Safe Return to Work

The following FAQs are intended to provide some general guidance to common safety related questions that employees might encounter in the work environment. Information on this site will update frequently as the COVID-related guidelines and protocols evolve with the changing face of the pandemic.  

Don't see your question below? You are encouraged to submit additional questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Interacting with Coworkers and Guests

Interacting with Coworkers and Guests

What do I do if I think my coworker is ill and at work?

It is every employee’s responsibility to monitor their own health status and to stay home if feeling unwell. If you have concerns that team members are not following this guidance, you should contact your supervisor. Safety concerns can also be submitted via the Safety Concern Form or by contacting University Health and Safety at 612-626-6002.

Can I ask my coworker to wear a mask if they are coughing at work?

No. If you are concerned that someone might be working while ill, please consult with your supervisor. Keep in mind that there may be situations where seasonal allergies or some other medical ailment might result in a coworker coughing at work. We should be diligent about monitoring our own symptoms, but it is important that we do not assume that a person coughing means that they have COVID-19.  

Who do I talk to if I notice an unsafe work practice and the person engaged in this behavior is my supervisor?

Safety concerns can also be submitted via the Safety Concern Form or by contacting University Health and Safety at 612-626-6002.

What if my coworker returns from travel and does not quarantine?

Travel guidance continues to evolve and we recommend that employees check with CDC for updated information. Currently, the CDC recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated. Once vaccinated, an employee does not need to get tested before or after travel or quarantine unless their destination requires it. 

I am responsible for the care of a dependent family member who cannot be vaccinated. Who do I contact about flexible work options and/or family medical leave?

Oftentimes, the Disability Resource Center (DRC) will consult with an employee in very specific situations where family medical leave (FML) is needed for their own serious health condition. However, the DRC does not consult when FML is needed for the care of a family member. For these scenarios, local HR will work directly with the employee to advise on FML and other leave entitlements that might be available. For more information on the accommodation resources, see the DRC's COVID Acommodation Information page.

Cleaning and Disinfection

Cleaning and Disinfection

Will Facilities Management provide higher frequency cleanings than before COVID?

Facilities Management will continue to focus on cleaning high touch point areas around campus and maintain the Maroon Standard. See the Facilities Management Sunrise Support page for more information.

What recommendations should departments consider to manage employee hoteling space in terms of hygiene, cleaning, and spacing? 

Departments, units, and offices should clean high-contact surfaces using commercially available products, such as Clorox wipes, bleach solutions, etc.  

When can we reopen drinking fountains?

In many cases, reopening of communal drinking fountains has begun.This will be an ongoing process led by Facilities Management staff as they flush and reopen fountains.

Face Coverings

Face Coverings

If I am fully vaccinated, do I still need to wear a mask?

Not in most circumstances, but there are exceptions, including for posted spaces and transit buses. See the University’s Face Coverings Protocol for specific guidance.

I want to wear an N-95 instead of a cloth mask at work. What are the requirements for voluntarily wearing an N-95?

Unlike cloth masks, N-95s are considered to be "respirators" by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and are included under regulatory requirements that include training. If you wish to voluntarily wear an N-95 respirator at work, you must complete the the Voluntary Use Respiratory Protection courseThis course is for anyone using filtering face-piece respirators (N-95) voluntarily for an additional level of comfort and protection.

A printable version of voluntary respirator use information can be found on the Department of Environmental Health and Safety website.

Can vented face coverings, including vented N-95s, be used for personal protection?

Please note that vented face coverings only provide personal protection and do not provide protection for others in the community and should only be used by individuals who are fully vaccinated.  

Vented face coverings are not acceptable in places where mask requirements are in place such as facilities that provide health care and public transit.   

Check doors for any posted mask requirements for each space you enter.

An individual may voluntarily wear a vented N-95 if they complete the Voluntary Use Respiratory Protection course. This course is for anyone using filtering face-piece respirators (N-95) voluntarily for an additional level of comfort and protection.

printable version of voluntary respirator use information can be found on the Department of Environmental Health and Safety website.

Indoor Ventilation and Air Quality

Indoor Ventilation and Air Quality

Who can I call for an air quality test?

For concerns related to indoor air quality, reach out to your local University Health and Safety contact by emailing uhs@umn.edu or calling (612) 626-6002. More information can be found on the University Health and Safety website.

Can employees open windows to provide greater ventilation during the summer?

If you have windows that are physically operable, you may open windows during the summer months. However, make sure the windows are closed and locked at the end of the workday.

Can I bring my own fan or filtration system to the office?

In most cases, this is allowable. If the fan or filtration unit requires a special power supply (ex. 208/220V), it is unlikely the unit will be permitted.

Occupancy, Room Configuration, and Partitions

Occupancy, Room Configuration, and Partitions

How are occupancy rules changing as more people return to in-person work?

Visit COVID-19 Updates | Safe Campus for current guidelines and future updates.

When will furniture be returned to general meeting areas?

Most requirements for occupancy limits and physical distancing were lifted on May 28th, 2021. Facilities Management will begin to return furniture to a variety of spaces across campus in summer 2021.

Who should I call if I want to install clear partitions?

For questions related to adding clear partitions, refer to the University Health and Safety website for more information. If you would like to have existing partitions removed, contact your FM Building Manager or the FM Call Center at (612) 624-2900

Signage and Stickers

Signage and Stickers

When can we remove directional or restrictive signage from around buildings?

Facilities Management staff will be responsible for taking down signage as appropriate.

Can I remove the social distancing floor stickers in my area? 

Facilities Management teams will be responsible for removing these with other signage when it is appropriate to do so. 

Can building occupants post their own signage in public areas?

To avoid misleading and conflicting information, building occupants are not allowed to post their own signage in public areas. Building management will take down signs that are not approved for University-wide use.

Vaccination

Vaccination

Visit COVID-19 Updates | Safe Campus for current guidelines and future updates.