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Return to On-Campus Work

Dear Colleagues,

We heard you!

Last week, an Employee Pulse Survey was sent out to all faculty and staff to measure your level of comfort in returning to work on campus. Survey results showed a near-even split. Half of the respondents indicated they are “comfortable” or “very comfortable” returning to work on campus, while half report they are “uncomfortable” or “very uncomfortable.” The near-even split was consistent between both faculty and staff groups.

The top three concerns, again consistent between both groups, were:

(1) In-person meetings and other one-on-one interactions.

(2) The availability of disinfecting materials or personal protective equipment. 

(3) Going back to the office too early. 

Other important concerns were personal concerns due to age, chronic disease or being immunocompromised. 

Both groups wanted to know what cleaning is currently being done and wanted assurance that they will have access to cleaning materials in their departments. 

While over half of respondents across both groups felt that past communication on COVID-19-related issues has been clear, comments reflected a strong desire for increased communication in the future. 

Human Resources, under the direction of Mary Fleck, Ph.D., has developed the following FAQs based on employee questions from the survey. I am grateful to Mary for her leadership in this area. 

Thomas S. Hibbs, Ph.D.

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Why bring staff/faculty back to work on campus for fall 2020?

Our collegial, collaborative spirit and campus culture flourish when we are all together. We need everyone’s contributions to get us ready for fall 2020. We are preparing for classes in a new, challenging environment, and everyone’s ideas and support are needed to make this year as successful as previous years.

What are the dates of UD’s phases to return back to campus for staff employees?

Phase One: June 15, 2020 – 25% of workforce 

Phase Two: June 29, 2020 – 50% of workforce

Phase Three: July 13, 2020 – All staff return to campus.

These dates are subject to change based on federal, state and local guidelines.

When should faculty return to campus?

Faculty with 9-month contracts will return on "Faculty Day," August 19. Faculty with 12-month contacts, or with summer contracts, should consult their chair or dean.

How were the phases for employee return to on-campus work determined?

The phases were established to enable a safe and thoughtful approach to the increased campus operations over the summer as we prepare for the return of students in the fall. Information has been gathered from safety professionals, business leaders and public health guidance. Departments will have the flexibility to determine staffing needs based on specific departmental and position needs.

I am over 60, I am immunocompromised and/or I live with someone who is. What are my options?

If you need an ADA accommodation for alternative work arrangements, consult with your supervisor first. You will need to complete an ADA Accommodation Form with Human Resources and may need to provide a doctor’s note, depending on your situation. Contact to request this form. Your supervisor may be able to provide for an alternative work arrangement for a specific period of time.

I can’t find childcare for my children. What are my options?

To find childcare services in your area, visit the Texas Department of Health and Human Services website You may also discuss an alternative work schedule with your supervisor for a specific period of time.

What is UD doing to keep me safe and healthy at work?

UD’s COVID-19 Taskforce and UD’s Safety Committee have been working hard at developing protocols to keep our campus safe and our employees healthy while at work. The cleaning staff has increased cleaning in all common areas (concentrating on high-touch surfaces) while a special cleaning crew deep cleans at night with products from the EPA-approved list. Cleaning supplies are hard to obtain right now, but the Facilities Department is working on ordering cleaning materials for department use, and antimicrobial gel will be placed throughout campus. Plexiglass “sneeze shields” can be requested for reception desk areas or for those employees who serve our students. Please talk to your supervisor, and they can request this option through the Safety Committee by emailing

Will I be required to wear a mask or face covering?

Yes, employees are required to wear a mask or face covering unless you are at your own workspace. This includes coming in and out of buildings and when navigating common area spaces such as walkways, hallways and elevators. This requirement is effective now until the end of Phase 1 (June 28, 2020), at which point it will be reassessed.

What do I need to do before returning to campus?

Prior to returning to the workplace, consult with your supervisor about your return-to-work date. Once you have a return-to-work date, go to UD’s COVID-19 link on the UD homepage for upcoming training, checklists and other important information. You also need to make sure you bring back all of your office equipment such as computers, laptops, printers and monitors.

What kind of health screening will UD do? Do we have to do temperature checks?

We ask that you self-monitor your own temperature at home and do a simple self-assessment every day before work for the following symptoms:

  • cough
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • chills
  • fatigue
  • muscle pain
  • headache
  • sore throat
  • new loss of taste or smell
  • diarrhea
  • chilblains (red or purple bumps on toes with swelling)
  • fever or measured temperature greater than 100.0 °F

If you have any of these symptoms, stay home and contact your supervisor.

What should I do if I feel sick?

If you feel any of the symptoms of COVID-19, stay home and contact your supervisor. You will need to complete the COVID-19 Employee Reporting Form, found in UD’s COVID-19 Procedure.

Am I covered if I need to be tested for COVID-19?

If you have a UD Medical Plan through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, all testing, testing visits and treatment are covered if you seek services through an in-network provider.  

I have one-on-one meetings throughout the day. How do I practice social distancing when I have to be around people?

Continue scheduling virtual meetings through Google Meet or talk by telephone. If an in-person meeting is unavoidable, consider limiting the amount of people in a room at one time and keeping distance between you and other people.

I don’t feel comfortable returning to work. What are my options?

Talk to your supervisor about your concerns and available options, such as rotating into on-campus during an earlier phase so that interaction with others is limited.

If you need additional assistance, contact UD’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP). For more information call 1-800-316-2796 or go to