Return to Campus Plan 2.0
As we return to normal operations, Midlands Technical College (MTC) COVID-19 protocols have the primary goal of protecting the safety and well-being of the MTC community, the public, and all MTC constituents. In compliance with Executive Orders of the Governor of South Carolina, faculty and staff were required to return to campus on Monday, March 29, 2021.
If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, have been in close contact with someone who recently tested positive for COVID-19, have been asked to quarantine, or have tested positive for COVID-19:
- DO NOT REPORT TO CAMPUS
- Notify your supervisor
- Contact the Assistant HR Director, Nicole Edwards in Human Resource Management (HRM) at 803.822.3500.
Supervisors have a responsibility to immediately direct an employee to go home if the employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. The supervisor is then to notify HRM at 803.822.3500 so that appropriate actions can be initiated timely.
- Return to Campus Plan 2.0
I. GUIDING PRINCIPLES
As we rapidly return to normal operations, Midlands Technical College (MTC) COVID-19 protocols have the primary goal of protecting the safety and well-being of the MTC community, the public and all MTC constituents.
MTC’s plans to quickly return to normal operations are consistent with the Executive Orders of the Governor of South Carolina; directives from the S.C. Department of Administration; and the guidelines and recommendations of our public health authorities, the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Faculty and staff of MTC are required to return to campus on Monday, March 29, 2021. ALL previously approved Telecommuting Agreements are terminated effective March 29.
During this notification period, MTC employees are expected to plan for child care, elder care, or make other arrangements that would enable the employee to return to working on campus according to their work schedule, beginning March 29, 2021.
Those at high risk for severe illness due to COVID-19 may request an accommodation under the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Supporting medical documentation must accompany the accommodation request. If approved, the accommodation will allow those at high risk for severe illness due to COVID-19 to continue working remotely until fully vaccinated. However, the employee must be diligent in scheduling an appointment for the vaccine and must not delay the appointment for a later date in an effort to extend the accommodation.
The return date for those eligible for an accommodation will be consistent with the provisions of the ADA and the directives and intent of the SC Department of Administration. See CDC list of underlying medical conditions that may be eligible for an accommodation.
People are considered fully vaccinated:
- Two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, like the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
- Two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, like Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
To request an accommodation, please contact HRM at 803.822.3500 to obtain a Reasonable Accommodation Certification/Questionnaire. Request for Accommodation must be received in HRM no later than March 15. HRM will provide a written response by March 24. If an employee does not receive written notification of an accommodation, the employee is expected to report to campus on March 29, 2021 for full on-campus work.
III. RETURN TO THE WORKPLACE
Personal prevention practices remain critically important. These measures include getting vaccinated when you are eligible, wearing a mask, staying six feet away from others, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, washing your hands often, covering coughs and sneezes, cleaning and disinfecting, and monitoring your health daily.
Workplace Expectations and Guidelines
All employees are expected to fully comply with the policies, protocols and guidelines outlined in this document. To offer the most protection for yourself and those around you, assume everyone, including yourself, is infected with COVID-19; and strictly adhere to the guidelines to avoid transmission of the virus. Also assume that even those who are fully vaccinated can spread the virus. Failure to comply with the policies and protocols may result in corrective action.
Even after you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions in public places. Precautions include wearing a mask, staying six feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces.
Requirement – Symptom Monitoring
As employees return fully to campus, they are expected to check for symptoms daily for the onset of new symptoms. If symptoms develop, the employee should NOT report to campus but should notify HRM at 803.822.3500. Presently, COVID-19 symptoms include one or more of the following:
- Muscle pain
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
This list is not an all-inclusive list of possible symptoms. Other less common symptoms have been reported, including gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
If you have any symptoms, (1) do not report to campus, (2) notify your supervisor, and (3) contact Human Resource Management (HRM) at 803.822.3500. According to CDC guidelines, you should self-isolate. Once you have reported your symptoms to HRM, do NOT report to campus until you have been advised to do so by a member of the HRM staff.
IV. HEALTH AND SAFETY GUIDANCE – Preventive Personal Safety Practices
Cloth Face Coverings
Appropriate use of face coverings remains critical in minimizing risks to others around you. You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you are not feeling sick as some infected persons never experience symptoms. The face covering is not a substitute for social distancing.
MTC employees are required to wear a face covering when working on campus while in the presence of others and in public settings such as common work spaces, meeting rooms, hallways, classrooms, etc., and when in a private office with the door open.
The face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for health care workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by the CDC. Cloth face coverings and disposable masks are for use in non-health care environments.
Use the Face Covering to Protect Others
- Wear a face covering to protect others in case you’re infected but don’t have symptoms.
- Keep the covering on your face the entire time you’re in public.
- Don’t put the covering around your neck or up on your forehead.
- Don’t touch the face covering, and, if you do, clean your hands.
Wear Your Face Covering Correctly
- Wash your hands before putting on your face covering.
- Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.
- Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face.
- Make sure you can breathe easily.
Take Off the Face Covering Carefully
- Avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth when removing your face covering.
- Untie the strings behind your head or stretch the ear loops.
- Handle only by the ear loops or ties.
- Fold outside corners together.
- Place covering in the washing machine.
- Wash your hands with soap and water.
Maintaining adequate space between you and others is one of the best ways to avoid being exposed to and/or spreading COVID-19. Recent studies suggest that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms. Therefore, social distancing is important for everyone, especially to help protect people who are at higher risk for severe complications related
While in the workplace, employees are expected to adhere to these social distancing practices:
- Stay at least six feet (about two arms’ length) from other people at all times.
- Avoid gathering in groups where social distancing can’t be maintained.
- Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.
- Follow directional and instructional signs.
Supervisors are expected to ensure staff demonstrate self-enforcement of social distancing protocols in all areas. All MTC employees should practice social distancing protocols in common areas and where individuals are likely to interact. Our collective safety must be a team effort.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or touching your face. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash your hands after touching your face.
If you are in a private setting and do not have on your face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. Immediately discard the tissues in the trash and wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; if soap and water are not available, use sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
V. HEALTH AND SAFETY GUIDANCE – Responsive
Employees who feel ill or have symptoms not due to a pre-existing underlying chronic health condition are required to stay home. Supervisors have a responsibility to immediately direct an employee to go home if the employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. The supervisor is then to notify HRM at 803.822.3500 so that appropriate actions can be timely initiated.
Confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 will be managed according to the college’s Exposure Protocol. Actions outlined in the protocol include, when appropriate, coordinating with DHEC to determine course of action and follow-up based upon CDC guidance, coordinating additional cleaning and sanitizing, making appropriate internal notifications to supervisors and/or staff who may have had an exposure, and managing the return to work process.
VI. WORKPLACE SCENARIOS
Use of Restrooms
Use of restrooms should be limited based on size to ensure at least six feet distance between individuals. Wash your hands thoroughly afterward to reduce the potential transmission of
Use of Elevators
Practice social distancing when using the elevator and limit the number of occupants by waiting for the next elevator or use the stairs. If you are using the elevator, wear your mask or face covering and avoid touching the elevator buttons with your exposed hand/fingers, if possible. Wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
We are encouraging virtual meetings where practical and limited travel between campuses. For
in-person meetings with students, faculty, and staff, all protocols (social distancing, with masks, and hand washing/sanitizer available) remain in place.
Non-essential travel of any kind is discouraged; however, an Executive Council member may grant exceptions at his/her discretion.
Use of College Vehicles
Use of college vehicles that must be signed out remains suspended until further notice.
Should you have questions or concerns, please contact your supervisor or
HRM at 803.822.3500 or via email at HRadmin@midlandstech.edu.
- Return to Campus 2.0 - FAQs
1. Does the expectation to return all employees to the campus include those who work in close environments such as cubicles or shared offices?
Yes. It is expected that only those employees who were working remotely before the COVID-19 health emergency for unrelated COVID-19 reasons are to remain teleworking.
2. Does this expectation include employees with medical conditions?
Yes. However, we will follow the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended; the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA); and other federal and state laws. Therefore, if an employee has a disability (e.g., congestive heart failure) that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies as placing the individual at higher risk for severe illness resulting from the COVID-19 virus, we will go through the interactive process to evaluate a request for a temporary reasonable accommodation to work remotely until the employee has had an opportunity to be vaccinated. The CDC provides a list of conditions that place an individual at higher risk of severe illness from the COVID-19 virus.
Those requesting a temporary reasonable accommodation due to higher risk of severe illness from the COVID-19 virus must be diligent in scheduling an appointment for the vaccine and must not delay the appointment for a later date in an effort to extend the accommodation.
3. What if I am on approved leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?
An employee on an approved FMLA will continue to observe the terms of the FMLA.
4. Is an employee expected to report to the campus if a family member or household resident is at higher risk for severe illness from the COVID-19 virus?
Yes. The Americans with Disabilities Act does not apply when the individual with a disability is a family member or household resident of the employee. Qualifying employees may be eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) if they need to care for a family member with a serious health condition.
5. If an employee has had close contact with a COVID-19 case and/or is symptomatic, should the employee still quarantine?
The college’s exposure protocols remain the same. If an employee has had close contact with a COVID-19 case and/or is symptomatic, the employee is to immediately contact HRM at 803.822.3500.
6. If the child care center or school my child attends is not open to in-person learning full time, am I expected to report to the campus on March 29?
Yes. Based upon Governor McMaster’s Return to Work order and MTC’s approved Return to Normal Operations Plan, employees are expected to return to the campus full time on March 29. Subject to the approval of the supervisor, an employee may use annual leave or other appropriate accrued paid time off to cover any absence beyond March 29.
7. Can I be required to wear a face covering or mask?
Yes. While face masks or coverings are not required in state government offices, buildings, and facilities based upon Executive Order 2021-12, the college President has the discretion to require college employees to wear face masks on campus.
8. Since I am required to return to the campus 100%, does that make me eligible to receive the vaccine?
Many South Carolinians are now eligible for the vaccine. To decide if you might qualify, read the full SC DHEC announcement. You are encouraged to contact vaccine providers or DHEC if you have questions regarding your eligibility. You can exercise your personal preference as to which vaccine to receive and where to receive it via DHEC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Locator.
9. Are we requiring the vaccine?
No. However, you are encouraged to consider receiving the vaccine as soon as possible.
10. Do we have to provide proof of receiving the vaccine?
Since the vaccine is not required, no proof of having had the vaccine is required.
11. If I receive the vaccine and become ill as a result, am I required to take sick leave?
Illness related to the vaccine would be handled according to the college’s normal leave policies.
12. Do individuals have to take sick leave if they are getting the vaccine during work hours?
Employees may take sick leave or may make up the time.
13. Is MTC going to offer on-site vaccinations?
MTC continues its effort to secure a provider to administer the vaccine on an MTC campus. You are encouraged to go ahead and schedule your vaccine via DHEC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Locator.
14. How is USC able to secure doses of the vaccine for its faculty and staff while MTC has not?
USC has a student health service operation that provides comprehensive physical and mental health care services on their campus. As a provider of such services, USC applied and was approved to be a provider to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.
15. Once I am fully vaccinated, will I be required to continue to wear a face covering/mask?
Yes. You must continue to observe MTC COVID-19 safety protocols.
16. Does this mean we will flip courses from virtual to on-campus instruction for spring, summer, and/or fall?
We will continue to offer four modes of learning – on-campus, online, virtual and hybrid. For spring, classes will continue as scheduled. Full-time and adjunct faculty will either teach from their office or an assigned classroom. For summer, the college had already planned for more classes to be back on-campus. By fall, the vast majority of our classes will be on-campus.
17. Will this mean we are adjusting how student services are offered, for example expanding on-campus availability?
Students may access services on-campus, virtual, or remote.
18. Will we still promote virtual, rather than face-to-face, meetings?
We are encouraging virtual meetings where practical and limited travel between campuses. For in-person meetings with students, faculty, and staff, all protocols (social distancing, with masks, and hand washing/sanitizer available) remain in place.
19. If I teach virtual classes, do I need to come to campus to teach?
Yes, all full-time and adjunct faculty will teach from their office or from an assigned classroom.
20. Will the employee and student COVID hotlines continue?
Yes. The employee and student COVID hotlines will continue.
Email your question(s) to reopeningMTC@midlandstech.edu.