FAQs for Faculty and Staff

Return to Work

Will everyone be allowed to return to work on campus?

Prior to working on campus, employees are expected to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and may work on campus if:

  • The employee has not, within the past two weeks, been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is not currently experiencing any of the COVID-19 symptoms as outlined by MDH.
  • The employee is not a person under investigation for COVID-19 exposure, under quarantine or in isolation as ordered by a health authority.
  • No member(s) of the employee’s household has within the past two weeks been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Will employees be required to conduct daily health screening?

Prior to coming to work for each shift, employees are expected to self-check their temperature at home, if possible. In addition, employees should self-monitor daily for COVID symptoms.

The CSB/SJU Director of Environmental Health & Safety (DEHS), Ganard Orionzi, will provide guidance to supervisors where additional screenings are advised based upon an employee’s job responsibilities. Please refer to the following link for screening information from MDH: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/facilityhlthscreen.pdf

How will social distancing be implemented on campus?

Social distancing will be implemented through numerous controls. Supervisors are asked to consider the following in department planning for return-to-work. This list is not all-inclusive, and each supervisor and work team is encouraged to examine all departmental practices in implementing social distancing, including:

  • Establish flexible work shifts and staggered schedules to reduce the number of people in the work area at the same time and entering/leaving work together.
  • Allow employees, especially those in high-risk categories, who can perform their work remote to continue to do so. Consider alternating remote days with days in the office.
  • Conduct meetings with colleagues and students electronically, whenever possible, including faculty office hours.
  • Keep group gatherings to recommended limits with appropriate physical distancing and use of masks/face coverings. Also avoid small group gatherings in confined spaces and when using elevators.
  • Avoid group gatherings in break/lunchrooms and replace re-useable kitchen items with single-use options.
  • Limit visitors coming to campus for required business reasons and maintain social distance when visiting.
  • Adjust workstations and traffic patterns in work/public areas to provide for physical distancing to be greater than 6 ft apart.
  • Remove high-touch items such as publications, shared pens, etc.
  • Work with Facilities to obtain disinfecting supplies for cleaning personal workspaces (keyboards, phones, countertops, etc.). Avoid sharing workspaces and equipment between colleagues.

Further information on social distancing may be found here:



Employees who have concerns about their ability to social distance effectively while completing job responsibilities are asked to consult with their supervisor or Human Resources.

Will I be required to wear a mask while working on campus?

Yes, a mask or face covering is required, other than when working alone in a private office, including when:

  • entering/exiting and moving around campus buildings
  • in classrooms and labs
  • in public and communal spaces
  • standing in line for and riding the LINK bus
  • in any social interaction where physical distancing of at least 6 ft. cannot be consistently maintained

The mask should cover your nose and mouth. All employees will be provided with a CSB/SJU mask, and CSB and SJU Facilities will provide departments will a small back-up supply of disposable masks.

All employees are required to maintain and clean their mask per CDC recommendations. For information on design, use, removal, and cleaning of face coverings, visit:

An employee who is unable to wear a face-covering or must wear a mask with exhalation valves for health reasons should make an accommodation request to Human Resources via the Employee Accommodation Request Form.

What other safety precautions should be considered when working on campus?

Employees are instructed to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water frequently throughout the day, but especially at the beginning and end of work shifts, prior to meals and after using the restroom. Hand sanitizers are supplied in the entrances of most buildings and in high traffic areas. Additional guidance may be found at the following links:




Employees are expected to cover their mouth and nose with their sleeve or a tissue when coughing or sneezing and to avoid touching their face, particularly mouth, nose and eyes, with their hands. Dispose of tissues in the trash, and wash or sanitize hands immediately afterward. Respiratory etiquette will be demonstrated on posters throughout campus. Additional guidance may be found at the following links:



Employees working with vendors, guest speakers and inviting visitors to campus are to advise the parties of campus safety expectations when dropping off/picking up materials, completing repairs, doing presentations, visiting, etc. which minimally include wearing a mask/face covering, respecting social distancing, handwashing and respiratory etiquette.

What should I do if I experience COVID-19 symptoms after returning to work on campus?

If you experience symptoms prior to reporting to work, you should:

  • Stay home
  • Notify your supervisor* of the type and onset of symptoms.
  • Contact your medical provider for guidance and follow-up with the supervisor regarding workability status. An employee without a medical provider is encouraged to seek guidance through phone triage with a registered nurse. A local resource is CentraCare Connect at 320-200-3200.

If you experience symptoms while at CSB/SJU, you should:

  • Notify your supervisor* of the type and onset of symptoms.
  • Go home as soon as possible, wear a mask/face covering, and self-isolate from others until leaving campus.
  • Contact your medical provider for guidance and follow-up with the supervisor regarding workability status. An employee without a medical provider is encouraged to seek guidance through phone triage with a registered nurse. A local resource is CentraCare Connect at 320-200-3200.
What should I do if I’ve been exposed to someone with COVID symptoms?

If you a or member of your household has been notified of potential exposure, you must notify your supervisor, self-monitor and follow the instructions provided upon notification.

If a member of your household has COVID symptoms, you must stay home and self-monitor until the family member has been evaluated by a medical provider and given further guidance regarding the symptoms. You should keep your supervisor informed of the status.

What are the leave policies if I’m unable to work due to having COVID-19 symptoms or having been exposed to COVID-19?

CSB and SJU Faculty and Staff handbook policies on sick leave and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) will be followed for an employee’s illness, for an employee providing care for an ill family member as defined by these policies, and when an employee is required by a healthcare provider to isolate or quarantine.

Leave options when unable to work due to experiencing COVID symptoms: An employee in a benefit eligible appointment status may utilize accrued sick leave, vacation (if sick leave is not available) or unpaid leave if unable to work.

Leave option when unable to work due to exposure: An employee in a benefit eligible appointment status may utilize Special COVID Leave, available through March 2021 (date subject to change).

CSB/SJU is offering additional leave at this time for benefit-eligible employees required to stay home from work to self-isolate or quarantine for 1) a positive test when asymptomatic, and 2) for the conditions noted in scenarios 3&4, when an employee is not ill or experiencing symptoms and is unable to do his/her job remotely. Documentation of the status is required (e.g. notice of potential exposure and/or guidance from a health authority).

An employee may request up to 80 hours of paid COVID leave via the Employee COVID Leave Request form. COVID leave will not be deducted from an employee’s sick or vacation leave accrual or affect eligible leave hours for a qualified Family Medical Leave.

Should a second occurrence of isolation/quarantine be necessary and 80 hours COVID leave has been taken, an employee may use accrued sick or vacation leave or take unpaid leave.

Where can I find information and guidelines on quarantine and isolation?

Refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for detailed scenarios and suggested action steps related to quarantine and isolation.

What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19?

Stay home per guidance from your medical provider and until meeting the following CDC clearance criteria:

  • 10 days since symptoms first appeared and
  • At least 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever reducing medication and
  • Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving**Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months and need not delay the end of isolation.​

See: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/end-home-isolation.html

Notify your supervisor and complete the following Employee COVID-19 Positive Test Report submitted to Human Resources.

Supervisors may inform co-workers, as needed, that a colleague is out ill or out-of-the office. No other details or personal health information should be shared without the employee’s permission.

If there is a confirmed positive COVID case reported, the DEHS will coordinate with Facilities personnel for the cleaning and disinfecting of the individual’s work/residential space.

What should I do if a student employee in my area tests positive for COVID-19?

Direct the student to self-isolate and contact campus Health Services for guidance.

See: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/end-home-isolation.html

Notify Angie Mareck, Director of Student Employment. Supervisors may inform co-workers, as needed, that a student employee is out ill or out-of-the office. No other details or personal health information should be shared without the employee’s permission.

If there is a confirmed positive COVID case reported, the DEHS will coordinate with Facilities personnel for the cleaning and disinfecting of the individual’s work/residential space.

What should I do if I need an accommodation to perform my job because I am at higher risk for severe illness due to COVID?

Per CDC information (as of December 2020), the risk for severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age. The greatest risk for severe illness from COVID-19 is among those aged 85 or older. Individuals of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk, including:

  • Cancer
  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Down Syndrome
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system )from solid organ transplant medications
  • Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
  • Severe obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2)
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Smoking
  • Type 2 Diabetes mellitus

In addition, CDC information notes individuals with the following conditions might be at increased risk:

  • Asthma (moderate to severe)
  • Cerebrovasular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
  • Neurologic conditions, such as dementia
  • Liver disease
  • Overweight (BMI > 25 kg/m2, but < 30 kg/m2)
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
  • Smoking
  • Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)
  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus

Employees may request an accommodation via this form Employee Accommodation Request Form submitted to Human Resources. Medical certification may be required regarding the condition and workability status. Human Resources, in consultation with the employee’s supervisor and/or divisional leader, will review an employee’s request, discuss needs with the employee, and determine if a reasonable accommodation can be made.

Is an accommodation available for caregiving responsibilities?

Employees with caregiver responsibilities for an ill family member incapable of self-care or for a household member required to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19 may request an accommodation using the form noted above. Absences from work for care responsibilities for an ill family member will be managed in accordance with our sick leave and family medical leave policies.

Additional needs of employees with a household member in a high-risk category or other circumstances will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. If an employee is unable to perform position responsibilities with a reasonable accommodation, the employee’s position, FTE, and/or employment status may be affected.

Will there be travel restrictions during the academic year?

Non-essential business travel is not advised until further notice.

For required college/university travel:

  • Domestic - Employees are required to submit a travel itinerary form Employee Travel Form prior to travel and to follow recommendations regarding a domestic travel alert. Increased daily symptom monitoring may be necessary following travel.
  • International – Employees will be required to submit a travel itinerary form Employee Travel Form prior to travel. Per current CDC guidelines, anyone traveling internationally will be required to quarantine for 14 days prior to returning to campus.

Employees who travel internationally for personal reasons will need supervisor approval to work from home during the required quarantine period following travel. If unable or not approved to work from home, the employee will be required to use accrued vacation or unpaid leave.


Block Schedule with Hybrid Learning

The academic plan for 2020-21 is a block schedule with hybrid learning. What is a block schedule with hybrid learning and how will it be implemented?

A block schedule allows students to complete four, four-credit classes in a semester. However, unlike a typical system in which students take the four classes simultaneously, in a block schedule, students take one course at a time. Each block is approximately four weeks long.

Four-credit classes will be offered three hours each day, four days per week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday). There will be no regular classes on Wednesdays, which ensures classes are a reasonable length, to minimize exposure and travel on campuses and allow for deep cleaning of classrooms. Individual classes will be scheduled on campus in the morning or afternoon. Thus, there will be a maximum of two classes in a classroom during each block.

As an example, a first-year student might take the following schedule in fall 2020:

  • Block 1: Learning Foundations (4 credits)
  • Block 2: Spanish (4 credits)
  • Block 3: Biology plus lab (4 credits)
  • Block 4: History (4 credits)

The student might also enroll in a music ensemble for .25 credits a block and INTG 105 for .25 credits a block, both of which would continue throughout the semester.

The block schedule allows time for co-curricular activities and athletics throughout the semester.

*Note: There will be some 1- and 2-credit courses, some labs, and potentially some music ensembles on Wednesdays. More information will be coming.

If you have questions or comments regarding the block schedule with hybrid learning, please submit this form.

Why did we decide to move to a block schedule?

Based on the uncertainty, and safety requirements, that COVID-19 demands, we could not maintain our current academic schedule in the safest way possible. We needed a more flexible schedule that allows for safety protocols and flexibility. This resulted in the development of the block schedule, where students take one course at a time for 3.5 weeks. Students complete four blocks in a semester and will therefore complete a similar number of courses as they would in a typical semester. However, if COVID-19 disrupts or impacts our campuses, hybrid learning allows for us to move to all online learning swiftly and with minimal disruption.

How will the block schedule accommodate hands-on classroom experiences such as fine arts performances and labs?

Colleges using the block system offer vital elements of a liberal arts education, such as music ensembles, music lessons, studio classes, and laboratories. For example, laboratory courses typically have classes in the morning and labs a few afternoons per week. Music ensemble schedules will not conflict with course schedules.

Is the block schedule common at other colleges and universities?

Colorado College and Cornell College, both liberal arts colleges, offer a block system. The CSB/SJU planning team connected with Colorado College and Cornell College to understand challenges and to request advice and support on the best way to run language courses, laboratory courses, art courses, and first-year courses on a block schedule.


Teaching Within the Block Schedule with Hybrid Learning

How can we practice social distancing in classrooms that are typically close to full, if not overfilled?

The block schedule with hybrid learning will provide us with the ability to accommodate virtual and in-person attendance, and it will allow for safe class sizes.

How will a block schedule work with exams and testing?

The final exam time will be included in the course at the end of the block. With a few exceptions, (such as the first year INTG 105 course) students must complete all coursework within the assigned block. Grades will be reported to students at the end of the block on Canvas and will be finalized, via the registrar, at the end of the semester.

What we will do for courses that are not suited for a 3.5-week, three-hour class? Could we possibly treat language classes more like music ensembles than, say, a philosophy class?

The block schedule might not seem ideal for all types of class, but other colleges have used the block schedule effectively to teach across the curriculum. The planning team will connect with colleagues from Colorado College and Cornell College and request their availability to support departments in their planning.

Completing a capstone in four weeks could present challenges. Could students take .25 credit each block or .5 credit in block 1 and .5 credit in block 4?

The block schedule is clearly better suited for certain types of classes, so we will do our best to work through scheduling challenges for one year. It is possible to spread out some courses, although we want to be selective in doing this, as we do not want to lose the benefits of the block schedule and increase the demand for transportation and classroom usage (and disinfection).

How will the block schedule impact studio art classes?

Given that many studio classes are currently conducted at night to provide extended class periods, they are ideal for the Block schedule. If more studio time is needed, there could be more studio time available when the class isn’t offered, as well as at night and on Wednesdays.

Will the block schedule offer the flexibility to reset a course within a block if it becomes a stay-home block?

Yes, the block schedule offers this flexibility. If a course changes from on campus to online, and adjustments are necessary for only a single class (rather than three).

What does the worst-case scenario teaching/pedagogy look like for the "block" versus the "quickly disrupted” semester?

While we are committed to continuing research on this topic, we have received feedback from students that states it was extremely challenging for students to stay on top of assignments, policies, etc., for four classes simultaneously. Students reported losing motivation. For some students, this lack of structure and increased freedom made it hard for them to work steadily on their assignments, leading to procrastination and rushed effort before deadlines. The block schedule provides structure (because students will likely have things to do for their class at least four days a week) and allows the students to focus on one set of policies and one set of due dates.

What happens if faculty are unable to be on campus due to health issues, and have inadequate internet to support Zoom?

IT Services will continue to work with faculty to provide options and explore best practices.

If we go fully online, would we have the flexibility to teach courses asynchronously?

Yes. We will offer faculty development opportunities on best practices in online teaching. While asynchronous will be an option, based on survey data and the needs of our students, we will ask that faculty regularly reach out to students in a synchronous way.


Student Employment in the Block Schedule

How will the Block Schedule affect student employment?

Student workers are valuable for many reasons. Not only do they support your work but this can also be a rewarding and learning experience for the students. In addition, the majority of students working on campus are doing so to support their work study award. With the transition to the block schedule, we recognize that your needs may change and the structure of student work will change. However, we do want to ensure that students have these opportunities and you have the support you need. In working with the planning group, the following will be important as you work with your student employees this upcoming academic year:

  • Please continue to hire and use student workers. Many students use this employment to support their financial package and are ready and eager to work.
  • Please keep the current student worker schedule and do not plan to have students work only within a single block. Most students can work 10-12 hours/week as part of their work award. We ask that you do not require students to work more than their allotment even though we have transitioned to the block schedule. This may change the nature of the position to some degree, but we want to ensure that students also have time for studying and their coursework.
  • As you identify any necessary changes in student employment and the role that your student will play, please reach out to the student and clarify these changes. There is some anxiety about maintaining their employment positions as changes to the schedule have been announced. If appropriate, please let Angie Mareck know of any changes. 

Faculty Considerations

Block teaching will make it difficult for adjuncts to teach at other institutions. Is there anything we can do for these faculty?

The block schedule allows for some evening courses that may allow adjunct instructors to continue to teach at other institutions.

How will we provide extra flexibility for untenured colleagues who were planning to use the summer to write their files or to engage in their scholarship before review?

The Stop the Clock policy allows any untenured faculty who was impacted by the pandemic to delay their tenure application for a year. During that year, there are no service or scholarship requirements, which may help faculty during this difficult time. The Handbook has been revised to address the issue of collecting student course surveys during a shift to emergency remote teaching. Please consult with the Dean of Faculty if you have questions about the Stop the Clock policy.

How do we make our classes equitable for students who cannot attend in-person because they are immuno-compromised or because of travel or visa issues?

Hybrid learning is built on the foundation of equity among students who are taking the class in person and online; the experience and learning of each group should be the same. In most classes, at least some portion of the students will be learning in an online environment at any one time, so that the instructor must always pay attention to the needs of students learning in the online environment as well as those currently in the classroom. Academic Affairs will be providing training in hybrid pedagogy and technology to ensure a high-quality learning experience regardless of delivery method.


Health, Safety and Family Considerations

Will exceptions be made to allow faculty and staff to continue to work remotely? Who makes the decision?

Part of our plan for a safe return to campus includes the protection of individuals who are in high risk categories. These categories are clearly articulated by the CDC on its website. Employees in these high-risk categories can formally request an accommodation related to their work assignment. Such requests may require medical certification from an employee’s healthcare provider regarding the condition and workability status. Human Resources, in consultation with supervisors or divisional leaders, will review an employee’s request, discuss needs with the employee, and determine if continuing to work remotely or another type of adjustment to the position can be reasonably accommodated. Because we will use hybrid learning, an instructor who could not teach in person would utilize Zoom. Vulnerable or contagious students will also be able to use this technology to take classes from home or from self-isolation or quarantine.

In addition, we believe the block schedule will help protect vulnerable faculty and students. Technology will allow some faculty to do online teaching of on-campus students.

What happens if an employee tests positive for COVID?

The employee must stay home until he/she meets the clearance criteria in accordance with CDC guidelines.

What if an employee has caregiver responsibilities or a family member in a high-risk category?

Employees with caregiver responsibilities for an ill family member incapable of self-care or for a family member required to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19 may request an accommodation. Absences from work for care responsibilities for an ill family member will be managed in accordance with our sick leave and family medical leave policies. Additional needs of employees with family members in a high-risk category will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

What scheduling options or flexibilities will be available for faculty and staff who have family care responsibilities? If we go online, how will we address the possibility of teaching without childcare?

The administration recognizes that both faculty and staff have concerns about family needs, including childcare considerations. Our return-to-work plan presumes K-12 and childcare providers are open in the fall. If K-12 schools cannot open, it is likely that higher education institutions will also be affected, and decisions will be made as necessary to adjust our plan.

While COVID-19 changes our approach to instruction and campus operations, class scheduling will remain primarily in the 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. timeframe. The need for faculty and staff to make personal decisions for family needs in relation to their work schedules and job requirements does not change.

If we are required to leave campus and return to teaching fully online next semester, the block schedule will enable instructors who have special considerations (such as children at home) to move their synchronous classes to more convenient time, and to include asynchronous components if they judge this to be pedagogically appropriate. In addition, faculty members teaching three courses per semester would have one block during which they would have no teaching obligations. Finally, faculty would have only ca. 30 students at one time rather than potentially ca. 90 students. We believe managing three classes at one time is more challenging for parents. Academic Affairs will offer extensive training this summer, which may allow people with small children to work ahead.

Care responsibilities for an ill family member will be managed in accordance with our sick leave and family medical leave policies.

Some faculty and students might have to work online because of health or visa issues. How do we avoid putting them in a position of disclosing these private issues?

Students may have a variety of reasons for choosing or requesting an online format. Given the small classrooms and the need to meet social distancing requirements, it is likely that most classes will need to have some students who live on campus participate in classes online. This should reduce concerns about assumptions toward students who participate virtually. Instructors should not ask why students choose online classes, and sensitivity to the issue will be part of our training over the summer.

Health Information is confidential, and details regarding accommodations for faculty or staff will be handled with discretion, limited to supervisory staff who have a need to know for departmental scheduling.

Will medical costs be covered by worker’s compensation if an employee becomes ill with COVID?

A determination of whether an employee’s illness is compensable under workers compensation is made by the workers compensation provider through investigation of the individual claim.


Other Frequently Asked Questions