Learn more about our response to Governor McMaster's Executive Order to return to normal operations. Our plan will return most administrative personnel and staff to campus during the week of March 15, 2021. Temporary exceptions will be approved for employees with qualifying circumstances.
Transitioning Personnel Back to the Campus Workplace
On Friday March 5, 2021, Governor Henry McMaster issued Executive Order 2021-12 directing all state agencies, including the University of South Carolina, to “immediately expedite the transition back to normal operations.” Since the issuance of that order, Human Resources, in coordination with the President and senior leaders of the university, has developed a plan to carry out the order [pdf] and return our administrative personnel and staff to full strength. To comply with the Order, administrative personnel and staff are to return to work on campus during the week of March 15, 2021. To learn more about the plan please review the following resources:
- Return to Normal Operations webpage
- Return to Normal Operations Powerpoint March 11, 2021
- Return to Normal Operations TEAMS Presentation, March 11, 2021
- Return to Normal Operations Q&A for HR Contacts TEAMS Presentation March 18, 2021
- Return to Normal Operations Q&A for HR Contacts Powerpoint March 18, 2021 [pdf]
Temporary Accommodations for Childcare and Health Issues
Some employees will need additional time to make childcare arrangements. Others may have certain health conditions that put them at higher risk for COVID and they need to complete their vaccination process. These employees may request a temporary waiver from the requirement to return. Please assist your employees who may qualify for an extension by providing them with the following forms. Forms must be signed by the supervisor and department head and approved by the college or division HR Contact. Forms must be submitted to the appropriate HR Contact by March 19, 2021.
- Request for Temporary COVID-19 Child Care Accommodation [pdf] - Please use this form to request a temporary accommodation to address childcare issues. Approved employees are to make appropriate arrangements for childcare and return to campus not later than April 5, 2021.
- Supplemental Request for Emergency Temporary Remote Work Accommodation [pdf]- Please use this form for employees who are unable to return to the workplace on April 5, 2021 due to childcare issues. Upon final approval, employees may continue to work remotely until the circumstances justifying emergency approval have been resolved or until May 1, 2021, whichever occurs sooner.
- Request for Temporary COVID-19 Health Accommodation [pdf] - Please use this form for employees who have underlying health conditions that place them at high risk for COVID and need additional time to complete the vaccination protocol. Approved employees are expected to return to campus upon completion of their vaccination protocol at a date not later than April 17, 2021.
- Supplemental Request for Temporary COVID-19 Health Accommodation [pdf] - Please use this form for employees who qualify for a Temporary COVID-19 Health Accommodation but who will not be able to complete the vaccination process prior to April 17, 2021. If they have not already submitted a Request for a Temporary COVID-19 Health Accommodation, they will need to submit both forms.
Modification of Schedule Notice Templates
- Schedule Change Notice Template email/letter for supervisors [docx] - Please use this template to notify employees of modifications to their schedules. We are required to provide employees with seven calendar days notice if their schedule is changing. No notification is required if the schedule is unchanged, even if the location changes.
COVID-19 diagnostic testing is required for employees working on campus this spring. Employees who are returning to campus for the first time this spring will need to have an entry test either before they arrive or during their first week back on campus. Employees who have been fully vaccinated or had a positive COVID test within the past 90 days may be exempt from testing. They should review testing information carefully and upload any necessary documentation into myhealthspace.
Employees working on campus must complete the Health Attestation form and monitor their own health daily. For help accessing the form, employees may refer to the COVID-19 Attestation instructions [pdf].
The Health Attestation from is automatically routed to the appropriate Human Resources representative and employees only need to submit this form one time.
For technical issues with the eform, employees may contact the UofSC IT Service Desk at 803-777-1800 or place a ticket with the Help Desk.
Staff who cannot make this affirmation are instructed to contact their supervisor. Faculty who cannot make this affirmation and who will be working on campus are instructed to contact their department chair.
Employees who are sick are to stay home and employees who exhibit symptoms of illness at the workplace are to return home.
- If an employee experiences COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, chills, cough, loss of sense of smell or taste, headache, or sore throat, they should call UofSC’s Coronavirus 24/7 Phone Bank at 803-576-8511 or contact their health care provider. The Phone Bank will walk them through the isolation protocol and initiate contact tracing.
- Employees should also notify Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) at 803-528-8191 so EHS can investigate and determine if this potential illness meets the OSHA’s reporting requirements for a workplace illness.
Student Health services offers quick tips for appropriate actions to take if an employee has been in close contact [pdf] with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
The university requires face coverings to be worn at all times inside all campus buildings – except when alone in a private office or when eating. All individuals on campus in outdoor areas are expected to wear a face covering whenever physical distancing (six feet or more) is difficult or the risk of infection is high.
Policy UNIV 3.04 Communicable Disease Outbreak Mitigation Measures [pdf] includes specific directives concerning the need for and use of face coverings on campus.
Certain health conditions can make it difficult to wear a face covering. These can include respiratory disabilities like COPD or asthma, anxiety related concerns like PTSD or claustrophobia, and other conditions like autism or cerebral palsy.
Employees who have health conditions that make wearing a face covering difficult are encouraged to talk with their direct supervisor about accommodations. Depending on the situation and the needs of the unit, these accommodations may include using a face shield rather than a face covering, modifications to a physical workspace such as a transparent physical barrier, or remote work. You may ask for documentation from the employee's heath care provider. The documentation should not provide specific information about the employee's health condition, but should confirm that there is a medical reason the employee cannot wear a face covering safely.
Supervisors can help create a safe work environment by identifying ways to reduce points of shared contact, increase physical distancing, and encourage employees to follow the safety guidelines.
Units are encouraged to employ a broad range of solutions to address their specific circumstances including:
- Restricting or prohibiting non-essential visitors
- Utilizing video or phone conferencing instead of face-to-face meetings
- Reducing the number of workstations or staggering schedules
- Placing plexiglass wellness screens or other barriers that would limit the connection to other workstations or in areas such as check-in stations, customer service greeting areas etc.
- Reducing the number of chairs in waiting areas
- Reassessing flow patterns throughout the building to allow for reduced contact and discourage congregation
- Ensuring signage to encourage physical distancing, hand washing, etc.
Transitioning Personnel Back to the Campus Workplace
To maintain a safe on-campus work environment the university has adopted enhanced cleaning protocols, made workplace modifications, and distributed protective equipment and cleaning products. Safety guidelines have been adopted campus wide.
Supervisors need to be creative and flexible to find the right balance between operational requirements and individual concerns, drawing upon a variety of options and a broad range of resources such as:
Staggered schedules can help reduce traffic in the workplace by having employees arrive and depart at different times.
It can also provide flexibility for personnel who might need additional time in the morning or in the afternoon to cover their family responsibilities.
Some employees may benefit from modified work hours. Supervisors will need to ensure that employees working non-standard hours have opportunities to connect with other members of the team, receive clear guidance, and obtain adequate input on their work.
With supervisor approval employees may use accrued time off for related absences (compensatory time, annual leave, or sick leave, as applicable) to cover time during which they are unable to work.
Depending on the complexity of the situation, including the requirements of the unit and the needs of the employee, a hybrid solution may be required that incorporates more than one option, for example combining an adjusted schedule with periods of leave.
In situations where all other options have been exhausted it may be necessary to place an employee on Leave Without Pay.
- SC Child Care provides information about local child care providers and the SC Voucher Program
- Child Care Resource and Referral provides information to families such as child care locator, childcare voucher and tax credit information, child development information, home activities, household budget & planning calculator, and other resources.
- Palmetto Pre-K- One-stop shop for finding free or subsidized educational pre-k programs in South Carolina.
The following videos will assist supervisors address issues they may encounter as employees return to work on campus.
Managers should show flexibility and empathy when discussing the appropriate timeline for each employee's return. The health information of employees and their families must be maintained in a confidential manner.
- Managing and Communicating Return to Work Phases and Decisions
- Managing Confidential Communications and Time and Attendance
- Managing Employee Safety and Productivity
These videos were recorded on May 27, 2020. Information is subject to change. Videos are restricted to employees.
- August 5, 2020 Webinar
- August 5, 2020 power point slides [pdf]
- Guidance for Managing Potential COVID-19 Illness or Exposure [pdf] - UPDATED 11-18-20
Your HR Contact is available to assist you as you transition employees back into the workplace and adapt to a changing campus. If you need additional support please reach out to Human Resources.
- COVID-19 Basics
- COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing
- COVID-19 Faculty and Staff Information
- COVID-19 Phone Bank: 803-576-8511
- Employee Assistance Program
- Face Coverings
- Frequently Asked Questions for Return to Normal Operations Plan
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Safety Guidelines
- Student Health Services
- Summary of Leave Benefits
- Training Courses
- UofSC Employee Emergency Relief Fund