Medgar Evers College
Academic Continuity Reopening Plan
Revised September 21, 2020


Table of Contents

PART 1: Overview
A. Introduction
B. Governance
C. Local Health Conditions / Triggers for Reopening

PART 2: GUIDELINES FOR CAMPUS REOPENING PLANS

I. PEOPLE

A. Physical Distancing
Maintain Social Distance and Require Masks
Limit Occupancy and Congestion
Reconfigure Floorplans
Signage

B. Gatherings in Enclosed Spaces
Auditoria, Seminar Rooms, and Event Spaces
Cafeteria and Cafés
Child Care Center
Computer and Teaching Labs
Conference Rooms
Elevators
Food Pantry
Hallways, Stairwells, and Access Points
Lectures, Classrooms, and Laboratories
Office Spaces and Workplace Safety Procedures
Reception Areas, Waiting Rooms, Lobbies, and Common Areas
Restrooms
Water Fountains
Unique Spaces

C. Operational Activity
Operational Considerations Involving Staff Scheduling and Human Resources
Operational Considerations Involving Campus Visitors
Operational Considerations Involving Course Scheduling
Operational Considerations Involving Individuals on Campus
Operational Considerations Involving Vulnerable Populations
Operational Considerations for Student Life
Operational Considerations for Extracurricular Activities
Operational Considerations Involving Facilities and Grounds
Operational Considerations Involving Campus and Community Safety
Operational Considerations Involving Campus Deliveries and Drop-Offs
Operational Considerations for Reclosing in the Event of an Outbreak

II. PLACES

A. Protective Equipment

B. Hygiene, Cleaning, and Disinfection
Cleaning and Disinfection Protocols
Promoting Hand Hygiene

C. Containment
Early Warning Signs
Isolation and Quarantine Spaces
Isolation and Transport of Those Who are Sick
Confirmed Case Communications and Notification
Notify College Community, Health Officials, and Close Contacts
Tracing and Enhanced Cleaning
Return to Campus Post-Illness or Quarantine

D. Staged Reopening – Triggers for Reopening

E. Communications Plan

III. PROCESSES

A. Screening and Testing
Returning to Campus
Health Screening
Temperature Screening
Testing
Tracing
Tracking

Conclusion

Appendices
Appendix A: Essential Personnel
Appendix B: Guide for Returning to Work
Appendix C: Department Head Checklist for Returning to Work
Appendix D: Health Screening
Appendix E: Reopening Research Plan
Appendix F: Staged Reopening Plan
Appendix G: Reclosing Plan
Appendix H: Floor Plans


PART 1: OVERVIEW

A. Introduction
COVID-19 continues to threaten lives and disrupt everyday activities across the nation and the world. The impact of the virus has forced higher education leaders to face difficult decisions and to reconsider “business as usual” operations. The College must now rethink how it will continue to educate students while protecting the health, safety, and well-being of our community members, which remains its top priority.

This plan is fluid and may evolve as government and health authorities refine their strategies based on new information that becomes available. Overall, the reopening of the campus should be gradual and follow best practices for social distancing and other risk mitigation measures.

The College will work with CUNY to ensure that its reopening procedures are structured under three categories (people, places, and processes) as outlined below.

The College has elected to reopen in fall 2020 with 95% of courses delivered in an online format and continue remote learning and teaching. Until researchers develop a vaccine, the College has instituted reliable protocols that comply with federal, state, and CUNY requirements.

B. Governance
President Crew convened a task force committee whose contributions and input provide essential information and guide the decision-making process as the College reopens and resolves associated challenges. The primary goal is to achieve a safe, effective, and efficient environment for the entire Medgar Evers College (MEC) community.

Medgar Evers College Campus Reopening Task Force Committee is comprised of individuals from administrative units, faculty governance leaders, and students. This Committee makes recommendations to the President and oversees the implementation of the reopening plan. The Committee will function as specified in the CUNY Guidelines for Safe Campus Reopening. The group’s charge encompasses the following:

  • Determine a phased opening—either beginning with distance learning and transitioning to in-person instruction—or delaying opening based on college priorities, facility readiness, and risk assessment;
  • Assist with preparation, review, and implementation of the Reopening Plan;
  • Serve as the Campus Closing Committee, if necessary, to implement the Reclosing Plan.

Key Campus Reopening Task Force Committee leaders include:

Area Name Title
Campus COVID-19 Coordinator Jacqueline Clark SVP, Administration and Finance
Facilities Thomas Ching AVP, Facilities Management and Campus Planning
Public Safety Jerry Hoffman Director of Public Safety
Academic Program Dr. Michael Dreher Associate Provost
Faculty Governance Leader Dr. Shirley Daniels Chair, Nursing
PSC Dr. Clinton Crawford PSC Chair
Human Resources Tanya E. Isaacs Executive Director
Environmental Health/Campus Coronavirus Liaison Mohamed Bangura Director of Environmental Health and Safety

Jacqueline Clark, Campus COVID-19 Coordinator and Senior Vice President of Administration and Finance, will oversee the entire operation and serve as the liaison to CUNY and other external constituents. She will update the President regarding implementation of the Reopening Plan. If an outbreak occurs, the Coordinator will plan for reclosing, testing, quarantine, isolation, cleaning, and reopening at the appropriate time. The President will submit and continuously update the Chancellery/Office of the Chief Operation Officer (COO) of MEC’s Reopening Plan.

The Reopening Task Force Committee consists of 30 members, including faculty, staff, and students, who have developed guidelines for reopening our campus for in-person instruction once it is safe to do so. The Task Force Committee comprises seven sub-committees:

  • Academic Support Services;
  • Communications;
  • Advisement / Registration / Financial Aid;
  • Course and Curricula Development;
  • Educational and Emerging Technologies;
  • Health and Safety; and
  • Social / Emotional Support Services.

The sub-committees were charged with developing a plan to reopen efficiently and safely. Each group developed a plan that addresses topics such as modes of instruction, classroom occupancy, distance learning, staff returning to campus, and testing. Within this Reopening Plan, the three most important factors are:

  • Protecting the health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and surrounding community members;
  • Maximizing student success and faculty research; and
  • Fully meeting the expectations of CUNY, as well as state and local authorities.

The sub-committees met individually and as a collective group regularly. Within the larger group, members shared strategies, developed best practices, and assigned responsibilities. The Task Force Committee will work with the Chancellery/COO’s Office to ensure that all stages of the Reopening Plan meet CUNY’s guidelines and will revise and implement modifications as necessary.

C. Local Health Conditions / Triggers for Reopening

The Coordinator will work closely with the CUNY and the Reopening Task Force Committee to monitor all relevant state and local data and closely examine health metrics. The Coordinator will regularly review screening data as reported by the Campus Coronavirus Liaison, including instances of non-compliance.

The College has appointed Director of Environmental Health and Safety Mohamed Bangura and Chief of Public Safety Jerry Hoffman as site health and safety monitors to ensure compliance with the Plan. Compliance is promoted through various platforms, such as email messages, universal signage, formal workplace attestations, visitor notifications, and updates posted to the College’s website. Adherence to protocol and policy is consistently monitored along with reviews of safety and security inspection procedures.

Campus-wide protocols and procedures are organized around three categories: People, Places, and Processes.

PART 2: GUIDELINES FOR CAMPUS REOPENING PLANS

I. PEOPLE

A. Physical Distancing

Maintain Social Distance and Require Masks
Physical/social distancing of six feet or more radial distance and correct use of face coverings will be required at all times, unless essential for laboratory safety and only with the use of additional personal protective equipment (PPE) for protection. MEC’s policy states that all faculty, staff, students, visitors, and contractors who enter must adhere to these protocols while on campus. This information will be placed on new entrance/exit signs at the doors and throughout the campus as well as on the College’s website.

Phasing and quantity of student, faculty, and staff repopulation will depend on factors such as the ability to maintain social distance in public spaces, PPE availability, and the availability of safe transportation.

All departments should provide adequate space for employees to distance themselves from each other. Employees will be informed that they must maintain six feet of distance from others at all times. In some circumstances, it may be more appropriate to maintain a greater distance. If work requires personnel to be within six feet of each other for any time, additional PPE (such as a face shield) may be required.

Workstations will be rearranged to maintain physical distance. Protective measures will be implemented through new engineering controls (such as Plexiglas partitions and sneeze guards) in laboratories and high traffic areas such as Public Safety stations, Admissions, Financial Aid, Registrar, and the library. They may also be installed in offices where appropriate.

Employees should refrain from contact with others, such as handshakes and hugs, and avoid touching surfaces touched by others to the extent feasible. Sharing of food, beverages, or utensils should be avoided. Staff is advised to wash hands for at least 20 seconds before and after eating. When and where possible, eating alone and outside, and always maintaining six feet of distance from others will be encouraged.

Limit Occupancy and Congestion
In Phase 1, the occupancy limits are established at the building level to comply with state guidelines. Restrictions include all personnel, contractors, and visitors. This has also been defined for specific types of locations within the building, such as open-plan, shared, and enclosed labs, office spaces, as well as common areas (e.g., elevators, restrooms, conference rooms). Signs are posted throughout the building as reminders of these limits and detail appropriate traffic patterns in corridors and stairwells to limit interactions further. (For example, occupants should keep to the right, travel in a single file, and maintain a minimum of six feet from the person in front.)

The College Campus Planning Department has identified key spaces on campus, which may be critical to reopening, including classrooms, computer labs, shared spaces, and the library. The occupancy capacity will depend on the building’s max load levels, presence of fixed furniture, and possible traffic congestion associated with entrances and egresses. The College must consider the presence of central air ventilation with high levels of filtration, operable windows, and potential for increased airflow. In addition to air supply, increased occupancy in research laboratories involving storage and use of hazardous substances is dependent on the presence of working chemical fume hoods. In all cases, reopening and occupancy plans require a minimum of six feet of social distance between occupants.

Reconfigure Floorplans
The Campus Planning Department has analyzed the College’s floorplans (see Appendix H), and all departments’ re-entry plans to account for spaces that promote gatherings and to reconfigure where feasible to prevent close, prolonged interpersonal contact. The following has been determined:

  • For poorly ventilated areas, require a minimum of 250 square feet per person, or a 12-foot margin of open floor space between individuals. These criteria are used for high-risk activity areas, such as clinical settings and interior laboratory rooms;
  • For open-plan offices, one person per four-desk clusters; at least eight of feet distance within any other occupied cubical; and one person per shared, closed-door office;
  • Close spaces such as elevators, small offices, and equipment and storage closets with poorly ventilated spaces must have 250 square feet to support a max occupancy of more than one person. Shared spaces, e.g., elevators, and work areas, must be deactivated or have signage postage to indicate maximum occupancy levels;
  • Classroom space occupancy was determined by square footage under Archibus standards and in situ measurements with six feet spacing. Common room sizes with 30 seat occupancy result in 12 seat capacity under new six feet guidelines; 40 seats yield 17 seat capacity. Rooms will be modified for seating, technology, and installation if needed with barriers (e.g., Plexiglas). Chairs and desks that are not to be used will be oriented in the opposite direction, rendering seating difficult as the occupant would be facing away from the instructor. Signage placed on the seat will also note the need for social distancing for everyone’s safety.

To avoid congestion, the College will ensure that plans determine preferred access points and unidirectional flow routes for rooms, equipment, and the facilities. These include:

  • Corridors and vestibules will be used by more than one person moving in opposite directions;
  • Elevators will be limited to the number of persons posted at the elevator. Stairs should be used as an alternative when appropriate to avoid lines outside elevators.

Signage
The Facilities Department will provide universal signage consistent with the New York State Department of Health COVID-19 signage to help with social distancing and sanitary measures. Signs are posted throughout the campus, including entrances, exits, elevators, stairwells, hallways, bathrooms, offices, classrooms, libraries, cafeterias, laboratories, and any gathering spaces. Signs will be available for printing upon request for use by returning departments to promote personal health guidelines and reminders to support physical distancing, such as:

  • Social/physical distancing directional markings;
  • Signs at the entrance instructing faculty, staff, students, and visitors on the requirements before entering the building (face coverings, etc.);
  • Signs indicating the locations of hand sanitizer dispensers (new touchless dispensers will be placed at the entrances and other high traffic areas);
  • Posters about best practices to avoid the spread of COVID-19;
  • Posters about hand hygiene (proper handwashing techniques) in common areas, including bathrooms;
  • Measured distance (six feet) markings on the floor;
  • The maximum number of passengers in an elevator;
  • Floor markings inside the elevators;

Social distancing markers will be placed around the campus and workstation using tape or signs that indicate six feet of space. This includes commonly used areas and any areas in which lines are usually formed or individuals may congregate (e.g., clock in/out stations, health screening stations, break rooms, water coolers, Student Services Building, etc.).

B. Gatherings in Enclosed Specific Spaces

Auditoria, Seminar Rooms, and Event Spaces
Auditoria, seminar rooms, and event spaces are not available for any in-person events until further notice. There will be strict occupancy and time limitations for any in-person events scheduled before stage 4 begins. Hand sanitizer and wipes will be made available in each room.

Cafeteria and Cafés
MEC’s cafeteria and cafés are closed until further notice, and vending machines are shut down. No storage of food or beverages is allowed in shared refrigerators. Kitchens and lunch breaks will be organized to minimize the duration of use and enforce adherence to social distance. Social distancing issues will be addressed when the new campus food vendor begins services, and this plan will be updated accordingly:

  • Allow only one person at a time with a two-minute wait before the next person enters, unless there is enough space to maintain social distance the entire time with two-minute breaks;
  • Use signage to deter the use of amenities, such as refrigerators and coffee makers;
  • Limit the number of chairs/seating areas;
  • Post signs to remind employees of social distancing;
  • Secure and remove reusable kitchen items;
  • Staggering or scheduling use of shared space;
  • Cafeteria and cafés will employ stringent safety protocols to avoid cross-contamination and identify allowable occupancy to control physical distance;
  • Cafeteria staff must wear face masks and gloves when working and interacting with the public;
  • Cafeteria staff must follow infection prevention guidelines.

Child Care Center
The Child Care Center (The Center) located at 1150 Carroll Street, first floor, will operate at the capacity allowed under New York City regulations for child care centers. The Center can serve children, 10 per room, under the current guidelines. The child care center will need eight to 10 staff members, depending on use. The Center is operating remotely until further notice. The Center’s cleaning and safety protocols will adhere to New York State and City requirements for child care centers.

Computer and Teaching Labs
The majority of the College’s computer labs, including the library, Bedford skyline, Student Tech Lounge, are closed. Computer labs associated with approved hybrid courses with occasional in-person instruction or requiring computer equipment access that cannot be obtained in a distance learning environment will be physically prepared for use for the fall 2020 semester. The Plan includes reconfiguring spaces to maximize the physical distance between equipment users as well as installing equipment and supplies to facilitate cleaning and disinfection. If the labs are to be used for hybrid courses, the following protocols will be followed:

  • Provide safety instructions for students to prepare for the lab;
  • Divide the lab session into two (half the class in each session);
  • The instructor would be in the lab for both sessions to provide additional guidance to students;
  • Staff/researchers should clean their workstations and personal devices repeatedly by using disinfecting wipes or a 60% isopropyl solution. Workstations must be cleaned at the end of working hours;
  • Shared research spaces, workspaces, instrumentation, and core facilities must be cleaned before and after every use;
  • Custodians of the equipment must develop protocols for cleaning laboratory instrumentation in consultation with the manufacturer, if required, and posted next to the instrumentation;
  • Microscopes, or other instrumentation with eyepieces, must have a cleaning protocol specifically for cleaning eyepieces before and after every use;
  • Workstations connected to instrumentation must be cleaned before and after every use;
  • The College recommends that everyone cleans all tools before and after use;
  • Signage will be placed on all seats to ensure social distancing.

Conference Rooms
Conference rooms will be open for essential in-person meetings that cannot be held virtually. The meeting organizer will ensure that safety plans account for the physical preparation of conference rooms, including reconfiguring, operations, and cleaning and disinfection. All personnel on campus are encouraged to communicate as needed using email, text, telephone, or other technology rather than in person. Meetings should continue to be held using various online platforms. In-person sessions for College business must be limited in duration and attendance numbers. Individuals must maintain six feet from others and use face coverings. Social distancing and occupancy restrictions apply. Other requirements include:

  • Chairs and desks will be removed to ensure proper physical distancing;
  • Four-person occupancy maximum;
  • Space will be reserved in advance by appointment;
  • Unused conference rooms will be utilized to increase work and study spaces;
  • Conference rooms will be cleaned and disinfected daily and after each meeting;
  • Disinfectant wipes or sprays will be left in each conference room, and employees will be encouraged to wipe down all surfaces and equipment (e.g., mouse, keyboard, and telephones) after use.

Elevators
Staff members are encouraged to take the stairs to allow the elevator to be used by those who require it. There will be limited occupancy in the elevator. Information will be posted about the following:

  • The elevator’s maximum occupancy;
  • Face mask requirements: facial coverings must be worn before entering and while riding the elevator;
  • Suggestions to refrain from touching buttons or other surfaces (using a pen or wear gloves instead) and encourage hand hygiene upon departing the elevator;
  • Floor markers will be established for lines in lobbies, instructing individuals where to stand inside the elevator, facing away from each other, etc.
  • Small elevators will be limited to one person per elevator car;
  • Larger elevators that can accommodate up to four persons will have individuals stand in opposite corners and with their faces away from each other;
  • The College will encourage the use of stairs to minimize elevator traffic;
  • The College will provide hand hygiene stations near elevator banks;
  • High touch areas, such as elevator buttons, will be frequently cleaned.

Food Pantry
The food pantry will be open three days per week, and require two staff members during opening hours: Mondays, 10:00am to 2:00pm; Tuesdays, 3:00 to 7:00pm; and Wednesdays, 10:00am to 2:00pm. Reservations will be required to ensure social distancing, and proper cleaning and safety protocols will be in place.

Hallways, Stairwells, and Access Points
Signage and floor markers will be posted to cue occupants on recommended traffic flow in corridors, stairwells, entrances, and exits to minimize contact. These measures include:

  • Markers with one-way arrows on floors in hallways and stairs to designate traffic flow; labeling would minimize face-to-face interactions;
  • Hand hygiene stations near all stairwells;
  • Signage will be posted to discourage lingering and congregating in hallways and stairwells;
  • High touch surfaces, such as stairwell handles and railings, will be cleaned frequently.

Lectures, Classrooms, and Laboratories
Given that 95% of MEC’s fall courses will be offered online, classrooms will be available for instruction so that the College will adhere to the social distance requirement of six feet. For the 5% of classes conducted in-person, the College will set occupancy limits to no higher than 50% of the fire code to regulate distance, allowing six feet of separation.

  • Lab courses that meet in-person will contain 12 or fewer individuals;
  • Faculty and students will be instructed not to share physical resources between classrooms;
  • Faculty and students are required to wear masks or face covering at all times when not presenting;
  • The classroom will be deep cleaned twice per day, if needed, but will be cleaned after each class at a minimum;
  • Due to space limitations, chairs and desks will be labeled to ensure proper physical distance. Allowable occupancy will be identified to control workflow and/or establish maximum attendance;
  • The College will provide students with sanitizing wipes to disinfect their workspaces at the end of each class.

The only course to be offered in-person for fall 2020 is the Nursing Skills Lab. It consists of 10 sections with approximately 120 students, and the College will limit capacity to 10% in each class. College personnel will arrange equipment at least six feet apart and will be cleaned and disinfected after each single student session. The rooms will be cleaned and disinfected after each class session. The maximum enrollment limit in the skills lab is 12 students. Classes are scheduled only once a week. All students must wear protective gear during the session.

Office Spaces and Workplace Safety Procedures
All non-essential staff will continue to work remotely and attend virtual meetings where possible, especially employees at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. If an in-person meeting is deemed necessary, the number will be limited so that attendees can sit a minimum of six feet apart. All participants must wear facial coverings, and others can join the meeting remotely. This arrangement would prevent contact and allow meeting spaces for possible use as classrooms, research spaces, or offices for employees who are displaced from shared offices. Staff will be advised to leave office doors open wherever possible to exponentially reduce the chance of transmission of germs by eliminating the need to touch the handles. This would include classrooms, restrooms, and office doors. In addition to the guidelines outlined above, personnel must adhere to the following workplace safety procedures until social distancing guidelines are lifted. These procedures are covered in staff training and reopening plans:

  • As part of reopening plans, department and unit-level supervisors should evaluate work areas for the potential to promote social distancing, including the removal or relocation of furniture and workstations;
  • Open offices or suites must plan for no more than 50% occupancy and must allow for social distancing;
  • Offices with contiguous workstations should be separated by one unoccupied workstation;
  • Private offices may be occupied by no more than one person unless social distancing can be maintained. If more than one person is in the space, face coverings must be worn at all times, and pre- and post-visit disinfection protocols should be followed;
  • Easy-to-read floor plan diagrams, floor markers, and signage should be posted to visually cue occupants. Universal signage will be provided by the College;
  • Department and unit-level supervisor should specify designated doors and exits to minimize contact in the halls and doorways;
  • Unless unavoidable, workstations and physical items should not be shared. High touch surfaces of shared workstations and physical objects must be disinfected between users. Supplies can be obtained from the College;
  • Except for fire doors, doors may be propped open during office hours until further notice to minimize touching of door handles and push plates;
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times, except when eating and drinking. Universal signage will be posted to clarify these protocols.

Reception Areas, Waiting Rooms, Lobbies, and Common Areas
Lobbies and common areas will be organized to adhere to safety measures, including:

  • Chairs in waiting areas will be marked and blocked off to ensure appropriate spacing between individuals;
  • Each chair in the waiting area will be placed six feet apart, and only 20% of the waiting room capacity will be used at any time. The College will regulate the use of common areas with clear signage (including maximum occupancy) and physical distancing measures in accordance with public health rules and guidelines;
  • All guests will be seen by appointment only so that reception seating areas will be controlled and six feet of social distance will be observed;
  • Plastic partitions will be installed in all reception areas;
  • Waiting areas will be used only when necessary, and staff will be encouraged not to linger or socialize in common areas;
  • Common areas (e.g., lobby areas, security check-in desks) will be cleaned and disinfected daily at a minimum;
  • Access to copy areas and conference rooms will be restricted to ensure the maintenance of social distancing protocols; anyone accessing the mailboxes or copiers should wash or sanitize their hands before and after touching shared items;
  • Social distance must be observed at all times; weather permitting, staff, students, and researchers are encouraged to use outdoor spaces for socially-distanced, person-to-person interactions, food consumption, and laptop use;
  • Non-essential communal areas that promote gathering or are high touch (e.g., communal coffee machines) will be closed;
  • Cleaning and disinfectant supplies will be provided to all employees and guests for individuals to use before and after using the amenity or space;
  • Hand sanitizers and wipes will be placed in common areas;
  • Signage will be used to deter the use of furniture that cannot be removed.

Restrooms
Restroom access will be consolidated to designated locations to facilitate frequent cleaning and monitoring. Signage and markers will be installed to ensure social distance. For small bathrooms, occupancy is restricted through vacancy flagging. Floor markers will be used to establish lines outside restrooms. In addition, the following measures will be taken:

  • Paper towels will be provided in the restrooms, and hand air dryers will be taped off;
  • Signs will remind users to wash their hands before and after using the restroom;
  • Hygiene stations will be placed at the door to the restrooms;
  • Urinals in the men’s rooms will be blocked off to ensure adequate social distancing;
  • Shared restrooms will be deep cleaned three times per day;
  • Restrooms will be monitored continuously to ensure that they are kept clean and properly disinfected.

Water Fountains
The use of appliances, water coolers, water fountains poses a risk. Signage will be installed to deter the use of drinking fountains and direct individuals to use touchless water bottle refilling stations instead. Community members will be instructed to bring their own water bottles when coming to campus.

Unique Spaces
Safety plans incorporate crucial New York State and CUNY guidance, including requirements for physical distance and protocols for any in-person gatherings. The following services are currently not expected to resume:

  • Gym, Fitness Center, Pool: Currently not in operation;
  • Student Health Services: All services are offered remotely;
  • Student Activities, Clubs, Government, Orientation, and Interfaith Programs: Not expected to resume in-person gatherings or events.

C. Operational Activity

Operational Considerations Involving Staff Scheduling and Human Resources (See Appendix B: Guide for Returning to Work)
The College has limited in-person presence to only those employees who are required to be on campus, including essential personnel and researchers. Non-essential workers will work remotely until further notice and once approval is given by CUNY and state and local authorities. Once employees are allowed back on campus, employees’ hours will be limited and staggered to enhance cleaning and ensure social distancing (e.g., coffee breaks, meals, and shift hours). For employees and students who must be on campus, their schedules will be staggered to limit contact in offices, classrooms, and other spaces. This will allow more time between classes to reduce congestion in walkways and buildings as well as permit social distancing.

Since over 95% of the classes will be taught online in fall 2020, a limited number of faculty members will be on campus. Faculty members who intend to come on campus will have to file a request with the Campus COVID-19 Coordinator and follow all safety guidelines. When the College reopens for staff to work on campus, a staggered approach will be used to schedule in-person attendance.

The College seeks to accommodate the individual needs and preferences of employees while holding them accountable for business goals. These may include:

  • Strongly-held personal beliefs regarding COVID-19 (e.g., vaccines, herd-immunity, risk of transmission, etc.) and how it affects their safety and mental well-being;
  • Ease of working from home (e.g., needing to care for children or preferring to return to campus to work free from distractions and roommates, use an ergonomic setup in office, etc.); and
  • Concerns about commuting (e.g., walking or biking distance, or the safety of public transportation).

While they are on campus, employees are encouraged to:

  • Say something if he/she sees something. It is appropriate to let colleagues know when they are not following social distancing, occupancy limits, PPE requirements, disinfecting protocols, or other precautions outlined in this plan;
  • Report issues to their supervisors, Public Safety (x6003 or publicsafety@mec.cuny.edu), or Campus Coronavirus Liaison Mohamed Bangura (x6216 or mbangura@mec.cuny.edu);
  • Anonymously report any COVID-19-related safety concerns or unsafe conditions to Public Safety.

The College will build the necessary staffing capacity to ensure the health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and the community. (See Appendix C: Department Head Checklist for Returning to Work for more information.)

The College will also provide formal education and training for COVID-19, in addition to taking the following steps:

  • Workplace communications: Employees and community members will be informed of developments and anticipated milestones;
  • Physical buildings: Campus buildings have been maintained during the shutdown by the engineering and custodial staff. Staff members have been onsite daily to maintain a safe and comfortable environment;
  • Access control: Protocols for health and safety, building access, shipping and receiving, and visitor policies have been developed;
  • Reduced touchpoints and increased cleaning: Doors to classrooms, restrooms, and offices will remain open whenever possible to reduce touchpoints. Common areas will be cleaned and disinfected on a regular schedule;
  • If two occupants are in the same vehicle, both occupants must wear a face covering. High touch surfaces of the shared vehicles must be disinfected between uses.

Operational Considerations Involving Campus Visitors
Until further notice, all non-essential visitors during business hours are prohibited, and any interviews should be conducted virtually. Vendors and engineers will be permitted to enter by appointment for essential renovations, repairs, and services; these visitors must request and await approval for access before arriving onsite. The department requesting the service must coordinate with Public Safety to determine the date and time for the visitor to arrive on campus. For business-critical visits (e.g., maintenance contractors), the following steps should be taken to safeguard employees:

  • Contractors must request campus access and adhere to campus policies;
  • Contractors must present appointment confirmations to Public Safety at the front desks before they are allowed to enter campus;
  • Contractors must go directly to the assigned location without unnecessary interactions;
  • Visitors must maintain social distance, use face coverings, and practice good hygiene while on-campus.

Operational Considerations Involving Course Scheduling
A full 95% of MEC’s fall courses will be offered entirely online in either a synchronous or asynchronous modality and are designated as such in the course catalog. The synchronous format is indicated in the catalog by the time and day assigned to the respective class. Biology and chemistry labs are using Labster as their instructional platform. This format does not require in-person instruction.

Based on the Educational and Emerging Technologies plan, the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence (CLTE), the Office of Instruction Technology, and the Office of Information Technology (OIT), the College would continue to provide support and readiness for virtual instruction learning.

Operational Considerations Involving Individuals on Campus
Before returning to campus, all students, faculty, and staff must complete an online health and safety COVID-19 training that is available on Blackboard. All individuals on campus are required to carry a CUNY identification card at all times. MEC will work with our community members to ensure that everyone complies with safety protocols. Employees can confidentially report non-compliance with social distancing, hygiene, or safety practices to the Campus Coronavirus Liaison at x6216 or mbangura@mec.cuny.edu.

MEC will monitor, intervene, and address non-compliance issues. If an individual violates any of the policies, s/he will be given a first and second (verbal) warning by Public Safety, and the incident will be reported to his/her supervisor. If the employee continues to violate the policy, s/he will be given a third (written) warning. In addition, the incident will be reported to the Campus COVID-19 Coordinator as well as the Office of Human Resources to determine whether to restrict the employee’s access and/or departmental access to campus. The College will discourage gathering and congregating in communal spaces. The College will encourage faculty, staff, and students who take public transportation or rideshare to follow CDC guidance on how to protect themselves while in transit. Employees will be trained on how to correctly put on, take off, clean, and discard PPE. All of the College’s health screeners have viewed New York State’s screeners’ training video.

Operational Considerations Involving Vulnerable Populations
MEC’s top priority is the health, safety, and well-being of our faculty, staff, and students. Those staff members who are vulnerable will be advised to stay home and work remotely. The College encourages these employees to self-isolate and to not report to work. Faculty and students will continue to teach and learn remotely. Employees who have underlying health conditions, and/or have someone at home who may be compromised or vulnerable, and/or who do not feel comfortable returning to campus will be allowed to work from home. If an employee requests accommodations or leave, s/he must contact and communicate all restrictions and health concerns to his/her supervisor and the Office of Human Resources.

Students who are compromised or vulnerable will continue to self-identify through the Office of the Differently-Abled. This process is confidential and is an established part of the College’s operational system. Students can also confidentially disclose this information to the Office of Student Affairs. Accommodations will be made for students who requesting them, including those with hearing and visual impairments. Faculty who teach students with hearing impairments will need to have clear face coverings so that the students can use facial cues and be able to read lips.

For individuals who are considered high risk, an accommodation process coordinated through Human Resources is in place and will be communicated to the campus.

Operational Considerations for Student Life
The College and CUNY take the well-being and safety of our students, faculty, and staff very seriously. Because of the highly contagious nature of COVID-19, we must take stringent measures and exercise personal responsibility to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Responsible behavior extends to students’ personal lives off campus, which can directly impact the spread of the coronavirus on campus. At a minimum, students must:

  • Wear a mask when on campus and when gathering with other individuals;
  • Maintaining a physical distance of at least six feet on campus and when gathering with individuals outside of classrooms and other areas on campus;
  • Limit the size of on-campus gatherings with other students;
  • Restrict the size of events and gatherings off-campus.

Article XV of the CUNY bylaws requires that each student obey policies, regulations, and orders of the University/College. Students are reminded that the rules and regulations for the maintenance of public order pursuant to article 129a of the education law (“Henderson Rules”) prohibit:

  • Behavior that recklessly or intentionally endangers the health of others;
  • Behavior that interferes with the institution’s educational processes;
  • Failure to comply with the direction of a University official.

The University is committed to adhering fully to current and future directives about social encounters from federal, state, and local public health officials. Any student found in violation of these directives may be subject to discipline under article XV of the CUNY bylaws.

Operational Considerations for Extracurricular Activities
For fall 2020, the College will not offer any in-person, extracurricular activities for students. Events and activities sponsored by the Office of Student Life and the Student Government Association will be conducted virtually. In addition, all on-campus and third-party events will not take place face-to-face. No public events, group lunches, catered events, celebrations, or other in-office group events should be expected until further notice.

Event venues are assessed to determine appropriate occupancy, furniture layout, and staffing to promote social distance. If events are allowed, they will be limited to MEC faculty, staff, and students. Attendance will be monitored at each event to provide a record for contract tracing if needed. Events will be limited to fixed seating events where seating is pre-determined, appropriately separated, and cannot be altered. Pending guidance, outdoor events with social distancing may be offered, and student and community-based events may take place with limited or no audiences.

Athletics will follow the guidelines articulated by the NCAA, as well as CUNYAC Conferences. CUNYAC has canceled all intercollegiate competition, both traditional and non-traditional activities, scheduled for fall 2020 to safeguard the health and well-being of the athletic community.

Operational Considerations Involving Facilities and Grounds
Assistant Vice President for Facilities Management and Campus Planning Thomas Ching is responsible for all academic and administrative buildings. He coordinates with the respective campus liaisons regarding relevant campus operations staff to identify the physical, operational, and cleaning protocols required for the Hygiene, Cleaning, and Disinfection portion of these guidelines.

Below are protocols that will be maintained during shutdown:

  • Keep all fire suppression, extinguishing, and detection systems in service;
  • Maintain heat above 55°F to prevent freezing of water-bearing equipment and piping, and cooling below 85°F to avoid high humidity and mold. If temperature control is not provided, establish monitoring protocols for areas sensitive to water damage;
  • Weatherize; shut off unnecessary plumbing lines, drain piping, and turn off natural gas;
  • Ensure sump pumps remain operational and in proper working condition;
  • Properly shut down non-essential equipment and systems. Use lockout/tag-out procedures per the manufacturer;
  • Eliminate fire hazards within buildings by removing as many combustibles as possible;
  • Plan for rain, high winds, and windstorm. Move exterior furnishings inside—close all doors, windows, and vents;
  • Continue regular inspection and maintenance of building roofs, exterior, and grounds;
  • Remove debris or other combustible items within 25 feet of any building;
  • Continue grounds maintenance and landscaping if allowed under State orders;
  • Maintain pest control services to limit pest infestations;
  • Inspect buildings (Building Envelope and Occupied Spaces) for leaks, water intrusion, water damage, microbial growth;
  • Restart mechanical/HVAC systems and ramp-up of current settings to full capacity; and
  • Check air quality and filtering systems and the schedule of maintaining/replacement of filters.

Operational Considerations Involving Campus and Community Safety

  • Ensure exterior and entrances remain illuminated;
  • Ensure all emergency lighting and emergency exit signage remain illuminated;
  • Ensure unnecessary buildings, which are closed, have all doors and windows locked. Install temporary locks if needed;
  • Block off areas within buildings that are partially occupied;
  • Conduct regular security tours of the interior and exterior, at least daily;
  • Ensure means of egress and access to life safety equipment; and
  • Check all fire protection equipment and controls as per protocol.

Operational Considerations Involving Campus Deliveries and Drop-Offs
Office deliveries will be kept to a minimum. Departments will review all options and designate specific days for deliveries, whenever feasible. Employees should not have anything delivered to their offices until further notice, unless approved in advance by MEC and CUNY. All mail and packages should be handled while wearing gloves. Until further notice, all mail and packages will continue to be held in the stockroom. Recipients will request an appointment to have mail and packages delivered to designated drop-off points to minimize person-to-person interactions. Packages to be shipped outside of MEC will be collected from designated drop-off locations on campus.

Operational Considerations for Reclosing in the Event of an Outbreak (See Appendix G: Reclosing Plan)
Considering the many uncertainties in sustaining a safe and healthy environment, the College is committed to operating under the strictest guidelines outlined in our Reopening Plan. By closely monitoring the effectiveness of the Plan, the College can gauge and adjust its measures to better respond to changing conditions. Since there is no guarantee that new cases of COVID-19 will not impact our community, we must plan for its likely occurrence.

The College continues to have the Campus Reopening Task Force Committee activated as we navigate the ongoing health pandemic, including actions to reduce and eliminate the possibility of an outbreak. The College must shut down if there is conclusive evidence of an outbreak of COVID-19. Using the metrics developed by New York State, MEC will continue to monitor the situation at the local and state level. If the City and State exceed a 1:1 ratio for transmission, and if the College has 100 C0VID-19 cases, or the number of cases is equal to 5% or more of our population, whichever is less, the College will go to remote learning for two weeks. At that time, the College will promptly notify CUNY so that the required approval to shut down can be obtained.

With CUNY’s permission, the College will inform the community to activate the Closing Plan simultaneously and move to a shutdown similar to the spring 2020 semester. The College and the State will reassess the situation. For additional information, visit New York State’s Guidance for Infection Rates on College Campuses.

Additional considerations would include exceeding our quarantine/isolation spaces on campus; if ten or more students or faculty or staff members test positive; the availability of testing supplies, contact tracers, PPE equipment, and cleaning supplies.

In addition, all faculty members are encouraged to plan for 15 weeks of virtual instruction and be prepared to go to remote teaching. As in the spring 2020 semester, student services are provided remotely, such as tutoring, library services, etc. If a faculty member cannot teach due to illness, the College will reassign his/her class(es) to another teaching faculty member, or the College will need to hire an adjunct.

Students will identify any technology needs that they might have during the fall semester in the event of a shutdown. As both equipment and funding became available, students will have the technology they need to finish the semester.

Student Life has planned to offer all fall activities virtually or in a hybrid format. Counseling and Student Health Services will continue to use tele-counseling and tele-medicine. These offices are making virtual appointments in the fall semester and are prepared to do so in a shutdown scenario.

The College will use the same governance structure to close operations as was in place for the spring 2020 semester, and will follow the communication and cleaning protocols outlined in this Plan. We will quickly shut down as many buildings and facilities as possible and have them cleaned and sanitized. Once sanitized, these buildings will be closed and there would be limited access to them. The College’s closure may be localized to one building or a specific operational unit associated with internal monitoring data. All such decisions will be made in consultation with the Chancellery/COO’s Office and state and local officials.

The Reopening Plan for CUNY campuses proposes four stages, moving from a soft reopening to full operations as described in the Phasing section of the CUNY Guidelines for Safe Campus Reopening. Depending on which stage of reopening CUNY is in, closure of our campus may involve reverse engineering to lower stages, up to and including a total shutdown.

II. PLACES

A. Protective Equipment
The College will maintain a three to six-month stock of essential COVID-19 supplies, which will be ordered, stocked, and placed in visible areas for employees to use when needed and will be replenished regularly to ensure adequate supplies are on hand. Sourcing, purchasing, and distribution of mask and face coverings, COVID-19- related personal protective equipment, and cleaning materials are centrally managed. Everyone is required to wear face-covering while on campus. Employees must arrive on campus wearing face coverings. The College will issue reusable face coverings to all employees. Disposable masks are available to students, contractors, and other visitors who are authorized to be on campus and do not have a face-covering, per New York State executive order.

Distribution of COVID-19 related supplies is managed by EHS, and AVP Ching will distribute COVID-19 supplies to all Buildings and Grounds staff. A weekly supply of disposable masks and PPE (gloves, coveralls) will be issued to staff depending on the job task and work environment. Weekly allotment of face coverings, disinfectant, and other COVID-19 supplies for returning research labs and operational units will be distributed in Academic Building 1, room 501, on Mondays.

Training will be provided on how to wear, store, and dispose of required PPE (masks or face coverings) correctly. This message is also reinforced through signage throughout buildings, as well as reviewing the New York State Department of Health flyer included with the cloth face mask or by watching this demonstration: When and How to Use Masks. Masks or face coverings must be worn inside all buildings at all times, except in closed-door private offices and for as little time as possible while eating, drinking, or changing masks. Masks or face coverings must cover the nose and mouth. Suitable mask types include cloth, dust, and surgical unless the work requires more extensive PPE (e.g., N95 or face shields). Face shields are not considered an alternative to a mask or face covering, but may provide additional protection if work requires individuals to be within six feet of each other for any period. In addition:

  • Disposable masks worn inside laboratory spaces should be disposed of at the end of the day. Cloth masks should be washed daily by the users;
  • Masks and face coverings should not be shared;
  • Disposable gloves are available throughout the building;
  • The College has a supply of cloth face covering for 750 employees for one year.
  • The College has a supply of one disposable, two-ply procedural mask per week for 15 weeks.

Higher levels of PPE are provided to:

  • Campus peace officers: During routine rounds, officers have access to N95s for voluntary use. Officers trained as EMTs are provided N95 respirators, splash-resistant gowns/Tyvek coveralls, goggles, face shields, and disposable exam gloves. Respirator medical clearance, fit testing, and training is provided.
  • Custodial service staff: Custodians are provided eye protection and disposable, chemical-resistant gloves, and are given routine cleaning and disinfection training using the “spray and wipe” method with an EPA-registered disinfectant. If there is a confirmed COVID-19 case on campus, custodial staff members are trained to use enhanced cleaning and disinfection procedures with spray equipment and an EPA-registered disinfectant in the suspected area(s). If needed, they will be provided with N95 or other filtering face piece respirators, splash-resistant gowns/Tyvek coveralls, goggles, face shields, and disposable exam gloves. Respirator medical clearance, fit testing, and training is provided.

 B. Hygiene, Cleaning, and Disinfection
Campus-wide cleaning and disinfection protocols are in place for classrooms, restrooms, and other facilities, consistent with CDC guidance. AVP Ching oversees Facilities management staff, including custodians.

Cleaning and Disinfection Protocols
Campus cleaning procedures are determined by facility type, occupancy levels, presence of electronic equipment, and cleaning responsibility.

Custodial disinfection procedures are specific to the disinfectant and equipment type used. The custodial staff is responsible for all building restrooms, classrooms, and high touchpoint surfaces. High touch surfaces are disinfected four times daily, bathrooms twice daily, and classrooms at the beginning, middle, and end of the day, following New York State’s Interim Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection of Public and Private Facilities for COVID-19.

All custodial staff is trained on proper PPE use, best practices for disinfecting and sanitizing, and safety. Effectiveness is monitored through supervisor review of cleaning logs and weekly reporting of cleaning regimens to the Campus COVID-19 Coordinator. The cleaning protocol follows those outlined by the New York State Department of Health and current CUNY procedures for blood-borne pathogens. The protocol is to equip staff with PPE, including masks, goggles, and gloves, along with sanitizing chemicals containing bleach and/or peroxides approved by EPA and known to be useful in eliminating the coronavirus. All PPE and soiled products will be collected and disposed of as hazardous waste.

The IT staff is responsible for managing computer labs and computer classrooms. Therefore, IT is responsible for overseeing the cleaning and disinfection of computer equipment used by students and faculty. Department supervisors will ensure computer users have access to disposable disinfectant wipes and gloves to clean high touch surfaces, e.g., keyboards and mice, between users.

All members of the campus community are instructed to assist in keeping their work areas clean. Commonly shared tools, equipment, and workstations must be disinfected before and after use. Disinfectant and cleaning supplies, including multi-surface cleaner and disinfecting wipes, are provided so that individual workspaces are wiped down at the beginning and end of each shift.

The Custodial Services log will confirm regular inspection of restrooms throughout the day to ensure the availability of warm running water, hand soap, disposable hand towels, and lined garbage cans. The restrooms will be cleaned twice daily and are subject to occupancy limitations. Lined receptacles are also available throughout occupied areas for disposal of soiled PPE and paper towels. Maintenance workers and custodial supervisors perform floor-by-floor checks of all areas. Additional disinfection measures will be taken, if necessary.

Promoting Hand Hygiene
The College will recommend and reinforce handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to reduce contact transmission; that is, before and after touching shared objects unless clean gloves are worn. Frequent and vigorous hand washing will be promoted through signage at sanitizing stations. Hand sanitizer stations are located at the entrances to all buildings, with additional stations installed in high-traffic locations (such as restrooms door handles and elevator banks) as supplies become available. The College has a supply of hand sanitizer the will last for three months, which will be replenished monthly. The College will continue to acquire and provide disinfecting wipes, as well as hand sanitizer stations with at least 60% isopropyl solution (or other appropriate disinfecting solution) so that personnel can clean surfaces and objects, particularly those that are shared and/or frequently touched, before and after use.

C. Containment
The College Reopening Plan outlines procedures to respond to positive or suspected cases as well as preventative policies and practices, including the following.

Early Warning Signs
If an employee, student, or visitor begins to experience symptoms consistent with COVID-19 during or outside of work hours, or if the employees or visitor tests positive for COVID-19 while on campus or subsequently, the College requires the individual to immediately disclose this information to the Campus Coronavirus Liaison.

  • The liaison will report the case and any increased rates of positive infections and hospitalization, and then communicate it to local health department officials. All of the individuals that have been in close contact with that person will be traced and asked to self-isolate and get tested.
  • Two or more positive results from the primary contacts will require additional tracing;
  • A positive result from any secondary contact on campus will indicate an increase in cases and may trigger the implementation of the Reclosing Plan.

Isolation and Quarantine Spaces
The College has identified spaces to isolated symptomatic individuals on campus. The spaces will be equipped with hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, masks, gloves, and garbage bags. The four quarantine spaces are:

  • Academic Building 1 – Edison O. Jackson Auditorium
  • Bedford Building – room 1008
  • Student Services Building – room 307
  • Carroll Street Building – room 209

Isolation and Transport of Those Who are Sick
Public Safety officers will monitor isolated individuals until safe and appropriate transportation is available to take the person to his/her home or other location where the individual will be residing for the duration of the quarantine period. Officers will call for ambulance transport if the individual shows emergency warning signs. This guidance is also issued to faculty, supervisors, and others on campus on what to do if someone becomes symptomatic or ill while on campus.

Confirmed Case Communications and Notification
If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 affecting an individual who has been in a campus building, the College community will be notified, and Facilities Management will coordinate cleaning and disinfecting, including areas accessed by the individual and high traffic common areas.

Notify College Community, Health Officials, and Close Contacts
When a COVID-19 case is confirmed on campus, the Campus Coronavirus Liaison will immediately notify the Campus COVID-19 Coordinator, who will notify President’s Response Team, CUNY administration, and local and state public health departments. The College community will receive an email similar to the following:

“We have been alerted to a confirmed case of COVID-19 (coronavirus) on campus in [building]. This individual was last in the building on [date]. The building will be closed for 24 hours to enable us to provide enhanced cleaning and disinfection to common and affected area(s). The rest of the campus will remain open under normal operating conditions. At their discretion, and in consultation with their supervisors, individuals may elect to work remotely. If you learn of any other confirmed cases within the building, please alert Public Safety immediately so that appropriate measures can be taken. We appreciate your cooperation and patience during this time.”

In addition, the following communications protocols will be followed:

  • Notify campus community through CUNY Alert, the College’s website, targeted emails from campus leadership to faculty and staff, and social media;
  • Widely communicate shutdown procedures, emergency contact information, and access protocols;
  • Suspend mail and package delivery to the building;
  • Suspend non-essential construction, per State orders;
  • Communicate and train, as necessary, essential staff on changes to access protocols; and,
  • Post signage at campus entries and on building entry doors about shutdown.

Tracing and Enhanced Cleaning
When notified of a confirmed case of COVID-19 on campus, Facilities will perform enhanced cleaning and disinfection to the affected spaces of the building per CDC guidelines, Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility, which focuses on high touch surfaces. In accordance with the CDC, if it has been more than seven days since a person with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 visited or used the facility, treatment above standard cleaning and disinfection is not necessary. However, requests for above-standard cleaning can be made and completed before the opening by the custodial staff and the external vendor.

Emergi-Clean was previously contracted by the College twice, in mid- and late March 2020, to address potential contamination issues. The protocol consisted of incident command management, with Facilities staff closing areas of concern to prevent further entry and exposure. The contractors will be given a designated staging area away from the general public, where supplies, equipment, chemicals, and personnel will be gathered. A plan will be developed and discussed to include the personal safety of all college and contractor staff and risk reduction for the MEC community. The protocols include application means and methods, verification of aerosolized mist coverage, posting and availability of safety data sheets, and caution signs indicating treated areas and reentry times, the designation of safe passage throughout the campus, reloading of chemicals, and safe disposal of waste and excess product and packaging.

Return to Campus Post-Illness or Quarantine
The Campus Coronavirus Liaison refers to the Interim Guidance for Public and Private Employees Returning to Work Following COVID-19 Infection or Exposure in assisting the College to develop protocols and policies for individuals seeking to return to work after a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19. The guidance also provides protocols after the employee has had close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19.

While maintaining confidentiality, the College administration will use the information supplied to make its best effort to trace contacts and alert them of possible COVID-19 exposure and assess areas for decontamination and/or restricted access. Summary information will be provided to the campus community where necessary by:

  • Identifying the employee’s assigned workspace or office;
  • Establishing the dates and times, the employee was on campus;
  • Documenting the co-workers, students, or visitors that the employee interacted with;
  • Confirming the spaces that the employee entered, including offices, restrooms, and other common areas.

D. Staged Reopening – Triggers for Reopening (See Appendix F: Staged Reopening Plan)
The Reopening Plan factors in CUNY’s Staged Reopening Plan, consisting of four stages for returning to campus and transitioning between stages. Appendix F details the process to ensure that MEC complies with federal, state, and local regulations while maintaining the health and safety of our community. It also ensures that the MEC community is protected through the phased approach guidance provided by CUNY’s Office of Research.

Until the College enters Stage 4, to minimize risk to the entire community, any staff or researcher reporting to campus during any reopening phase should limit the number of places visited and the time spent within those spaces. The Reopening Plan for researchers is the same as the one for the general community in order to limit infection risk, including social distancing, restricted building access, occupancy limits, staggered work schedules, required PPE, and cleaning disinfecting protocols. MEC requires that personnel coming to campus must disclose their health status relating to COVID-19 symptoms.

Until then, the College requires staff and researchers to provide daily reports of areas visited and persons they interact with on campus in case contact tracing is required or COVID-19 notifications are needed to alert those individuals. The College has developed an onsite campus activity plan. Commencing with stage 1, moving from one stage to the next must be approved by CUNY. Each stage is described below and will be rolled out incrementally to reach a maximum of 50%.

Stage 0 (Essential personnel only)
Campus activity is most restricted, such as during New York State On Pause 2020 or during any subsequent outbreaks affecting the campus. Only pre-authorized, essential personnel (conducting COVID-19 related work, such as food pantry distribution) can work in-person on campus.

Stage 1 (Up to 10% onsite capacity)
In addition to essential personnel reporting for critical tasks and urgent COVID-19 research, limited personnel may report to campus to prepare for phased reopening. This begins when the New York City region enters Phase 1. It includes campus administrators developing and implementing institution and building-level safe work processes and procedures to slow the spread of COVID-19, including establishing health and safety protocols, personnel training and communication, health monitoring, and reporting of unsafe conditions. This stage includes equipment preparation, supply checks, and performing purchasing requirements. Only essential personnel and researchers will be authorized to access the campus. Researchers must:

  • Obtain approval before expanding research activity beyond essential Stage 0 activity. Researchers must complete a hazard exposure assessment questionnaire and develop a comprehensive safety plan. The plan must be reviewed and approved by the MEC Health and Safety Sub-Committee (HSC) before conducting research onsite and for all onsite research staff and human participants. Documentation of appropriate approved protocols (e.g., by HSC) must be included in requests for campus approval;
  • Complete safety pre-requisites (see below). It may also require additional temporary essential personnel (e.g., researchers or PIs) to be designated solely for planning and preparing for phasing-in research onsite for Stage 2.
  • Address considerations of the research space and any relevant details (e.g., ventilation, equipment cleaning, sharing of equipment and space), working in conjunction with Facilities Management and Environmental Health and Safety; and
  • Continued emphasis is placed on conducting research remotely wherever possible.

Stage 2 (Up to 25% onsite capacity)
College begins contingency on approval by the HSC and following New York State, New York City, and CUNY reopening benchmarks. These benchmarks include expanding onsite access to approved high-priority research and equipment and material distribution to support remote learning and work.

  • Building: Approximately 105% to 25% occupancy;
  • Open-plan laboratories: One person per bench cluster or 250 square feet of open floor space;
  • Interior laboratory rooms: One person
  • Open-plan offices: One person per four-desk cluster, with at least eight feet of distance from any other occupied cubical;
  • Shared, closed-door offices: One person.

All space usage will be subject to staggered schedules to limit interactions. Open-plan office spaces will be subject to occupancy time limits.

Researchers may begin to return onsite according to a schedule coordinated with their supervisors and approved by MEC administration. The most urgent and critical experiments should be prioritized, such as research that is time-sensitive because of:

  • Seasonality;
  • Approaching deadline (e.g., contract, grant deadline/ending, article resubmission, etc.);
  • Externally funded research;
  • Planning for phasing-in of research not included in Stage 2.

Ideally, research should be carried out alone with minimal interaction with others. Laboratory bench assignments for researchers should be as physically as distant as possible. All researchers should continue to work remotely for tasks suitable for remote work.

Core facilities will be open to MEC users according to occupancy and usage restrictions. External users may mail samples for analysis or utilize a sample drop-off point for core facility staff to load samples for automated sampling, remote processing, and perform experiments on the users’ behalf if appropriate and schedule permits. Users external to MEC are not allowed to carry out research activities onsite during Stage 2 unless preauthorized by MEC administration.

The Core Facility Manager must coordinate access to the facility. Occupancy limits of core facilities follow laboratory occupancy limits. A minimum of one hour of unused time should be scheduled between users to ensure no overlap of users and allow time for any completed cleaning requirements. Doors must remain closed. No new user onboarding or training sessions may take place. Core facility staff and users should continue to work remotely during this period for all tasks suitable for remote work.

Administrative staff should continue to work remotely unless a job-related essential task must be completed onsite. If so, supervisory approval must be obtained, and the plan/schedule reported to Public Safety.

Visitors are not permitted during Stage 2. Engineers or vendors required onsite for critical maintenance of instrumentation or equipment are allowed by appointment only. (See the section “Operational Considerations Involving Campus Visitors” for more information.)

Stage 3 (Up to 50% onsite capacity)
It begins with a decreased risk of infection associated with the New York City region’s Phase 2 reopening, a minimum of two weeks at Stage 2, and following additional New York State, New York City, and CUNY reopening benchmarks.

  • Building: Approximately 26 to 50% occupancy;
  • Open-plan laboratory: Three researchers per bench cluster;
  • Interior laboratory rooms: One researcher;
  • Open-plan office: Three people per four desks, with at least six feet of distance from another occupied cubical;
  • Shared, closed-door office.

The College will operate fully online with all courses for fall 2020 taught in an asynchronous mode, except for some Math courses, which is synchronous, and the Nursing program, which is operating in a hybrid format. MEC will operate in the spring 2021 and future semesters similar to fall 2020, though likely with more synchronous classes and similar lab and Nursing hybrid modalities. The College will continue to administer its laptop loan program and provide short-term technology access for faculty and students.

To limit interaction, all space usage will be subject to time limits and staggered schedules.

Research activity onsite can increase. Bench assignments should remain as physically as distant as possible. All researchers must continue to be scheduled by their supervisor per scheduling guidance and work remotely for all tasks suitable for remote work.

Core facilities may begin accepting existing users external to MEC to carry out research activities onsite. MEC users and urgent and critical experiments with strategic partners should be prioritized, given the capacity and occupancy restrictions. Doors must remain closed. A minimum of one hour of unused time should be scheduled between users to ensure no overlap of users and allow time for any completed cleaning requirements. No new user onboarding or training sessions may take place.

Administrative staff can return onsite for functions that cannot be performed remotely. Schedules must be coordinated with the supervisor in advance, except in cases of emergency. All staff, researchers, and users should continue to work remotely for tasks suitable for remote working.

Stage 4 (Up to 100% onsite capacity)
Stage 4 represents a return to business as “normal” with full operations and building occupancy up to 100%. This will only be triggered once there is broad access to an effective vaccine, mass immunity confirmed by antibody testing, robust, effective, and widely available treatment for COVID-19, and by directive of the New York State Governor, New York City Mayor, CUNY Chancellor, and Medgar Evers College President.

E. Communications Plan
Executive Director of Communication and Government Relations Jennifer James, along with the Communications Sub-Committee, is responsible for communicating COVID-19 information to the College community and CUNY. Many faculty, students, and staff are wary of returning to campus, given what has transpired over the last several months. Early and frequent communication of the College’s intentions would allow the community time to process the information about the steps the College has taken to ensure a safe return to campus and would alleviate some fears and anxiety. The communications plan includes the following:

  • Regular email messages will be sent to students, faculty, and staff to inform them of changes to building operations and update them on new procedures and requirements. Messages would reinforce that changes are being made in the community’s best interest and to keep everyone safe and healthy. Details would be explained clearly and simply;
  • In addition to email messages, social media platforms will be used to disseminate consistent information and messaging (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.);
  • On-campus communications platforms (electronic screens located in the Bedford Building, screen savers on lab computers, and posters and signs located throughout campus buildings) will present the same information clearly and consistently;
  • Text messages to students will be sent using EAB’s mobile app;
  • Once the Reopening Plan is approved, it will be posted on MEC’s homepage and on the dedicated COVID-19 resource pages for faculty, students, and staff. These pages will also include links to the New York State’s Interim Guidance during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • Additional email messages will be sent to local community groups and alumni to keep them engaged and updated.

III. PROCESSES

A. Screening and Testing

Returning to Campus
No one is allowed on campus except for essential personnel, faculty, and students for in-person classes or those whose supervisor has obtained prior approval from the Campus COVID-19 Coordinator. If permission has not granted, access will be denied. (See Appendix B: Guide for Returning to Work for all faculty, staff, and students.)

If an employee is allowed on campus, s/he must meet these requirements:

  • Complete the mandatory New York State COVID-19 Return to Work Training and Attestation. This is a one-time requirement, and the training session is available on Blackboard. This must be completed in advance of arriving on campus. Taking training sessions does not grant access to campus. Employees must have the permission of his/her supervisor and SVP Clark to gain entry.
  • All employees reporting to work on campus will be required to complete a daily health screening via the Everbridge app. Employees who are physically reporting to work must complete the screening within 60 minutes before reporting to campus for the start of their workday. If an employee answers “no” to all five questions on the screening tool, s/he will be allowed on campus. If an employee answers “yes” to any of the five questions, s/he will not be permitted on campus. An email will be sent to the Campus Coronavirus Liaison and Human Resources. The employee’s supervisor will not see responses to the individual questions.
  • All students will be required to complete daily screenings via the Everbridge app as well. If a student answers “no” to all five questions on the screening tool, s/he will be allowed to be on campus. If a student answers “yes” to any of the five questions, s/he should immediately contact Student Health Services. The student will not be allowed on campus. An email will be sent to the Campus Coronavirus Liaison.
  • All individuals must wear masks or face coverings for entry into all buildings.

Health Screening (See Appendix D: Health Screening)
All faculty, staff, students and visitors are required to complete a remote health self-screening survey as a daily pre-requisite before being admitted in campus buildings. Only those who received a green token will be permitted to enter a building. Individuals receiving a red token will not be allowed to enter. The College has developed an alternate security-gate protocol for personnel who cannot complete a remote screening prior to arrival. Personnel involved with screening activities are being trained by the Office of Environmental Health and Safety on CDC, DOH, and OSHA protocols. Personnel screening protocols may change dependent upon guidance received from CUNY.

Individuals must not report to any of the buildings on campus or leased space if any of the following conditions occur:

  • Individuals who are experiencing (even mild) symptoms of a respiratory infection or other COVID-19-related symptoms;
  • Employees who experience these symptoms should immediately contact their physicians and use their allotted sick leave to self-quarantine;
  • Individuals must not return to campus until they are symptom-free for at least 72 hours;
  • Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 14 days; and
  • Individuals who have had known contact with any person(s) suspected of having, under investigation for, or who has a confirmed active case of COVID-19 within the last 14 days.

In addition:

  • All researchers working in labs with chemicals must hold a valid C-14 certification while building occupancy is limited;
  • Entry into Academic Building 1 must be via the Bedford Avenue (east entrance) and not the parking lot (west entrance);
  • Individuals must show the Public Safety officer confirmation of the daily health screening survey on their telephone or completed onsite;
  • Should an individual develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19, test positive, or have been exposed to someone suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, s/he will be required to provide details of any significant contact with others while on campus.

Temperature Screening

  • Forehead thermometers (non-touch) will be available throughout the building should anyone wish to check his/her temperature. Trained Public Safety officers will conduct temperature screenings at the Public Safety desk in each building as individuals enter the building. If an individual has a fever, s/he must notify his/her supervisor and then leave the MEC campus as soon as possible. If required, MEC will coordinate transportation and/or provide an N95 mask;
  • An individual’s temperature will be taken before entering any MEC building. If his/her temperature is equal to or higher than 100.0°F, s/he will not be allowed on campus and sent home. If this occurs, s/he must notify the Office of Human Resources and his/her supervisor immediately.

If an employee has been directly exposed, exhibits symptoms, or tests positive for COVID-19, s/he should not come to campus for 14 days, per CDC guidelines. S/he should do the following:

  • Contact his/her supervisor and make plans to leave campus immediately;
  • Ensure that his/her contact information is up-to-date with the Office of Human Resources;
  • Inform his/her supervisor of the places s/he has visited and the co-worker(s) s/he has been in contact within the past 48 hours on campus;
  • The supervisor shall maintain employee confidentiality, except when requested by a public health official, Health Services, Public Safety, or senior administration, who shall also maintain employee confidentiality;
  • Avoid using public transportation where possible. Use a private vehicle or travel with family or friends; and
  • Continue to wear masks and practice physical and social distancing at all times once s/he returns to campus.

Testing
The College does not have the ability to perform COVID-19 infection or antibody testing. MEC community members are encouraged to obtain free COVID-19 infection testing provided through New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The Campus Coronavirus Liaison will provide individuals with information regarding testing site locations found here.

Tracing
The Campus Coronavirus Liaison will follow-up with individuals reporting symptoms, risk factors, or positive tests with information on healthcare and testing resources. The Liaison reviews health screening data, campus access logs, and other data to confirm the following information and assist state and local health officials with tracing, if possible:

  • When was the individual last on campus?
  • Where—building, room(s), route—was s/he, and for what period of time was s/he in the building?
  • When did s/he first develop symptoms?
  • What common areas within the building and on the premises did s/he visit? What meetings did s/he attend?
  • What individuals were in recent, close contact with him/her (e.g., within six feet for more than 10 minutes)?

More information about New York State Contact Tracing can be found here. Positive screening and testing results and related data, including vulnerable medical conditions, are treated as confidential and are kept separate from an employee’s personnel files. The Campus Coronavirus Liaison will follow up with individuals who screen positive for COVID-19 symptoms and will provide the individual with healthcare and testing resources. Employee screening is implemented on a non-discriminatory basis, and all information is treated as confidential medical information. The identity of any employee exhibiting a fever or other COVID-19 symptoms is shared only with members of College’s administration who have a true need to know. Supervisors and deans/advisors will only receive information on whether the screening was completed and/or whether the employee was not granted access to campus. Individual answers are not accessible.

Tracking
In the event of a confirmed or presumed COVID-19 case on campus, faculty, staff, and researchers must fill out MEC’s COVID-19 Case Form to assist with contact tracing and decontamination. Submissions of this form are treated as confidential. MEC’s administration uses the information submitted to trace contacts and alert them to possible COVID-19 exposure. This information is also used to identify spaces that must be restricted and undergo applicable cleaning and disinfection. Summary information will be provided to the MEC community.

Conclusion
The members of the Medgar Evers College Campus Reopening Task Force Committee worked tirelessly to develop these protocols for managing the College’s Reopening Plan. It is the consensus of the team that by implementing these recommendations, the College has a sustainable plan that effectively serves both the academic and administrative needs of the College.

With the administration’s full execution of this plan, the College’s reopening should be seamless. It is critical to acknowledge that with the uncertainties surrounding COVID-19, this plan is aggressive and calls for the monitoring of the College’s entire population to contain and minimize the virus’s possible spread.

Though the Plan is reliable and can serve the College’s needs, the final direction and implementation are contingent on CUNY’s acceptance and approval. The College will make any adjustments CUNY deems necessary to fulfill its mission and teaching objectives.

Special acknowledgment and appreciation to our Campus Reopening Task Force Committee members:

Academic Support Services
Michael Dreher (Chair)
Micah Crump
Chi Koon
Sikiru Fadairo
Colin Smith (Student)

Advisement / Registration / Financial Aid
Evelyn Castro
Deborah Charles (Chair)
Norma Goodman
Johnathon Hardaway
Bejee Glasse
Daniel J. St. Vincent (Student)

Course and Curricula Development
Moses Phillips (Chair)
Alicia Reid
David Ahn
Chiyedza Small
Brittany Lugo (Student)

Educational and Emerging Technologies
Xavier Barreto (Chair)
Hollie Jones
Steve Wymore
Ian Joseph
Kenneth Lee (Student)

Communications
Rebecca Fraley-Corrado (Chair)
Giulia Prestia
Sheilah Paul
Shakima Scott
Brooke Smith (Student)

Health and Safety
Shirley Daniels (Chair)
Clinton Crawford
Mohamed Bangura
Althea Willie
Jerry Hoffman
Tanya E. Isaacs
Sasha Duncan (Student)

Social / Emotional Support Services
David Orenstein (Chair)
Chetara Murphy
Alexis McLean
Makeba Pinder
Tricia Bartholomew (Student)

Tools and Resources

Email Addresses for Departments
Cougar Country Food Pantry The Medgar Evers College Cougar Country Food Pantry offers nutritionally balanced, non-perishable food items to students who are enrolled at the College and who are experiencing or facing food insecurity. Interested students must be enrolled for Spring 2020 semester and must present their class schedule to access the pantry. For more information about how to sign up, email transitionacademy@mec.cuny.edu. Charles Evans Inniss Memorial Library The Library offers virtual chat reference services. Visit www.mec.cuny.edu/library and click “Chat with a Librarian.” Chat is available during the following times:
  • Monday to Thursday, 9:00am to 11:00pm
  • Friday, 9:00am to 6:00pm
  • Saturday and Sunday, 10:00am to 6:00pm
The Learning Center Students can now access The Learning Center remotely. The Learning Center conducts tutoring using Google Duo, which is a simple video calling app that brings you face-to-face with your tutor. After reviewing the tutoring schedule below, reserve your spot by emailing the designated tutor. Be sure to include the following:
  • Your first and last names
  • Your 8-digit EMPL ID number
  • The relevant course name and course number
  • The time and day you desire tutoring
Tutors are available at the following times: The Writing Center The Writing Center is now available remotely on from Monday through Friday, from 10:00am to 5:00pm. Students can send an email to writingcenter@mec.cuny.edu. Your email must include the following:
  • Your first and last names
  • Your 8-digit EMPL ID number
  • Your work attached in a Microsoft Word doc format with detailed assignment instructions from your professor
Please remember that the Writing Center is not an editing service; tutors send comments on ways to improve your body of work.
Spectrum and Comcast offer free internet and phone service access to New Yorkers. AT&T is offering relief for users that may have difficulty paying their bill.

SPECTRUM will offer free broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription and at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To enroll, call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households. Spectrum has also pledged to open its Wi-Fi hot spots for public use.

COMCAST will provide new, low-income customers complimentary internet service for 60 days. To sign up, visit www.internetessentials.com. The accessible website also includes the option to video chat with customer service agents in American Sign Language. There are two dedicated phone numbers: 1-855-846-8376 for English and 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.

AT&T will keep public Wi-Fi hotspots open. For AT&T customers that may be in financial difficulty, call 1-800-288-2020 for AT&T broadband, residential wireless, or small business services. Dial 611 from your AT&T device for wireless.
You can install the following apps and software on your device from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.
Apps and Software for Dyslexic Learners
  • DD’s Dictionary: A Dyslexic Dictionary
  • Dyseggxia
  • Dyslexia Quest
  • Happy Math Multiplication Rhymes
  • Phonics with Phonogram
  • ReadToMe 2
  • ReadToMe 2 Lite
  • Rhymes
  • SoundsLiteracy
  • What is Dyslexia
Apps and Software for Autistic Learners
  • Autism DDT Letters
  • Autism iHelp – Comprehension
  • See. Touch. Learn.
  • Sequences for Autism
  • Sight Words – Record and Read
  • Speech With Milo
  • Verbal Me
  • Words on Wheels
Apps and Software for the Visually Impaired
  • Accessnote
  • Be My Eyes – Helping Blind See
  • Color Identify
  • Dragon Dictation
  • Light Detector
  • Saytext
  • Talking Calculator
  • Taptapsee
  • Visual Brailler
This is not intended to serve as endorsement of any particular service and is for informational purposes only. Medgar Evers College/CUNY operates independently of all the following companies and is not liable for their policies or practices.