The University of Northern Iowa is responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19, is highly infectious and can spread from person to person, including through aerosol transmission of particles produced when an infected person exhales, talks, vocalizes, sneezes, or coughs. To help protect its employees, the University of Northern Iowa has implemented the multi-layered interventions outlined in this safety program.
All university employees are encouraged to stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines. COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting people—especially those who are up to date— from getting seriously ill, being hospitalized, and even dying. To find a COVID-19 vaccine or booster employees can: search vaccines.gov, text their ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233.
Isolation and Quarantine
All university employees are expected to follow quarantine and isolation guidance from the CDC or their personal healthcare provider. Employees should not report to campus or a university owned/leased worksite when they are sick or are in quarantine. Employees looking for an online COVID-19 symptom checker are encouraged to utilize the CDC’s Coronavirus Self-Checker. Individuals who appear to have symptoms upon arrival to the workplace or who become sick during their time in the workplace should immediately be separated from other employees, students, and visitors, and sent home.
For information about leaves, employees can view the Faculty & Staff FAQ and COVID-19 Temporary Leave Flowchart.
Recording and Reporting
If an employee believes they contracted COVID-19 in the workplace, or through work activities, they should complete a First Report of Injury through Human Resource Services. EHS will ensure Iowa OSHA’s recording and reporting requirements are met.
Anxiety or Uncertainty
Employees may use their employee assistance program (EAP) benefits to help manage any anxiety or any uncertainty they are experiencing related to COVID-19. To access EAP employees should call 1-855-784-2057. Additional information can be found on the HRS Supporting Services web page and from the CDC.
In general, CDC recommends people who are not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines continue to practice physical distancing, especially if they are at higher risk of getting very sick with COVID-19.
Employees seeking information about the university’s ability to arrange alternate work schedules, job assignments, and teleworking should visit the Human Resource Services section of the Faculty & Staff FAQ on the Forward Together site. Employees who have a concern related to a medical condition should visit HRS Workplace Accommodations Services to initiate the interactive process in accordance with the ADA.
The university will continue to provide masks to employees who request them at no cost.
The university supports the voluntary use of respirators when not required if an employee has a safety concern. Employees seeking to voluntarily use a respirator should review the university’s COVID-19 Guide for Employees Using Respirators When Not Required. Free N-95 respirators for voluntary use can be found on the CDC’s page.
Hand Washing and Respiratory Etiquette
The university will continue to promote behaviors such as hand washing and respiratory etiquette to reduce the spread of infectious illnesses including COVID-19.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
Custodial teams will continue to clean and disinfect in accordance with CDC Guidelines. Employees should take responsibility to keep their personal workspace clean.
The university will continue to follow CDC guidance related ventilation.
Education and Training
New employees are encouraged to complete UNI’s Slow the Spread Training which covers:
- Basic facts about COVID-19, including how it is spread and the importance of physical distancing (including remote work), ventilation, vaccination, use of face coverings, and hand hygiene.
- Workplace policies and procedures implemented to protect workers from COVID-19 hazards.
Employee Concerns about COVID-19 Related Hazards
Employees with COVID-19 related concerns can speak with their supervisor, their respective safety committee, Joseph Rayzor (University Safety Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org / 273-3189), or utilize UNI Ethics Point for confidential reporting. University policy prohibits acts of retaliation against an individual who reports workplace safety and health concerns at the University of Northern Iowa.
Other Applicable OSHA Standards & University Safety Programs
All of Iowa OSHA's standards and the university’s safety programs that apply to protecting workers from infection remain in place.
Reviewed by EHS 7/28/2022