Phased Return to Campus

First and foremost, we want to extend our gratitude to all of you who have been on campus throughout the spring maintaining and protecting the campus.  With this document, we want to share a bit more around how we currently envision the balance of the staff returning safely to campus over time.    

In short, while tracking the DC Department of Health, CDC, and OSHA guidelines, the University is planning to maintain modified schedules for the summer.  These schedules will continue to incorporate some rotational Work from Home strategies to support the needs of our community.  

Constructing an Area Staffing Plan

In order to maintain social distancing, many areas will not return right away to all staff being on campus at the same time.  Supervisors are directed to use rotation and shift schedules, in combination with some Work from Home, to meet their areas’ objectives.  Alternative campus work locations are also under consideration for some areas in further support of social distancing. 

Keep in mind that some areas will have greater needs for on-campus presence than others as dictated by each area's responsibilities.  Similarly, some roles lend themselves to Work from Home, where others are only possible to fulfill in person on campus.  Supervisors will need to continually tune their areas’ schedules as both governmental guidance and business needs evolve.  

As supervisors, you are asked to take into consideration the nature of the work and services your area provides as you develop your area’s staffing model. Which activities are customer-facing? What seasonal workloads, like “back to school” or “end of the fiscal year”, inform your capacity needs at any given time?  Which of your staff have private offices, which work in open areas?  

Other constraints such as those around the realities of limited child care and public transportation will inform your model.  As will the safety of vulnerable individuals and those that might live with others who are especially vulnerable.  As such, supervisors should ask and remind their staff to share their concerns as soon as possible to determine flexible approaches to meeting their area’s objectives.

There’s a lot to keep in mind!  Responsible use of flexibility is your charge.

Taking all of that into account, our high-level phases for the summer are:

  • Planning Phase for June 8th through July 2nd
    1. While meeting their ongoing responsibilities, supervisors use this phase to work with their area’s leadership and the Office of Human Resources to build, where practicable, staffing models which include the usage of rotation and shift schedules, core hours, and liberal use of continued Work from Home
    2. Supervisors start coming to campus at least one day a week starting June 8th if they aren’t already, remaining staff start a similar one day a week rotation starting June 22nd if they haven’t already - the balance of one’s work may continue using Work from Home as long as business needs are met
    3. Supervisors may submit requests for additional “sneeze guards” or other physical changes to their workspaces by submitting a Facilities Routine Service Request Form 
    4. Understanding staff will already be on campus more than these minimums, everyone should take their turn in the office as practical
    5. All employees complete Returning to Campus Training  (which will be announced shortly) by July 2nd
  • Summer Work Phase starting as early as July 6th, around when DC moves to Stage 2 in “Re-open DC’s 4-Stage Approach”
    1. Supervisors tune their on-campus presence to at least 2 to 3 days per week on campus
    2. Overall campus presence gradually increases, driven primarily by each area’s business needs and objectives
    3. Continued use of Work from Home were appropriate without creating unnecessary imbalances across team members
  • Back to School Phase activities starting as early as August 3rd, around when DC expects to enter Stage 3.
    1. Targeting an overall campus density of 50%
    2. Some areas will have more employees on campus than others to meet their area’s needs
    3. Some employees will be on campus more often than others
    4. Continued use of some Work from Home to alleviate many of the challenges of returning to campus and to enable continued social distancing for those in the workplace - with the goal of reducing, but understanding areas will often be able to remove entirely, time spent on campus for vulnerable populations where practical

Over the last four weeks, there were a series of meetings with the VPs and their leadership teams to develop the phased approach described above, and the CHRO will be happy to join you during your local planning sessions upon request as well.  Having met with a number of different teams on campus already, it is clear that each area is best served by developing a customized plan that balances the localized needs of its employees with that area’s business objectives.  

A few of the approaches, many of which are often combined with an area, included:

  • rotating individuals in for whole weeks to ease their ability to plan for child care 
  • rotating individuals in by days when they have shared offices so only one person was in the office each day which also supported shared parental child care at home
  • rotating one staff on each floor with a supervisor every day to re-open functional offices
  • rotating in by roles and activities - everyone takes their turn on campus as the “X for the Day” and works as “Y for the Day” when Working from Home
  • staff being in the office for cyclic events like “supporting payroll” or “receiving weekly deliveries” 
  • scheduling in waves to best support the campus events or programs they manage
  • having “early” and “late” start teams that overlap for a few core hours every day 

At the end of the day, supervisors are enabled and directed to design a staffing model that meets the unique needs and challenges for their area.  Supervisors should present their plans to their leadership for review and approval.  Meeting our business objectives will be challenging, to be sure, but continuing to meet those objectives plays a crucial role in the University’s overall success.  

Some Final Considerations

Staff who have any questions or concerns regarding returning to campus should contact their direct supervisor. Supervisors who need guidance on how to help their employees continue to work productively while also feeling safe can reach out to the CHRO for further guidance. 

The phased approach mentioned above will evolve as the District continues to implement its own plan. And will continue to be updated to reflect the most current  governmental guidance in combination with input and feedback from the University community.

Last Revised: 06/10/2020-mmm