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Workplace Expectations and Guidance

SDSU’s policies and protocols for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic are rooted in the safety and well-being of the employees, guests and public we interact with. Employees are expected to comply with policies, protocols and guidelines outlined in this document. Failure to do so may result in corrective action.

Symptom Monitoring

SDSU requests that employees returning to campus self-screen for symptoms of COVID-19 before coming to work. Employees who have been instructed to return to the workplace should self-monitor symptoms. At this time, these symptoms may include one or more of the following:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Runny nose or new sinus congestion
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • New GI symptoms
  • New loss of taste or smell

If an employee experiences these symptoms, or are just not feeling well, they should NOT come to work, notify their supervisor as appropriate and contact their health care provider. The employee should work with their supervisor, and if necessary HR, and develop a plan on utilizing sick leave or working remotely, if applicable to their situation.

Symptom Checker

Apple Inc. and the CDC partnered to develop this online symptom checker to assist with evaluating symptoms.

Telehealth Services

To help slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the South Dakota State Employee Health Plan will cover 100% of the cost for telehealth services for the period of March 16 through Oct. 23, 2020. Telehealth services are a convenient and affordable video alternative that can help minimize exposure for others during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Employees should contact their health care provider if they have reason to believe they have been exposed to the virus, even if they are not showing any symptoms. Employees should notify their supervisor and work with HR as appropriate.

High Risk Categories

The CDC has identified that individuals with certain conditions may have a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 infection. At this time, those at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are:

  • People 65 years and older
  • People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
  • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
  • People who have serious heart conditions
  • People who are immunocompromised
    • Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medication. Please consult with your physician if you have concerns about being immunocompromised.
  • People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher)
  • People with diabetes
  • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
  • People with liver disease

Employees who are in a high-risk category, have family members who are in a high-risk category residing in their home and are concerned about returning to work should contact their supervisor to discuss options for an accommodation. Accommodations may include remote work, implementing social distancing measures, development of an alternative work schedule, use of leave or any other arrangement deemed appropriate.

Phased Staffing

SDSU will phase in a return of staff over time in a coordinated process to ensure appropriate social distancing measures and in conformity with pandemic guidance as it changes. Supervisors will communicate expectations with staff regarding their scheduled return to the office and eventual return to normal operations.

Access to campus may be managed through a series of security measures and employees must comply with the security measures implemented.

As staffing on-site increases and operations expand, officials will monitor and assess the potential spread of the virus, as well as existing policies and procedures to mitigate it. If localized outbreaks emerge, tighter restrictions and reduced staffing may need to be implemented again in accordance with guidance or direction from the S.D. Department of Health.

Personal Safety Practices

SDSU will continue to update its guidance to reflect CDC and SD DOH guidance on safety practices. Employees and supervisors are responsible for routinely checking for updates to this guidance and updating practices in accordance with this and SDSU’s implementing guidance.

Face Coverings

Individuals are required to follow the current University and SDBOR face covering protocols.

For more information on the requirements, please review:

Note: It is important to note that personal masks do not protect the wearer, but they do protect others. 

Physical Distancing

Keeping space between individuals is one of the best tools to reduce risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus and slowing its spread. Individuals can spread the virus before they know they are sick, thus it is important to keep a safe distance from others when possible, even if you have no symptoms. Physical distancing is important for everyone, especially to help those who are at a higher risk of becoming sick.

Staff at work on-site must follow these social distancing practices: 

  • Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people at all times;
  • Do not gather in groups of 10 or more;
  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings; and
  • Try to say within your work zone.

Supervisors must work with Facilities and Services to ensure workspaces are adjusted accordingly.

Handwashing and Office Hygiene

Employees are instructed to practice good hygiene. Employees should wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after being in a public place and after blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing or touching their face. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth, and wash hands after touching one’s face.

Individuals should cover their mouth with tissues when sneezing or use the inner part of your elbow and immediately discard the tissue in the trash and wash their hands or use available hand sanitizer. Antibacterial cleaning supplies will be available. Employees will assist in cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that are frequently touched, including cellphones, desk phones, keyboards, remote controls, refrigerators, countertops and door handles in their workspaces. Cleaning individual workspaces are the responsibility of the employee. Custodial services and supplies may be available or arranged in accordance with Facilities and Services guidelines. Contact Facilities and Services or review posted guidance for assistance.


Convening in groups increases the risk of viral transmission. Where feasible, meetings should be held in whole or part using the extensive range of available collaboration tools (e.g. Zoom, WebEx, Microsoft Teams, telephone, etc.). In-person meetings are limited to the restrictions of local, state and federal orders and should not exceed 50% of a room’s capacity, assuming individuals can still maintain 6 feet of separation for social distancing requirements. During your time on-site, you are encouraged to communicate with your colleagues and supervisors as needed with social distancing measures in mind.

Leaves Available for COVID-19 Infection, Quarantine or Loss of Child Care

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, enacted March 18, 2020, provides employees with access to emergency paid sick leave (EPSL) for certain leave requests related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, there are provisions to provide partially paid FMLA leave for those who do not have child care due to COVID-19.

Details are outlined here:
Department of Labor FFCRA Information
Employee FFCRA Information and FAQ

If you have questions related to the use of these leaves, please contact your supervisor or Human Resources.

Up-To-Date Information

The following websites will provide you with up-to-date information on COVID-19.

SDSU COVID-19 Page - A S.D. Department of Health website with up-to-date information on COVID-19.
CDC Coronavirus Page - The official CDC page for COVID-19.

Close Contact with Person with COVID-19

If an individual comes in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who is being tested for COVID-19, those individuals should follow the instructions of SD DOH. Close contact is defined as spending prolonged periods of time in the same room (more than 5 minutes), direct personal contact (e.g., hugging), contact with respiratory secretions (e.g. coughs or sneezes on you), and shared eating/drinking utensils.

COVID-19 Positive Employee in the Workplace

If an employee tests positive for COVID-19 and has been at the workplace, Human Resources will work with the SD DOH on individual employee or agency issues. The associate vice president for human resources will give additional direction on those specific issues as they arise.

Supervisors can require employees go home, if they are suspected to be sick. The employee would then be allowed to utilize sick leave, if they have available accrual.