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Skidmore College
Fall 2020 Planning

Reopening Safety Action Plan

  1. Introduction & Purpose
  2. Contact Information
  3. Reopening of the Campus
  4. Monitoring of Health Conditions
  5. Containment of Potential Transmission of the Virus
  6. Shut Down of In-Person Operations (if necessary)
  7. Human Resources COIVD-19 Policies
  8. Conclusion

I. Introduction & Purpose

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the end of New York “PAUSE” effective May 15, 2020 and a gradual reopening plan dubbed “New York Forward.” The plan allows New York to reopen on a regional basis as each region meets certain criteria necessary to protect public health as businesses reopen. Once a region is permitted to reopen, businesses will be able to reopen in four different phases:

  • Phase 1: construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, curbside retail, agriculture, forestry and fishing;
  • Phase 2: professional services, finance and insurance, retail, administrative support, rental and leasing;
  • Phase 3: restaurants and food services; and
  • Phase 4: arts, entertainment and recreation, and education.

Higher education administration falls under Phase 2, while full campus reopening falls under Phase 4. Therefore, the College began a phased reopening and return to the workplace, beginning with administrative functions, at the end of June 2020 after the Capital Region was approved to start Phase 2 of the reopening.  With the gradual return of most staff to regular work schedules and the anticipated return of many faculty and students to campus by August 24, 2020, the College has entered a phase of ramping up for the fall semester and reintroduction of faculty and staff to campus.   

The cornerstone of the College’s reopening plan is the health and safety of employees and other community members. To this end, the College has developed the following Reopening Safety Action Plan (the “Plan”), which follows the recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and state and local health authorities. This document was updated effective August 17, 2020 to comply with the New York State Interim Guidance for Higher Education during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (“Interim COVID-19 Guidance for Higher Education”) and the anticipated return of students on campus for the fall 2020 semester. This Plan is intended to affirm to New York state the intention of Skidmore College to resume residential instruction on August 24, 2020 and to demonstrate the College’s compliance with New York state requirements for reopening the campus for residential instruction.

The Plan includes the following contents:

  1. Reopening of the Campus
    1. Restarting Operations
    2. Capacity
    3. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
    4. Physical Distancing Protocols
    5. Promoting Health and Preventative Hygiene Practices
    6. Student Health and Counseling Services Delivery
    7. Extracurriculars
    8. Vulnerable Populations
    9. Cleaning and Disinfection Protocols
    10. Restriction on Shared Items and Spaces
    11. Restriction on Non-Essential Travel
    12. Communication
  2. Monitoring of Health Conditions
    1. Student Testing Protocol
    2. Employee Testing Protocol
    3. Early Warning Signs
    4. Daily Health Screening
  3. Containment of Potential Transmission of the Virus
    1. Action Plan for Students Confirmed or Suspected to have COVID-19
    2. Action Plan for Suspected or Confirmed Employee Cases of COVID-19
  4. Shutdown of In-Person Operations (if necessary)
  5. Human Resources COVID-19 Policies

The purpose of the Plan is to minimize the risk of infection for all members of the College community, including preventing individuals who are unwell from entering campus, and providing a roadmap for decision-making throughout the reopening process that places safety first.  The Plan is focused on health and safety measures pertaining to the return of employees on campus and is subject to change as additional guidance becomes available. Everyone must share in the responsibility to ensure the health and safety of all College community members by following the requirements of this Plan.

 

II. Contact Information

Human Resources developed this plan in collaboration with the Cabinet, the Institutional Policy and Planning Committee and other College leadership. The College has established a COVID-19 Emergency Response Team who are responsible for implementation and monitoring the Plan and is designated as the campus safety monitor.  This Team includes key personnel from Human Resources, Facilities, Campus Safety, Academic Affairs and Student Health Services. Human Resources will work with the College’s appropriate vice president on any compliance issues. Any questions regarding the Reopening Safety Action Plan should be directed to the Human Resources hotline, 518-580-5801, or hr@skidmore.edu.

 

III. Reopening of the Campus

A. Restarting Operations

The College has been engaged in an ongoing reopening of administrative offices and return of staff since June 29, 2020 in accordance with the NY Department of Health’s Interim Guidance for Office-Based Work during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.  The restarting of operations involves a variety of other activities governed by industry-specific guidelines provided by the Department of Health.  These operations include dining halls, research, transportation, retail stores and others.  The College will operate the Murray-Atkins Dining Hall and other on-campus food services in accordance with Interim Guidance for Food Services during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.  Research operations will operate in accordance with Interim Guidance for Higher Education Research during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.  Transportation services run by the College will operate in accordance with Interim Guidance for Public Transportation Activities during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.  The Skidmore Shop and other retail locations will operate in accordance with Interim Guidance for Retail Business Activities during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.

The College has implemented a robust cleaning and sanitation process. This includes deep cleaning and sanitation of classrooms, laboratories, studios and performance venues, libraries, residence halls, dining halls, recreation spaces, gathering spaces and other high-traffic areas on multiple occasions. As the campus prepares to reopen, the College will continue to follow best practices within our peer groups and partners, CDC recommendations, WHO recommendations and local/state guidance in responding to COVID-19.

Frequent cleaning and disinfecting are key to reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 on campus. To ensure safety and proper protocols, Facilities staff were all trained on personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning protocols, cleaning chemicals, COVID signs and symptoms, and proper social distancing measures. In March 2020, Facilities Services began to work diligently to clean and disinfect all areas daily throughout the College. We increased the frequency of cleaning throughout the campus. To supplement these efforts, Facilities developed a revised cleaning schedule and engaged with qualified contractors to complete these COVID-19 cleaning requirements. Contractors were hired in March to assist in disinfecting and cleaning all bathrooms and carpets throughout the campus. This was performed to address the initial concern of COVID-19 in accordance with CDC guidance.

The College has taken an aggressive approach to ensure campus HVAC systems are meeting and/or exceeding ASHRAEE standards for air turnover. The College hired a consulting firm to inspect all building HVAC systems and to make recommendations for maximizing the amount of fresh/exhaust air. This work was completed before the start of fall classes. In addition to maximizing the intake air, the College will keep each unit running 24/7 to ensure the buildings are being flushed out even when unoccupied. All filters have been changed and orders are being placed to change some building filters to MERV-13 if the system is able to work properly with the increased filtration. Additionally, every bathroom exhaust fan was inspected and repaired to ensure proper air circulation in the bathrooms. The College continues to follow and adjust to CDC, ASSHRAE and best practices for indoor air quality.

To ensure proper water quality, the College engaged a consultant and local water department to perform water sampling throughout the campus and develop a campus flushing plan. The test and flushing have been completed and will continue until the campus is back to full occupancy to maintain proper levels.

All College buildings have been evaluated based on hallway widths and projected flow for safe pedestrian foot traffic within buildings and common areas. When possible, the College installed directional signs and arrows to encourage one-way foot traffic for social distancing. After this evaluation, certain spaces in the following buildings have arrows and directional signage to encourage social distancing:

  • Palamountain Hall
  • Case Center

In all other buildings, pedestrians should travel in single file and maintain at least six feet of physical distancing, to the extent possible and when seated in a meeting or classroom, unless safety or the core activity (e.g., moving equipment, using an elevator, performing a transaction) requires a shorter distance. The College requires that appropriate face coverings (as defined below) be worn at all times while in a public space (e.g., traveling through buildings, walking across campus or in the Murray Aikins Dining Hall, Case Center or other public locations, including classrooms, labs, studios, etc.). Employees may remove their face covering when in a private office and physical distancing can be maintained.

B. Capacity

The College is implementing a phased approach to the return of faculty, staff, and students on campus.  Beginning on July 27, 2020, the College began returning staff to campus in anticipation of the return of students on campus.  Remote work arrangements have been provided to the maximum extent possible to aid in de-densification efforts and to prioritize the return of student-facing and student support positions to campus.  These efforts will result in approximately 600 employees on campus when the academic calendar begins on August 24, 2020.

Skidmore College plans to welcome approximately 1,800 students to our residential campus.  Students will be housed in singles and doubles on campus and at a local hotel. For students living at a local hotel, the College will operate shuttles regularly between campus and the hotels so that students an attend classes, get meals and seek campus services.

Students living in off-campus housing are permitted to come on campus for classes and other campus services.  They will be expected to follow all health and safety standards including but not limited to wearing appropriate face coverings while on campus, participating in testing protocols and using the Co-Verified application described below.

Approximately 300 International students and students arriving from a state identified by New York Executive Order 205 as having a significant rate of transmission of COVID-19 were required to arrive by August 10, 2020 and are completing a 14-day quarantine in single rooms in local hotels.  These students will be moved to their on-campus housing once the quarantine is completed and if they test negative for COVID-19.  Students will be tested on site at the hotels where they are housed.  Students who test positive will be isolated in accordance with the testing protocol set forth below.

Although the Liberty League has cancelled fall competition, approximately 100 fall athletes will arrive on August 17, 2020 as part of the College’s phased move-in plan.  The remaining residential students will arrive on campus between August 16, 2020 and August 21, 2020.  Only one parent, relative or guardian per student will be permitted in the residence halls during the move-in process and will be required to wear a mask at all times during the move-in process.

Skidmore College has collaborated with Envision Architects, PC, Ramboll (epidemiologists) and other partners to reconfigure residential living spaces to promote public health practices and behaviors associated with reducing the risk of virus exposure and transmission to the greatest extent possible.  This includes arranging traffic patterns and posting signs and markers to ensure proper physical distancing in all residential spaces.  Residence halls kitchens will be closed and students must wear appropriate face coverings when they are outside their rooms. Gatherings in residential common living spaces are restricted to students living those designated facilities and all individuals must maintain at least six feet physical distance at all times and wear a face mask while socializing.

Courses will be delivered using four different modes of instruction: in-person instruction; hybrid instruction; hyflex instruction; and fully remote instruction. All faculty have been given the choice to select the mode of instruction for their courses, with approximately 40% of courses being offered fully remote. In keeping with the recommendations of the American College Health Association (ACHA) the College has capped the maximum size of all in-person courses at 30 students. Appropriate face coverings will be required of all faculty and students while in the classroom.

Classrooms, workspaces and public spaces have been reconfigured to allow for at least six feet between individuals.  All surplus furniture has been removed. In addition, the College has set up seven large tents to serve as additional classrooms. Most tents seat a maximum of 30 students with individuals seated at least 6 feet apart from one another. In all classrooms with moveable seating, the correct position of each seat has been marked on the ground with velcro. In classrooms with fixed seating, seats have been marked to indicate where students should sit to maintain 6 feet of separation.  Disinfection wipes are in each classroom so that students can wipe down desks and seats before and after each class. Hand sanitizer will also be available.

To allow extra time for cleaning between classes and to reduce the density of students traveling between classes, the course schedule has been modified to increase the passing time between classes from 10 minutes to 20 minutes. Outside of formal instruction, academic departments and programs may sponsor social gatherings on campus for students provided that the maximum number of students does not exceed 20 and that 6 feet of separation between participants is maintained at all times. Off-campus academic internships may only be pursued if the internship can be completed remotely.

C. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Skidmore College will require that all faculty, staff, students and visitors wear face masks while on campus.  The College will provide all faculty, staff and students a supply of reusable cloth masks upon return to campus, at the College’s expense.  Face masks and gloves will also be available at Campus Safety. Department heads should contact Campus Safety at campus-safety@skidmore.edu to make arrangements to pick up the face masks and gloves.  Faculty and staff should contact their manager, department head or program director to obtain a face mask or gloves.  The College has developed a sustainable supply chain and vendor relationships appropriate to support projected PPE requirements throughout the academic year.

  1. Face Masks. Appropriate face coverings must be worn when in public spaces such as shared workspaces, classrooms, labs, studios, Case Center, Scribner Library, the Murray-Aikins Dining Hall, Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Williamson Sports Center, Zankel Music Center and all hallways, stairways, and restrooms.  Masks must also be worn in private office spaces and residences when social distancing is not possible, including times of brief interaction with students, employees and authorized visitors. Face masks should also be worn when outside, including when walking across campus.

    Students in their own residence and employees working alone in their private office or vehicle do not need to wear masks, but anytime someone is within 6 feet of another person, their face masks must be on.  A cloth face covering or disposable mask may be worn, and individuals are permitted to bring their own face coverings.   If a student or employee has a medical condition that limits their ability to wear a mask in accordance with state requirements, they should contact Human Resources (for employees) or Disability and Accessibility Services (for students) to request an accommodation.

    Face coverings should be cleaned daily or replaced after use or when damaged or soiled and may not be shared.  Face masks must be stored in a paper or plastic bag or a box when they are not being used.  All employees must watch the training video available here on how to adequately put on, take off, clean (as applicable) and discard appropriate face coverings.
  2. Gloves. Gloves may be worn if multiple individuals are touching shared surfaces, such as a printer or copier, and will be provided by the College.  When gloves are not used, individuals must sanitize or wash hands before and after contact.
  3. Face Shield. Certain employees may require an alternative to a face mask. Employees who require a face shield instead of a face mask should contact Human Resources at the hotline 518-580-5801 or hr@skidmore.edu.  Individuals who wear a face shield must also don a face mask when physical distancing is not possible unless they cannot medically tolerate such covering.  Face shields must be cleaned after use and replaced if damaged and may not be shared.
  4. Other PPE. If a work activity typically requires a higher degree of protection for PPE due to the nature of the work, employees must continue to wear the appropriate level of PPE for the specific work activity.

D. Physical Distancing Protocols

Physical distancing protocol requires students, faculty, staff and visitors on campus to maintain at least a six-foot distance from each other.  To ensure appropriate physical distancing continues, the College’s plan includes the following:

  1. The College considers six feet of distance to be a minimum for appropriate physical distancing.
  2. Office space occupancy will be limited to ensure compliance with physical distancing in all directions.
  3. Gatherings in lounges and other informal spaces will be limited to no more than 10 people, and individuals must maintain physical distancing at all times and wear a face mask.
  4. Where occupancy limitations are not sufficient to ensure compliance with physical distancing, the College may modify, reconfigure or restrict the number of workstations and desks, or require the use of physical barriers (e.g., cubicle walls, plexiglass or similar impermeable dividers or partitions). Physical barriers will be put into place in accordance with OSHA guidelines.
  5. Seating areas have been reconfigured and/or restricted so that students, employees and other individuals are at least 6 feet apart in all directions.
  6. The total number of occupants within a shared office space will be limited to no more than 50% of the maximum occupancy at any given time for a particular area as set by the certificate of occupancy.
  7. Employees who can work remotely may continue to do so unless required to be on the premises by the manager, supervisor, department chair or program director. Any employee who disagrees with the determination of their manager should contact Human Resources at the hotline 518-580-5801 or hr@skidmore.edu for assistance. Faculty who wish to change the mode of their instruction should consult with their department chair or program director before notifying the Dean of Faculty Office and the Registrar’s Office.
  8. Supervisors, managers, department chairs and program directors are responsible for monitoring area occupant density to ensure employees are at least six feet apart in all directions while at their workstation or desk and are not sharing workstations without cleaning and disinfection between uses and should work with Human Resources to address any concerns.
  9. Tightly confined spaces, such as elevators, supply rooms, personal offices, vehicles and restrooms, will be occupied by only one person at a time unless all occupants are wearing face coverings, in which case occupancy must be under 50% of maximum or designed occupancy. Occupants should increase ventilation of these areas, such as by opening windows and doors in personal offices, to the greatest extent possible.
  10. Face-to-face interaction should be kept to a minimum. Meetings should be conducted virtually whenever possible. 
  11. When necessary, on-site meetings will be limited to the greatest extent possible and will be held in a well-ventilated and large enough space to accommodate 6 feet of separation between attendees. Meetings will be as short as possible.
  12. Work activities requiring multiple individuals will be limited to the greatest extent possible. When not possible, employees must use appropriate PPE, including face masks that cover both the nose and mouth.  If a work activity typically requires a higher degree of protection for PPE due to the nature of the work, employees must continue to wear the appropriate level of PPE for the specific work activity.
  13. Individuals must avoid handshaking or any other touching when greeting other individuals. Individuals who have inadvertent physical contact with others must wash their hands, following proper handwashing protocol.
  14. Employees and students may not congregate during break or lunch periods. Employee meal periods may be staggered in order to maintain appropriate social distancing.  Always stay at least 6 feet apart.
  15. Personal and other non-essential visitors are not permitted to enter campus buildings or attend College events or functions. Essential visitors are limited to delivery drivers, 3rd party repair services and contractors, EMS, local authorities, and approved visitors. The campus grounds remain open for local walkers and runners, and carefully managed outdoor admissions visits. Access to all College buildings, including residential areas and athletics facilities, is restricted to resident Skidmore students and those attending classes, and faculty and staff with business in those spaces. Approval for any external visitors must be granted by the appropriate vice president.
  16. Buildings with designated pick-up and delivery locations will be established and marked. Contact will be limited to the greatest extent possible during pick up and deliveries.
  17. Bi-directional foot traffic in narrow aisles, hallways or spaces may be reduced, using tape or signs with arrow. Employees are required to wear face coverings when traveling in public spaces, including walking in hallways and through buildings.
  18. Physical distancing markers, including tape or signs that denote 6 feet of spacing, will be posted in commonly used and other relevant areas on campus. Employees in shared workspaces are encouraged to contact Facilities at facilities@skidmore.edu for assistance in marking six feet distance circles around their workstations.
  19. Appropriate signage will be placed throughout campus to remind individuals of physical distancing protocols, to cover their nose and mouth with a face covering at all times while in public spaces and in private spaces when six feet of social distance cannot be maintained, how to properly store and discard PPE, how to follow proper hand hygiene and cleaning and disinfection guidelines and how to report symptoms of or exposure to COVID-19.

E. Promoting Health and Preventative Hygiene Practices

Each student, upon arrival, will receive a starter kit of personal protective equipment (PPE) consisting of three facemasks and some alcohol wipes. Skidmore branded cloth masks will also be available separately. Similarly, each employee will receive the PPE starter kit upon returning to campus. Hand sanitizer stations will be set up throughout campus.

The following personal hygiene practices have been shown to avoid infection and must be followed by students, employees and authorized visitors:

  1. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  3. Stay home when you are sick.
  4. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash or sanitize your hands, If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your elbow and then wash your hands.
  5. Wash your hands often with soap and running warm water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Hand wash stations with signage for appropriate handwashing protocol will be available at all lavatories and kitchen areas. Handwashing stations will include disposable paper towels and trash receptacles as well
  6. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Importantly, hand sanitizer is not effective on visibly dirty hands; soap and water should be used in these circumstances. Signage near each station will indicate this. Furthermore, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are flammable and may not be safe for use in some areas. Department heads may request hand sanitizer bottles through Facilities at facilities@skidmore.edu. Hand sanitizer stations will be arranged near the following locations:
    • Each Building Entry
    • Stairwell door entry in buildings
    • Elevator entry
    • Time Clocks
  7. Receptacles, placed around the campus, should be used to dispose of items such as used PPE and paper towels.
  8. Do not share utensils, cups or water bottles. Common water containers should not be in use during this phase. Shared dishware in breakrooms and kitchenettes should be removed.
  9. Employees are encouraged to bring food and water from home and not to share. Limited food and beverage service for employees will be available in Case Center.
  10. Employees are encouraged, but are not required, to stay on the premises during break or lunch periods. Employees who leave campus are strongly encouraged to practice social distancing and appropriate hygiene practices while off campus and to use hand sanitizer prior to reentering their building.

F. Student Health and Counseling Services Delivery

Student Health Services is not offering walk-in visits during Fall 2020.  Students must call or request an appointment online.  Health services staff will screen students prior to appointments and will triage the visit according to the clinical symptom picture, needs and urgency.  Appointments will be through tele-medicine or in person if medically necessary.

COVID 19 testing for symptomatic students will be conducted at a separate site on campus (medical trailer facility in Jonsson Tower) to minimize infection risk as much as possible. Students will be directed to symptomatic testing after a telephone screening appointment.

Consistent with the recommendations of the American College Health Association, the Counseling Center will provide teletherapy services so that students can easily access care without the risks inherent in repeated prolonged (hour-long) exposure in a closed office environment.

The Center will provide services via a HIPAA-compliant video platform which circumvent these risks and avoids the inefficiencies involved in having to stagger appointments in order to reduce student density in the  waiting room.

Students seeking psychotherapy services for the first time this fall will call the office and, after electronically completing the streamlined paperwork, will be scheduled for an appointment. Returning student-patients and faculty, staff, or family members seeking third-party consultations will call the office and be scheduled immediately.

Counseling Center clinicians will provide after-hours emergency support in concert with ProtoCall, an on-call service provider, and will be available to coordinate care with Campus Safety and the local hospitals. Staff will continue to offer skill-building workshops via Zoom and will host intra- and inter- office meetings on this platform in order to mitigate risk.

G. Extracurriculars

The Offices of Campus Life, including Community Service, Leadership Activities, Religious and Spiritual Life, Student Diversity Programs, and our Student Government Association are planning to offer in-person, virtual, and hybrid student programs and late-night social events this fall.

Clear and standard practices have been established so that students know, in advance, how to manage meetings and social events. This information will be communicated to students in the fall leadership training. The College will align programming and events with both Skidmore, CDC, and NY State guidelines that include limiting gatherings to ensure social distancing, with a maximum attendance of 50 people or fewer and requiring attendees to wear face coverings. Guidance, including limits on the number of people assembled may change as CDC and NY State guidelines evolve.

All meetings will be by appointment and will take place remotely when possible. Any requests for in-person meetings must be in compliance with health and safety guidelines, including wearing a face mask at all times, maintaining appropriate physical distancing, cleaning and disinfecting meeting spaces prior to and after meetings and logging all interactions.

To comply with physical distancing guidelines, all shared common spaces on campus will have reduced density. All events and programs should take place remotely when possible. Any requests for in-person events and programs must be in compliance with health and safety guidelines including tracking all interactions using Skid Sync Events Pass.

Whenever possible, the Campus Life & Engagement team will engage in virtual programming, and in-person programs will follow physical distancing guidelines and COVID-related college policies.

To minimize risk of exposure through travel, outside speakers will appear virtually, rather than in person. Participants may be required to register in advance for events, in order to ensure appropriate physical distancing by managing capacity. Participants are required to follow all health and safety guidelines when in attendance. Participants are required to check-in to any in-person events or programs.

Student clubs and organizations should conduct meetings virtually, and any social gatherings should follow occupancy guidelines and observe physical distancing and other health and safety guidelines. All in-person campus events should comply with physical distancing guidelines, capacity limits, cleaning guidelines, and correct use of PPE.

Leadership activities, Community Service, Religious and Spiritual Life and Student Diversity Programs will provide quality opportunities for student engagement. There will be restrictions on traditional student group activities and programming due to federal, state and college guidelines. Small, in-person meetings and gatherings will be limited, with increased use of virtual platforms for events and meetings.

Staff will continue to advise, train, and support students involved in clubs and organizations. Staff will be available by appointment for virtual or face-to-face meetings, as appropriate. Any in-person meetings must follow current social distancing and PPE guidelines. Most event planning, training, and club and organization support and advising can take place remotely through Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or other formats.

Club Sports practice, play and competition are suspended for Fall 2020.

The Intercultural Center will be available with approval and all social distancing, PPE, and cleaning guidelines must be followed when using the space.  The Intercultural Lounge will be closed for Fall 2020.

Student clubs can host events virtually and in-person as long as the following guidelines are met:

  1. Must wear a mask that covers the nose, mouth and chin
  2. Must observe social distancing and stay at least 6 feet apart
  3. New meeting room capacities must be strictly observed
  4. Must clean meeting spaces prior to and after meeting
  5. All interactions must be tracked using the SkidSync Event Pass.
  6. All events will require prior approval.

All clubs will be required to add a new position to the E-Board this year called the Health and Safety Coordinator. This person will attend every club event to ensure that health and safety protocols are being met.

Only food individually pre-packaged by the dining hall will be permitted at student events. No buffet style selections, no food from off-campus restaurants or food purchased off campus will be allowed. Clubs on campus who deal directly with the making and/or distribution of food will not be permitted to make and/or distribute food on campus this semester. This means that bake sales, candy sales, etc. will be also suspended.

Performance groups will be able to rehearse but will not be able to host in-person events with any audiences in attendance.  The College has established health and safety protocol for rehearsals.

All practice, play and competition for all club sports is cancelled for the Fall 2020. The Williamson Sports Center will have modified hours for the fall semester so that a thorough cleaning schedule can be maintained.  Athletic facilities will be for Skidmore student use only. Only symptom-free students with ID and faculty/staff who work in the Williamson Sports Center will be allowed access. No other faculty/staff/guests /retirees will be permitted to enter the facility.  Intramurals and non- credit fitness classes will be suspended for the fall 2020 semester. Cardio and weight rooms will not be open for PA classes. They will not be open for general student use until NY State guidelines allow for fitness centers, gyms and weight rooms to re-open. General locker rooms will not be open for changing or showering and lockers will not be available for storage.

H. Vulnerable Populations

Skidmore College has implemented policies and procedures to address vulnerable populations on campus and individuals who may not feel comfortable retuning, to allow them to safely participate in educational activities and accommodate their specific circumstances.  Online learning options are available for any student who elects to continue their academic progress remotely.  Faculty have been allowed to decide whether to provide residential, remote or a hybrid approach to residential instruction this fall.  Staff members may request an accommodation to address their specific circumstances by contacting Human Resources. Students who require accommodations should work with the Coordinator of Student Access Services.

I. Cleaning and Disinfection Protocol

The College normally maintains the highest standards in regular cleaning and disinfecting practices. The College is intensifying its efforts and implementing enhanced cleaning and disinfection that adheres to requirements from the CDC and DOH.

Academic buildings will be deep cleaned on a nightly basis utilizing a new detailed cleaning procedure.  Facilities staff will disinfect all surfaces, refill all disinfectant stations, refill hand sanitizers and ensure furniture is set up based on the required 6 feet physical distancing. Electrostatic fogging machines will be utilized to sanitize bathrooms on a rotating schedule.  It will also be used for sanitizing large areas like auditorium seating.  During the day Facilities staff will disinfect high traffic areas.  Faculty, staff, and students will utilize disinfectant stations in each classroom to clean and disinfect work surfaces and seating areas before and after each use.  All cleaning staff will complete a daily cleaning checklist to ensure all areas have been cleaned and sanitized.  There will also be an inspection process to be completed by Facilities Management.

  • Personal work areas, including desks, chairs, keyboards, mice and telephones should be cleaned and disinfected daily.
  • Frequently touched surfaces in an office environment, including coffee makers, door handles, light switches and faucets, should also be cleaned and disinfected daily or more frequently depending on use.
  • Conference room tables and chairs and other shared work surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected after each use.
  • Shared office equipment, including touch pads on copiers, phones and supplies such as staplers and hole punches should also be cleaned and disinfected after each use.
  • Sharing of phones, desks and other office equipment should be avoided whenever possible.

In addition, faculty and staff will need to routinely clean and disinfect their personal work areas, offices and commonly touched areas within departments.  Individual offices will only be cleaned upon a request made to the Facilities Services department through the work order system.  Individual trash and recycling should be placed in the common area receptacles for pick-up by the Facilities team.  This will allow for Facilities to concentrate on high traffic areas and limit the exposure to individual offices.

Residential buildings will have an increase in cleaning protocols by the Facilities staff. Each bathroom will be disinfected twice a day M-F and once a day on the weekends. All other areas will be cleaned and disinfected each day. Disinfectant wipes will be provided in each lobby area for use by the students.  Hand sanitizers will also be available by the elevator doors and in laundry rooms. All cleaning staff will complete a daily cleaning checklist to ensure all areas have been cleaned and sanitized.  There will also be an inspection process to be completed by Facilities Management.  In addition to the Facilities disinfecting of all areas, students will be required to sanitize common touch points with the supplied disinfectant wipes.  Students will also be required to keep all personal belongings in their rooms to allow for a more detailed cleaning by facilities.

Facilities has identified disinfectants that have been identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as appropriate to eliminate the SARS-CoV-2 virus (cause of COVID-19). We are establishing many areas (sanitation stations) around campus (office areas, classrooms, etc.) where these supplies (Oxivir wipes) will be placed and maintained on a regular basis.  Facilities will also install hand sanitizers in all classrooms and labs for use as needed.

The College will maintain cleaning logs that document the date, time, and scope of cleaning, which will be located at Facilities.

All shared equipment, vehicles, and tools must be disinfected by employees, using available Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved disinfectant, before and after use.  EPA approved disinfectant materials can be obtained from Facilities at facilities@skidmore.edu.

In the event an individual is confirmed to have COVID-19, any exposed areas, including but not limited to all heavy transit areas and high-touch surfaces, will be cleaned and disinfected, as set forth in more detail below.

Employees will receive information on the College’s enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocol upon returning to work and periodically as compliance with the protocol is monitored.  Employees and visitors will be notified of the College’s cleaning and disinfection practices by posting signs throughout the campus.  Employees may use disposable gloves while cleaning and disinfecting their workspace or shared equipment. Disposable gloves will be provided by the College and can be obtained by contacting Facilities at facilities@skidmore.edu. The College will provide additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and training for cleaning staff.

J. Restrictions on Shared Items and Spaces

  1. Shared Tools and Equipment. Employees and students should avoid sharing tools and equipment unless the specific work or academic assignment makes avoidance impossible. When avoidance is not possible, employees and students must disinfect tools and equipment before and after use.  Avoid using others’ phones, desks, computers, offices and other work tools. If you use said items, be sure to inform their owner and disinfect after use. Non-essential shared tools and equipment will be removed or marked as not in use.
  2. Shared Spaces. Students and employees must maintain a distance of at least 6 feet when interacting in shared spaces, including in classrooms, office space and in common areas. Employees in shared workspaces are encouraged to contact Facilities at facilities@skidmore.edu for assistance in marking 6-foot distancing circles around their workstations. Smaller shared spaces, such as restrooms and kitchen areas will be limited to use by a single occupant at all times, unless all individuals are wearing acceptable face coverings in which case occupancy must never exceed 50% of the maximum or designed capacity and all counters, handles and other commonly touched surfaces must be disinfected prior to and after use.  Non-essential common areas will remain closed.  To prioritize the health and safety of students, faculty and staff, Case Center will be open only to members of the Skidmore College community. The maximum number of people allowed in Case Center (and other) spaces is being revised to ensure appropriate physical distancing.
  3. Shared Vehicles. Generally, occupancy within vehicles will be limited to one occupant.  If a vehicle must be occupied by more than one individual, all occupants must wear face masks and occupants shall be limited and configured in a checkerboard pattern.  Windows will be open and/or ventilation set to the fresh air setting.  All College-owned vehicles will be disinfected prior to and after use by the employee.

K. Restriction on Non-Essential Travel

The CDC and state and local health officials continue to recommend individuals stay home as much as possible and practice social distancing.  Traveling, even locally to visit friends and family, increases an individual’s chances of contracting and spreading COVID-19.  It is possible for someone to have COVID-19 and spread it to others, even if they have no symptoms.

Non-essential business travel is currently suspended.  The College will closely monitor guidance from local health officials and will resume business travel as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.  Students and employees are strongly discouraged from non-essential personal travel.  As part of the Daily Health Certification, employees must disclose if they have travelled to one of the states subject to the Governor’s Executive Order No. 205 ( a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or higher than a 10% test positivity rate within the previous 14-day period).  Employees returning from a trip to a designated state lasting for 24 hours or more, are required to quarantine for 14 days in accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order No. 205 unless they meet the Department of Health’s definition of an “essential” employee.  Essential employees will be able to return to work following specific protocol established by the Department of Health.

All CLE and SGA sponsored off-campus travel will be suspended for the Fall 2020 semester. If a student feels that they need permission to travel off campus in an official club or office sponsored capacity, they must contact the Office of Leadership Activities.

I. Communication

To ensure the College and its employees comply with communication requirements:

  1. The College will post DOH COVID-19 consistent signage throughout campus to remind students, employees and approved visitors to stay home when they are sick and to adhere to proper hygiene, social distancing rules, appropriate use, storage and discard of PPE, cleaning and disinfecting protocols and how to report symptoms of or exposure to COVID-19.
  2. The College will regularly communicate updated information to students and employees by email and maintain updated information on the College’s Fall Planning website. The College will also continue the HR hotline to answer any questions related to the College’s reopening and this Plan.
  3. Employees are required to maintain a continuous log of every person, including employees and visitors, who may have close contact (under 6 feet) with other individuals at their work areas, excluding deliveries that are performed with appropriate PPE or through contactless means. Close contact is defined as a meeting or discussion lasting a minimum of 10 minutes. Incidental or brief contact, such as passing in the hallway, is not considered a recordable event. The intent is to establish an accurate record for traceability. Faculty members teaching in-person classes should maintain daily attendance records and, where practical, use seating charts.
  4. Skidmore College expects all faculty, staff and students to comply with the College’s and government’s public health directives – including the proper use of face masks and physical distancing requirements – and to share the responsibility for keeping all members of the College community safe. Failure to abide by any of the health and safety requirements established by the College is a violation of the College’s Student Code of Conduct, Employee Conduct Policy and Part One of the Faculty Handbook.
  5. The College will immediately notify state and local health departments if any student or employee tests positive for COVID-19. Both the College and the student or employee will cooperate with contact tracing efforts, including notification of potential contacts, such as students, workers and approved visitors who had close contact with the individual, while maintaining confidentiality required by applicable law.

IV. Monitoring of Health Conditions

Skidmore College has instituted a vigorous plan to monitor and track health conditions related to COVID-19 on campus on an ongoing basis.

A. Student Testing Protocol

  1. Scope of Testing. In accordance with Department of Health recommendations, the College will test all students upon arrival to campus. Students must self-quarantine until they receive their test results. Following their arrival on campus and initial COVID-19 test, all students will be tested on a weekly basis (surveillance testing). Students who present symptoms will also be tested (symptomatic testing).
  2. Testing Responsibility. The College has partnered with the Broad Institute (http://www.broadinstitute.org/coronavirus/covid-19.com) for diagnostic testing of both students and employees. The test is a nasal swab that can be self-administered with medical oversight. Surveillance testing will be performed outside in tents. Masks must be worn and physical distancing observed.  Symptomatic testing will take place in a separate trailer in the Jonsson Tower Parking Lot.
  3. CoVerified App. The College will use the app CoVerified for student daily health screening, for scheduling surveillance testing and for coordinating the delivery of testing results. The College will provide instructions to students prior to arrival on how to download and use CoVerified. Additional information on how the College will use CoVerified for daily health screening is below.
  4. Contact Tracing. All positive COVID-19 and presumed positive COVID-19 cases will be reported to Saratoga County Public Health, which has the legal jurisdiction, staffing and expertise to do contact tracing. The College will assist by providing information requested by Saratoga County Public Health, such as information on classmates and room/floor mates. Saratoga County Public Health will take the lead on interviewing the infected student to identify close contacts where exposure may have occurred. All contacts will be contacted by Saratoga County Public Health and quarantined as provided below.

B. Employee Testing Protocol

The College’s Human Resources Department will manage implementation of testing, early warning, contact tracing and screening initiatives for faculty and staff. Capacity and frequency for testing and screening of faculty and staff have been established, and the College’s contact tracing protocol will be followed to detect and control the spread of infection on campus.

  1. Scope of Testing. In accordance with Department of Health recommendations, the College will frequently test students, faculty and staff who are working on campus for COVID-19 using a molecular diagnostic test Employees who are in one or more of the following categories will not require testing:
    1. Employees who work remotely;
    2. Employees who are not scheduled to work on campus;
    3. Employees who may need to be on campus briefly, such that they are on campus for no more than twice per week and for a period that amounts to no more than 30 minutes each time (e.g., coming on campus to pick up mail or make a copy).

      Employees were notified the week of August 10, 2020 if they are required to be tested. Any employee who objects to their classification and believes they fall in one of the exceptions listed above should contact Laura Goodwin at lgoodwin@skidmore.edu.
  2. Testing Responsibility. The College has partnered with the Broad Institute (http://www.broadinstitute.org/coronavirus/covid-19.com) for diagnostic testing of both students and employees. The test is a nasal swab that can be self-administered with medical oversight. The testing site for employees is a tent located behind Kimball Hall. The tent will be staffed by registered nurses and certified nursing assistants who will oversee administration of the tests.
  3. Testing Frequency. Employees will be tested in accordance with the following schedule:
    1. Initial Testing Protocol. The College administered an initial test for all faculty and staff who are working on campus on August 17 and August 18, 2020. Employees were notified of the testing location and schedule.
    2. Recurring Testing. Following the initial test, the College will administer testing for COVID-19 on a weekly basis. Employees will be notified of their testing schedule.
    3. Testing Schedule. Employees will be notified of their testing day and time each week. Attending the testing appointment should be considered a priority and take precedence over most other College business. Faculty should not cancel class in order to attend a testing appointment. If an employee is unable to attend their scheduled testing time, they must notify Candace Scott (cscott@skidmore.edu or x5810) or Patti Heritage (pheritage@skidmore.edu or x5824) immediately to reschedule.  Employees who do not attend their testing appointment will be referred to Human Resources.
    4. Testing as a Condition of Employment. The College has determined, in cooperation with state and local health department guidance, that frequent testing of all College community members, prompt quarantine and contact tracing is essential to controlling the spread of infection on campus. To that end, regular testing is a condition for working on campus.
  4. Communicating Results of COVID-19 Testing. Employees who test negative will receive an email to view their test results on an online platform called CareEvolve. Positive test results will be relayed through the College’s ordering physician to the Saratoga County Health Department. Individuals who test positive will be contacted by the Saratoga County Health Department and the College’s ordering physician. Employees will be sent home immediately with instructions for isolation in accordance with the requirements set forth below.
  5. Contact Tracing. The College will work in collaboration with the Saratoga County Health Department to assist with contact tracing among Skidmore College community members. Upon identification of a COVID-19 infection, Human Resources will speak with the affected employee and obtain their Daily Log to identify co-workers, students and others who may have been exposed. For all contacts identified, initial contact will be made via cellphone and/or email by the Saratoga County Health Department. Each contacted individual will be informed about possible exposure and sent home with instructions for quarantine in accordance with the requirements set forth below.

C. Early Warning Signs

The College will regularly monitor applicable metrics, as established by the New York State Department of Health and applicable to the Capital Region, to detect early warning signs that positive COVID-19 cases may be rising to an unacceptable level. These metrics include, but are not limited to:

  1. External Metrics. External metrics include New York state and Saratoga County COVID data, including:
    1. New York State Department of Health Interim Guidance for Higher Education During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
    2. Relevant NY directives
    3. Daily and 7-day average of cases in Saratoga County
    4. Daily and 7-day average of positive test rates in Saratoga County
    5. Number of deaths by date of death in Saratoga County
    6. Bed and ICU capacity for Saratoga Hospital
    7. Local hospital access to PPE
    8. Changes in local hospital care parameters
    9. Operating status and schedules for local school systems
  2. Campus Metrics. In addition to regularly monitoring external metrics, the College will also carefully monitor campus metrics, including:
    1. Daily and 7-day average of COVID-19 cases by date reported
    2. Daily and 7-day average of positive test rates
    3. Daily count of individuals in isolation
    4. Daily count of individuals in quarantine
    5. Daily count of symptomatic testing for students at Health Services
    6. Evidence of community-based infections (without identified sources)
    7. Number of employees unable to work due to illness (daily and 7-day average)
    8. Available spaces for isolation
    9. Average time for contact tracing and implementing quarantines
    10. Staffing levels for essential support services
    11. PPE supplies
    12. Compliance with testing, daily health screenings, face masks, physical distancing and restrictions on large group gatherings

The College’s Health Services Department, in collaboration with other campus personnel, and in consultation with the local and state Department of Health, will monitor these metrics.

D. Daily Health Screening

  1. CoVerified Daily Student Health Screening for Students. The College will use a symptom tracker app called CoVerified to conduct daily health screenings of each student who comes on campus. CoVerified is tied into the Broad Institute testing protocols and will enable the College to schedule testing of students, send out “push” reminders and communicate negative test results. Once a student has completed the symptom tracker, CoVerified will display a “green screen” which students will be required to show prior to admission in higher traffic common spaces on campus including Scribner Library and Murray-Aikens Dining Hall.
  2. Employee Screening. Employees must take their temperatures prior to coming to work each day. If an employee does not have a thermometer at home, they must go to Campus Safety prior to entering their building to have their temperature checked. Employees and other individuals with any of the following symptoms must stay home from work and not enter the work site:
    1. Fever (100.4°F or greater) or feeling feverish (chills, sweating)
    2. Cough
    3. Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    4. Sore throat
    5. Headache
    6. Muscle aches or body aches
    7. Vomiting or diarrhea
    8. New loss of taste or smell.

      These symptoms are similar to the flu, and in either case, individuals who are sick should stay home. If any individual believes they have been exposed to COVID-19 and/or develops a fever and symptoms, such as coughing or difficulty breathing, they should immediately call their health care provider for medical advice. Any individual who tests positive for COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19 must notify Human Resources. The College will maintain the confidentiality of any employee who reports a medical condition, including a COVID-19 infection.
  3. Employee Daily Health Certification. Employees can enter their building if they do not register a temperature of 100.4°F or greater and can certify that they:
    1. Have not tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days;
    2. Have not been in close contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 within the past 14 days;
    3. Have not had a fever or felt feverish in the past 14 days;
    4. Have not experienced any new respiratory symptoms including a sore throat, cough or shortness of breath, in the past 14 days;
    5. Have not experienced any new muscle aches or chills in the past 14 days;
    6. Have not experienced any new change in their sense of taste or smell in the past 14 days; and
    7. Have not travelled to one of the states subject to the Governor’s Executive Order No. 205 in the past 14 days.

      Employees must submit a certification to Human Resources via this link on the College’s website or with a form as required by a manager or supervisor (including department chair or program director) prior to or upon arrival to work each day. For website certifications, Human Resources is responsible for receiving and attesting to having reviewed all employee certifications each day and keeping the certification in HR files. For paper certifications, the manager or supervisor (including department chair or program director) is responsible for receiving and attesting to having reviewed all paper certifications each day and keeping the certification in department files.
  4. Access to Campus. Any visitor seeking access to campus must self-certify via a certification form. Visitors for admissions tours will follow the protocol established by Skidmore College Admissions, and all health and safety protocol will be communicated to admissions visitors prior to their arrival on campus. Tours will remain outside of all buildings (except the bathroom located in the Surrey) and will be limited to a maximum of 6 people per tour plus the student ambassador. All visitors to the College must wear masks and maintain physical distancing at all times.
  5. Failure to Meet Certification Requirements. Any individual who registers a temperature of 100.4°F or higher or cannot certify to any other above requirements should not come to campus or will not be allowed to remain on campus. If on campus, employees will be sent home with instructions for a health assessment and testing.  Employees will not be permitted to return to work until cleared to return by a health care provider OR completing at least 14 days of self-quarantine and being approved to return to work by Human Resources.  Employees who are critical to the operation or safety of the College may be able to return to work sooner if consistent with local and state health department and CDC requirements.
  6. Continuous Self-Monitoring. Students, staff and faculty shall continue to self-monitor throughout the day. Students who begin to experience symptoms must contact Health Services immediately. Employees must advise their manager or Human Resources if they begin to experience any of the symptoms listed above.
  7. Suspected Illness. Supervisors and managers (including department chairs and program directors) may separate and direct any employee that indicates they do not feel well or who is demonstrating acute respiratory illness symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, etc.) to work from home, if appropriate, or use paid time off. Any of the above individuals must notify Human Resources about who was sent home due to suspected illness immediately.
  8. Reporting of Potential Exposure. Any student who learns they have had a potentially significant exposure, as defined by CDC guidelines (less than 6 feet, more than 15 minutes)   to someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 must immediately notify Health Services. Any employee who learns they have had potentially significant exposure with someone within or outside the workplace who has been diagnosed with  COVID-19 must immediately notify Laura Goodwin in Human Resources at lgoodwin@skidmore.edu of the potential exposure. Students and employees who have been exposed must complete a 14-day self-quarantine before returning to work or classes. If an employee is critical to the operation or safety of an office and is NOT symptomatic, the employee may be approved to return to work sooner following specific state guidelines and the directives of the relevant county public health department.
  9. List of Testing Sites. The College is not currently administering testing for employees who are symptomatic. A list of testing sites can be found on the College’s COVID-19 website or can be obtained by contacting Human Resources at hr@skidmore.edu.

 

V. Containment of Potential Transmission of the Virus

  1. Action Plan for Students Confirmed or Suspected to Have COVID-19
    Isolation.  Students who test positive and who need to be isolated pursuant to a Saratoga County Public Health order will be separated from others to reduce the risk of transmission. Isolation requires that students remain in their designated space at all times during the isolation period. Skidmore College has reserved 50 flex spaces on campus with individual rooms and bathrooms to house isolated students. The College will provide medical, academic, dining and psychological support for students in isolation to continue their education remotely.

    Saratoga County Public Health will also check in with isolated students on a daily basis. Students will remain in isolation until they are cleared by Saratoga County Public Health. A team from Health Services, Campus Safety and the Office of Residential Life will assist students in isolation through this period.

    Students living off campus who need to be isolated will do so in their off-campus housing following CDC guidelines for isolation from other household members.  Off-campus students will have daily contact with Saratoga County Public Health and will be able to access all College resources and supports (Health Services, Counseling Services and academics) remotely. Meal delivery, if needed, will be coordinated by Saratoga County Public Health.

    Quarantine. Students who have been exposed to COVID-19 must quarantine in order to restrict their contact with others and reduce the risk of the spread of infection. Saratoga County Public Health will determine which individuals need to be quarantined based on contract tracing efforts and will notify affected students and the College if Skidmore College students are placed under a quarantine order.

    Students in on-campus housing (including at local hotels) will typically quarantine in their regular housing assignments. Students living off campus will quarantine in their off-campus housing. Individuals who share a bathroom are considered a “family unit” and must typically quarantine together. Skidmore college will provide medical, academic, and psychological support for students remotely who are quarantined and/or who need more advanced medical care. Meal delivery will be provided by Skidmore for on-campus students in quarantine. Meal delivery, if needed, for off campus students will be coordinated through Saratoga County Public Health.

    Students will receive specific instructions on how to isolate and quarantine.
  2. Action Plan for Suspected or Confirmed Employee Cases of COVID-19

    Isolation/Quarantine of Confirmed IndividualAny employee who tests positive for COVID-19 or exhibits COVID-19 symptoms or has close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 must remain at home until completing 14 days of self-quarantine or released by a health care provider or public health official. 

    Employees and Other Individuals in Close Contact with Infected Individual.   The College will notify the state and local health department immediately upon being informed of any positive COVID-19 test result and work with public health officials to identify all individuals who had close contact (under 6 feet) lasting a minimum of 10 minutes with the affected individual during the time the individual has symptoms and during the 48-hour period before the onset of symptoms or positive test result, whichever is earlier. Depending on the circumstances (physical proximity, length of time of contact, setting, whether tools or equipment were shared, etc.), additional individuals may be identified as having had close contact. Those individuals identified by public health officials and/or the College as having close contact with an individual who tests positive for COVID-19 will not be able to return to work until the end of a 14-day quarantine period. Employees who are quarantined must self-monitor for symptoms and seek medical attention if symptoms develop.
  3. Cleaning and Disinfection Plan. In the event an individual tests positive for COVID-19 and has been inside college facilities while potentially infectious, the College will follow relevant CDC guidelines and any specific protocols suggested by Saratoga Public Health with regards to cleaning and disinfecting potentially affected spaces. Cleaning and disinfection protocols will be put in place after an individualized assessment based on, but not limited to, these variables: length of time infected individual was in the space, nature of their actions in the space, and whether the space has been cleaned since the individual was last present. Depending on this assessment, the college may elect to close off certain spaces for a period of time before cleaning and disinfecting take place.
  4. The college has identified a specific vendor who can assist in the event more  specialized cleaning protocols are needed and has also identified and trained college employees with regards to the proper use of PPE during cleaning of potentially infected areas.

 

VI. Shut Down of In-Person Operations (if necessary)

While the transmission of COVID-19 is currently sufficiently controlled in the Capital Region, including Saratoga County, so as to allow the reopening of campus and welcome the return of students, faculty and staff, the College acknowledges the uncertainty of the future and the need to have a contingency plan in place if these metrics change. Skidmore College has developed a decision framework to address scenarios that may require decreasing on-campus activities and operations and/or closing the campus. That framework is detailed below:

  1. Alert Level 1. At this lowest level of alert, very few positive test results exist, and contact tracing shows a very limited number of employees and students on campus may have been exposed. Epidemiological analysis and contact tracing suggest that the situation can be contained, isolated and controlled. Affected students and employees are quarantined pursuant to DOH guidelines and this Plan. Affected areas are contained, isolated and decontaminated. Other campus operations or residential life activities are not affected.
  2. Alert Level 2: At this level, the number of positive test results and numbers of exposed individuals in quarantine are slightly higher than at the lowest level of alert, but Saratoga County Public Health is able to   conduct effective and timely contact tracing and the college has been able to act swiftly to identify, isolate and contain transmission. There is no evidence of community transmission at this level. This level may require limiting operations in specific operations, areas or programs for a period of time to prevent ongoing exposure. A larger number of students, employees and/or facilities could be impacted but that impact is likely to remain time limited and is directly related to specific and already identified infections.
  3. Alert Level 3: At this level, a small outbreak has occurred on campus in a defined population, such as a building, department or residence hall. Confidence in the ability to accurately complete contact tracing in a timely way is moderate. It is also the case that it may be difficult to identify a specific area for containment, isolation and remediation. This level may require shutting down the areas impacted by the outbreak but does not require a campus wide shut down. Select programs may move back into an online-only environment with non-resident students staying off campus, resident students staying in their rooms and non-essential affected employees working from home. Individuals who test positive and who have been exposed are isolated and quarantined, potentially in bulk (e.g., entire building or more). The College may order shelter-in-place for students (stay and study in their rooms). Careful consideration will be given to whether on-campus services for employees, such those provided by the Greenberg Childcare Center, can be maintained.
  4. Alert Level 4: At this level, the College is experiencing a sizeable outbreak, as evidenced by numbers of current cases, increases in positive test rates or by multiple positive tests without clear sources of infection, and the College has clear evidence that  contact tracing, containment, isolation and remediation efforts are not effective The College will “pause” and move to remote learning alternatives and remote work arrangements where possible. Non-resident students and employees whose presence on campus is not essential to the College’s daily operations will be restricted from coming on campus. Resident students will be required to shelter in place or return home for the pause. The “pause” is intended to be temporary (one to four weeks) and to control further transmission.   
  5. Alert Level 5: The situation has escalated to the point where ongoing campus or community transmission is occurring at a significant rate. There is no realistic strategy to contain or control the situation. Given the timing in the academic calendar, the College has no other option than to shut down on-campus operations completely. All campus operations come to a halt, non-essential employees shift to remote work arrangements when possible, and students move to remote learning for the remainder of the semester. Campus will close for the rest of the semester and students will be moved out following the College’s protocol. Those unable to leave will appeal to remain on campus. Skidmore College will support any student who, for financial or other hardship reasons, cannot depart campus in response to a shutdown scenario.
  6. Other Considerations. The College will also consider the following variables  when making a decision as to whether to continue in-person learning.
    1. If the College’s RO infection rate is < or = 1, meaning individuals who are infected infect no more than one other person, the College will generally be able to continue in-person learning.
    2. If the College reaches 50% capacity in isolation beds, the College will consult with public health officials about potential measures that need to be taken.
    3. If the College’s infection rates begin to exceed the infection rate in Saratoga County generally, it will consult with Saratoga County Public Health and potentially move to assertive campus restrictions to mitigate infection spread.
    4. If infections on campus appear to be driven by community infection spread (i.e., are distributed across individuals who do not have contact with each other), the College will consult with Saratoga County Public Health and likely move towards assertive campus restrictions.
    5. If local resources are overwhelmed with contact tracing of infected members of the College community, the College, in partnership with Saratoga County Health, will consider reducing campus activities and re-allocating College resources to assist with contact tracing as needed.

If Saratoga Hospital’s ICU and/or COVID-19 bed capacity is greater than 50% or if Saratoga Hospital significantly changes their medical service parameters in response to rising infection levels (for instance, stops doing elective surgeries), the College will consult with local public health and medical professionals about potential measures needed in order to minimize any potential strain on local medical resources. The College recognizes that communication with students and parents in the event of a shutdown is essential. Skidmore College will maintain a data dashboard with aggregate data related to testing, infection rates, alert levels and institutional response parameters.  Transparency of aggregate data will be balanced with resolute protection of individual privacy. The data dashboard will be maintained on the College’s Fall Planning website and students, faculty, staff and parents will be updated on this information through email and the Skidmore Weekly Bulletin. The scenarios necessitating decreasing on-campus activities and operations or closing the campus will be communicated to all faculty, staff, students and parents by email and the College’s Fall Planning website.

 

VII. Human Resources COVID-19 Policies

A. COVID-19 Leaves of Absence. Employees who are unable to work due to COVID-19 related reasons may be entitled to a leave of absence in accordance with the following:

  1. Emergency Paid Sick Leave. In accordance with New York State Law, the College will provide 14 days of paid sick leave for employees who cannot work from home and who are subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation.  The quarantines covered by New York’s Paid Sick Leave law are mandatory and precautionary quarantines required by the State of New York, the Department of Health, local boards of health or “any government entity duly authorized to issue such order due to COVID-19.” This would include employees who test positive for COVID-19 (mandatory isolation), employees who have had close contact (6 ft) with someone who is positive (mandatory quarantine) or had proximate exposure to a positive person but has not come in direct contact with a positive person and is not displaying symptoms (precautionary quarantine). Any employee who is subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of isolation or quarantine must notify Laura Goodwin in Human Resources immediately at lgoodwin@skidmore.edu. 
  2. Paid Time Off. The leave provisions above are in addition to and do not diminish accrued vacation time. If an employee exhausts Emergency Paid Sick Leave and cannot return to work because of their own illness or if an employee needs to care for an ill family member, they may be eligible for Disability or Paid Family Leave benefits, which may be supplemented by accrued vacation time in accordance with College policy. See Disability Benefits and Paid Family Leave policies for additional information regarding these benefits, including how to apply. Although faculty are ineligible for NYS Disability benefits, the College provides the same level of benefits to faculty as provided to exempt and non-exempt staff.

B. Accommodations Related to COVID-19

  1. Accommodations of High-Risk Individuals. Employees who have been advised by their health care provider that they are in a high-risk group (as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) may request an accommodation by contacting Laura Goodwin in Human Resources immediately at lgoodwin@skidmore.edu.  Human Resources may request reasonable documentation to support an employee’s request for accommodation.  If an employee’s job duties can be performed from home, the College may allow the employee to work remotely as an accommodation unless doing so would cause an undue hardship.  Faculty members may elect to teach their courses remotely. If an employee’s job responsibilities cannot be performed remotely, employee will be permitted to use available vacation time and take unpaid leave.
  2. Other Accommodations. Employees may request a remote work arrangement or leave of absence for other COVID-19 related reasons (e.g., unavailability of childcare, caregiving responsibilities for at-risk family member) by contacting Laura Goodwin in Human Resources immediately at lgoodwin@skidmore.edu.  Human Resources will work with the employee and the employee’s manager to handle each request on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the employee’s job responsibilities, the needs of the department and the facts and circumstances underlying the request. Faculty wishing to request a leave of absence should contact the Dean of the Faculty/Vice President for Academic Affairs.

C. Application of College Attendance & Absenteeism Policies. The College’s attendance and absenteeism policies will continue to apply upon reopening, including attendance expectations, normal call-in procedures and prohibition on excessive absenteeism.  However, employees should not view these policies as discouraging staying at home when ill or following a health care provider’s or public health official’s recommendations. Substantiated COVID-19 related absences and other protected leave will not negatively affect employees’ attendance records. Employees are expected to follow normal call-in procedures and to cooperate with any requests for documentation from the College.

D. Employee Privacy. The College will maintain any information received related to the exposure or diagnosis of COVID-19 as medical records in accordance with the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and New York State Human Rights Law.  Mandated reporting under the Plan is restricted solely to COVID-19 diagnoses and COVID-19 related symptoms and exposures. Employees should not report their temperature readings or any other underlying, pre-existing or unrelated medical condition or disability. The College will not keep records of employee temperature readings.

 

VIII. Conclusion

The College’s commitment to the health and safety of its employees and other community members does not end with this Plan. The College will continuously monitor this Plan for compliance, will update this Plan as additional guidance is issued by local, state and federal authorities and will also continue to monitor COVID-19 in the state and region and make operational decisions that put safety first.

Faculty, staff, students and visitors are required to abide by all aspects of the Plan and attend all related training as a condition of returning to campus.  Failure to abide by this Plan is considered a violation of College policy and may result in corrective action, up to and including separation from employment or removal from campus. A copy of this Plan will be posted on the College’s COVID-19 webpage and in each building on campus.