Workplace Guidance


The specific timing and processes for in-person work may vary across schools, divisions, and offices, with units across the University developing and implementing plans that address the needs of their areas and those they support. Resources and guidance below are provided to help in these efforts.


  • The Workplace Planning Group, in collaboration with Leadership Development and Strategy, Human Resources, and other teams have developed best practices, consideration, and other guidance and resources for leaders and managers when planning a transition back to in-person work for their teams and managing hybrid teams.

    • Addressing special situations for employees working onsite: If an employee who is required to work in person due to their assigned responsibilities requests not to return to campus for personal reasons, they may use accrued time (e.g., vacation time) in accordance with University policy or request a leave of absence. A unit’s HR Partner can assist in clarifying options and submitting requests.
    • Consistency across employees in dual-modality or modified work: For all employees, careful consideration must be given to job descriptions and consistency among employees within a unit. HR can assist units in planning for dual-modality work (blended remote and on-campus work) among employees and related issues. HR Partners should review and determine whether ideas for modifying schedules (either mandatorily or voluntarily) are acceptable through Employee and Labor Relations (
    • Vulnerable populations and health decisions: If employees express concerns about returning to in-person work due to factors such as age or an underlying health condition (their own or of someone they live with), a manager should first explore whether any duties can be performed remotely. Under no circumstances should a manager evaluate the health of an employee or make a determination about the health of an employee. Employees are encouraged to speak with their HR Partner to explore leave under FMLA or other leave of absence options.
    • Leading by example: Employees will be looking to their unit leaders for clear communication and direction about returning to work. They will also be observing unit leaders’ decisions, attitudes and behaviors as those observations can influence their own choices. This is an important time to lead by example, demonstrating the behaviors you want your team members to adopt. This may include balancing your time working remotely and in the office in the same way employees are asked to do, as well as modeling behaviors related to wearing a mask if required, cleaning, etc. This is also an opportunity for unit leaders to lead by maintaining a positive attitude, acting with empathy and respect, and focusing on the team’s collective effort to work together in a safe and healthy manner.
  • To help units plan and prepare for the transition to in-person work, we’ve compiled these considerations and best practices based on the experiences of UChicago groups that returned to in-person work earlier in 2021 as well as learnings from other organizations, including other higher-ed institutions.

    The UChicago Intranet also includes
    additional information.

  • Many units have planned a gradual resumption of in-person work, with staff returning in a phased approach. As a result, some teams may work for at least some time in a hybrid format. This kind of arrangement can create challenges for managers, such as building cohesion and connection across the team, ensuring equity, and holding effective meetings. These best practices and considerations offer curated external resources, organized by topic, to provide managers with guidance and recommendations during this time of transition.  

    In addition, Leadership Development and Strategy is offering workshops focused on leading hybrid teams in November and December.

  • Leadership Development and Strategy and HR are offering ongoing workshops focused on confidently and effectively leading hybrid meetings (meetings with a mix of in-person and remote attendees). The sessions cover the planning process; strategies to create inclusive meeting environments; using one’s presence as a tool for engagement and outlet for creativity; and more.

    See the Autumn 2021 schedule.  

    You can also review key points from the workshop and additional resources or watch a recorded session.

  • A number of academic and administrative units are proposing pilots for long-term (more than three months) remote work for Academic Year 2021-22. To support these units in developing, submitting, and implementing their plans, the University has launched a remote work site on the UChicago Intranet. It includes:

    This information is specific to unit-level long-term remote work for staff. Short-term (less than three months) individual remote work (including hybrid work) arrangements for select staff members continues to be subject to manager discretion, in accordance with HR Policy 220.

  • The Staff and Faculty Assistance Program (SFAP), managed through Perspectives Ltd., can provide counseling, resources, and other support at no cost to you and your employees. Call Perspectives Ltd. at 800.456.6327 to speak with a trained counselor or use the online tool (

    Username: UNI500
    Password: perspectives

Take Action

  • All members of the University community, whether they are on campus or not, were required to complete the annual COVID-19 health requirements attestation by September 27, 2021. Staff who join the University after September 27 will receive information about completing the attestation. (There is no longer a COVID-19 training requirement.)

  • According to the protocol, any University community member who has a confirmed case, symptoms, or exposure must promptly self-report via 

  • If anyone in the University community has concerns about safety practices or potential noncompliance with COVID-19 health and safety requirements in University spaces, they can reach out to support teams (anonymously, if preferred) through the UCAIR accident/incident reporting system. Concerns that are reported through UCAIR will be shared with the relevant University office or department so they can be aware of and address the underlying concern where appropriate.

    • Examples of COVID-19-related issues that should be reported through UCAIR include:
      • Concerns about face covering/PPE usage
      • Concerns about social distancing and space density
      • Concerns about cleaning and disinfection
      • Concerns about individuals who should not be in contact with others on campus; for example, if they have potential symptoms of COVID-19 or are subject to mandatory quarantine
      • Any other COVID-19-related public health concern
    • This is an expanded role for UCAIR, which is the system currently used for reporting accidents/incidents or safety concerns on campus. During the pandemic, UCAIR will also serve as the system for anyone at the University to use to report and elevate concerns about COVID-19 health and safety violations. UCAIR should NOT be used to report any potential COVID-19 exposures or confirmed cases. For these types of reports, email


  • All members of the University community, whether they will be on campus or not, were required to complete the new annual COVID-19 health requirements attestation for the start of the 2021-22 academic year. (There is no longer a COVID-19 training requirement, and new employees will receive information about completing the attestation directly.)

  • Under the direction of University of Chicago Medicine Infectious Diseases, the University has established a team dedicated to timely contact tracing for reported cases of COVID-19 involving the campus community, including students, faculty, other academic appointees, post-doctoral researchers, and staff.

    • People with COVID-19 and their close contacts are required to remain isolated or quarantined in accordance with guidance from University of Chicago Medicine and public health experts.
    • Tests are available for any member of the campus community with COVID-19 symptoms. In addition, volunteers on campus are tested frequently to track asymptomatic infections on campus.
    • Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 or has been knowingly exposed to COVID-19 must contact so that the health and safety of others in our facilities can be addressed. People who are determined to be close contacts must adhere to all quarantine requirements for COVID-19.


  • Anyone coming to campus is expected to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 daily and stay home if they are experiencing symptoms.  Individuals should get tested if they experience symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19. The University’s required protocols for people who have been exposed to COVID-19 have been updated to reflect CDC guidance for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. According to the protocol, any University community member who has a confirmed case, symptoms, or exposure must promptly self-report at and cooperate with the Contact Tracing Team.

  • Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 must not come to campus for at least 10 days AND 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and other symptoms have improved.

    According to the protocol, any University community member who has a confirmed case, symptoms, or exposure must promptly self-report via

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place or touched surfaces often touched by others, and after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or eating. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

  • The Guidance for University-Sponsored Meetings and Convenings That Are Not for Academic Instruction outlines requirements for on-campus gatherings, as well as for convenings as restaurants, venues, and personal residences. It includes details about approval requirements and outlines best practices to promote participant health and safety.

Support and Resources

Health & Wellness

  • Perspectives, the staff and faculty assistance program vendor, offers phone counseling, resources to help manage stress and anxiety, and back-up child-care resources, among other benefits. Access Perspectives by calling 800.456.6327 or visiting (username: UNI500 / password: perspectives).

    You can also check out one of their newest resources on avoiding pandemic fatigue.

  • Many people may experience feelings of stress, anxiety, isolation, and fear during the pandemic. In addition to Perspectives, these campus and community resources, compiled by UChicago’s Diversity and Inclusion initiative, are available to assist you.

  • This expanded telehealth benefit is for BCBSIL PPO and HMO members and is separate from the telehealth services currently offered to eligible members by MDLIVE®.

    • For PPO members, this is for medically necessary services with an in-network PPO provider who offers telehealth services. If a PPO member sees an in-network provider who offers telehealth services, those telehealth services will now be covered as a regular office visit.
    • For HMO members, this is for medically necessary services from providers in their medical group who offer telehealth services. If an HMO member sees a provider within their medical group who offers telehealth services, those telehealth services will now be covered as a regular office visit.
    • Telehealth visits currently include two-way, live interactive telephone communication and digital video consultations, which can allow concerned members to connect with their physicians while reducing the risk of exposure to contagious viruses or further illness.
    • Additionally, through the 24/7 Nurseline, registered nurses are available to members to answer general health questions and guide members to the appropriate level of care. See the number on the back of your BCBS ID card.
    • This expansion is meant to offer flexible options to members and reduce the spread of COVID-19, influenza, etc.
  • The U.S. federal government now requires insurance plans to cover eight over-the-counter (OTC) COVID-19 tests per month per covered person, at no cost to plan members, and also now allows all U.S. households (regardless of insurance coverage) to order four free COVID-19 tests through the government. Details on coverage through the University’s medical plans and the free government tests are as follows:

    BCBS HMO Illinois Plan: Coverage for OTC COVID-19 tests will be through your prescription drug benefit with Prime Therapeutics. 

    BCBS Maroon PPO, BCBS Maroon Savings Choice, and UCHP:  Coverage for OTC COVID-19 tests will be covered through your prescription drug benefit with CVS. CVS Caremark will offer two methods of coverage: 

    1. Direct Member Reimbursement: You can be reimbursed for OTC COVID-19 tests you purchased from January 15, 2022 until the end of the Public Health Emergency. CVS Caremark will reimburse claims for all OTC COVID-19 tests, regardless of manufacturer or merchant. To receive reimbursement, upload a copy of the receipt for your OTC COVID-19 test through, or you can submit a paper claim.
    2. Direct Coverage: Use your CVS/Caremark ID Card and obtain the test from your network pharmacy, the same way you would pick up a prescription. The plan will cover the cost of OTC COVID-19 tests with direct reimbursement to the pharmacy and no upfront out-of-pocket cost for you. CVS Caremark will cover these claims for most OTC COVID-19 tests purchased across a broad network of pharmacies. 

    Note: Due to staffing issues, some pharmacies in the CVS network may not be able to support adjudicating the COVID-19 tests at the pharmacy. In this case, there may be signs in stores directing customers to purchase the tests at the registers and submit for reimbursement through the paper claims process. 

    Government-provided tests:Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order online four free at-⁠home COVID-⁠19 tests through the government. Orders will usually ship in 7 to 12 days. Visit to learn more or to place an order.

  • UCHP is waiving co-pays for all diagnostic testing related to COVID-19 and in-patient stays related to COVID-19.

  • For general HR questions, contact your unit’s HR Partner. For benefits information, visit the UChicago Benefits website.

Resources to Support Parents and Caregivers


    Reputable sources of information offering guidance and information about the novel coronavirus, childcare, vulnerable populations, and how to stay as safe as possible during the pandemic.

  • UChicago Child Development Centers managed by Bright Horizons serves children of faculty members, other academic appointees, postdoctoral researchers, staff, and students in space designed to meet the childcare and educational needs of children ages six weeks to five years old, maximizing learning and ensuring safety. Bright Horizons can help if your nanny is sick. With Drop-in Care at Bright Horizons, your infant through kindergarten prep-aged child will enjoy action-packed days full of fun, educational activities, and you’ll have peace of mind, knowing that your child is in good hands. To learn more, contact the center directly at 773.819.2600.

    Families may also call the center to discuss enrollment opportunities. Enrollment paperwork is available at by using the drop box to select Illinois and then completing the information applicable to the child. To schedule a virtual center visit, please call 773.819.2600 or visit their website at During your virtual center visit, staff will discuss program details, availability, and documentation needed prior to the child’s first day. (Bright Horizons’ Covid-19 policy:

    Bright Horizons currently operates one of its two onsite childcare centers (Drexel) at the University of Chicago and hopes to open the center on Stony Island this fall as soon as enrollment demand warrants. Bright Horizons will follow the COVID-19 guidance from city, state, and federal authorities, including closing the center(s) if advised. In some instances, Bright Horizons adheres to more stringent standards in accord with the advice of its pediatric medical consultants.

    Information about upcoming webinars is available here

    UChicago Drexel,   Shirley Neiman, Director, 773.819.2600

  • UChicago Library Children’s Collection
    The Library added more than 150 children’s books to its collection that are written by authors of color. Check out the Guide to Children’s Books, which includes information about finding children’s books in the Library, as well as links to a children’s ebook collection (Cricket Media) and online children’s magazines.

    My Very Own Library Program
    The My Very Own Virtual Read Aloud Program offers online literacy resources featuring University faculty, authors, community leaders, NFL alumni, and other prominent individuals reading books and poems.

    UC Moms Resource Group
    UC Moms is an employee resource group that advocates for and provides resources to parents across the University. The group meets monthly via Zoom, typically on the third Friday of each month from noon to 1 p.m., but the time and date are subject to change. For more information, contact Laura Markin at

    Connect with Other Parents Online
    Faculty families can connect with each other and learn more about family-oriented campus programming through the Academics with Young Children Network and its Facebook page. The Student Parent Listserv (which is not just for student parents) and the Hyde Park neighborhood Parent Support Network are active lists in the University community.

  • Sarah Diwan at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club is a knowledgeable resource for locating a nanny or babysitter in Hyde Park area. The club also offers activities on Facebook. The one-time fee of $25 allows you to ask for assistance for up to a year. 773.643.4062.

    Perspectives, the Staff and Faculty Assistance Program (Username: UNI500, Password: perspectives, or 800.456.6327), offers childcare information and referrals to childcare centers, family daycare, nannies/in-home daycare, preschool and toddler programs, summer camps, backup daycare, after-school care, school vacation programs, adoption, special education, new parenting and parenting concerns, school selection, and step-parenting issues to all faculty, OAAs, staff, and postdoctoral researchers.


Please see the latest travel policy. 

Building & Safety

  • The University has increased access to facilities on the Hyde Park campus, with access varying by building to be more closely aligned with pre-pandemic schedules of operation. Most buildings will continue to require a UChicago ID card to gain access. Students should have access to the buildings in which they reside, dine, exercise, take classes, and study. Employees have regained broader access to facilities as per pre-pandemic practices. Visitors and the general public will have access to select buildings and schedules for non-residential dining, exhibitions, and events without a UChicago ID. Please contact your supervisor or academic leader if you have questions about your access to a specific building.

  • Signs are available to help units encourage health and wellness protocols, and other guidelines as they re-open their offices and other spaces. The variety of pre-populated signs are in line with the University’s health and safety requirements and guidance from public health experts. Please print and display these signs throughout your offices, laboratories, and other spaces as appropriate. See the signage

  • Submit an online service request through Facilities Services.

  • Email the Office of Research Safety at

  • Email Environmental Health and Safety at or visit

  • Resumption of Campus Operations Safety Supplies
    To help keep our community safe while resuming on-campus operations, the University has secured COVID-19-related safety supplies that are available to your units.

    Ordering Other Safety Supplies
    COVID-19-related supplies are available for units to purchase via “Internal Supplies” BuySite catalogs. Departmental BuySite requestors should contact their unit leadership for directions and guidance before purchasing. Please note: There are shortages and other supply chain disruptions to many COVID-19-related supplies nationwide. Thanks to the University’s supplier relationships, including the partnership with the Medical Center, we were able to purchase bulk quantities of the items listed in the catalogs to secure product and leverage pricing. We ask that departments only order the current amounts of supplies they need to ensure adequate supply for everyone returning to campus.

    Installation of Hand Sanitizer Stations
    The University has installed hand sanitizer stations in certain common areas of campus where there is no access to sinks, such as building lobbies. These locations were coordinated with the individual units, as well as with Facilities Services, to address any safety considerations and ensure proper servicing. If you notice a station that needs a refill or is no longer functioning, please contact the Help Desk at 773-702-5800, weekdays, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. or submit a question via the Ask A Purchasing/Payment Question.

    More Information
    For more information, please contact the Help Desk at 773-702-5800, weekdays, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. or submit a question via the Ask A Purchasing/Payment Question. Answers to frequently asked questions about these supplies are available here.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Under UChicago’s Temporary Policy on University Quarantine Orders, staff members who receive a directive to quarantine from a University of Chicago COVID-19 contact tracer due to exposure that occurred at work and are unable to perform their duties remotely will continue to be paid for regularly scheduled workdays during the length of their quarantine period, without using their existing paid sick time or other paid time off.

    Staff who are required to quarantine due to exposure that occurred outside of work or because they are returning from travel in a state that is part of the City of Chicago’s Emergency Travel Order must either work from home or use vacation time if remote work is not an option.

  • UChicago’s Diversity and Inclusion initiative has provided this toolkit with guidelines and recommendations to help provide connectivity and support during the pandemic.

  • Perspectives, the faculty and staff assistance program, has provided the following resources:

    You can also visit the Childcare Resources page of the UChicago Intranet for more resources.

  • While the dining commons are only accessible to students on a residential meal plan, there are a variety of other eat and drink options on and near campus available to academics, staff, and postdocs. Visit for hours of operation and access information for the academic cafés and food courts, the Maroon and Midway markets, Pret A Manger, Starbucks, and the Barnes & Noble bookstore café.

    In addition, the Quad Club and Rubenstein Forum’s Bar David are open for in-person dining. The Quad Club also offers takeaway lunches. Food trucks on Ellis Avenue (not affiliated with the University) are also operating.

    Academics and staff can use the new UChicago Eats page on the UChicago Intranet for more on-campus and neighborhood dining information.

  • Permit holders who canceled their monthly parking while they were working remotely and want to resume monthly parking or who need to get a monthly parking permit for the first time should email For those who are working a hybrid schedule and are not on campus five days a week, but are interested in monthly parking, the University now offers the option to park at the Ellis Garage and be charged for one, two, or three days per week. To do this, you must select a designated day or days of the week, and once you make your selection, refunds or exchanges will not be permitted. To learn more about this option, please contact

  • If you have been instructed to return to in-person activities and have concerns about doing so due to a medical condition or other factors that may place you or someone you live with in a higher-risk group, consult with your HR Partner.

  • There are several ways to help protect yourself and slow the spread of COVID-19 when using public transportation, including getting vaccinated against the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also offers several suggested actions when using different modes of transportation. This includes wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, avoiding touching surfaces to the extent possible, and practicing hand hygiene. (Wearing a mask on public transportation is both a federal and State of Illinois mandate.) In addition, both the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and Metra are taking steps to help limit the spread of the virus, including enhanced cleaning of buses, trains, and stations; helping make sure air circulation is efficient; encouraging social distancing, and limiting capacity. You can learn more about CTA’s safety efforts in this one-pager or more detailed brochure and about Metra’s precautions. Also in effect is reduced capacity, a mask requirement, and enhanced cleaning of the University’s UGo shuttles. You can learn more in the University’s latest Transportation & Parking Guide.

  • The Workplace Planning Group is focused on providing members of the UChicago community, especially staff, with guidance toward a safe and healthy return to their offices and other workplaces on campus. With the goal of sustaining academic and research excellence and supporting our culture of collaboration and community, the group planned and continues to update the policies and protocols for working on campus, as well as related information and resources, including guidelines on personal wellness and protection.

  • Name Unit
    Alicia Berg Facilities Services
    Brenda Johnson University Libraries
    Brett Leibsker Employer and Labor Relations
    Brian Schinker IT Services
    Cassandra Martynow Office of the Provost
    Cathe Johnson Booth School of Business
    Courtney Davis Curtis Office of the Vice President for Operations and Chief Financial Officer
    Danielle Bodalski Biological Sciences Division
    Ellen Wetmore Office of Legal Counsel
    Eric Heath Safety and Security
    Garrett Kiely University of Chicago Press
    Jody Pradelski Safety and Security
    Joshua Beck Social Sciences Division
    Joshua Berg Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering
    Katherine Baicker Harris School of Public Policy
    Katie Hrinyak Global Initiatives & Strategy
    Katherine Ritchey Communications
    Marc Klein Office of Legal Counsel
    Megan Harris Office of the Executive Vice President
    Melina Hale (co-chair) Office of the Provost
    Michael Grosse Physical Sciences Division
    Mumtaz Darbar Biological Sciences Division
    Scott DeBlaze Biological Sciences Division
    Susan Popa Office of the Executive Vice President
    Suzanne Baker Alumni Relations and Development
  • Please contact your manager or unit leader, who will be able to provide you with information about your unit’s requirements and process for one-time building access.

  • The Guidance for University-Sponsored Meetings and Convenings That Are Not for Academic Instruction outlines requirements for on-campus gatherings, as well as for convenings as restaurants, venues, and personal residences. It includes details about approval requirements and outlines best practices to promote participant health and safety.

  • The University’s free UGo shuttles that travel on and around the greater campus area are operating on their normal schedules for both day and nighttime this academic year, except on University-observed holidays. To track any of the UGo shuttles, as well as CTA buses that operate on or near campus, use the TransLoc app.

    To support health and safety, all riders must wear a mask, and enhanced cleaning of shuttles is also in effect. Learn more in the University’s latest Transportation & Parking Guide.

    Please remember you must tap your University ID to use these shuttles.

  • You will have to report your lost ID and get a new card through the University’s ID and Privileges office. More information is available here. Please note, a replacement card costs $20.

  • If you discontinued your commuter benefits (HealthEquity/WageWorks) during the pandemic or want to take advantage of this benefit for the first time, you can enroll or re-enroll at the HealthEquity (WageWorks) website. You can learn more about this benefit, which allows benefits-eligible employees the opportunity to pay for certain commuting expenses tax-free through payroll deductions, on the UChicago Intranet’s Commuter Benefits page. You should enroll/re-enroll by the 10th of the month prior to the month uoi want to start using the benefit.

  • ITS has compiled important IT guidance to keep in mind as staff return to campus and other University spaces. Information about returning equipment, office telephone updates (including a reference guide if you need to adjust call forwarding), and wireless network updates, along with additional guidance and IT support contacts, are available on the IT Resources page on the UChicago Intranet.