UofL Health and Safety Protocols for Returning to Campus

June 26, 2020 - Chief Operating Officer

Dear Cardinal Family,

(Message from the Chief Operating Officer)

The University of Louisville looks forward to continuing our phased return to campus and welcoming back our faculty, staff and students this summer and fall.  Today, we want to share how we plan to maximize safety on campus and our strategy regarding universal campus signage to ensure all university members stay safe, stay healthy and stop the spread of COVID-19.

Based on CDC guidance, the following seven health and safety protocols have been established and are required for all university members:

  1. Practice physical distancing and stay six feet apart.
  2. Wear a mask or face covering in common areas and avoid touching your face.
  3. Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow or a tissue, then throw that tissue in the trash.
  4. Disinfect used surfaces and frequently touched objects.
  5. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  6. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water aren’t readily available.
  7. Stay home if you are feeling sick and avoid contact with people who are sick.

Based on the work of our signage subcommittee, we have developed universal signage that illustrates guidance for when to especially follow these protocols.  Distribution of this signage will happen in two phases.

Phase 1 Signage:
The first phase is geared towards providing this universal signage for all main entry/exit doors of buildings, restrooms, student lines, elevators, service centers and high traffic areas at no cost to the departments.  Window decals outlining the key message will be affixed on all building main doors and restroom mirrors as a reminder.  Our subcommittee led by Chief Gary Lewis is working on the distribution of these signs and plans to have this done within the next two weeks. 

Phase 2 Signage:
Phase two is focused on resources for face coverings and putting up signage in classrooms to remind people to maintain physical distance and wear a mask or face covering.  We have nearly 370 unique classrooms across all three campuses, which makes creating barriers and/or removal of seating extremely challenging.  It is important to note, that in some cases Deans and Vice Presidents may have funding within their budget to develop seating signage that can indicate where exactly students and employees should sit to maintain physical distance, and those leaders are encouraged to do so.  As background, the signage subcommittee determined that attempts to create a consistent application for specific seating for both short and long-term class sessions (e.g., day vs. evening classes) could not be achieved with one universal application. 

Additional Health and Safety Guidelines:
In addition to the general, seven universal health and safety protocols, there are multiple supporting guidelines all university members should be aware of:

  • Meetings and group gatherings should be virtual when possible or when the meeting venue is not large enough for the group to observe physical distancing of six feet. 
    • If meetings or group gatherings need to occur in person, it is a required that all participants wear a mask or face covering if physical distancing isn’t possible.
    • Main meeting rooms should be set up to promote physicaldistancing.  It will be the responsibility of the meeting organizer to ensure that attendees are following safety procedures, such as wearing a mask/face covering and physical distancing.
  • We encourage supervisors and Building Emergency Coordinators to identify locations outside of the main common areas for placing additional universal signage of thehealth and safety protocols, including other high traffic common areas, office spaces, kitchenettes, conference rooms, etc.  
  • Digital signage managers will be sent electronic signage in coming weeks to digitally display the seven protocols and Campus Health contact information.
  • We will provide hand sanitizer in all buildings, which include wall mounts in common areas and freestanding bottles at department counters. 
    • Classrooms will be equipped with a sanitizing station consisting of a shelf that will have two bottles of disinfectant spray, paper towels and a trash can.  Physical Plant Custodians will maintain all soap dispensers and hand sanitizer in these areas.
  • Staff, faculty and students are expected to help wipe down frequently used surfaces, machines, doorknobs, and handles in their areas, in an effort to keep spaces as sanitized as possible. 
    • A training video to instruct on the proper way to wipe down surfaces is being created by our Department of Environmental Health and Safety (DEHS) team to assist in our efforts.  Once completed, we will share this with the campus community.

What to do if you become sick
Please remember that if someone ever shows any COVID-19 symptoms or has been in close contact with anyone recently diagnosed, the employee should do the following:

1) Stay at home.
2) Notify his/her supervisor immediately.
3) Contact Campus Health Services for further direction: (502) 852-6446 or visit Campus Health.

The individual’s medical provider will advise how to proceed once test results are complete.  Those that can work from home will have that option during quarantine with department approval.  A return to work note from your medical provider will be required before returning to work on Campus.  Human Resources will provide guidance on sick leave and stay at home policies for departments. 

In sum, we truly look forward to welcoming back our university community on campus as we get closer to the fall and we want to make sure we facilitate that welcome as safely as possible.  We thank managers, supervisors and faculty in advance for the responsibility they will take on to ensure adherence to the protocols and guidelines.  It will take the cooperation of all of us together to stay safe, stay healthy and stop the spread of COVID-19.  

Mark J Watkins
University of Louisville
Chief Operating Officer