Campus Update: May 12, 2021
COVID-19: Return-to-Work Plan
Lincoln University is executing a plan for faculty and staff to safely return to work on the Lincoln University campuses (Main Campus and SACE). The plan begins after the spring 2021 commencement ceremonies to ensure that the campus will be fully open and operational at the beginning of the fall 2021 semester. Effective May 24, 2021, we plan to bring people back on campus in a systematic phased-in approach.
Over this past year, Lincoln instituted health and safety guidelines for offices, classrooms, and common areas to help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus and mitigate risk to our students, faculty, and staff. The health and safety of our campus community is our top priority and we will continue to enforce safety protocols as we approach the fall 2021 semester.
While enforcing continued health and safety precautions on both campuses, we must provide our students with an optimal on-campus experience as this is the hallmark of a Lincoln University education. The face-to-face learning environment allows students to engage directly with their professors and academic support staff and provides an environmental context replete with the social capital needed for their holistic development.
2021 Return-to-Work Plan
This phased-in return to campus is a conditions-based, four-phase plan designed to safely and deliberately return our employees to the workplace. The phases were developed based on the current guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Chester County Health Department, Commonwealth of the State of Pennsylvania, and other best practices to support the successful reopening of our campus community.
The four phases of our return-to-work plan are described below. It is anticipated that implementation of each phase will require approximately 1-2 weeks (based on current institutional and public health guidance). At each stage of the plan, the university will be guided by the following conditions:
- The number and rate of COVID-19 cases on campus
- Health monitoring policy is in place with the capability to screen for active disease daily (this includes temperature checks and screening for cough, shortness of breath, loss of smell and taste, sore throat, runny nose, nausea)
- Testing, contact tracing, quarantine and isolation capabilities are established on campus, to include exposure protocols
- Environmental controls are in place to include the availability of personal protection equipment (PPE) and cleaning services to support the needs of faculty, staff and students, and campus operations, and reduce the spread of COVID-19
- The university’s infrastructure and the number of faculty and staff returning to the on- campus workforce supports the return of students
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the COVID-19 vaccine as the best strategy for mitigating the transmission of the corona virus. To date, nearly 58% of people in the United States over the age of 16 have received at least one dose of the COVID- 19 vaccine. Receiving the vaccine greatly reduces the probability of contracting the virus and significantly reduces the severity of those infected. We strongly recommend that all faculty and staff receive the COVID-19 vaccination before returning to campus. Lincoln University has partnered with the Chester County Health Department to serve as an on- campus vaccine site. This free service will be available to the local community beginning shortly after Commencement. The COVID-19 vaccine will be readily available to faculty and staff who are interested in getting vaccinated.
- Current guidance suggests that face coverings and social distancing remain in place when the vaccination status of those present is unknown. We will continue to follow this guidance as both the indoor and outdoor protocols until further notice.
Units and departments that have been staffed on campus without staggered schedules based on operational needs should continue to follow the progressive work schedule protocols set forth by the unit’s senior leader.
If conditions during the summer change significantly or there is a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, the university will provide further guidance on institutional decisions and measures to be taken regarding the return of employees and students to campus.
Phase 1 (Initial Return). Implementation Period: May 24 to June 4.
During Phase I, departments/units will bring not more than 50% of their workforce back to campus. The university will use Phase I to test the institution’s ability to exercise systems and procedures, care for our workers, and protect our community. Departments/units will use Phase I to learn and make adjustments as necessary in preparation for the beginning of the fall semester.
Returning to normal functions should not be the focus of Phase 1. Employees should return in a limited capacity to support institutional operations, and teaching activities, student support services, athletics and the needs of the returning students, faculty, and staff.
Employees who have submitted medical documentation to the Office of Human Resources that they are high-risk and vulnerable should not return during Phase 1 and should work remotely. All medical documents will be handled with confidentiality.
Phase 2 (Second Group). Implementation Period: June 7 through June 18.
During Phase 2, departments/units will bring not more than an additional 25% of their workforce back to campus (total employees should not exceed approximately 75% of the workforce) for the purpose of increasing operational capacity and support activities on campus. Although a complete/full return to normal campus operations are not anticipated during Phase 2, departments/units should enhance preparations for the return of students for the fall semester. All guidelines and requirements continue to apply and must be implemented by departments/units.
Phase 3 (Final Group). Implementation Period: June 21 through July 9.
During Phase 3, the remaining workforce (excluding employees who have been authorized or directed to continue to work from home) will be returned to campus to conduct final preparations for the 2021-2022 academic year and the full return of our students. All guidelines and requirements continue to apply and must be implemented by departments/units.
Phase 4 (Academic Year). Implementation Period: July 12 to end of Academic Year.
The university will continue to work with operating units to address issues related to the pandemic and any new guidance and or actions necessary to ensure a safe environment.
The university will continue to monitor COVID-19 trends in Pennsylvania, neighboring states, and nationally and will update its guidance as circumstances warrant.
Please contact Lincoln University’s Office of Human Resources at HR@lincoln.edu if you have any questions.