Jennifer Lucas, Co-Director of Human Resources, shares details on the College’s new employee COVID-19 testing plan.
Today, I am writing to provide you with information about the College’s new COVID-19 employee testing program.
Earlier this week, the College hosted an Employee Town Hall where a number of questions regarding our employee testing program were addressed. If you were unable to attend, I would encourage you to please view the recording.
Decision to test employees
As we evaluated the fall semester and planned for the spring, we identified an important shift in our health and safety protocols: the testing of all employees who are regularly on campus. While we do not have reason to believe that the transmission of COVID-19 on our campus this fall originated from faculty or staff, or was spread to employees by students, we are introducing mandatory testing for all employees working on campus to further reduce the health risks within our community.
Who will be tested this spring?
If you intend to work on campus, even on a limited basis, you must be part of the College’s testing program. Employees who are working remotely for the spring semester will not be tested and, therefore, should not report for a COVID-19 test.
To be clear, if you choose not to be part of the College’s employee testing protocol, but you plan to regularly work on campus, you will not be permitted on campus. You must be part of the testing protocol in order to work on campus.
When will employee testing begin?
On January 11–13, we will begin conducting baseline testing of Gettysburg College employees. Employees for our initial round of testing will be those who are essential to campus operations for when our students arrive. These are individuals who are unable to work remotely and/or employees who must be available for student move-in. Our goal is to test these employees early enough to ensure that if they test positive for COVID-19, they can isolate for 10 days and be available to report for work when students return to campus—provided they are asymptomatic. More specifically, most employees in Dining, Facilities, DPS, the Health Center, and some student-facing positions meet this criteria.
All other employees who plan to work on campus this spring, even if it is on a limited or rotational basis, will begin testing the following week (January 18–20).
Employees should plan to be tested regularly throughout the semester. While we are still finalizing our scheduling for the spring, our current planning centers around testing employees in high-traffic/exposure areas more frequently. We will provide you with more information in early January.
The College is able to institute testing for employees this spring due to a new partnership we’ve established with the testing company Mobile Health. This company will provide all of the logistics for our testing program, including scheduling your testing time, performing your test (a highly reliable PCR nasal swab, widely viewed as less invasive than other tests currently available), and notifying you of your results. We are pleased that Mobile Health will provide all employees with the privacy we have been seeking for in a testing company.
If you test positive, you will be required to quarantine for 10 days. The College will conduct contact tracing only for contacts you have had on campus. Additionally, if you are named as a contact through our contact tracing process, you will be tested on campus. Heidi Gillis, who has worked in various capacities at the College, has been hired to conduct employee contact tracing.
Absences for a support staff employee unable to work in person or remotely (if the employee’s job duties are capable of being performed remotely) due to one of the reasons below are considered excused absences, and the employee will be paid by the College for up to two weeks (in accordance with the employee’s standard schedule).
- Employees who are in a required self-isolation, exhibiting infectious symptoms, and/or have tested positive for COVID-19.
- Employees who are asked to leave work due to signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
- Employees who must stay home and care for an immediate family member who has tested positive for COVID-19 (Employees should stay home if they have a household member with COVID-19).
Navigating the spring semester
I recognize that employee testing represents a significant change for many of us. We all must take steps to ensure the health and safety of our community, both on our campus and throughout the Borough. If you have concerns or questions related to this program, please contact Human Resources.
Thank you for cooperation as we launch this important program. We wish you and your loved ones a safe and restful winter break.
Jennifer Lucas, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Co-Director of Human Resources