Faculty and Staff Health Commitments, Expectations, Compliance, and Resources

From Dr. Jean Morrison, University Provost and Chief Academic Officer
and Gary Nicksa, Senior Vice President for Operations

We write today to provide important information as we prepare to resume in-person teaching and learning with the start of the fall semester. While this is a lengthy communication, we urge you to read it carefully. Below you will find information about:

  • COVID-19 Health Commitments and Expectations for Faculty and Staff
  • COVID-19 Compliance Protocols for Faculty and Staff
  • COVID-19 Testing Categories
  • Signing Up for Testing
  • Daily Symptom Attestation
  • Student Health Expectations and Compliance
  • Additional Resources for Faculty and Staff

We hope that this information helps to answer some of your remaining questions about what the fall semester will involve for faculty and staff. As always, we are grateful to each of you for your patience, understanding, and continued dedication to your work. Despite the continued challenges and uncertainties we face, the health protocols and resources outlined below give us confidence that we can resume on-campus activities in a safe and prudent manner.

COVID-19 Health Commitments and Expectations for Faculty and Staff

Each of us has an important role to play in minimizing transmission of COVID-19 within the University community. All members of the BU community who will be on campus this fall are required to follow a set of important public health guidelines, including wearing a face covering, maintaining appropriate physical distancing, completing daily symptom attestations before arriving on campus, and receiving regular COVID-19 testing through our on-campus testing program. These mandatory requirements are based on current medical guidance and are designed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and support the well-being of the BU community.

In light of our collective role in minimizing spread of the virus, the University asks that all faculty and staff review the detailed summary of COVID-19 Health Commitments and Expectations and indicate their understanding of these important guidelines by clicking “I Agree” at the end: https://bostonu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3vHJTUrQ3Ck3uT3.

COVID-19 Compliance Protocols for Faculty and Staff

Although we do not expect widespread failure to comply with the COVID-19 Health Commitments and Expectations for Faculty and Staff, we believe it is prudent to establish a protocol to address those situations involving noncompliance. The COVID-19 Safety and Health Compliance Protocol articulates the corrective action that may be utilized, up to and including the possibility of suspension or termination in cases of repeated non-compliance, in accordinace with the relevant provisions of the non-represented staff handbook, collective bargaining agreements, or the Faculty Handbook.

COVID-19 Testing Categories

All faculty and staff have now been assigned to a COVID testing category. If you do not know your assigned testing category, or have questions or concerns, please contact your department chair, dean, or manager. Our current plan is to test all faculty and staff in categories 1 and 2 on a weekly basis, starting upon their return to campus. Faculty and staff in category 3 will be tested once, upon their return to campus. Employees in category 4 will not be working on campus during the fall and therefore are not required – or eligible – to receive an on-campus test.

Employee testing categories are generally assigned based on the nature of your responsibilities when on campus. Faculty and staff should not come to campus solely for the purpose of COVID testing. Therefore, if you are assigned to category 1 or 2 but do not plan to be on campus on a weekly basis, please speak with your department chair, dean, or manager. They will determine whether you should be assigned to a different testing category or if you will simply be exempt from the testing requirement during the weeks you are not on campus. Additional details about the screening, testing, and contact tracing programs can be found on the Back2BU website.

Signing Up for Testing

Starting Monday, August 17, faculty and staff in testing categories 1, 2, and 3 will be able to sign up for an on-campus COVID-19 test. In order to sign up for a test, you will log onto Occupational Health Connect from our new website dedicated to COVID-19 Prevention and Testing: BU Healthway. (Please note that the employee section of the Healthway site will go live tomorrow, Saturday, August 15.) Within the scheduling system, you will be able to select the time, date, and location of your test. We have established four test collection sites on the Charles River Campus and one site on the Medical Campus, all of which will be open seven days a week. Training modules will be available on the Healthway site to assist you with scheduling a test, completing the daily symptom attestation, and more.

As we get closer to the start of the fall semester, employees in categories 1 and 2 will begin to receive email prompts to sign up for a test. Faculty and staff are required to be tested upon return to campus; if you don’t plan to return to campus until September 2, you do not need to sign up for a test until closer to that date. Employees in category 3 will not receive an email prompt to sign up for testing because we know that some of you may not be returning to campus until later in the semester. Faculty and staff in category 3 should log onto the Healthway site and schedule a test upon their return to campus.

Daily Symptom Attestation

All faculty and staff in testing categories 1, 2, and 3 are required to complete an online symptom attestation each day. Email prompts to complete the attestation will begin on Monday, August 17. We know that many of you may not be on campus until classes start in September, so prior to Tuesday, September 1, the attestation is only mandatory for faculty and staff who plan to be on campus in August. Starting September 1, all faculty and staff in categories 1, 2, and 3 will need to complete the attestation each day, including on the weekend. If there are times during the academic year when you are not on campus, you must still complete the attestation; you can simply indicate in the first question that you will not be on campus that day, and your attestation will be complete.

Student Health Expectations and Compliance

Just as it is important for faculty and staff to abide by community health guidelines, it is vital that our students comply with them as well. Yesterday, Associate Provost and Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore emailed all undergraduate, graduate, and professional students reminding them of our health commitments and expectations and making it clear that adherence to the guidelines is a condition of being a member of our on-campus community. The Dean of Students Office will receive regular reports of student testing and attestation completion rates and will be responsible for monitoring student compliance with these requirements. Failure to abide by these guidelines will result in students’ being prohibited from participating in any in-person campus activities, including classes and residency.

Students who are up to date with testing and attestation will receive a green-colored badge that will appear on their mobile device. Faculty and staff are not required to monitor whether students have a green badge – that will be done on an ongoing basis through the oversight by the Dean of Students Office. If, however, you are concerned about student compliance with the testing and daily attestation requirements, you may choose to utilize some or all of these options:

  • Ask students in your classes (or offices) to show you their badges on their mobile devices prior to starting class.
  • If a student is unable to show a green badge, ask the student to leave, to rectify any issues with their testing or attestation before their next in-person class, and, if possible, to utilize the remote LfA option for that class session.
  • Be clear that the student should not come back to that class session and must resolve any issues they have with testing or attestation before attending in-person again.
  • If the student refuses to leave, inform the class that you will not proceed with instruction until the student leaves the room.
  • If the student still refuses to leave the room, dismiss the class and contact your dean’s office (or the office designated by your dean for this purpose).

If students are not wearing a face covering or observing physical distancing norms, we recommend that you remind them of the University’s requirements, stop class and ask the student to leave if they fail to adjust their behavior. Contact the dean’s office if the student refuses to leave. The University will provide each department with an emergency supply of face coverings which can be offered to students in the event that they’ve forgotten, lost, or damaged theirs.

While we very much hope and expect that our students will take these public health commitments seriously, we want to ensure that you feel confident maintaining appropriate standards within your classrooms and offices. Additional tips and resources for faculty regarding student compliance in the classroom, including sample language that you may choose to include in class syllabi, are being developed and will be added to the Back2BU Faculty Support page as they are finalized.

Additional Resources for Faculty and Staff

  • BU Healthway: Your portal for testing and daily attestations; also includes a series of “how to” modules guiding faculty and staff through completing the daily attestation, scheduling a COVID-19 test, taking a COVID-19 test, viewing your test results, and properly wearing a face mask
  • COVID-19 Employee Support: covidhelp@bu.edu or 617-358-4990: Your source to address non-medical questions related to COVID-19
  • Back2BU website: The central source of up-to-date resources and information about the fall semester
  • Back2BU Faculty Support: Resources and FAQs for faculty preparing for the fall
  • Recovery Information for Staff: Resources and information about the return to campus
  • Back to On-Campus Work Guidebook (Phase 2): A compilation of information about what faculty and staff should expect when returning to campus. An updated version of the Guidebook will be released later this month.
  • Other BU online resources: https://www.bu.edu/back2bu/resources/

Faculty and Staff Health Commitments, Expectations, and Resources – 8.14.20