Restart: Return to Workplace Update

Summary of what’s in this communication

  • Discussions for individual return to campus workplace plan between employee and manager/department chair
  • Procedural requirements for returning to work
  • Screening and monitoring health
  • Workday screening & monitoring before and after coming into workplace
  • Retrieving items from office / intermittent access
  • Sustaining productive work environments – 11 new policies that support the health and safety of the campus and meet NYS directives

Clarkson University plans to welcome students back to our main campus in Potsdam and our Capital Region Campus in Schenectady in August 2020.  The Beacon Institute for Rivers & Estuaries will reopen later in the fall semester. 

Human Resources and the Environmental Health & Safety team, along with several other departments and the Restart Task Force groups, continue to create and implement a comprehensive plan to welcome employees back to their workplace in a phased approach with a number of the new policies and practices outlined below and at the links in this communication.  These are in accordance with New York State guidelines and based on all of our locations and the higher education sector being in Phase Four of the reopening plans for New York State.  Please visit: New York Forward to refer to the NYS guidelines and orders.  

As we prepare for the students to return, we have begun to increase the number of staff and faculty on our campuses.  Based on current NYS guidance, when classes begin we anticipate 50 to 75% of all employees will be back with staggered schedules in order to maintain appropriate social distancing and density measures.   

Discussion Between Manager & Employees 

We realize that there are still many unknowns such as availability of child care, how K-12 schools will reopen, and how we continue with our new normal. Department heads and managers are encouraged to work with employees to create schedules that continue to allow for employees to meet family needs while also meeting work needs. Flexibility and creativity in our work process will assist us in moving forward.  At any time, if you have questions or concerns, please contact HR at

You will be contacted by your manager when it is feasible for you to come back to campus. If you are able to return to your campus workplace, managers will review the newly implemented procedures that must be followed.  Due to NYS directives influencing these procedures, we may have to announce further changes and updates.  We are diligently working on getting employees back to campus who are teaching face-to-face in the fall and those who need to be on campus to ensure our students have a safe and engaging experience. 

Before you return to campus, you will be required to complete training to review necessary actions and expectations while on campus to allow us to provide a safe working environment and decrease the potential of exposure/transmission of COVID-19.  Sign up information will be sent based on your planned return to work date.  

Procedural Requirements for Coming onto Campus

Potsdam campus employees must enter and exit through the Foster House entrance.  Do not report to work or enter any building if you have not been approved to return to work yet, and have not completed the employee Health and Safety Training.

Practice social distancing, which includes maintaining 6 feet between you and others.

Wear face coverings that meet Clarkson’s PPE policy for employees. Covering the nose and mouth is required in any public space indoors on campus where others are present and any time you are not able to maintain 6 feet clearance from another individual outside  The University will be issuing all employees 2 cloth face masks upon returning to campus.

We all have a responsibility to ensure all Clarkson community members are following social distancing rules, travel requirements and social gathering rules to stop the spread of COVID-19.  If you see violations of protocols by Clarkson faculty, staff or students, and /or violations of NYS directives in the wider community, refer to this announcement

Screening and Monitoring

In addition to students going through protocols for screening and testing, employees are following best practices by being asked to go through a daily screening process based on symptoms of COVID-19 prior to coming in to work/ beginning .  Refer to this page for more information and to access the screening tools  or go to the Quick link tab “ Health Screenings”  on the intranet home page.  Here are the current questions we are using:

·        Do you currently have a fever (temperature of 100.4 F or greater) without having taken any fever-reducing medications? 

·        Have you experienced any of the following COVID-19 related symptoms in the past 14 days: cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell? 

·        Have you tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days, or have you been instructed by a health care professional/public health official/contact tracing app to self-isolate or quarantine? 

·        Have you knowingly been in close (within 6 feet) or proximate (same enclosed environment, such as an office, but greater than 6 feet) contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who has or had symptoms of COVID-19 within the past 14 days? 

·        (Students) Have you, or anyone you live with, traveled outside the North Country in the last 14 days? (Employees) Have you, or anyone you live with traveled outside of NYS in the last 14 days?

This link takes you to the current screening form-  scanning the QR code which is posted on the entrance to each building, call Human Resources (315-268-6437) during regular business hours or Campus Safety & Security  (315-268-6666) after hours.

Based on the answers to the screening questions, you may be asked to have COVID-19 testing or to self-quarantine for 14 days.  Regular testing is not required at this time.  You can call these numbers from Public Health for testing in St. Lawrence County if you have symptoms or believe you need a test. 

  • St. Lawrence Health System 315-261-6240
  • ◦CLAXTON 315-713-6655
  • ◦CLIFTON FINE 315-848-8049

Screening programs to detect asymptomatic students with COVID-19 do not replace important measures such as hand-washing, social distancing, face mask use and tracing/isolation when someone comes into contact with a person who has tested positive.   

To augment the potential need to conduct contact tracing that shares where you have been, we are requiring a daily exiting survey after leaving campus for the day.

Retrieving Items from Office / Intermittent Access

Employees who are cleared to enter campus to retrieve items from their office must contact their manager and Human Resources at .  Employees will not be allowed to enter campus if they have not completed the mandatory Health & Safety training. All employees cleared to enter campus must follow all of the implemented process, including the daily health screening and not come in if any of the conditions are answered with a ‘yes.’

Potsdam campus employees must enter and exit through the Foster House entrance. Employees will be required to complete training upon their return to review necessary actions and expectations while on campus to allow us to provide a safe working environment and decrease the potential of exposure/transmission of COVID-19.

Sustaining Productive Work Environments

The following workplace policies were created to provide guidance and directives about how to sustain productive work and how to return to campus given these highly disruptive times. Not every question has been answered, nor every situation anticipated. Please consult with managers, Cabinet and Academic Leadership Council leaders, and Human Resources as needed.

1.        Entry Requirements & Screening Procedures for Return to Work during COVID-19

a.      Topics covered in this section include information on managerial approval for those returning to work, mandatory employee training, daily health screening information, and entry and exit points to the university, along with other detailed information for each of the university’s campuses and a daily interaction survey.

2.        Paid Sick Leave Policy during COVID-19

a.      The policy covers leave benefits and procedures during COVID-19, issued by the state of New York, the Department of Health, local board of health, or any government entity duly authorized to issue such an order due to COVID-19. This policy describes the mechanism and procedures for eligible employees to access the paid sick leave during this time.

3.        Benefits Resources during COVID-19

a.      Apply to all faculty and staff across all departments, institutes, centers and schools, are covered in this section, including information on UMR’s healthcare plan, OptumRX Pharmacy, and Cigna’s Employee Assistance Progr 

4.        Interim Travel Policy during COVID-19

a.      All university-funded travel is suspended until further notice, and Clarkson strongly encourages all employees to evaluate travel plans both domestically and internationally at this time.

5.       Social Distancing Guidelines during COVID -19

a.  These guidelines are thorough and cover a wide range of scenarios one may face on campus, and give tips for how to best maintain social distancing while at Clarkson.

6.       Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Protocols during COVID-19

a.   What equipment should be used, and when, where and how to use it

7.       Cleaning and Disinfecting Guidelines During COVID-19

a. Includes procedures for regular cleaning and disinfecting that will be taking place on campus, with a prioritization of high-traffic areas and high-touch surfaces.

8.       Contact Tracing Procedure

           a. An explanation of how contact tracing works and the general process that takes place when contact tracing is implemented. Also included in this section is a list of symptoms one may experience, and also information on Clarkson’s daily health screenings.

9.       Protocols for Positive Diagnosis or Exposure during COVID-19

    a.  Information on who to contact if a person tests positive for COVID-19, as well as next steps.

10.   COVID-19 Guidelines for Health Care Providers and First Responders 

             a.  Covers guidelines for all faculty, staff and students who have the potential to be exposed to COVID-19 through their work as healthcare providers and first responders. Information in this section includes procedures to be followed by those who may have been exposed in these capacities, as well as information on daily health screenings and protocols to follow in the event of exposure

11.   COVID-19 Enforcement Procedure

       a.  Including specific instances where enforcement can be followed. It is the university’s policy to monitor and correct any noncompliance of its policies and processes during this time.

Please review these policies at

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