Working On Campus

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This training and resource guide, updated in December 2020, includes information and guidance for employees and supervisors regarding procedures and expectations for employees who work on campus or are returning to work on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also includes general information about the coronavirus and how it is spread. Southern Illinois University Carbondale employees are expected to follow university policies, procedures and guidelines outlined in this document. Additional information can be found this website, which will continue to be updated as needed.


Please review Saluki Safety and the coronavirus website and FAQ for additional details and information. Start with your supervisor when you have questions related to your status or office. Supervisors will consult with directors and deans as appropriate. Questions may also be sent to by any employee.

General Guidelines

  • Units or offices will be physically staffed by at least one person and maintain regular office hours.
  • On-site staffing will be determined by unit directors and deans based on the guidelines outlined throughout the online FAQ (ability to ensure social distancing, office need, etc.) and provided by the university. Note that directors and deans may delegate any of their outlined responsibilities. Employees may be asked to work staggered shifts or days. Only those employees directed to return to campus should do so. Many staff members will continue to work remotely either some of the time or all of the time.
  • Employees who can work effectively from home may be allowed to do so based on the needs of the office; many employees who currently work remotely will continue to do so.
  • Employees who are unable to perform their duties from home may be notified that they should return to work on campus.
  • Social distancing and a number of other precautions listed below are being taken to support the safety of faculty and staff.
  • Meetings should be held virtually regardless of where staff are located.

Safety Precautions

  • Face masks:
    • Employees have been provided reusable face coverings. Face masks are required in indoor public space regardless of the ability to maintain social distance. Indoor public places include spaces anyone can access, such as reception areas with walk-in access and the lobbies of buildings. However, we expect staff to wear masks at all locations, including offices and laboratories, where multiple people are present and social distancing is variable or not possible.
    • Masks are also required outdoors when you are not social distancing, when social distancing is not possible and when multiple employees are sharing a vehicle.
    • See Use and Care of Face Coverings for information about appropriate handling and use of masks.
    • Individuals who are not wearing face coverings when required should be reminded that they must wear masks to protect the health and safety of the campus community and to comply with city and state regulations. Individuals who refuse to wear masks in the public spaces of buildings should be asked to leave.
    • You may report employees who refuse to wear masks when required to either the employee’s supervisor or to Labor and Employee Relations, 618-453-6691. Students who refuse to wear masks should be reported to Student Rights and Responsibilities, 618-536-2338,
    • Offices may request a few extra masks to give to visitors who arrive without masks. Email to make a request. Visitors who refuse to wear masks should be asked to leave.
  • Partitions: Clear, acrylic partitions have been provided for reception areas or between work stations that are less than 6 feet apart and cannot be changed. Requests were submitted by unit directors and deans.
  • Sanitizers and cleaning supplies: Hand sanitizers are available in each building. Sanitizing supplies have been delivered for employees to clean their areas before and after use. More supplies can be ordered here.
  • Water fountains: Fountains are disabled with exceptions for touchless water bottle fillers.
  • Indoor common spaces:
    • Breakrooms/kitchens: Breakrooms should be managed to reduce communal use. Consider finding alternative areas to take breaks.
    • Conference rooms/computer labs/reception areas/lounges/waiting areas/study areas: Chairs should be removed or rearranged to support social distancing between employees. Refrain from sharing items or equipment (e.g., newspapers, magazines, candy, tools, etc.). When possible, remove cloth-covered chairs from waiting areas.
    • Elevators/Stairwells: In most cases, elevators are limited to one person at a time; limits will be posted.
    • Hallways: Interior hallway and suite entrance doors should be left open whenever possible to minimize contact by people touching doorknobs. This does not apply to doors to laboratories and individual offices that do not serve as reception areas.
    • Furniture may be removed or rearranged in hallways to ensure proper social distancing.
    • Restrooms: A restroom is a common space and face coverings are required.
  • Cleaning protocols:
    • Restrooms and common areas are cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis by staff from Plant and Service Operations.
    • Staff from Plant and Service Operations will clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in public areas, including doorknobs, light switches, toilets, faucets and sinks.
    • Staff are responsible for wiping down their private offices; supplies have been provided. Additional supplies can be ordered here.
    • Employees should clean and disinfect frequently-touched equipment in their areas such as telephones, keyboards, copy machine buttons, shared break room appliances, etc.
    • Surface disinfectant has been provided for employees to wipe down frequently used countertops.
  • Social distancing:
    • Maximum occupancy for common areas such as conference and break rooms is posted. When possible, office furniture should be removed to ensure social distancing. For example, some chairs around conference tables may be removed.
    • Directors and deans are expected to limit the number of people who return to work based upon guidance provided by the university.
    • They are also expected to ensure that at least 6 feet should be maintained between employee work stations. If this is not possible, alternative work stations will be identified, staggered work schedules may be implemented or other steps will be taken to ensure social distancing.
    • Floor decals that can be placed 6 feet apart are available upon request for spaces in which individuals typically form lines.
    • Limit gatherings to the numbers identified by the Restore Illinois Plan and the university; fill out an event approval form for pre-approval of any gathering sponsored by the university.
  • Shared vehicles: Social distancing should be followed when utilizing vehicles for university business. When possible, limit to one person per vehicle. If more than one person is in the vehicle, face coverings must be worn at all times. In addition, all vehicle users are encouraged to clean and disinfect high touch surfaces (e.g., seats, arm rests, door handles, etc.) using an approved cleaning product before and after each use.
  • Signage: Safety-themed signage and floor markings have been installed across campus and should remain in place. Signs should be posted in high traffic areas (e.g., reception area, conference room, breakroom, etc.) to remind the campus community of proper social distancing and personal hygiene practices. Many signs have been provided, but offices may also download and post additional signage provided below:

Expectations for staff working on campus

  • Review this guide, the Saluki Safety plan and the coronavirus website and FAQ
  • Adhere to safety protocols: wear masks in public spaces as required, wash hands frequently for no less than 20 seconds, maintain social distance, etc.
  • Clean areas and equipment as noted under safety precautions.
  • Leave trash cans and recycling bins outside of your office when you leave; building services staff will not be entering individual offices in order to minimize touching of doors.
  • Avoid using other employees’ phones or equipment and sharing items that are not easily cleansed, sanitized or disinfected.
  • Open office windows when possible to promote circulation of fresh, outside air.
  • Clear public areas of handouts and other items to minimize contact by multiple people.
  • Hold meetings virtually.
  • Water fountains are shut off with the exception of touchless foundations. Please plan accordingly.
  • Pay attention to your health. If you are sick or believe you may have been exposed, stay home and follow your doctor’s instructions. Employees who suspect they have or been diagnosed with COVID-19 must follow instructions from health officials.

Remote Work Agreement

All administrative professional and civil service employees who continue to work remotely either part time or full time must submit a remote work agreement request. Please see remote work guidelines, agreement form and the FAQ for additional details.


How It Spreads

  • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus.
  • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
  • Studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
  • Information from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic suggests that this virus is spreading more efficiently than influenza but not as efficiently as measles, which is highly contagious.
  • It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouths, noses or possibly eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about how coronavirus spreads.

Hazards Associated with Exposure

The risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace may depend in part on the need for contact within 6 feet of people known to be, or suspected of being, infected with COVID-19. Other factors, such as community outbreaks where employees live and work, their activities outside of work (including travel to COVID-19-affected areas), and individual health conditions may also affect workers' risk of getting COVID-19 or developing complications from the illness. Safety measures such as wearing masks, washing hands and social distancing significantly reduce the risk of exposure.


If you have a fever, cough or other symptoms, you might have COVID-19. Most people have mild symptoms and are able to recover at home. If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, DO NOT come to work. Contact your healthcare provider and notify your supervisor following your usual process for reporting absences.

Symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will continue to update this list as more is learned about COVID-19. Keep track of your symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), get emergency medical care immediately.

High Risk Populations

  • People 65 years and older
  • People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
  • People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including:
    • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
    • People who have serious heart conditions
    • People who are immunocompromised due to other conditions, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications
    • People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher)
    • People with diabetes
    • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
    • People with liver disease

If You Are Sick

  • Stay home. Most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms and can recover at home without medical care. Do not leave your home except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas.
  • Take care of yourself. Get rest and stay hydrated. Take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, to help you feel better.
  • Stay in touch with your doctor. Call before you get medical care. Be sure to get care if you have trouble breathing, have any other emergency warning signs or think it is an emergency.
  • Avoid public transportation, ride-sharing or taxis.
  • As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people and pets in your home. If possible, use a separate bathroom. If you need to be around other people or animals in or outside of the home, wear a cloth face covering.
  • Monitor your symptoms.
  • Follow care instructions from your healthcare provider and local health department. Your local health authorities may give instructions on checking your symptoms and reporting information.
  • Additional guidance is available for those living in close quarters and shared housing.
  • See COVID-19 and Animals if you have questions about pets.

Use and Care of Face Coverings

  • Wash hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer prior to handling face coverings.
  • Ensure face covering fits over the nose and under the chin.
  • Tie straps behind the head and neck or loop around the ears.
  • Avoid touching the front of the face covering.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when removing the face covering; loop your finger into the strap and pull the strap away from the ear or untie the straps to remove.
  • Wash hands immediately after removing.
  • Keep face coverings stored in a paper bag when not in use.
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed daily. Properly launder face covering with regular clothing.
  • If face covering is damaged (e.g., stretched ear loops, torn or punctured) or visibly contaminated, dispose of it in trash and replace.
  • Face coverings should not be placed on babies and children younger than 2 years old, anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious or anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance.

According to the CDC, when you wear a face covering, you protect others as well as yourself, including cases in which the wearer is infected but not showing symptoms. Cloth face coverings are not surgical masks, respirators or other medical personal protective equipment.


  • Hands:
    • Handwashing is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick and prevent the spread of germs to others. According to the CDC, hands should be lathered with soap and scrubbed for at least 20 seconds (including back of hands, in between fingers and under nails) and then rinsed with clean, running water. If soap and water are not readily available, the CDC recommends using alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of microbes on the hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs and may not be as effective when hands are visible dirty or greasy.
    • Healthcare workers and others in high-risk areas should use gloves as part of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), but according to the CDC, gloves are not necessary for general use and do not replace good hand hygiene. Washing your hands often is considered best practice for common everyday tasks.
  • Cough/Sneezing; If you are in a private setting and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. Then throw used tissues in the trash. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.



Information was drawn from multiple sources, including:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Illinois State University
  • Southern Illinois Healthcare in collaboration with regional Chambers of Commerce