Employee Information | St. Lawrence University Always Forward: Returning to St. Lawrence

Employee Information

The health and safety of all St. Lawrence employees is addressed in a variety of initiatives and will remain a top priority as the campus is repopulated over the coming months. The guidance described below for faculty and staff also applies to student employees.

Employee Safe Return 

In accordance with approval by the Governor and the North Country Regional Control Room (https://forward.ny.gov/members-regional-control-rooms), St. Lawrence completed an initial resumption of administrative activities as part of Phase II of the New York Forward initiative on May 29 (https://forward.ny.gov). “Work Safety Plans” mandated by the state for each University division or office are required before anyone can return to work. 

The phased return of employees has proceeded, by design, carefully and slowly and includes the categories of physical distancing and protection (masks, Plexiglas barriers, signage for safe distancing, and entrance/exit patterns to minimize human interactions).

Each department’s Safety Plan must be approved by the Return to Work team (RTW) and returning employees informed by Human Resources about new protocols for confidential and mandatory daily health screenings before they can start work, training how to adequately put on, take off, clean (as applicable), and discard PPE, cleaning, social distancing requirements, and expectations for reporting illness.  

Offices and employees are expected to conduct meetings virtually, and meetings that must be in person are held in spaces that accommodate social distancing while all participants wear masks. We require rotational schedules that provide 50% or less occupancy for the space. Testing in mandatory for employees who are working on campus when students return. Costs for the employee tests are requested of insurance or, if denied, paid by the University.

Offices must follow these guidelines in all Phases of New York Forward and throughout the academic year, or until revised guidance is provided by the state. 

Campus employees are informed that:

  • If you can continue to work from home, you should continue to work from home.
  • If you are sick, you should stay home.
  • Daily Health Screenings:  All employees coming to campus for any reason must complete the daily health screening prior to entering any building at www.stlawu.edu/healthcheck.
    • We are exploring a new phone app/web form provided by our testing company and may replace the campus-created screening with this new app in mid-August. Until then, if you are coming to campus, you must access the current screening tool we use at the URL above.
    • Answers are reviewed by Human Resources, Health Services and Security only.
    • Needed follow-up will come from Human Resources. 
  • Safety Training: All employees coming to campus for more than 15 minutes at least once a week in a typical week must complete safety training before they return to work. Training options are available at www.stlawu.edu/covid19training.  

We do not mandate faculty in-person presence on campus for teaching and advising; we do expect faculty to provide the same level of attention, care, and guidance to students as are the St. Lawrence University standards if they choose to teach remotely.

To order COVID-19 related supplies for your department (including face coverings, spray bottles of disinfectant, hand sanitizer, and floor signage) use this form.

Employee COVID-19 Testing Overview 

  • COVID-19 tests are required for all employees working on site with the definition of coming to campus for more than 15 minutes at least once a week in a typical week. 
  • Employees were tested during the first two clinics on August 17-19 and September 2-4. Testing Clinics are scheduled for every Tuesday and Wednesday through November. Learn more about the Fall 2020 testing plan.
    • A similar schedule will take place in January through April unless testing methods change.
  • Tests at University clinics will be administered at no cost to employees.
    • Employees may also get a PCR test on their own and at their expense during the same time period (Aug 17-19 and Sept 2-4). While testing is required for employees coming to campus, how an employee goes about getting tested is their choice and the University offers a way to do it at no cost. 
  • If an active employee who does not come to campus for more than 15 minutes at least once a week would like to be tested, the University can accommodate them in the testing planning and they are able to have an appointment.
  • Tests on campus are available only to current, active employees, due to the limitations on test supplies. We cannot accommodate anyone who is not an employee.
  • Employees may return to work pending results and must continue to complete the daily health screening questionnaire. 
  • For on-campus testing of both students and employees, the University uses the Broad Institute's CRSP SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR Diagnostic Assay.
    • Testing specimens are driven to Boston at the conclusion of each day’s clinic. Results are expected within 24 hours after receipt at the lab.
  • Employee results are visible to Health Services and Human Resources only and shared with St. Lawrence County Public Health to coordinate contact tracing. 
    • Notification: 
      • Employees will receive an email message when results are available if their result is conclusive and negative.
      • If their test is either inconclusive (which can happen for a number of reasons) or positive, they will receive a call from Human Resources. If it is inconclusive, they will receive instructions for being re-tested. Should an employee test positive, Health Services is obligated to inform Public Health, and Public Health will have an Isolation Order delivered. 
    • The name of any individual who tests positive is never known by contact tracers nor shared with those contacted. St. Lawrence County Public Health will provide guidance about isolation requirements. The employee will work with their manager and HR to determine whether remote work is feasible, assuming the employee feels well enough to work. 

Absences from COVID are covered by NYS-COVID benefit time unless the infected person has traveled to a state (within the past 14 days prior to diagnosis) on the NYS list of “hot spots.” NYS does not allow COVID-quarantine coverage for discretionary travel. If an employee has traveled to a “hot spot” state, the employee may use benefit time for the absence.

Fall 2020 Semester Testing Plan

Weekly Tests

St. Lawrence will conduct two clinics a week (Tuesday and Wednesday) using a random sampling of employees and students for selection. We expect that employees who are on site at least a half-day per week (four hours) will be in the selection pool. Those employees should expect to be tested at least once every three weeks, with the goal of every other week, and possibly more often. An employee's selection date will not be in any pattern; the same employee could be selected two weeks in a row, for example. 

Lisa Cania will send an email to the employees selected for each week’s clinic and ask them to make an appointment for their test at a date and time from the two days offered that works best for them. Employees should not make an appointment unless they receive a notice from Lisa Cania that they have been selected. Clinics will be held in Leithead Fieldhouse.

Employees who do not hear from Lisa Cania at least once for clinics between September 15 and October 6 should contact her to let her know they should be scheduled. Everyone’s actual schedule may differ from the proposed schedule submitted to the University's Return-to-Work committee this summer.

New employees will be expected to have their test, and receive negative results, before they begin their work.

Wastewater Testing

St. Lawrence also will begin an auxiliary surveillance testing process using sampling of residence hall wastewater, with samples brought to Clarkson University twice weekly.  Wastewater sampling can pick up a virus trace several days before symptoms and even before the nasal test shows a positive result. The sampling should begin at the end of September.

Faculty and Staff Proactive Infection Plan

This describes the plan of action when any faculty or staff member: (1) tests positive for COVID-19; (2) exhibits symptoms of COVID-19; or (3) is exposed to COVID-19.

I. Faculty or Staff tests positive for COVID-19

Any University faculty or staff who has a positive COVID-19 laboratory result is referred to as a “Personnel Confirmed Case.”

  1. Faculty or Staff Responsibilities

If any faculty or staff is a Personnel Confirmed Case, they must:

  • Notify Debra Mousaw of Human Resources immediately;
  • Remain out of the office until they are allowed to return based on the “Return to Work” section below;
  • Provide the County Health Department contact tracer (may be a University designee) with information regarding their contacts at St. Lawrence facilities during the fourteen (14) days prior to the positive test;
  • Provide Debra Mousaw of Human Resources with a copy of any Order of Quarantine related to the diagnosis; and
  • Communicate regularly with Debra Mousaw regarding their recovery.
  1. St. Lawrence Actions

When St. Lawrence is notified about a Personnel Confirmed Case, it will:

  1. Communication
  • Communicate with other faculty, staff, students or visitors about the Personnel Confirmed Case as it deems necessary and appropriate; and
  • Stay in touch with the Personnel Confirmed Case about symptoms, progress, recovery, and discussions with the local health authority and other employees.
    1. Contact Tracing
  • The Director of Health Services will work with New York State or local government contact tracers to complete the contact tracing;
  • Assist as requested with health authority regarding contact tracing and follow its guidance and recommendations; and
    1. Cleaning and Disinfection
  • Close off the area(s) where the infected faculty or staff was working and wait as long as possible before beginning disinfection, but no more than twenty-four (24) hours;
  • Cleaning and disinfection will be performed by trained and protected         St. Lawrence Facilities Operations staff and will cover all areas where the faculty or staff worked and any common areas where they would have been; and
  • Depending on where the infected person has been, it may be necessary to close a floor and/or building until a time when it can be properly sanitized.  The Campus Safety Monitor team will make the decision whether to close the floor and/or office.
    1. Documentation
  • Document all communication with the Personnel Confirmed Case and/or the local health authority; and
  • Determine whether the infection should be recorded pursuant to OSHA regulations.

II. Faculty or staff are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 but have not tested positive

  • Faculty or staff who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 must report that they are experiencing symptoms through the Online Screening Tool
  • Faculty or staff who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 are prohibited from coming to campus.
  • Faculty or staff who present to campus with COVID-19 symptoms or who develop symptoms while on campus will be sent home.
  • Faculty or staff who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 will be directed to see their health care provider and obtain a COVID-19 test.  If the faculty or staff tests positive for COVID-19, they are a Personnel Confirmed Case and the steps identified in Section I, above, will be followed.

III. Faculty or staff are asymptomatic, but have had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19

Faculty or staff who have had close contact with someone who is a confirmed case must report that they have had close contact through the Online Screening Tool and await guidance before returning to campus.

IV. Return to Work 

  • Faculty or Staff who test positive for COVID-19, who have had close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time, or who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, may only return campus life in accordance with the guidelines set forth by the New York State Department of Health.

Travel Guidance for Employees

This guidance will be updated as circumstances change and, we hope, improve:

  1. Employees are allowed University-sponsored business travel (meetings with constituents such as donors or prospective students, individual scholarly research travel, etc.) with approval of the Vice President of the division or their designee. 
  2. Employees are not authorized to attend in-person professional conferences in fall, 2020. Pending public health requirements, this limitation may be extended to the full year; employees are asked to consult with their supervisor before making plans to attend conferences beyond fall 2020.
  3. Employees working on campus may conduct personal travel within 150 miles of Canton with no prior notice to supervisor needed unless that 150 miles includes a New York location that is in a NY Forward-described Phase that is less than Phase 4.
  4. Employees working on campus traveling for personal reasons at their own discretion are asked to consider their destinations and activities with regard to public health and forego any travel that would result in increased risk to the campus community.  Employees traveling more than 150 miles from campus should let their direct supervisor know in advance about their travel plans. In some cases, quarantine may be required prior to return to campus, on the advice of public health authorities. Destinations in travel advisory lists (“hot spots”) will require quarantine prior to return to in-person work. 

Employees who return to campus from a Travel Advisory state must quarantine for 14 days upon return to NYS.

For those who cannot work from home: If they left NYS knowing their destination was on the Travel Advisory List, they are not entitled to NYS Paid Emergency Leave and will not receive NYS paid sick leave. They may use accrued benefit time if they have benefit time and wish to use it, or they may go without pay for the 14 days. 

In general, the University will not allow essential workers who have returned from a stay of more than 24 hours in a Travel Advisory State or who have been exposed to COVID-19 within NYS to return to campus until their 14-day quarantine ends and they receive a negative test result. If they receive a positive test result after 14 days, then St. Lawrence County Public Health will be in touch about isolation and next steps

For those who are able to work from home with their supervisor’s approval, they may work from home during the quarantine. In general, the University will not allow workers who have returned from a Travel Advisory State or who have been exposed to COVID-19 within NYS to return to campus until the 14-day quarantine has ended and a negative test result is received. If they receive a positive test result after 14 days, then St. Lawrence County Public Health will be in touch about isolation and next steps. 

The University's website is linked to the NYS website that lists locations in NYS which are in a phase other than Phase 4, and with any hot spot areas as determined by the Governor. 

Open Positions and Hiring

Most searches for open positions have been frozen indefinitely.

Telemedicine Options 

For employees enrolled in a University-sponsored health insurance plan, you may visit a board-certified doctor by video conference (smartphone, tablet or computer) or phone right from home, or while traveling, for non-emergency medical conditions, including respiratory infections. Telemedicine benefits are available 24/7/365. Participants may set up a telemedicine visit by visiting the Excellus website at www.excellusbcbs.com and registering for MDLive. More details available from Human Resources. 

Home Office Tips

St. Lawrence's Department of Environmental Health and Safety shared tips on creating productive work-from-home spaces and tips for a healthy home office.

Labor Issues and Unemployment FAQ

Human Resources added a Frequently-Asked Questions page to provide more helpful information.