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 8/16/21

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 email Kim Casey, Director of Compensation and Benefits, or call at 978-934-3557 or COVID19HR@uml.edu. If you start to feel sick during your shift, you are to notify your supervisor, go home and contact Kim Casey as indicated above. 

  • Face Coverings: Face coverings are required for all faculty, staff, students, vendors and visitors regardless of vaccination status as of Monday, Aug. 16 in nearly all indoor common spaces, including classrooms, instructional laboratories, meeting rooms, work areas, break rooms, hallways, elevators and restrooms. Face coverings are not required outdoors.

  • 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 as we plan to return to full on-campus operations for the Fall 2021 semester. 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.

  • Travel: At this time, all university travel is prohibited.

Cleaning/Disinfecting

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 against COVID-19 or be approved for a medical or religious exemption following agreements finalized with our unions. 

All employees have been emailed a link to verify their status with the university by uploading a copy of their vaccination cards to Human Resources through a confidential submission process.

A survey of all employees conducted the first week of August indicated that more than 95% of employees are or will be fully vaccinated before the semester begins.

Wearing a face covering and 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.