On-Campus Safety Protocols

The following information is provided to guide supervisors and department heads as they consider preparing a Return to On-Campus Work application. For the spring 2021 semester, employees will continue to work remotely unless a departmental-specific plan is approved.


Daily Symptom Monitoring Requirement

Employees who have been asked to return to on-campus work are required to conduct symptom monitoring every day before reporting to work. Employees must be free of any symptoms potentially related to COVID-19 to be eligible to report to work.

Exposure & Reporting

If an employee comes in close contact with someone who is symptomatic with COVID-19, the employee should self-isolate for 14 days while monitoring for symptoms.

If an employee develops physical symptoms associated with COVID-19 while at work, the employee should:

  1. Go home immediately.
  2. Notify their supervisor using a phone or computer.
  3. Isolate and maintain at least six feet of distance from others.
  4. Wear a face covering or mask.
  5. Complete a reporting form.

These procedures are essential in order to protect co-workers and others, ensure consistency in response, and aid the University in its state and federal reporting requirements. Before returning to campus, the employee must provide a note from their healthcare provider clearing them to return to work.

Employees who are unable to work due to COVID-19 symptoms or exposure should continue to complete and follow all applicable leave guidance under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).


In accordance with CDC guidance, Facilities Management has been cleaning areas of academic, administrative, and residential buildings that have been occupied during the period of limited campus operations. Buildings have been and will continue to be cleaned in accordance with CDC guidelines, focusing on high-touch public areas such as restrooms, hallways, conference rooms, and kitchens.

Employees are asked to wipe high-touch surfaces and tables and chairs in common areas after each use. These surfaces include any shared-space location or equipment (e.g., copiers, printers, computers, A/V and other electrical equipment, coffee makers, desks, tables, light switches, doorknobs, etc.).

Departments may obtain hand sanitizer, surface cleaning wipes, face coverings/masks, and thermometers through the normal office supply purchasing process.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) & Face Masks

Face coverings or masks are required to be worn in buildings and outdoors when in the presence of others. UMBC will provide two cloth face coverings for faculty and staff required to return to work on campus. Employees may also purchase or provide their own face coverings if they prefer. Face coverings are not required when alone in a closed room, such as a private office or lab. Self-purchased masks with slogans and/or symbols must be appropriate for a professional environment. Please review this mask guidance on the proper way to wear a mask.

Departments will be required to request the appropriate number of face masks for their department by submitting a work order to Facilities Management.

Please Note: Departments must continue to purchase any additional required PPE. Facilities Management does not have N95 or KN95 masks, goggles, gowns, or face shields. Departments requiring these items should work with their existing suppliers to purchase what they need. If a department has difficulty completing an order for any of these items, the departmental representative should contact Procurement for assistance.

Physical Distancing

Keeping space between individuals is one of the best tools the University has to help avoid exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 and slow its spread. Since people can spread the virus without knowing they have it, it is important to stay away from others when possible, even if you have no symptoms. Physical distancing is important for everyone, especially to help protect people who are at higher risk of getting very sick. Employees on campus must observe the following physical distancing practices:

  • Stay at least six feet (about two arms’ length) from other people at all times. Respect others’ personal space and do not enter offices or work areas of other employees. Instead, use the phone or talk from the doorway while maintaining at least six feet of distance.
  • Do not gather in groups of 10 or more.
  • Physical alterations to work spaces should be considered while filling out the “Return to On-Campus Work” application.
    • Physical alteration requests will be reviewed with the requesting department and if approved will be charged back to the department once complete.
    • Physical alterations should be a last resort and other mitigation measures should be considered prior to requesting physical alterations.
  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.
Using Restrooms

Use of restrooms should be limited based on size of the space to ensure at least six feet of distance between individuals. Masks should be worn when walking to and from shared restrooms. Wash your hands thoroughly before leaving the restroom to reduce potential transmission of the virus.

Using Elevators

When in an elevator, maintain six feet of space from others or use the elevator alone. If you are using an 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 upon departing the elevator.


Convening in groups increases the risk of viral transmission. Where reasonable, meetings should be held in whole or in part using the extensive range of available collaboration tools (e.g., WebEx, WebExTeams, telephone, etc.) supported by DoIT.

In-person meetings are limited to the restrictions of local, state, and federal orders, and generally should not exceed 50 percent of a room’s capacity. In no case should in-person meetings be held in a room where the mandatory six feet of separation for physical distancing requirements cannot be met. Campus units should remove or rearrange chairs and tables or add visual cue marks in meeting rooms to support physical distancing between attendees. All attendees should wear a mask or face covering while sharing space in a common room.

Supervisors/department heads should encourage employees to avoid face-to-face communications as much as possible. 


You should wash your hands thoroughly before and after eating to reduce the potential transmission of the virus.

If dining on campus, you should wear your mask or face covering until you are ready to eat and then replace it immediately afterward. Eating establishments must meet requirements to allow at least six feet of distance between each customer, including lines and seating arrangements. Individuals should not sit facing one another. Employees are encouraged to take food back to their office areas or to eat outside.

If you are eating in your work environment (break room, office, etc.), maintain six feet of distance between you and others. Individuals should not sit facing each other. Only remove your mask or face covering in order to eat, then put it back on immediately afterward. Campus units should remove or rearrange chairs and tables, or add visual cue marks in employee break rooms to support physical distancing between employees. Clean and disinfect all surfaces in common areas, including tables, refrigerator handles, coffee machines, etc., after using.

Reporting Concerns

Ensuring the health and safety of all campus community members is everyone’s responsibility. If you have concerns about your safety at work, we encourage you to discuss those concerns with your supervisor or department head, or with Human Resources at covid19hrresponseteam@umbc.edu.