate reports that identify individuals solely or primarily by race, ethnicity, religion, or (presumed) language. Moreover, complaints lacking sufficient information may not be investigated.

We will follow up on all reports of Morehouse students or employees who are identified by a name or address where the behavior occurred. We have received reports targeting individuals who, upon review, are not students or employees of Morehouse, and such reports will be dismissed. 

To report a violation, call (888) 299-9540 or go online at morehouse.ethicspoint.com.

Matters of student or employee discipline are confidential. Submissions are not monitored in real-time. If you are reporting a situation that needs immediate attention, please contact Public Safety at (404) 215-2666.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are all employees required to return to work on campus?
  • No. Employees who have successfully worked from home should continue to do so unless operational needs of a department dictate otherwise. Individuals who need to return to campus to work will be notified.
Who will determine who needs to return to work on campus?
  • Senior officers, department heads, and managers will determine operational needs and which individuals are expected to return to campus, when, and to perform which tasks. Individuals returning to work on campus will be notified.
How do I know if I need to return to work on campus?
  • Departmental plans are being developed to determine which employees will return to working on campus. As an initial step in planning for the spring, all area managers will conduct a staffing plan to determine which employees will continue working remotely and which will be directed to return for on-site work, even if in a limited capacity. Your supervisor will communicate decisions to you directly. If you have not received information, please contact your supervisor for clarity regarding expectations for your position.
My job requires that I return to work on campus. What analysis has been done to ensure my safety on campus?
  • Once a department is approved to have employees 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 the 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.
What are the sanctions for violating COVID-19 policies?
  • Morehouse follows a COVID-19 Conduct Policy and Disciplinary Process, which explains details and possible sanctions for violating the Health Pledge and other COVID-related protocols.
Will faculty and staff working on campus be tested?
  • Yes. All employees returning to work on campus must be tested pre-arrival and on the first date of arrival on campus. Thereafter, they will need to take a self-administered test every seven days. Additional information about the dates, locations for testing, etc., is forthcoming.
What happens if a faculty or staff member tests positive?
  • Faculty and staff should contact their personal care providers and isolate in accordance with Georgia and CDC guidance. They should notify Human Resources that they have tested positive.
What screenings will be done once on campus, besides the COVID tests?
  • Employees will be required to conduct a brief daily COVID-19 symptom screening, exposure, and temperature self-check at the start of each day. A digital survey has been created and should take only a couple of minutes to complete. We expect to be using a tool—either a web-based tool or an app that can be downloaded onto a phone—that will also support rapid contact tracing when an individual tests positive for COVID-19. More information about this technology will be provided closer to student and employee arrival on campus.
When will an employee who has been isolated or quarantined be permitted to return to work on campus?
  • According to the CDC, someone has recovered from COVID-19 when all three of these have happened:
    • It has been three full days of no fever without the use of fever-reducing medication, and
    • Other symptoms have improved, and
    • At least ten days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
  • For individuals who never had symptoms but had a positive test, this guidance would mean that isolation would last for ten days.
What if I have an underlying medical condition that makes me more susceptible to serious illness from COVID-19? Do I need to return to work?
  • Some individuals may have higher risk of severe illness and should carefully consider their plans. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified groups at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 (People Who Are at Higher Risk for Severe Illness and Other At-Risk Populations). Please note the CDC revised their guidance on June 25, identifying seven conditions that cause individuals to be at higher risk for severe illness and identifying several other conditions, such as asthma and Type 1 diabetes, that might cause increased risk.
  • Consistent with Morehouse's ADA policy, Morehouse employees who have any of the medical conditions identified by the CDC and require reasonable accommodations to participate in educational programming or perform their job duties should contact Human Resources. Documentation from the individual's healthcare provider must be submitted. Faculty with a concern about a specific class or pedagogical question should communicate with the Provost If the issue identified does not meet the legal definition of a disability, Morehouse will make reasonable efforts to consider and implement modifications. Requests for reasonable accommodations from individuals with qualifying disabilities that have been documented to cause an increased risk of severe illness will be given priority.
What if a faculty or staff member has a family member or someone in their home with a medical condition that makes them more susceptible to serious illness from COVID-19? Will they be required to work on campus?
  • Where possible, Morehouse encourages employees to work with their supervisor to enable working from home. For work that cannot be performed from home, Morehouse has implemented protocols and policies to reduce the risk of transmission on campus. Employees with family members at high risk should be hyper-vigilant, practice rigorous hygiene, and take every precaution to protect at-risk family members at home. If the family member is ill with a serious medical condition, the employee should contact Human Resources to determine eligibility for Family Medical Leave.
  • Morehouse recognizes that individual circumstances associated with the COVID-19 pandemic may impact one's ability to return to work or prompt requests for adjustments in work. Human Resources is available to explore possible pathways to support individual needs.
What steps must I take before I return to work on campus?
  • The most important components of our efforts to maintain a healthy community are a shared commitment to complying with all health and safety expectations and respectfully hold one another accountable for doing so. All Morehouse faculty, staff, and student employees who are eligible to return to in-person work must:
    • complete online training
    • take a COVID-19 test not sooner than five days prior to return to campus and receive a negative test result
    • review any communication from your supervisor relating to workspace safety protocols
    • complete the daily health screening via the online survey or the MSM App once it is available
What steps should I take to ensure a safe campus while working on-site?
  • Limiting the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 is essential and requires changes to how we live, study, and work together on campus.  Our strategy for a successful campus reopening is multilayered, with many control strategies combined simultaneously to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Each of our behaviors directly impacts not only our health but also the health of those around us. These required individual actions protect ourselves and those around us:
    • Daily Health Checks
    • Face Coverings
    • Physical Distancing
    • Hand Hygiene
What should an employee do if they cannot tolerate wearing a mask due to a medical condition?
  • Employees should refer to the process to request an accommodation under ADA. Employees may contact Human Resources for guidance on this issue.
My job requires me to work on campus. What should I do if I have been exposed to a person confirmed or presumed to have COVID-19?
  • Employees who are exposed to a person with COVID-19 should stay home and call their supervisor. In general, close contact involves living in the same household as a sick person, caring for a sick person, or being within six feet of a sick person for a prolonged period of 10 to 30 minutes or more. Supervisors, in turn, should notify Human Resources. The recommended period of self-isolation is generally up to 14 days. Employees will be required to use vacation and/or sick leave during this period.
My job requires that I work on campus. I traveled recently for personal reasons. Can I return to work immediately?
  • You must stay informed and comply with all state and local health department requirements for the state/county where you live.
Can faculty or staff have visitors on campus?
  • Generally, no. We anticipate that most, if not all, in-person guest lectures will be postponed.
How long will the campus be closed to visitors?
  • We anticipate remaining closed to visitors through the spring 2021 semester.
Does the no-visitor policy pertain to people walking on campus?
  • Yes. The campus will be closed to the general public and visitors, except for essential-service providers authorized by the College.

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