Working Together to Protect our Community and Advance our Academic Mission

Workplace 

We’ve been pleased to be able to start to welcome members of the University community back to offices and other workplaces on campus and University spaces, and look forward to welcoming more back in the weeks and months ahead. Like all other aspects of our re-opening efforts, we are planning and preparing for employees’ return to campus in close collaboration with public health experts and the University of Chicago Medicine, with safety and wellbeing a top priority.

Approach for Returning to the Workplace

Following the gradual increase of onsite staff supporting research in June, starting around mid-July we will gradually increase the functions and number of employees on campus and in other University spaces.

  • Over the coming months, unit leaders will continue to adapt work procedures to accommodate the gradual return of staff to offices and other workspaces.
  • Workplaces will implement requirements for face coverings, reduced density, social distancing, and enhanced cleaning and sanitation.
  • Since remote work serves as a critical element for maintaining the appropriate density of people in University spaces, many people will continue to work remotely or follow a combination of remote and in-person work.

Below you’ll find resources, practices and protocols that will help our campus community begin to return to in-person activities safely.

Take Action

Complete your required training

Everyone returning to campus is required to complete a short online training before their first day back. Log in and select the training titled “COVID-19 General Safety Training.”

Complete your attestation

Before returning to campus, all individuals must sign an electronic form affirming that they will comply with safety precautions. Review and submit the online attestation.

Familiarize yourself with UCAIR for COVID-19 issues

Members of the University community who have concerns about potential noncompliance with health and safety requirements related to COVID-19 can share their concerns (anonymously, if preferred) through the University Accident Incident Reporting (UCAIR) 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 C19HealthReport@uchicago.edu.

Report case of COVID-19

According to the protocol, any University community member who has a confirmed case, symptoms, or exposure must promptly self-report via C19HealthReport@uchicago.edu. 

Report concerns about safety in the workplace

If anyone in the University community has concerns about safety practices in University spaces, they can reach out to support teams through the UCAIR accident/incident reporting system and experts will work to address concerns.

Submit your plan for resumption of in-person activities (for leaders/managers)

Leaders and managers: Please reference the July 10 email to Deans and Officers for instructions and other details for submitting your required implementation plan and spreadsheet, or amendment form  in the case of units that were previously approved for in-person work and have only incremental changes to their plans. Please submit completed documents or questions to COVIDstaffup@uchicago.edu.

Staff and other personnel: As we gradually increase in-person work, unit leaders are developing plans to adapt work procedures and spaces to reflect health and safety protocols. If you have questions about your unit’s plans or how your unit’s plans impact your role, please reach out to your supervisor.

Guides for resuming in-person activity

Guide to Resuming In-Person Activities

With guidance from University of Chicago Medicine and public health experts as well as input from leaders across campus, we’ve developed the Guide to Resuming In-Person Activities to provide you with information and support for returning to the workplace. In it you’ll find details about the University’s health and safety requirements, guidance for adhering to social distancing requirements while in offices, cubicles, hallways, elevators, and other spaces, wellness resources, and more. It will be updated as new information becomes available. Read the guide

Guide for Leaders and Managers

We’ve also created a guide specifically for leaders and managers with policies, tools, and recommendations, including health and safety protocols and guidance on using campus space safely, to help them plan and prepare for employees’ return to campus. Like the Guide to Resuming In-Person Activities, we’ll update the Leaders and Managers Guide to the Resumption of In-Person Activities as new information and resources become available. Read the guide

What the University is doing to help create a safe workplace

Cleaning & Social Distancing

We are enhancing cleaning and disinfection on campus, especially in high-traffic areas and on high-touch surfaces, including elevators, bathrooms, and stairwells.

  • The University has reduced capacity in most shared spaces (classrooms, conference rooms, etc.) to help those on campus maintain physical distance (about 6 feet) from others.
  • Signage and markers across campus will indicate capacity limits, distancing requirements,  and other safe use of space.
Training & Attestation

Everyone returning to campus is required to complete a short online training before their first day back. Log in and select the training titled “COVID-19 General Safety Training.”

Before returning to campus, all individuals also must sign an electronic form affirming that they will comply with safety precautions. Review and submit the online attestation.

Contact Tracing, Testing, & Reporting

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 will be required to remain isolated or quarantined in accordance with guidance from University of Chicago Medicine and public health experts.
  • Tests will be available for any member of the campus community with COVID-19 symptoms. In addition, students living on campus will undergo regular mandatory testing, and up to 5,000 volunteers on campus will be tested frequently throughout the year to track asymptomatic infections on campus.
  • Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 or has been knowingly exposed to COVID-19 must contact C19HealthReport@uchicago.edu 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.
Providing Face Masks

As part of return to campus planning, the University is providing two cloth face masks and a thermometer to each to each faculty member, OAA, postdoctoral researcher, student, and staff member who will be regularly on campus. More details are available in the overview document.

What you can do to help create a safe workplace

Self-Monitor

Self-monitor for symptoms and stay home if you have potentially been exposed to COVID-19 or have had any symptoms, including: cough, runny or stuffy nose, shortness of breath, fever, difficulty breathing, chills, body aches, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. If you have symptoms, do not go to your University destination. Consult your healthcare provider and inform your supervisor or academic leader. Any faculty, academic appointee, postdoctoral researcher, or staff member who is experiencing symptoms or has been identified as a close contact may call the UChicago Medicine COVID-19 triage hotline for screening, at 773.702.2800.  Students should call UChicago Student Wellness at 773.834.WELL. 

Report

Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 should 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 C19HealthReport@uchicago.edu. 

Wear a Face Covering

Cover your nose and mouth at all times in University buildings, with narrow exceptions. Individuals can remove face coverings if they are in a private room/office alone with the door shut or while eating indoors with at least 8 feet of social distance.

Face coverings must also be worn while on campus grounds when others are within 6 feet.

Wash Your Hands

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.

Use Workspace Safely

Do not stand and talk over cubicles to others or enter another employee’s cubicle. Only one person should be in a private office at a time, unless 6 feet of distance can be maintained. Use only your own phone, computer, and other equipment. If you must use shared items, wipe down the equipment before and after use and wash your hands.

Move Safely

Continue to stay at least 6 feet from others and wear your face covering as you move through hallways, corridors, and stairways. Avoid pausing to talk to passersby. If others are on an elevator before you get on and you cannot maintain 6 feet of distance, wait for the next elevator or consider taking the stairs.

Hold Meetings Safely

Hold meetings using online collaboration tools (e.g., Zoom or Teams) when possible, even if attendees are on campus. If a meeting must take place in person, adhere to state and city limits on the number of people allowed to gather and maintain at least 6 feet of separation from one another throughout the meeting. All attendees must wear masks, and attendees should clean surfaces before leaving the meeting room.

Support and Resources

Health & Wellness

Perspectives Staff and Faculty Assistance Program

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 perspectivesltd.com (username: UNI500 / password: perspectives).

BCBSIL Telehealth Expansion

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.
  • For additional information, visit the BCBS COVID-19 Telehealth Extension page.
UCHP (Aetna) Telemedicine Visits

UCHP (Aetna) members will have zero copays for telemedicine visits for any reason. Currently, this service is expected to extend until September 30, 2020; however, the date is subject to change. See the Aetna COVID-19 information page for updates. UCHP (Aetna) members are encouraged to use telemedicine as their first line of defense in order to limit potential exposure within physician offices. Cost sharing will be waived for all video visits through the CVS MinuteClinic app.

CVS Video Visits

Anyone can use a MinuteClinic. MinuteClinics offer patients the opportunity to request a Video Visit in 40 states and Washington, D.C. Cost is waived if you are covered by CVS for Rx benefits.

Additional Benefits Information

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

Childcare

Additional resources for Instructors of Record

Travel

UChicago is continuing the suspension of University-sponsored international and domestic travel until further notice. In addition, non-essential personal travel is strongly discouraged. Any member of the University community who chooses to travel must follow local guidelines for quarantining and other COVID-19 measures at the destination and upon their return to Chicago. See the travel page for guidance about returning from travel and information about requesting an exception to the suspension of University-sponsored travel.

Building & Safety

Health and Safety Signs

Signs are available to help units encourage health and wellness protocols, social distancing, proper cleaning, 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

Building Issues

Submit an online service request through Facilities Services.

Laboratory Safety and Cleaning

Email the Office of Research Safety at researchsafety@uchicago.edu.

General Safety Issues

Email Environmental Health and Safety at safety@uchicago.edu or visit safety.uchicago.edu.

Safety Supplies

Resumption of Campus Operations Safety Supplies

To help keep our community safe as we gradually resume on-campus operations and prepare for the return of some personnel to campus, the University has secured COVID-19-related safety supplies that will be available to your units.

Distribution of Cloth Face Masks

The University plans to supply two cloth face coverings to everyone returning to campus. These centrally funded face coverings will be provided to identified COVID-19 unit leads, who in turn, will distribute them within their organizations as appropriate. The number of cloth face coverings provided to each unit and distribution timing will be based on information provided to the UChicago Forward planning groups as a part of unit implementation plans and start with those individuals returning in June. Additional distribution will follow as the resumption of on-campus operations continues.

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 will install hand sanitizer stations in certain common areas of campus where there is no access to sinks, such as building lobbies. These locations will be coordinated with the individual units, as well as with Facilities Services, to address any safety considerations and ensure proper servicing.

Unit-Specific Supply Needs

As part of the planning process for the resumption of campus operations, Planning Group leads are working with unit leaders to determine any critical additional unit-specific supply needs. The COVID-19 Supply Team will then be working with the Planning Group leads and units to advise on the best approach for securing these additional supplies.

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

What resources are available to staff and academics with school-age children?

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

Check back here for information about childcare resources.

For those who need to be on campus this summer, will there be any campus dining facilities or food trucks open?

All UChicago Dining residential dining commons, cafés, and retail operations are closed for summer. Food trucks, which are not affiliated with the University of Chicago, may be available on Ellis Avenue.

When will parking fees begin to be charged again for parking permit holders? If so, is it possible to continue to defer payment for staff continuing to work remotely?

Payroll deductions for those who hold parking permits will begin again in September. Permit holders who know they will not be on campus in September may cancel their parking and apply to resume it once they return to campus. Questions about parking may be sent to parking@uchicago.edu

What should employees with medical conditions or other factors that may put them at higher risk for COVID-19 or who live with someone in a higher-risk group do if they are asked to return to campus?

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.

Will masks/sanitizer/wipes be available for the workplace?

The University has secured COVID-19-related safety supplies that will be available to units.  As part of the return to campus planning, the University plans to supply two cloth face masks and a thermometer to each faculty member, OAA, postdoctoral researcher, student and staff member who will be regularly on campus. They will be provided to unit leads identified by their respective Dean or Officer, who will distribute them within their organizations as appropriate. In addition, the University will install hand sanitizer stations in certain common areas of campus where sinks are not readily accessible, such as building lobbies. These locations will be coordinated with units and Facilities Services to address safety and operational considerations. Finally, COVID-19-related supplies are available for units to purchase via two internal BuySite catalogs; Procurement has shared details of this with departmental BuySite requestors and unit leaders. If you have questions about supplies for your unit, please talk to your manager or COVID-19 unit lead.

What is the focus of the Workplace planning group?

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 a focus on sustaining academic and research excellence, and supporting our culture of collaboration and community, the group will plan the protocols for working on campus and share related information and resources, including guidelines on personal wellness and protection as well as relevant policies and benefits.

Who is in the Workplace planning group?
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
Casey Cook (co-chair) Human Resources
Cathe Johnson Booth School of Business
Courtney Davis Curtis Office of the Vice President for Operations and Chief Financial Officer
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
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
Susan Popa Office of the Executive Vice President
Suzanne Baker Alumni Relations and Development
What should I do if I am working remotely, but need one-time access to my work area to retrieve documents, personal items, etc.?

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.

How will any violations of the University’s health and safety requirements be addressed?

Given the critical importance of helping prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protecting public health and safety as many members of our community return to campus, the University has developed protocols for addressing violations of campus health and safety requirements among academics, postdoctoral researchers, and staff. (The University will communicate more soon concerning approaches for addressing violations by students.)

Academic and operational units will be responsible for monitoring and enforcing compliance with the University’s health and safety requirements and addressing any instances of non-compliance. The University has updated its Business Conduct policy (policy 104) for staff employees and annual appointment letters for academics to indicate that members of the campus community are expected to comply with the University’s health and safety requirements.

While the University expects issues of non-compliance to be infrequent, academic appointees, postdoctoral researchers, and staff who fail to adhere to these requirements will be subject to corrective and/or disciplinary action. Such action will likely start with a verbal warning from unit leadership. Repeated violations could lead to revocation of building access, exclusion from the merit process in the next relevant merit cycle, and/or other disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment (in egregious cases).