With the planned reopening of the University of Bridgeport (“UB”) campus in the fall, like you, I look forward to returning to our important work and serving our students after a challenging spring semester.
The Higher Education Subcommittee for the State of Connecticut and the Connecticut Council of Independent Colleges provided institutions with significant guidance for a phased return to on-campus operations being implemented over the course of the summer. Colleges and universities are empowered to draft their own plans that must comply with regulations at the local, state, and national agency levels. These regulations are in place to safeguard the health of all employees and students.
Over the past several months, the Emergency Response Team, comprised of administrative and academic leadership, worked (and is still working) to interpret the guidance and regulations into clearly articulated operational plans for UB’s safe reopening. These efforts will continue throughout the summer and into the fall, and a comprehensive FAQ will be available on the UB website as a resource for all members of campus.
At this time, there is some important information that I would like to share as the institution prepares to reopen as safely and effectively as possible.
From June 22 through July 12, 2020, essential personnel in IT, finance, admissions, advancement, human resources, facilities, campus safety, and UB senior leadership, as well as limited laboratory, library, and music will return to campus. Please speak with your supervisor if you have questions about whether or not you or your department should report to campus during this phase.
From July 13 through August 17, 2020, the aforementioned essential personnel and other employees may begin to transition back to campus, coordinated with one’s supervisor. This time period is in preparation for fall reopening and campus should operate at a very low capacity. Employees who may effectively complete their work from home are strongly encouraged to do so. All schedules should be coordinated through department and program administrators, in accordance with UB’s interim policy on telecommuting.
From August 18 through August 24, 2020, all academic, administrative, and athletics departments may increase on-site staff to no more than 50 percent of normal building/office capacity. The right balance will depend upon the operational needs of the department, its layout, and staggered schedules to prevent close contact between employees. Program and department managers are responsible for working with each employee to develop a work plan that meets these criteria.
Employees will be expected to assume personal responsibility for following these guidelines and interim polices to ensure the overall safety and health of each member of the community. While UB will provide support and resources, it is incumbent upon each of us to follow work plans and manage our own behavior. Please note that this is not the comprehensive list of guidelines—continue to check the reopening website for more information.
- Cloth masks are required inside all campus buildings, except in private offices and research labs when others are not present. UB will provide two (2) cloth facemasks.
- All employees must complete the “COVID-19 University of Bridgeport Training” for on-site personnel prior to returning to campus. A training platform will be available in the UB Portal, and employees will be notified when it is accessible.
- Indoor and outdoor gatherings on UB property are currently restricted to five (5) people, pending further guidance from the State of Connecticut.
- Employees are expected to maintain six (6) feet of physical distance and practice rigorous hand hygiene, cough etiquette, cleanliness, and sanitation.
- UB housekeeping and janitorial staff will be working to clean and sanitize public spaces in buildings, but employees are responsible for cleaning their individual offices or workstations.
- The return of employees and students to campus requires a shift in our collective thinking. Each of us must be proactive and vigilant in our adherence to the institution’s interim polices and guidelines—a first step in heightening our awareness of the role we play in supporting UB’s reopening.
Please do not hesitate to share your questions or concerns regarding the multi-layered plans and planning efforts. The understanding of all employees is critical to our overall success in implementation. More information will be forthcoming in the days and weeks ahead, shared via email and the UB website.