Update: Governor’s Phase 1 Plan to Reopen Florida

This message to all faculty and staff has been approved by Renisha Gibbs, Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Finance & Administration Chief of Staff.

On April 29, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-112 and unveiled the first step of a phased approach to re-opening the state. Phase 1 became effective May 4, 2020. If local governments allow, restaurants and retail businesses are allowed to operate at 25% capacity, and hospitals will reinstate elective procedures with the exception of Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. Schools will continue with distance learning for the remainder of the school year throughout the state. High-risk individuals are encouraged to continue to shelter in place.

Effective today, employees who would like to return to campus to work or who have been unable to perform their work remotely, may return (based on the availability of work) with supervisory approval. Although on-campus operations remain restricted, departments may allow employees to return to their work location as long as no more than 25% of staff are present at one time. Employees who are able to work remotely may continue to do so. It is still strongly encouraged that employees who do return to campus continue to practice social distancing. Faculty will continue to hold classes online through Summer C. The amount of people present on campus will be restricted to 25% to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Deans, Directors, and Department Heads, in conjunction with managers and supervisors, are responsible for coordinating work schedules and ensuring that no more than 25% of staff are present in each location. We anticipate this status will remain in effect through May 29, 2020. Should more information become available before then, updated guidance will be provided accordingly.

Instructions regarding the resumption of on-campus research activities, to include the limited return of staff beginning on May 6, will be provided by Vice President Ostrander during the 7th Research Continuity Zoom Meeting today at 1:30 p.m.

Exemptions for Returning to Campus
Individuals who have recently traveled outside of the Tallahassee area should not return to campus until they have been COVID-19 symptom free at their normal place of residence for 14 days. Individuals who have experienced COVID-19 symptoms within the last two weeks should not return to their work location until they have been symptom free for 14 days. Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

Remote Work Employees
The majority of University business functions will still be performed remotely. Employees are not prohibited from coming to campus and may report to work to perform their job duties with supervisory approval. Employees who are able to perform their duties from a remote location should continue to do so. Since Leon County Schools will remain closed until the end of the school year, employees may continue to care for minor children while working from home. However, minor children are not permitted on campus.

Social Distancing
Employees who report to campus should continue to practice the CDC Guidelines for Social Distancing. Flexible or rotating schedules for on-campus employees are appropriate to reduce the amount of people sharing physical space. Continue to refrain from conducting in-person meetings with groups of people. In accordance with the Governor’s recommendations, employees are encouraged to wear a cloth face covering when able, especially in situations where social distancing may be difficult.

High-Risk Employees
Special consideration should be given to employees who are 65 and older, and/or have underlying health issues that may increase the severity of infection should they contract COVID-19. The Governor advised that high-risk individuals stay home if they are able, avoid crowds, and practice social distancing when they have to be out. For high-risk employees that do not want to report to campus and are also unable to perform their duties remotely, we ask that supervisors consider approving sick or annual leave, unless operational functions would be severely impacted. Consult with Human Resources for additional guidance.

Administrative Leave
Employees who have been unable to perform their work remotely can come to campus based on the availability of work. April 30, 2020, was the last day for eligible employees to receive Administrative Leave. These employees must report to campus to perform their job duties or work with their supervisor and Department Head to arrange a flexible schedule.

Building Safety
Due to a reduced number of faculty, staff, and students present, facilities staff who provide the usual cleaning and sanitation services also have a limited presence on campus. As a result, we cannot guarantee that facilities will be maintained on a daily basis in a manner that meets with best practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, buildings will remain locked and require card access for entry. Visitors are not permitted while on-campus operations are restricted.

Preparing for Phase 2
An announcement that Florida has advanced to Phase 2 will not automatically trigger a move to Phase 2 by the University. Once Phase 2 is announced, the University will review the plan and continue to assess the COVID-19 situation to determine if further guidance should be issued at that time. We anticipate requiring an in-person presence for all departments beginning in Phase 2. Departments should begin preparing for Phase 2 by developing a plan and schedule for employees to physically return with no more than 50% on campus at any given time.

Departments should develop rotating schedules for staff. Examples include:

  • Departments may alternate their presence in the department on a daily or half-day basis.
  • Departments may rotate on-campus presence weekly.
  • Departments may allow employees to come to their work location as needed to perform their job duties by checking in with the supervisor first to ensure a reduced footprint is maintained.

Please continue to check the University’s Coronavirus Updates page and the Office of Human Resources’ COVID-19 Resources page, as well as Executive Order 20-112 FAQs page.