Minneapolis College is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for students, faculty, staff and all members of the campus community. This Back-to-Campus Preparedness Plan is being developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic utilizing guidance offered in Emergency Executive Order 20-40, Allowing Workers in Certain Non-Critical Sectors to Return to Safe Workplaces, April 23, 2020.
Everyone across campus is responsible for implementing this plan to help mitigate the potential for the transmission of COVID-19. This requires full cooperation among students, faculty, staff and all other members of the campus community. Only through a cooperative effort, can we establish and maintain the wellness of the Minneapolis College campus community. Campus leaders, supervisors, employees and students are responsible for implementing and complying with all aspects of this plan. Minneapolis College leaders and supervisors are fully supported in enforcing its provisions.
The wellness of students and employees are the guiding principles for this plan. Input from across the campus is encouraged to develop and implement the plan successfully. Visit the Return to Campus Plan Feedback Form to provide your input. Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and federal OSHA standards related to COVID-19 are being followed to address:
- Hygiene and respiratory etiquette
- Engineering and administrative controls for social distancing
- Housekeeping – cleaning, disinfecting and decontamination
- Prompt identification and isolation of sick persons
- Communications and training
- Management and supervision necessary to ensure effective implementation of the plan
Contact Public Safety at (612) 659-6900.
For additional information about how Minneapolis College is planning a safe, gradual return to campus, email email@example.com.
State of Minnesota employees may benefit from counseling through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Call 651-259-3840 or 1-800-657-3719.
Social Distancing and Return-to-Campus Etiquette
Social distancing and wellness etiquette is being implemented on campus through the following actions:
- Administration will continually assess on-campus work needs and make determinations about continued telework options based on business needs and employees’ safety. Options such as flexible work hours, staggered shifts and additional shifts are helping reduce the number of employees on campus. Employees who are scheduled to work remotely should not be on campus unless it is required and approved by their supervisor.
- Employees and students must maintain 6 feet of distance between themselves and others whenever possible.
- Everyone on campus is encouraged to remain aware of and avoid crowded spaces including break rooms, elevators and restrooms.
- In-person instruction and other academic-related gatherings (testing, student services, advising, internships, clinical rotations, customized training campus visits, etc.) can proceed with no more than 25 attendees. Meetings and non-academic gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited unless written consent from the President or Vice President of Finance and Operations is provided to Central Scheduling when requesting the use of space. Face-to-face meetings of any size are to be limited as much as possible.
- The College is voluntarily complying with City of Minneapolis Emergency Regulation No. 2020-12 stating “any individual who is over age 2 and able to medically tolerate a face covering shall be required to cover their nose and mouth with a face covering in accordance with CDC guidance when in indoor spaces of public accommodation.” Those who are in public or common spaces on campus including skyways, the cafeteria and computer labs must wear face coverings even when they are more than 6 feet away from others. Employees, students and visitors are expected to provide their own face coverings.
- Students and instructors who can medically tolerate face coverings must wear them in the classroom, even when social distancing is maintained.
- Face coverings are encouraged but not expected to be worn only in the following situations:
- When alone in a space and with the door closed.
- In an enclosed area with a closed door to the general public and where social distancing can be maintained.
- When eating or drinking in a designated area when social distancing practices are observed.
- When a face covering cannot be tolerated for medical reasons, an accommodation must be attained:
- If an employee or student does not have a face covering, the College will attempt to provide one when they arrive on campus. Please contact the Public Safety Department at (612) 659-6900 to request one.
- Employees and students are encouraged to ask others to properly wear their face covering in designated areas. For additional information about how Minneapolis College is planning a safe, gradual return to campus, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Classrooms and labs have been arranged to accommodate appropriate social distancing. Seating and tables in common areas have been spaced six feet apart. Everyone utilizing these spaces must follow appropriate social distancing and cleaning guidelines.
- Spaces on campus where face-to-face interactions are unavoidable have been arranged according to CDC and MDH guidelines.
Screening Practices for Those Exhibiting COVID-19 Symptoms
Employees and students need to monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms. The following practices and protocols are being implemented to assess employees’ and students’ health status before they arrive on campus and establish reporting expectations when they are sick or experiencing symptoms.
Employees and students should not come to the Minneapolis College campus or to other locations where Minneapolis College offers instruction if they:
- Are sick or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 that CANNOT be attributed to another health condition such as:
- Feverish/temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
- A persistent cough that is new or worsening
- Shortness of breath that is new or worsening or difficulty breathing
- Sore throat
- Muscle or body aches
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
- Have had a COVID-19 test and are awaiting results
- Have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 14 days
Employees who meet any of these 3 conditions should notify their supervisor. For additional information about how Minneapolis College is planning a safe, gradual return to campus, email email@example.com. Students should notify their instructor if they are not able to attend class or meet their class obligations due to illness.
In addition, students should notify Minneapolis College if they receive a positive COVID-19 test result and they have been on campus at any point in the 14 days prior to being tested. For additional information about how Minneapolis College is planning a safe, gradual return to campus, email firstname.lastname@example.org. If the College learns that someone has been on campus while experiencing COVID-19, staff will work with the Minnesota Department of Health to determine next steps and coordinate a response. Students who are participating in internships, clinicals or practica are responsible for knowing and following COVID-19 safety procedures at their work sites.
Minneapolis College, through Minnesota State and Minnesota Management and Budget, has implemented employee leave policies that encourage workers to stay at home when they are sick, when household members are sick or when required by a healthcare provider to isolate or quarantine themselves or a member of their household. Employees who are sick with non-COVID-related illnesses should adhere to standard notification processes within their departments and utilize sick leave per their collective bargaining agreements or compensation plans. Employees who are sick with COVID-related illness may be eligible for paid COVID leave per the MMB Paid COVID Leave Policy.
To utilize paid COVID leave, employees must contact Human Resources. Human Resources will determine eligibility and notify the employee and their supervisor regarding approval or denial of the leave request. Employees with underlying medical conditions or those who have household members with underlying health conditions should notify Human Resources to determine appropriate leave or accommodation options.
All absences that meet the definition of a qualifying condition under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) will be deemed FMLA absences for eligible employees. Human Resources will work with eligible employees to ensure appropriate documentation is in place. All private medical information will be maintained in Human Resources in accordance with the Minnesota Government Data Practices, the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Minnesota Department of Health guidance is followed regarding informing employees if they have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 on campus requiring them to quarantine.
Infection prevention measures on campus are being implemented and continually evaluated. Everyone on campus is required to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water as follows:
- Students must wash their hands before entering each classroom.
- Staff must wash their hands before beginning each shift.
- Visitors must wash their hands upon arrival.
Everyone on campus is instructed to wash their hands frequently throughout the day, including at the end of their time on campus, before eating and after using restrooms. Handwashing reminders are posted across campus. Hand sanitizer with a minimum of 60 percent alcohol content is available through supervisors, although supplies are limited.
The campus’ Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system continually brings in outside air that is heated or cooled and then circulated downward from the ceiling forcing the existing air up and into the air return system. This constant, positive air pressure in occupied spaces prevents return air from entering other adjacent areas. There is no lateral transfer of air in occupied spaces by mechanical means.
All outside and return air passes through MERV 13 air filters. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values and is an industry-created standard that evaluates the efficiency of air filters.
The MERV ratings for air filters range from one to 16, with a rating of one being the least efficient and a filter rating of 16 being the most efficient. For example, a filter with a MERV 3 rating would only be able to remove a small percentage of the largest airborne particles, while a more efficient filter with a MERV 15 rating would remove even the tiniest airborne particles.
A MERV 13 rating is standard for large, complex commercial applications such as college campuses. MERV 13 is also consistent with Minnesota State Design Standards. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller the pores in the filters which restricts airflow. Therefore, MERV ratings determine both air quality and operating efficiency. If a MERV rating for a building system is too high, it becomes ineffective and blocks air intake and exhaust.
The Facilities staff continually consults with and follows the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) guidelines for operating HVAC systems to reduce COVID-19 transmission. In addition, CDC guidelines are continually monitored for recommendations.
For additional information, please contact Roger Broz, Director of Facilities.
Respiratory Etiquette: Cover Your Cough or Sneeze
Anyone not wearing a face covering while they are eating or because they have a medical accommodation is instructed to cover their mouth and nose with their sleeve or a tissue when coughing or sneezing and to avoid touching their face, especially mouth, nose and eyes, with their hands. Tissues should be disposed of in the trash and then hands should be washed or sanitized immediately. Respiratory etiquette will be demonstrated on posters and supported by making tissues and trash receptacles available across campus.
Face coverings can help prevent a person’s germs from infecting others. This is especially effective in preventing the spread of the virus from those who are not experiencing symptoms. Those who wear face coverings must also wash hands frequently, cover their cough and practice social distancing.
People who are sick should stay home. Wearing a face covering does not mean people who are sick should go out into the community or to campus. Before going to the doctor, call first and wear a face covering. Surgical and N95 masks are not recommended for the general public as these supplies are in need for healthcare and emergency workers.
Face coverings should not be placed on children under age two, anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance.
Cleaning and disinfecting campus spaces and surfaces helps slow the spread of COVID-19. Everyone on campus shares in the responsibly to clean and disinfect the areas they use on campus. All employees and students are expected to wipe down surfaces after using them. If cleaning supplies are not provided, a work order can be submitted on the Facilities Department SharePoint page.
Additional housekeeping practices have been implemented with a focus on the following areas:
- Classrooms, labs, restrooms, common areas, break rooms, lunchrooms, meeting rooms and drop-off and pick-up locations.
- Work surfaces, equipment, tools and machinery.
- Phones, keyboards, touch screens, controls, door handles, elevator panels, railings, printers, copy machines, credit card readers, delivery equipment, etc.
CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting are being adhered to whenever possible. In addition, Minneapolis College has purchased and is using Protexus Electrostatic Sprayers for disinfecting surfaces on campus. These sprayers use a powerful and versatile disinfecting and sanitizing solution called PURTABS which is safer than bleach.
Communications and Training
This plan is being communicated through various channels to all employees and students. This includes email messages, employee announcements and Minneapolis College’s Return to Campus page. It also includes a mechanism for two-way communications allowing the campus community to provide input and share concerns. Feedback and concerns can be submitted by visiting our online form.
Training regarding safety protocols will be provided to all employees and students.
Communication strategies and training will be adjusted as needed as the situation evolves.
This plan has been certified by Minneapolis College leadership and was shared and posted throughout the campus community. It will be updated as necessary.
Sharon Pierce, Ed.D.