Message to Staff about Returning to Campus

24 July 2020

Dear Colleagues,

Over the past several months, Carleton has been working to prepare for fall term. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Carleton’s response has been focused on our campus community’s health and safety. This commitment remains a guiding tenet of our return to campus plans for faculty, staff, and students. On July 10th, President Poskanzer shared a message announcing Carleton’s Plan for Fall 2020, which includes our students’ return.

We recognize that some departments will need staff to return to campus to help prepare for our students’ return. Our goal is to bring some staff back to campus while continuing to limit the density of the campus population in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and best protect the faculty, staff, and students that will be on campus during the fall.

To accomplish this, we will return staff in phases with the continued focus on the health and safety of our community. Decisions about who returns to campus, when, and how often will be made by divisional vice presidents in collaboration with supervisors and Human Resources, based on the critical functions of positions and the necessity to access on-campus resources.

Phased Return

We plan to return staff to campus in phases by groups, as summarized below. 

Group 1

Group 1 includes employees whose positions require an on-campus presence. The majority of these individuals are currently working on campus. Many of them have continued to work on-campus throughout the pandemic. Although most Group 1 employees are required to be on campus to complete their work, some Group 1 employees can use a hybrid of on-campus and remote work.

Group 2

Group 2 consists of employees whose positions are likely to require an on-campus presence during the term. The majority of these individuals will have student-facing positions, directly support academics, or projects/tasks that are difficult to complete while working remotely. Some employees in Group 2 will return to campus full-time, while many will return using a hybrid of on-campus and remote work.

Group 2 employees will likely return beginning in mid-August. The work to identify this group of individuals is currently in-process, and we hope to communicate the return to campus dates for this group by the end of July. 

Group 3

Group 3 consists of employees who can continue to accomplish their work responsibilities remotely. We do not have an estimated return to campus dates for these individuals. This group will likely remain off-campus at least through the fall. 

Employees in Group 3 will receive an invitation to visit campus sometime during the first part of August to collect additional equipment or supplies they will need to facilitate continued remote work. Employees in Group 3 will be able to request a review of their placement by completing this form.

Return Provisions

As employees prepare to return to campus, it is important to understand that the on-campus work environment and experience will be different in many ways. Access to offices may be limited, meetings will remain virtual, and there will be no in-person staff events. However, the increased safety measures in place to maximize efforts to mitigate the spread of the Covid-19 virus on campus will likely have the broadest impact.

  1. A. Before returning to campus, all employees must:
    • Receive written notification from Human Resources with a return to campus date.
    • Be tested for COVID-19
    • Complete the required Return to Campus training course
    • Review Carleton’s COVID-19 Back-to-Campus Preparedness Plan

    1. Employees currently working on campus will also be required to complete these steps as soon as testing and training are available.
  2. B. While working on-campus, all employees must:
    • Perform daily symptom monitoring before leaving home for work and submit a daily health survey.
    • Wear protective face masks inside all campus buildings, except when alone in private offices.
    • Keep a minimum six-foot distance from others whenever possible
    • Disinfect work areas regularly with provided supplies
    • Go/stay home if feeling unwell
    • Review and sign a covenant that sets expectations around the College’s heightened health and safety standards
    • Ensure outside contractors and vendors adhere to these same practices.
  3. C. Human Resources will work with supervisors to create schedules for employees working on-campus that provide the greatest opportunity for physical distancing. Options may include alternating days, staggered work hours, adjustments to physical spaces, and a hybrid on-campus/remote work arrangement. ITS will work to provide a second computer for employees who have taken their desktop computers home and are assigned a hybrid model.

End of Temporary Conditions

The two pandemic pay codes created in the spring will discontinue at the end of July when we revert to our regular paid time off and leave policies. We remain committed to trying to find alternative assignments for individuals whose regular workload has decreased due to the pandemic.

Temporary Accommodations Related to COVID-19

We recognize that some employees with medical conditions may require reasonable temporary accommodations as a result of COVID-19. We have developed an expedited process to review requests from employees who self-identify as having or living with someone who has an increased risk of a severe outcome from COVID-19 infection, as determined by current CDC guidance. Employees should use this form to begin a temporary COVID-19 related accommodation request. 

Wellness and Support

Employee wellness is always a priority. This global pandemic has caused an immense amount of stress for all of us. A quick transition to remote work, becoming your child’s educator, caring for others, worrying about your future, or your loved ones’ future–these situations all contribute to anxiety and stress. It is vital that we find ways to connect and support each other, especially those who will continue working remotely. It is also important to recognize when additional resources are needed. I encourage everyone to take a moment to find out more about Carleton’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which is available to all employees.

Whether you are working on campus, returning soon, or will continue to work remotely, thank you for your commitment to the College’s mission during these challenging times.


Kerstin Cárdenas
Director, Human Resources