Faculty and Staff - May 1, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

The first of May, traditionally known as May Day, is often a time of celebration of the arrival of spring. I understand there was at Winthrop an annual May Day Celebration begun in 1929 and popular throughout the institution’s years as a women’s college. For us, May 1, 2020, will be a cause for celebration of another sort – surviving our seventh (can you believe it?) week away from campus! It is hard to imagine, but another month of working remotely has begun, and it is a good time to review how Winthrop is following appropriate guidelines for the health and safety of our campus community.

As you know, the campus is closed until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  At this time, only employees who have been approved to work on campus based on the essential nature of their jobs are allowed to be working on campus.  Other employees may be approved to briefly come to campus to retrieve items, but in these very limited situations, approval must be obtained from the divisional vice president or the provost.  

It is vitally important that we know who has been on campus and when/where they were.  I expect any employee who comes to campus to be respectful of others and practice recommended guidelines for the health, safety, and comfort-level of the entire campus community, but especially for those employees who may have no other choice but to report to work.  To the extent we can, we want to take all appropriate measures to prevent the potential spread of the virus. 

To that end, while on campus, all employees must adhere to the following requirements that align with the guidelines published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

·         Wear protective face masks at all times, except when the employee is working alone in a private office.  Specifically, face masks must be worn when the employee leaves their private work space and when interacting with coworkers.  Winthrop’s supply of face masks is very limited.  Currently Winthrop is supplying face masks for facilities employees based on CDC guidelines for employees in certain professions.  All other employees are required to wear face masks and to follow the CDC guidelines for the proper use, care, cleaning, and disposal of face masks.  Winthrop has ordered additional face masks, and employees will be notified when/if they become available for more widespread distribution.

·         Follow the CDC protocol for social distancing and self-care.

CDC Protocol for Social Distancing

·         Stay at least 6 feet from other people

·         Do not gather in groups

·         Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings

CDC Protocol for Self-Care

·        Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.  This is especially important after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going into the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.

·        Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.  Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.

·        Soap and water are the best option, especially if hands are visibly dirty.

·        Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

·        There is not a strong recommendation from the CDC that wearing gloves is necessary while at work (other than for certain facilities employees and for healthcare workers).  However, wearing gloves may provide employees with an additional level of comfort with regard to exposure.  So, while wearing gloves is not a requirement, employees may do so at their own discretion. 

·         To the extent possible, employees must avoid close contact with any other employee or individual while on campus.  The CDC definition of “close contact” includes being within 6 feet of another person for 10 minutes.

·         Keep track of physical contact.  Employees who are on Winthrop’s campus must be able to provide information regarding their physical location while they were on campus.  In addition, employees must be able to provide a list of individuals with whom the employee was in close contact with and a list of individuals with whom the employee was in the vicinity of (interaction with, but does not meet the definition of “close contact”) while working on campus.  This information will be used to notify others if the employee either suspects they have been exposed to or has tested positive for COVID-19, and it will be requested only if the need arises.


I think you will agree that these requirements are the least we can do as a campus community that cares about and values each member. I personally appreciate the attention you will pay to following these requirements if you have to be on campus for any reason. If you have questions or concerns about these expectations, please let me know. Thank you for all you are doing for Winthrop during difficult times!



George W. Hynd
Interim President