Information for Employees

William Paterson University returned to campus on August 2, 2021 from the hybrid work schedule necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic. The health and safety of our employees and community members remains our priority and the University continues to monitor state and federal guidelines and regulations, as well as guidance from the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, to inform our decision-making related to coronavirus pandemic protocols.

The University is committed to sustaining a safe campus environment by continuing to:

  • Monitor and assess potential and actual COVID-19 spread;
  • Review existing policies and procedures to ensure effectiveness;
  • Disseminate and adhere to existing and updated public health directives; and
  • Adjust restrictions as needed, based on conditions.


Vaccination Requirement

In the further interest of the health of our community, the University requires vaccination of all its employees. At this time, all employees covered by the AFT collective bargaining agreement as well as employees who are not covered by any contractually negotiated agreement, such as higher education managers, project specialist and project employees are required to be fully vaccinated by August 25, 2021. The University supports the ongoing State negotiation processes regarding the impact of this vaccination requirement to employees covered by CWA, IFPTE and Police collective bargaining units. Notification regarding the outcome will be communicated to the respective bargaining unit employees once agreements are reached. 

Individuals with approved exemptions and members of unions without a vaccination agreement in place who are not otherwise vaccinated are required to wear masks while indoors on campus, maintain appropriate social distance wherever practicable and are subject to regular COVID-19 testing in accordance with State laws.  Given the rapid changes related to COVID-19 cases, it is possible that even those fully vaccinated will also have to wear masks indoors. Updates will be provided when changes occur.  

Workplace Environment

In an effort to provide a clean and disinfected learning and working environment, the University has implemented specialized cleaning processes to assist in minimizing exposure to COVID-19. Across the campus, hand sanitizer dispensers are located at building entrances. Structural barriers such as Plexiglass sneeze guards have been installed where needed to maintain social distancing. HVAC systems in all buildings have been serviced, and filters have been upgraded and changed more frequently than they were prior to the pandemic.

The University’s Department of Physical Plant Operations is working diligently with custodial staff to ensure cleanliness of all instructional areas, offices, common areas, and restrooms. Guidance has been provided to custodial staff on required disinfection practices, proper use of PPE, and applying social distancing guidelines.

Instructional areas, common areas, and restrooms are disinfected daily. All areas are cleaned using CDC-recommended disinfecting and sanitizing sprays, cleaners, and wipes. Cleaning schedules have been established for high-touch areas. Deep cleaning of buildings occurs where required on a daily basis incorporating the usage of fogging and spraying equipment. Cleaning and work orders for other maintenance needs are scheduled to minimize contact, taking into account department work schedules and classroom usage. Badge access has been implemented where possible and necessary.

Employees have the option to have the maintenance team enter their office to pick up their trash or to put it outside their door at the end of the day for the night crew to pick up. The night crew sanitizes the door handles on all the offices and suite doors.  Occupants must ensure that confidential information is secured within offices. The custodial crew will not move stacks of papers or items on desks or shelves to clean. If personal items are in spaces, the custodial crew has been advised to avoid disturbing those areas. The custodial crew has been advised to avoid disturbing any personal items. All surfaces are cleaned with disinfecting wipes. Vacuuming will occur on a weekly basis or more frequently as needed or requested by the office occupant.

For more detailed information regarding cleaning protocols visit Enhanced Clearning Protocols

COVID-19 Reopening Safety Policy/Code of Conduct

All faculty and staff are required to sign the updated COVID-19 Reopening Safety Policy/Code of Conduct which documents that members of the campus community are required to adhere to public health practices and follow the University’s procedures and protocols that have been developed to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

Masks

All unvaccinated members of the William Paterson University community, including visitors, are required to wear a mask on campus, as outlined in the Masking Policy which will be posted prior to the start of the Fall semester. This includes classrooms, teaching labs, and other instructional spaces, even when social distancing is possible. Masks are not required in private spaces and situations such as while alone in an office or workspace. Masks are required for both vaccinated and unvaccinated members of the University community in public spaces, including but not limited to the Cheng Library, Shea Auditorium, the Recreation Center, and the University Commons and other areas as determined. Supervisors will have access to a list of their direct reports and their mask requirement status via WPconnect. This policy is in effect until further notice.

Individuals with approved exemptions and members of unions without a vaccination agreement in place who are not otherwise vaccinated are required to wear masks while indoors on campus, maintain appropriate social distance wherever practicable and are subject to regular COVID-19 testing.  Given the rapid changes related to COVID-19 cases, it is possible that even those fully vaccinated will also have to wear masks indoors. Updates will be provided when changes occur

An employee with an identified health reason prohibiting the wearing of a mask must contact the Office of Human Resources via email at payroll@wpunj.edu to discuss possible accommodations.

Social Distancing

In addition to wearing a mask, all unvaccinated individuals  must practice social distancing of at least six feet, where practicable, as recommended by the CDC and the NJ Department of Health, on campus and in all campus buildings.

In addition to in-person meetings, employees are encouraged to continue to use technology such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom to conduct meetings where appropriate.

Policies

The Division of Human Resources, in partnership with the Counseling, Health and Wellness, Center, Facilities, Public Safety, and others, will revise policies as needed and will include information during training to ensure that employees understand processes, procedures, and expectations.

Policies which have been revised or created include:

Guidance and Resources

Resources include a review of CDC and New Jersey Department of Health guidelines on social distancing protocols, health information on COVID-19 symptoms and testing, prevention of COVID-19, appropriate cleaning procedures, and institutional policies and procedures designed to limit the spread of COVID-19, such as the use and care of masks, and other topics. Resources provided to faculty and staff include:

Personal Protective Equipment

Personal protective equipment, such as disposable masks, may be requested from supervisors, if necessary. Essential employees, including University police and public safety officers, designated physical plant and facilities members, athletic training staff, and designated Counseling, Health, and Wellness staff, may be supplied with N95 face masks/respirators. Hand sanitizer stations are located around campus. (see announcements from 8/24

Employee Screening

The health and safety of the University community is a shared responsibility among faculty and staff. As part of the University’s ongoing commitment to help ensure a safe and healthy learning and work environment, faculty and staff are asked to complete the Symptom and Exposure Reporting Form found in WPconnect when they have been diagnosed with COVID-19, been around anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days, or traveled internationally and are not vaccinated.

Individuals with COVID-19 have reported a wide variety of symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these signs and symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath and/or difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

Other less common symptoms have been reported including, but not limited to, gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.  Since the list in this document is not all-inclusive, employees and visitors should visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html for more information. 

Faculty and staff who have tested positive for, or who are showing symptoms of COVID-19, should stay home and seek medical care. Anyone with a fever of 100 degrees or higher should stay home. In addition, anyone who is unvaccinated and has recently had close contact (less than 6 feet of distance for more than 15 minutes) with a person with COVID-19 should stay home and monitor for symptoms. Please complete the Symptom and Exposure Reporting Form found in WPconnect if any of the above symptoms develop.

While employees may cough or sneeze at work, it must be understood that these signs can be caused by allergies, the common cold, or pre-existing conditions and may or may not be COVID-19-related. Any employee who is ill and/or exhibiting signs of COVID-19 and the signs are of new onset and not attributable to known allergies, the common cold, or a known pre-existing condition, should leave the workplace immediately and contact their physician. Similarly, any supervisor or manager who either notices a potentially ill employee, or who is informed of symptoms exhibited by an employee, should speak with the employee and tell the employee to leave work and seek medical consultation if the symptoms are new onset and/or not related to known allergies, common cold, or known pre-existing conditions. Call 911 or University Police to assist any employee in significant medical distress. 

If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 or are not feeling well, with symptoms that you believe might be COVID-19, please stay home, consult with your health care provider, and contact Employee Benefits at Payroll@wpunj.edu to initiate discussion about your status.

Accommodations

Employees who believe that, due a medical condition, they may need an accommodation may wish to seek a reasonable accommodation by completing the Reasonable Accomodation Form.

Employees Unable to Work Related to COVID-19

Pursuant to guidance set forth by the Civil Service Commission, COVID-19 Sick Leave and Family Leave are applicable to full time Career Service, Unclassified, Adjunct Faculty and part time employees whose job functions cannot be performed remotely. Coverage under these leaves is retroactive to January 1, 2021. For more information, please visit https://www.wpunj.edu/human-resources/assets/COVID-LEAVE-2021-2.pdf.

Employees returning from personal international travel are subject to a 10 day quarantine upon return.  If employees must travel for personal reasons internationally, when requesting vacation leave the quarantine period should be included in the time off request. Please note that a work from home accommodation will not be granted to employees during a quarantine period resulting from international travel. Employees must ensure they have enough leave time accrued to cover the vacation and quarantine period. For example, an employee travelling for 10 days internationally must quarantine for 10 days upon return to New Jersey. Therefore, the employee should request a total of 20 vacation days, and will not be eligible for COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave.

Visitors

All visitors to campus are required to adhere to established health policies to ensure the safety of the University community. Since the University does not have the ability to verify vaccination status of visitors, it is expected that all visitors wear masks while indoors and in public spaces. Employees who invite a visitor to campus must fill out and submit a visitor log form on the day of the visit.

Link to Visitor Policy

Accountability

Employees, please be advised that failure to adhere to WP health and/or reopening policies related to COVID-19 may be detrimental to the health and safety of the community. As a result, violations may result in appropriate corrective action consistent with the principles of progressive discipline not unlike violations of other University policies.

 

[Updated August 24, 2021]