Guide for Returning to the Workplace

The University of Massachusetts Lowell is committed to providing guidelines and best practices that will help keep employees safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The university has developed the following Guide for Returning to the Workplace to assist employees returning to campus. This guide will be updated as federal and state restrictions are modified. This guide provides protocols for the general population. More specific COVID-19 work plans may be developed for specific departments, trades, tasks and evolutions. 

Last updated 1/24/2022

Guiding Principles

  1. We will keep the safety and health of our community as our top priority.
  2. We will provide the fullest academic and campus life experience possible.
  3. We will rely on members of our community to act responsibly.
  4. We will act on new information promptly.

Health & Safety Practices

  • Daily Self-Monitoring Requirement:  Staff coming to campus are required to review the university’s COVID-19 Daily Self Checklist prior to reporting to work. If upon completing the self-check, you answer YES to any of the questions you MUST STAY HOME, notify your supervisor and contact the COVID-19 HR Response team at or 978-934-3660. If you start to feel sick during your shift, you are to notify your supervisor, go home and contact the response team as indicated above. 

  • If you have tested positive for COVID-19: You MUST STAY HOME, notify your supervisor and contact the COVID-19 HR Response team at or 978-934-3660. If you feel well enough to work and are able to work remotely, coordinate with your supervisor. If you do not feel well enough to work or cannot work remotely, you can use sick leave. Check with the Benefits Office for any additional time off benefits by contacting or 978-934-3660. 

  • Face Coverings: Face coverings are only required on campus transportation and in the Wellness Center. Community members may opt to wear face coverings at their own discretion. Request two KN95 or N95 face coverings.

  • Laboratory Environments: Specific resources have been developed for individuals working in laboratory environments. Please visit EH&S COVID-19 Information for Labs website

  • Personal Protective Equipment: These guidelines are not meant to override existing requirements for use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that is required for your work on campus. Where there is a discrepancy between these guidelines and established PPE requirements, seek further guidance from your supervisor and/or Environmental Health and Safety.

  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. To prevent the spread of germs, wash your hands often throughout the day, especially after coughing, sneezing, using or cleaning restrooms, and before handling food.

Workplace Settings

  • Staffing: All staff are expected to return to campus. Please contact your supervisor with questions regarding the plan for your department.

  • Campus Vehicle Usage: Only one person is allowed per vehicle (excluding campus transportation buses and shuttles). Prior to initial daily entry, vehicle interior, steering wheel, high touch surfaces, and door handles should be cleaned with disinfectant wipes, or disinfecting spray approved for use against the COVID-19 virus.


Table full of cleaning kits Image by Ed Brennan

UMass Lowell has a trained and professional maintenance staff that is responding to the needs of campus in regard to the COVID-19 on a daily basis. In addition to the standard cleaning protocols, the university has implemented an enhanced cleaning frequency to clean and disinfect common areas and commonly touched surfaces.

All UMass Lowell employees should wipe down commonly used surfaces before and after use with products that meet the EPA’s criteria for use against COVID-19 and are appropriate for the surface. This includes any shared-space location or equipment (e.g. copiers, printers, computers, A/V and other electrical equipment, coffee makers, desks and tables, light switches, door knobs, etc.). The facilities team has provided cleaning kits in offices, classes and labs to facilitate cleaning of surfaces. Learn more about Facilities cleaning protocols.

The work practices established above are designed to provide protection consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health guidance.

Vaccines & Surveillance Testing

All UMass Lowell employees working on campus are required to be vaccinated, including booster shots, against COVID-19 or be approved for a medical or religious exemption following agreements finalized with our unions. 

Weekly surveillance testing is required for unvaccinated residential students and is expected for unvaccinated commuter students, faculty and staff. Fully vaccinated campus community members are exempt from surveillance testing. According to the CDC, fully vaccinated is two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose series or single-dose vaccine and up to date is having received all recommendation vaccines, including booster doses when eligible.

Employees who have been unable to secure an antigen test following a close contact exposure to someone with a positive diagnosis of COVID-19 may request a one-time antigen test from the university, although supplies are limited. Antigen tests for vaccinated employees should be used on the fifth day after exposure to maximize the test’s accuracy.