Faculty and Staff - July 2, 2020

Dear Campus Colleagues,

As you know, Phase 2 of Winthrop’s Return to Work Plan begins on Monday, July 6. This means that some of you will return to your offices either full time, in some combination of working on campus and working from home, and some will continue to fully work from home. During Phase 2, the goal is to have no more than approximately 50 percent of our workforce on campus on any given day. Campus buildings will be open and we will return to providing our regular services, but in a modified format so that we can promote social distancing.

I ask that you please familiarize yourself with our Return to Work Plan and Office Etiquette expectations before Monday. A few important items that I would like to reiterate that you may find in the plan:

-Following CDC and DHEC guidance, Winthrop is requiring all staff, faculty and students to wear masks or cloth facial coverings in social settings, such as in university buildings, including classrooms, residence halls and dining facilities, and in outdoor spaces on campus where appropriate social distancing cannot be guaranteed. Facial coverings are not required when alone in private offices, when alone in on-campus residence hall rooms and when not in close contact with another person, such as walking alone outside.

-We must practice proper hygiene such as hand washing and social distancing as the CDC and DHEC recommend. 

-When possible, meetings should not be face-to-face. The use of telephone, e-mail or one of the virtual meeting platforms would be preferred to limit interactions among individuals. 

-Employees are encouraged to self-monitor frequently for any possible symptoms such as fever, cough, etc.

Regarding the importance of self-monitoring, in normal times, many of us would not think twice of coming to work with a runny nose or scratchy throat and go on about our work day, but at this time we are asking you to contact your supervisor and stay home if you have even the slightest feeling of being unwell. This is out of an abundance of caution for our campus community.

We are also asking, if you have physically been in settings or attended events where social distancing was not possible and face coverings were not worn or have been traveling (including airplanes, cruise ships, etc.) to please contact and inform your supervisor to determine the appropriateness of your returning to work in person on campus.

It is imperative to look at your personal decisions over this week and last, and ascertain as much as possible your risk of potentially having been exposed yet be asymptomatic. This is a necessary step we all must take before the July 6 Phase 2 opening. If you do think you may have been exposed, please contact HR for guidance.

While we are doing all that we can from an institutional standpoint to provide a safe and healthy work environment, we simply cannot control every variable. I am asking each of us - by wearing a mask, self-monitoring, practicing good hygiene and social distancing, and more - to do our part to help keep our campus healthy and safe. 

Finally, as of now, we continue to plan for our Phase 3 opening on July 27 during which we will welcome nearly 100 percent of our employees back to campus. We are keeping a close eye on the rise in COVID-19 cases in our area and will keep you informed if this changes.

Thank you for all that you have done, and continue to do, for Winthrop during these uncertain times. I look forward to talking soon to as many of you as I can (while practicing social distancing of course!)



George W. Hynd
Interim President