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Florida Tech community: Please view the Florida Tech Safe website for important COVID-19 information and "Return to Learn" plan details.

Florida Tech SafeCOVID-19 News and Notices

Q&A for Faculty and Staff

Florida Tech is committed to the health and safety of our students, staff and faculty. We hope you find this FAQ helpful as we "Return to Learn" together. If you cannot find the information you need below, please submit your question so that we may answer it for you.

Staffing

For information about returning to in-person work on campus.

Will all employees return to campus in the fall?

It is expected that employees will return to campus by the start of the fall semester to conduct their work. Employees can expect social distancing will be practiced. We are working diligently to create an environment where social distancing can be relied upon as the best tool in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

In the limited cases where social distancing cannot be practiced, supervisors will implement other measures that will promote social distancing. Any alternate work arrangements should not interfere with our ability to serve students or present an undue hardship to university operations. 

For more information about work arrangements and leave options for employees unable to return to campus, contact the Office of Human Resources.

Will accommodations be made for employees who are at higher risk for severe illness with COVID-19? What about for those living with a high-risk individual?

For the fall semester 2020, it is expected that employees will return to campus by the start of the fall semester to conduct their work. Employees can expect social distancing will be practiced. We are working diligently to create an environment where social distancing can be relied upon as the best tool in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Any alternate work arrangements should not interfere with our ability to serve students.  

Employees who care for or live with individuals at higher risk for severe illness with COVID-19 should plan to return to campus as scheduled and work with their direct supervisor to ensure that their work environment allows for social distancing and the ability to practice the behaviors known to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Is there any COVID-19 related training that I must complete? If so, what if I have arranged to work remotely and am not physically returning to campus?

All staff and faculty, whether working remotely or on campus, must complete the online COVID-19 training modules by August 29, 2020. An email notifying all employees of this requirement was distributed to Florida Tech faculty and staff on July 30.

The trainings are:

  • Pandemics: Slowing the Spread
  • Disinfecting the Workplace for COVID-19

Please login to Vivid LMS using your Tracks ID and password to complete the courses. If you have any questions, or if you have technical difficulties accessing the training, please contact Environmental Health and Safety

Health and Safety

For information about staying healthy while on campus.

Will employees be required to wear face coverings? Will they be provided?

Florida Tech will require all faculty, staff, students and visitors to wear an appropriate face covering where 6 feet of social distancing may not always be possible. Face covering use will be in addition to, and is not a substitute for, social distancing.

Florida Tech will provide reusable cloth face coverings to our community prior to the fall 2020 semester.

Anyone not using a face covering when required will be asked to wear one or to leave the area. Repeated refusal to comply with the requirement may result in discipline through the applicable conduct code for faculty, staff or students.

Cloth face coverings may be used in lab spaces that do not contain chemical, biological or radioactive agents. Single-use surgical masks are required to be worn, and will be provided, while in lab spaces containing chemical, biological or radioactive agents. In labs where these agents are present, normal lab safety and PPE protocol will remain in place.

The use of N95 respirators (commonly called N95 masks) are highly discouraged for the general public. Per the CDC, they are to be designated for healthcare workers and other personnel who are expected to come into contact with known COVID-19 infected individuals. However, employees are permitted to voluntarily wear N95 respirators. Before such use, employees must submit an Appendix B: Voluntary Respirator Hazard Assessment form to the Office of Environmental, Health & Safety  for approval as there are specific federal regulatory requirements that must be satisfied. Additionally, employees will be responsible for purchasing N95s when used voluntarily. 

Will health screenings be required for employees?

One of the safety steps we are taking as a community is the implementation of a regular health screening questionnaire. Florida Tech needs all faculty and staff to attest to their wellness to protect our community at large. This self-assessment will determine an employee’s eligibility to be on campus.

All faculty and staff are required to complete the health screening questionnaire prior to reporting to work each day, effective Aug. 3, 2020.  

Please remember this is not a diagnostic tool and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or medical symptoms.

Due to the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, inquiries into an employee’s symptoms, even if disability related, are considered justified by the EEOC, as the CDC and public health authorities have determined that COVID-19 poses a direct threat of substantial harm to the health and safety of the public, which cannot be reduced or eliminated despite reasonable accommodation. Florida Tech will maintain all information about employee illness as a confidential medical record in compliance with the ADA.

The Health Screening questionnaire is available in Microsoft Forms on the Access Launchpad, on the HR website, or accessible from a mobile device.

Will temperature checks be required? Where and when?

Florida Tech is implementing a self-screening process to support the early identification of positive cases. In addition to self-screening questionnaire, thermal screening will be deployed in strategic locations. Thermal screening systems measure someone’s surface skin temperature without requiring close physical contact. We will ensure that screening does not create bottlenecks, crowding or other counterproductive situations.

All Florida Tech community members should use the COVID-19 Daily Self-Checklist every day before arriving on campus or leaving their residence.

Self-screening and thermal imaging are our primary screening methods. No-touch infrared thermometers will be available as a secondary measure to confirm an elevated temperature.

What kinds of preventative practices will be in place to protect students, faculty and staff when they return to campus?

Everyone will be expected to continue to follow basic guidelines from the Florida Department of Public Health (FDPH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the governor’s COVID-19 Task Force.

Florida Tech will require all faculty, staff, students and visitors to wear an appropriate face covering while on campus anywhere that 6 feet of social distancing is not possible.

Other basic guidelines include:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use hand sanitizer in the absence of soap and water.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or inner elbow.

Social distancing (6 feet of separation from others) at work:

  • Be respectful of others’ personal space.
  • Assess and adjust workspaces to maximize social distancing, including spacing furniture with 6 feet of separation.
  • Hold meetings virtually whenever possible.
  • Provide services remotely whenever possible.
  • Do not share phones, desks, offices, computers or other equipment. In cases where equipment is shared, it should be disinfected before and after each use.
  • Do not gather in groups of more than 10 people when social distancing cannot be maintained.
  • When interacting in open environments (e.g., outdoors, atriums and auditoriums) or in indoor common areas, keep a safe social distance.
  • Limit occupancy in elevators.
  • Do not use a restroom when it is being cleaned.
  • Supervisors should allow employees to take meals outside or in separate locations.
  • Cancel or postpone any events or activities (networking happy hours, lunch-and-learns, etc.) or consider hosting them virtually.
  • Avoid all person-to-person contact, including handshaking.

To mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Florida Tech is implementing a wellness check protocol designed to help protect the health and safety of our community. All employees are advised to administer the COVID-19 Daily Self-Checklist before coming to campus.

Will testing be available to Florida Tech faculty and staff?

Faculty and staff should seek tests through their primary care physician or through Florida Department of Health testing facilities. The Holzer Health Center is available for consultation.

What should faculty and staff do if they develop symptoms of COVID-19?

If you’re at home and start feeling sick, or if you answer “yes” to any of the questions on the COVID-19 Daily Self-Checklist before coming to campus, stay home. Please notify your manager or supervisor and contact your primary care physician.

If you start to feel sick on campus, you should notify your manager or supervisor, leave campus immediately, avoid all rideshare, public transportation and taxis if possible, and contact your primary care physician.

What will happen if an employee tests positive or is diagnosed with COVID-19?

Employees will be required to notify the Office of Human Resources of a positive result. All test results reporting will be conducted in compliance with HIPAA and other privacy regulations.

When any member of the Florida Tech community tests positive for or is diagnosed with COVID-19, the university will follow the direction and guidance from the Florida Department of Public Health (FDPH). For employees, notify Human Resources, who will:

  • Ensure the employee is briefed on their responsibility to isolate themselves.
  • Ensure the employee’s department leadership is aware.

Florida Tech will support contact tracing efforts led by FDPH and be prepared to assist FDPH by collecting initial information from patients. We also will be available to engage in further tracing of potential on-campus exposures, as directed by FDPH.

We will determine where a person with a positive test result or diagnosis of COVID-19 has spent significant time and deploy a specially trained team to clean and disinfect those specific areas.

Anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 may not return to campus or leave isolation until all three of the following criteria are met:

  1. At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared and
  2. At least 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medicine and
  3. Symptoms have improved.
Will faculty members be notified if one of their students gets sick or shows symptoms?

When any member of the Florida Tech community tests positive for or is diagnosed with COVID-19, the Holzer Health Center will follow guidance from the Florida Department of Public Health (FDPH). For students, Holzer Health Center will ensure the student is briefed on their responsibility to isolate themselves.

Holzer Health Center also will, with consent from the student, notify the Dean of Students office, who will help the student arrange appropriate academic accommodations with their instructors and coordinate with Housing and Residence Life to initiate isolation protocols for campus residents.

How can I get personal protective equipment (PPE) for my office/department/unit?

Florida Tech will centrally manage the acquisition and distribution of PPE to ensure usage is consistent based on job function, risk of exposure and other factors, and we will maintain adequate supplies of only approved PPE. Coordinating across campus also will help make more cost-effective purchases.

Building managers or department heads can request PPE supplies for their building through the Office of Environmental Health & Safety.

What additional safety measures will be put in place for classrooms, specifically?

All classrooms are being reviewed and reconfigured to ensure social distancing. Special health and safety protocols for classrooms are also being developed. 

Some classes will be transferred to larger spaces that allow for social distancing. Classroom with social distancing modifications in place

How often will classrooms be cleaned when classes resume on campus in the fall?

All high-traffic spaces, including classrooms, will be cleaned and disinfected on an increased schedule. 

How often will high-traffic areas and frequently touched surfaces be cleaned?

Florida Tech’s staff will disinfect door handles, railings, elevator buttons, countertops and other frequently touched surfaces. They also will increase restroom cleaning and disinfect desks and tables in classrooms, especially in high-use buildings.

Vendors and Visitors

For information related to welcoming visitors, including vendors, to campus.

Will outside vendors or other visitors be allowed on campus?

Yes, but all campus visitors will be expected to follow Florida Tech’s health and safety guidelines.

Visitors must complete the registration form.

The following rules will apply to all visitors at the start of fall semester:

  • All visitors must check in at the Florida Tech , which is located at the south located on the first floor of the South side of Shaw Hall, and show a valid photo ID.
  • Visitors will sign a daily visitor log citing their name, time in and purpose of their visit.
  • Visitors will receive day passes and are required to display them on their outer garment.

Travel

For information about travel for work.

Can I travel—domestically or internationally?

No. All nonessential travel is prohibited until further notice.

Academics

For information about learning during COVID-19.

Will fall 2020 classes be delivered in person, remotely or through some combination of the two?

Classrooms will be instrumented to allow for both synchronous and asynchronous remote attendance. Students who are unable to attend parts of the class in person will be able to attend remotely, synchronously via Zoom sessions or asynchronously through recorded sessions that will be made available.

Will there be modifications for laboratories and team projects?

Yes. Florida Tech will limit the number of students in group projects to five and enforce the use of face coverings and other safety guidelines. Other modifications include:

  • Routinely sanitizing laboratory areas and workbenches between student groups.
  • Adjusting schedules to accommodate laboratory work on alternating weeks or times.
  • Opening laboratories on weekends with GSA support to accommodate additional sessions.
  • Splitting current lecture/lab courses, allowing students to take lecture via remote access in fall and lab in spring.
How is the fall 2020 semester calendar changing?

The fall calendar looks different, but students will have the same number of contact days with instructors. To reduce travel, we will cancel the two-day Fall Break originally scheduled for Oct. 12–13.

  • 17: First day of classes
  • 7: Labor Day holiday
  • 25–29: Thanksgiving holiday*
  • 2: Final instructional day (no new material or scheduling of any other assessments)
  • 3–4: Study days
  • 12: Fall commencement (virtual, if necessary)

*In order to better preserve the health and safety of all, students choosing to leave campus for the Thanksgiving holiday will have the option of completing the remainder of the semester (including final exams) remotely. However, students are encouraged to stay, as appropriate.

If officials order another shutdown because of a spike in COVID-19 cases, will classes move to a remote delivery approach similar to spring 2020?

Given the uncertainty of COVID-19, we have prepared to move seamlessly from one modality of instruction and operations to another as public health guidance and conditions dictate.

Dining

For information about dining services for faculty and staff.

How will dining locations operate in the fall?

Plans for fall include eliminating all self-service stations and providing grab-and-go options. Food will be prepackaged in single-serving containers, and dining hall staff will serve all food that is not prepackaged. All staff will wear appropriate PPE for food service and cleanliness, as outlined by CDC guidelines.

No-touch service will be available at all point-of-sale locations, and card readers will be disinfected frequently. Plexiglas shields will be installed at all point-of-sale locations to ensure social distancing.

Seating capacity in the Panther Dining Hall, Rathskeller and the food court in the Clemente Center will be reduced.