Faculty & Staff
FALL 2020 Campus Reopening Plan
This plan has been reviewed by the State Council of Higher Education and has been found to be compliant in containing the required components of the "Higher Education Reopening Guidance," which was developed in consultation with the Virginia Department of Health.
Faculty & Staff
The health and well-being of the Richard Bland College community is vital. To help safeguard the health of students, faculty, staff, and the surrounding community, the College is modifying all campus buildings, operations and academic delivery. Each member of the RBC family is committed to adhere to Virginia’s Public Health Guidelines for Higher Education, VDH and CDC recommendations.
Living & Working
Richard Bland College will continue to encourage telework when possible and for high-risk employees but will be increasing on-campus work for staff and faculty. The following measures will be taken:
- Face coverings required in all buildings and classrooms
- Faculty and staff encouraged to frequently wipe down workspaces using disinfectant
- Social distancing required at all times
- Virtual meetings are encouraged
- Occupancy of break rooms and use of shared coffee makers, microwaves must be limited (or eliminated) to promote physical distancing and sanitization. Employees will be allowed to eat or socialize together if 6 ft. apart
- Informational safety signage installed throughout all campus buildings
- Elevators will be handicap only
- HR will continue to track the use of leave for COVID-19 related incidents to include positive testing, self-quarantine and self-monitoring
- Manage telework options: Supervisors are encouraged to look for alternative work schedules to include 4-hour days
- Provide training to RBC community regarding mitigating strategies
- Managers to complete by July 17, 2020
- All staff and faculty to complete by August 1, 2020
- Supervisors encouraged to phase teleworkers back to the workplace to adjust to the new working environment and to ensure that social distance between staff can be managed
- Develop strategies with managers for employees requiring flexibility or accommodations: Coach managers on ways to seek alternative solutions when employees cannot return to the workplace via medical restrictions
- Employees encouraged to check temperature daily and stay home if feeling ill
- Testing and tracing services will be provided by the Virginia Department of Health (Crater Health District) as needed
- Oversee workplace protocol according to recommendations from Virginia’s Public Health Guidelines for Higher Education, VDH and CDC
Good Hygiene and Heightened Cleaning & Disinfection
Together as Statesmen, everyone has the responsibility to cooperate, respect and work together to keep the RBC community safe. The following cleanliness and enhanced sanitation measures have been initiated throughout the RBC campus:
- Students, faculty and staff must wear masks indoors and in shared spaces
- Everyone on-campus will be provided with a personal protective equipment kit at the start of the semester that includes:
- Washable face coverings
- Hand sanitizer
- Information packets
- Maintain social distance of at least 6ft. at all times
- Practicing good hygiene signs, hand sanitizer stations, and directional tiles installed in all buildings
- Training provided to students, faculty and staff on maintaining a clean environment
- Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, report any COVID symptoms to HR, Student Success or Residential Life, and self-quarantine if necessary
- IR Infrared Digital Non-Contact Thermometers located throughout campus and the Statesman Touchless Temperature Check station located in the library for daily checks
- Stay home from class, work or other gatherings if you are symptomatic or are running a fever of 100.4°F or above
- Classrooms, residential and other campus spaces have been rearranged for social distancing and sneeze guards installed as needed
- Clean and sanitize personal items such as phones, keyboards, desks and workspaces regularly – all students, staff and faculty are required to clean personal spaces (including classrooms) on arrival and departure. There will be a 45-minute break between each class for cleaning to occur. Additional cleaning supplies available upon request
- Deep cleaning of all buildings will take place every Friday
- Contract with ServPro established to disinfect rooms of any student, staff or faculty who tests positive or exposed to COVID-19
Daily Monitoring & Contact Tracing
All students, staff and faculty are required to self-monitor daily for COVID-19 symptoms, report any COVID symptoms to Human Resources, Student Success or Residential Life, and self-quarantine if necessary. IR Infrared Digital Non-Contact Thermometers are available throughout campus and the Statesman Touchless Temperature Check station located in the library for daily checks. Commuter students, staff and faculty must stay home if symptomatic or are running a fever of 100.4°F or above. Residential students with symptoms will be moved to dedicated rooms reserved for quarantine and self-isolation.
The College will refer symptomatic students, staff and faculty to the following fixed testing sites in the Petersburg area as recommended by the Crater Health District:
Central Virginia Health Services
(FQHC – FREE)
321C Poplar Drive, Petersburg
Monday morning: 10am – noon and Thursday afternoon: 1:30pm – 3:30pm
804-733-5591 to register – Drive thru
1200 West Washington St., Petersburg
Wednesday evenings from 6pm – 7:30pm
804-863-1652 Option 1 to register (FREE) – Drive thru
The College will track all students, staff and faculty reporting COVID symptoms, highly recommend that those with symptoms be tested for COVID and immediately report all positive COVID cases to the Virginia Department of Health (Crater Health District). Contact tracing will be provided by the Crater Health District for residential students and commuter students, staff and faculty living in the Crater Health District region. Contact tracing for those living outside the Crater region will be handled by the VDH Health Districts for each designated locality.
Stigma regarding COVID hurts all by creating fear and anger instead of focusing on the disease. Anti-stigma training will be required for all students, staff and faculty prior to the start of fall classes. Training will be provided by Student Success and Human Resources following the anti-stigma guidelines developed by the CDC.
Richard Bland College legal representation provides counsel and will continue to assure that the College is adhering to all state and federal guidelines.
Essential Information for Employees
July 13, 2020
Faculty & Staff
The following guidelines and resources outline measures Richard Bland College (RBC) is taking to advance the health and safety of our entire campus community. These measures are part of a coordinated public health planning effort with peers in the Virginia public college system, Crater Health District-area health care officials, VDH, and SCHEV.
Essential information for employees about returning to work
RBC’s COVID-19 Response
On March 12, 2020, Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic that is ongoing. RBC’s response to the pandemic and reopening follows Commonwealth guidelines.
The COVID-19 pandemic creates a unique challenge for our students, their families, faculty and staff as we strive to meet our educational mission. Pandemic conditions require RBC to adapt how we teach, learn and work in order to mitigate health risks for our community. Therefore, Richard Bland is taking the following measures to advance the health and safety of our entire campus community while we continue to provide high quality teaching, learning, and co-curricular experiences for our students. These measures and temporary policies will continue through the duration of the pandemic or with specific end-dates as indicated below, whichever occurs first.
For Fall 2020, the college is preparing for opening and will adapt to a hybrid learning environment offering both in-person and online classes adapting our curriculum and operations consistent with Virginia’s public health guidelines for higher education. The Statesman Safe and Secure plan for fall 2020 lays out our commitment to highly engaged and close connections between teachers and students; that commitment underpins the effort to return to in-person experiences as appropriate under pandemic conditions.
The following guidelines and resources outline measures RBC is taking to advance the health and safety of our entire campus community. These measures are part of a coordinated public health planning effort with peers in the Virginia public college system, Crater Health District-area health care officials, VDH, and SCHEV.
Employee Guidelines for Returning to Campus
Planning and Preparation: July – August 2020
As indicated in the RBC’s Statesman: Safe and Secure plan, all departments utilizing Emergency Telework Agreements may continue to do so through July 31.
During the month of July, each member of the President’s Cabinet, in consultation with their direct reports, will determine the appropriate mode of work for each unit to meet the college’s mission most effectively, while making modifications as needed, given the current public health context.
By July 20, plans will be finalized for core on-campus functions, including those functions that should continue to work remotely. Supervisors will seek input from their employees prior to finalizing plans with their Cabinet member. Supervisors will communicate approved plans to their employees the week of July 20.
Campus physical adaptations continue and will be completed before August 19, when students first arrive on campus.
Core On-Campus Functions
Our primary goal is to continue providing RBC students an exceptional experience that is adapted to the realities of operating in the midst of a pandemic. Although not all experiences will be fully in person, our core functions will require direct interactions with students, and employees will return to campus to support those interactions. Cabinet members may identify other departments as core on-campus functions based on the type of work they perform and the constituents they serve. At minimum, core functions may include:
- Student support
- Facility service and maintenance
- Residence hall and dining support
- Public safety
- Technology support
- Student Health and Counseling Support
All academic departments and administrative departments that interact directly with students will be expected to develop plans to ensure that employees are available on campus to support student needs in ways that limit risk to employees. Some functions may blend in-person and remote modes of work based on the college’s needs and public health conditions.
Return to Campus Plans and Guidance
Cabinet members, in consultation with their direct reports, will develop plans for a phased reopening in August. Plans should consider adjusting modes of work to include:
- Time: Adjust time, pace, and/or schedule of operating hours to de-densify workspaces (e.g. expand the work day, increase number of days in the work week, set different shifts, shorten service hours, four-day work week of 10-hour days, etc.)
- Space: Arrange the physical environment to reduce contact (e.g. move offices or desks, install shields, select alternate spaces for service, etc.)
- Movement: Restrict, limit, and/or control the movement of people (e.g. customers kept in certain areas, change break room use, limit interoffice visitation, etc.)
- Technology: Use technology when possible to reduce physical contact (e.g. videoconference meetings, scheduling software instead of drop-in appointments, remote work, etc.)
- Ways of Working: Change, adapt, evolve ways of working (e.g. seek process improvements such as electronic signatures, redesign of processes, adapt operations, etc.)
The goals of the plans will consider:
- How best to modify work conditions to minimize risk to students and employees via identifying work that should be on-campus, remote, or blended.
- How work spaces will be reconfigured or modified to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
- Instances where work spaces cannot be configured to meet health guidelines and adaptations to office hours and work schedules that will reduce the number of employees in close proximity at any given time.
- Recognizing that some teaching activities and other services will be shifted to non-standard times (e.g., Saturdays or evenings), scheduling employees to ensure appropriate levels of support at key times.
Ways to incorporate employee feedback
Employees are expected to work remotely or work on campus in accordance with the plans developed by their unit head. Unit heads will be guided by RBC Cabinet members’ approved categorization of types of work. With these college categorizations in mind, supervisors are asked to be as flexible as possible to enable remote work to help limit the number of people on campus.
Blend of On-Campus and Remote Work
In some instances, a Cabinet member may determine that a department can continue working remotely, or blend modes of work, while meeting the College’s mission. These adaptations will reduce the number of employees on campus and aid in limiting coronavirus spread. It will be important to recognize that even as some employees continue to work remotely, their work-related activities still may require them to return to campus periodically. Thus, each plan for these departments should contemplate:
- the initiation of a new telework agreement signed by supervisor and employee,
- the extent to which employees will be expected to continue working remotely, and
- activities or circumstances that require employees to return to campus when they are needed.
For functional areas that do not require on-campus activity, the College will continue to encourage employees to work from home through December 31, 2020. Approval for RBC remote work policies will be expedited to enable remote work as determined by Cabinet members through the end of the calendar year.
General information about employment related matters connected to COVID-19 can be found on the COVID-19 Human Resources page for RBC employees.
Given the challenges of an ongoing pandemic, there may be times when employees require additional support. If you confront a particularly difficult circumstance, contact your supervisor, contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at (855) 223-9277, or contact HR at RBChr@rbc.edu or (804) 862-6100.
As members of the College community, each employee is expected to adhere to Richard Bland’s safety guidelines and protocols, including:
- Mandatory participation in COVID-19 training
- Maintaining proper hygiene
- Self-monitoring of symptoms
- Reporting if experiencing symptoms or directed to quarantine to the immediate supervisor.
- Mandatory wearing of masks in public and other designated spaces
- Maintaining appropriate distance from students and colleagues
- Cleaning personal work spaces routinely to reduce transmission and allow housekeeping staff to focus on more intensive cleaning of public spaces
- Complying with additional guidelines as stipulated by the college, state or federal government
The college will provide each employee with a wellness kit—if requested and while supplies last—that includes face masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, and information packet.
Recognizing Individual Work Circumstances
An employee’s individual circumstances (e.g. childcare/eldercare, medical condition, etc.) may require adjustments to their work schedules or modes of work during the fall. Faculty and staff should notify their department head if they have concerns about being able to work in the mode (on campus, remotely, or in a blended manner) designated in their department’s plan. The department head will alert HR and the appropriate Cabinet member, who will review the department plan and functional need in the employee’s domain of work.
Cabinet members will assess whether adjustments can be made to provide flexibility, while ensuring the function is met and the department’s mission successfully delivered;
If adjustments cannot be made, Human Resources can identify whether the employee is eligible for the Commonwealth’s Public Health Emergency Leave and options provided through the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act;
An employee may be eligible for the College or State’s sickness and disability programs, earned sick leave, annual leave or other leave statuses;
For faculty or staff requests for accommodations due to a medical condition or disability, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (804) 862-6100 for a confidential consultation.
Health and Wellness
RBC is here for you, providing support to help you do your best work during these challenging times.
Will COVID-19 testing be provided?
If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, your medical provider, in consultation with the Virginia health department, will determine if you should be tested for COVID-19. Symptomatic testing requires a doctor’s order. You can call a medical professional or your primary care physician for assistance.
Will RBC’s medical plan cover costs of testing and treatment?
If a medical professional orders a COVID-19 test for you or your covered dependent, it will be covered at 100% under all Commonwealth of Virginia-sponsored medical plans. All out-of-pocket costs (including coinsurance, copays and deductibles) related to testing and office visits are waived. Medical treatments or hospital stays are handled under existing coverage guidelines for employees and their dependents enrolled in the State’s sponsored plans:
How is RBC preventing the spread of illness at work?
Departments and offices are developing COVID work plans (pdf) that should address how they will operate to minimize risk to employees and students.
How is RBC incorporating the latest science about COVID-19 into our decision-making and response?
RBC’s decision-making and public health protocols are based on epidemiological modeling and analysis pursued in partnership with the major medical centers in the Virginia public college system (VCU, UVA, VT) and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).
RBC guidelines will continue to be adjusted based on research and analysis arising from that partnership and with our medical providers and testing suppliers. And we will respond as required to changing guidance from Commonwealth of Virginia leaders.
The president, provost, and COVID-19 Task Force meet weekly. Those meetings enable concerted advocacy with Commonwealth of Virginia leaders for resources (CARES Act funds, testing, etc.), effective collaboration (testing, campus reopening, curricular adaptation, etc.), efficient decision-making and more. This close communication and partnership also allows Richard Bland to appropriately deploy our resources and protocols as scientific knowledge about COVID-19 improves and guidance from CDC and VDH evolves.
The RBC COVID-19 Task Force team includes a variety of staff and faculty from across the campus. Richard Bland leadership welcomes ongoing input from experts in our community. Please contact Jeff Brown, Director of Campus Safety or Cassandra Standberry, Director of Human Resources with further questions.
Where can I seek further help and guidance?
Employee Assistance program (EAP) (855) 223-9277 for personal, family, or workplace concerns to include free counseling, referrals to community-based resources, and training resources available to all full-time employees.
Human Resources – Safe Haven for all employee concerns, whether large or small, contact email@example.com for a confidential conversation.
Mandatory COVID-19 Training – Online training will be required of all employees before returning to campus full-time. This information will be available in the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Knowledge Center and KnowB4 delivery platform. Employees will be notified of its availability.
Resources for Leaders:
Supervisors and department heads will receive additional training and support via regular Supervisors’ Forum and Managers’ Forum videoconference meetings.
The RBC Safe & Secure team encourages you to review all current information available for Health & Safety, Students & Families, Faculty & Staff, Alumni & Friends, and Frequently Asked Questions. Guidelines and recommendations are changing, so please visit this site often to view updated information. If you have questions, please click the box below to submit.