JacksRBack Plan for Veterans Affairs Office—Fall 2020
The Veteran’s Affairs Office and Veterans Affairs Resource Center (VARC) are Student Affairs units and will be adhering the general university guidelines for safe operation in a pandemic environment. These guidelines align with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the South Dakota Department of Health (SDDOH). Key concepts to mitigate against the spread of COVID-19, which will be observed in the VARC, include but are not limited to the following:
- Individuals are required to follow the current university and SDBOR face covering protocols;
- Individuals will practice social distancing of not less than six feet,
- Frequent hand washing and use of hand sanitizers;
- Proper cough and sneeze etiquette; and
- Self-monitoring for common COVID-19 symptoms.
Persons experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should not enter the VARC. Signage indicating these guidelines will be posted throughout the VARC and referenced frequently in the following plan.
CORE DEPARTMENT FUNCTIONS
- Provide customer service and assistance for veterans, service members and dependents as they transition into student life;
- Assist with applying for and processing military service-earned educational benefits;
- Provide quality educational and growth programming for our student body;
- Provide a space for study and social interaction with like-minded students;
- Student adviser for Armed Forces Association;
- Provide initial screening and counseling for veterans in need/refer as needed; and
- Collaborate with local military organizations (American Legion, VFW, National Guard units).
HUMAN RESOURCE PLAN
- Workspace Evaluation
- Needs within office space to include:
- Plexiglas installations for barriers on three desks that are used for customer service;
- Common-space reconfigurations needed (i.e. copier rooms, storage rooms, etc.);
- Hand sanitizer stations/fixed in two areas of the VARC; and
- Move to paperless files (when possible) to minimize spread of germs.
- Needs within the student study/social area to include:
- Closing off student workspaces to observe social distancing;
- Limited number of people in the VARC at one time;
- Remove furniture that invites the violation of social distancing;
- Disinfectant and signs put in places where shared items are used;
- Posters and instructions for office visitors will be placed throughout the VARC to promote social distancing, washing hands, sanitize after use, etc.;
- All paperwork will be placed in baskets outside office spaces to reduce contact; and
- Office workspaces will be used by one person only. Previously shared spaces will be reconfigured to accommodate only one person.
- Needs within office space to include:
- Telecommuting will be considered for work that can be accomplished from home by work-study and the School Certifying Official when practical; and
- Reduce number of work-study students physically in the office.
- Training Needs
- DocuSign; and
- Website editing. Unit is currently on the wait list to revise website.
CORE FUNCTION PLANS
Provide customer service and assistance for veterans, service members and dependents as they transition into student life.
- New Student Orientation will be conducted via Zoom: two sessions will be conducted live and videos will be uploaded so student veterans and family members can view at their convenience.
- Face-to-face customer service will be conducted with a Plexiglas shield in place between participants.
- Drop-off baskets will be used as often as possible to keep face-to-face interactions to a minimum.
- Individuals are required to follow the current University and SDBOR face covering protocols.
Assist with applying for and processing military service-earned educational benefits.
- Assist in the application process during NSO by screen sharing via Zoom to reduce face-to-face operations.
- Videos posted on website to assist with the process of initiating educational benefits and receipt of a Certificate of Eligibility.
- Recommend telephone communication for follow-up questions regarding veterans’ benefits, VARC usage, programming and tutoring.
Provide quality educational and growth programming for student body.
- See and follow guidelines established by Student Affairs Subcommittee for Student Affairs Programming Protocol.
Provide a space for study and social interaction with like-minded students.
- Student employee schedules will be staggered to allow for VARC coverage during all hours of operation. If supervision is not available, VARC will be closed.
- Maximum occupancy in student lounge: three.
- Maximum occupancy in computer lab: two.
- Study space will be reduced drastically from the VARC’s original format, but will still be a place for smaller numbers to work and socialize within a safe distance.
- Computers with CAC (Common Access Card) capabilities are still accessible, socially distanced.
- Free printing, staplers, hole punch and other shared devices will be accessible.
- Individual required to disinfect after each use.
- Signage will be posted along with available cleaners.
- Violations will result in the removal of all shared equipment.
- Individuals are required to follow the current University and SDBOR face covering protocols;
Provide Student Adviser for Armed Forces Association.
- See and follow guidelines established by Student Affairs Subcommittee for Student Organizations.
Provide initial intake interviews and counseling for veterans in need, refer as needed.
- Conduct initial benefit review with veterans that need assistance from our office and further help from the VA Health System or Counseling Services will be conducted in an office equipped with Plexiglas guard.
Collaborate with local military organizations (American Legion, VFW, National Guard Units)
- Meetings with local military organizations will be conducted in accordance with the guidelines set by the university to include Zoom meetings when possible.