Return to office guidance

JMU News

Dear Staff and Faculty:

This correspondence is to provide you with important guidance as the Commonwealth of Virginia begins to reopen and as JMU prepares for Fall 2020.

As you know, President Alger has announced that at this point, we are to resume on-campus operations for fall semester. The university has continued to operate during the pandemic thanks to your diligence working on campus and remotely. Beginning June 15, 2020, JMU will begin to increase on-campus staffing and carefully resume some on-site functions and services that have been operating on a limited basis due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

You will soon receive notification from your department or academic unit head or supervisor regarding the specific plan and date of return for your individual work area. This will begin a phased approach, so that we can bring staff and faculty back to work in the safest way possible.

JMU does not expect every employee to return to campus on June 15. If you have any questions about your schedule or when to return, please contact your direct supervisor.

Beginning June 15, employees will be required to wear masks in university buildings unless they are in a private space or office with the door closed. Faculty and staff must also practice physical distancing of at least six feet. When students return in the fall, they will be required to wear masks and maintain physical distancing to attend classes.

This email contains additional information regarding procedures when we resume on-campus operations, with a link to detailed guidelines. These guidelines will be updated over time as conditions change and as we learn more about how to address these issues through ongoing analysis, consultation with peers, and emergence of best practices from health organizations throughout the nation. Updates to the guidelines will be posted to the JMU COVID-19: Important Updates to University Operations website.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Provided by JMU

  • Fabric face masks will be distributed to all faculty and staff members by Facilities Management. Each employee will receive two washable masks during the week of June 15, 2020. Three additional masks will be provided to each employee when more masks are available from the manufacturer. Be prepared to provide your own personal scarf or mask until you receive your JMU-provided mask.
  • Students will be required to provide their own masks. They will be notified of this requirement prior to coming to campus.
  • Two boxes of disposable masks will be provided in each classroom and lab for use if a student forgets their mask. One box will be provided for each department for customer use. Housekeepers will replenish supplies as needed and additional supplies will be available from Facilities Management.
  • Fabric and disposable masks will be available for sale in the UHC pharmacy and the bookstore.
  • If more than one person is in a state vehicle, all occupants must wear masks.
  • Gloves should only be worn if regular tasks require them. Departments may request gloves by providing a no-charge facilities management work-order.
  • Faculty and staff members should use hand sanitizer and wash their hands frequently. According to the CDC, gloves are not necessary for general use and do not replace good hand hygiene. Washing your hands is considered the best practice for common everyday tasks.

Facility Enhancements

  • Facilities Management will establish dedicated entrances and exits for each building where feasible.
  • Facilities Management will work with building coordinators to determine which doors may be kept open with doorstops to avoid unnecessary touching.
  • Facilities Management will work with building coordinators to determine if clear shielding/barriers are necessary due to high personal interaction.
  • Facilities Management will monitor air filters and building systems for optimal performance.

Housekeeping Enhancements

  • Housekeepers will clean classrooms, labs, and public restrooms twice each day: Once during the day and once after classes have ended, prior to the next day.
  • Twice daily, housekeepers will clean and sanitize all high-touch surfaces such as stairwell handrails, water fountains, door entrance and exit handles, elevators, vending machines, and all other general-touch surfaces.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available at the entrance to each building and in every classroom and lab.
  • Housekeepers will maintain a cleaning schedule verification sheet, located on the back of each classroom door. Housekeepers will sign the cleaning schedule, including the time and date of last cleaning.
  • A bottle of disinfectant and a cloth will be available in each classroom for faculty and students to clean their work area, study area, or desk between formal housekeeping services. Housekeepers will collect and washcloths on a regular schedule.
  • Housekeepers will no longer clean whiteboards and chalkboards. This is a faculty responsibility. Appropriate cleaning supplies for whiteboards and chalkboards will be provided.
  • Housekeeping will clean individual offices and assigned spaces designated for personal/professional use twice a week instead of daily, allowing them to focus on sanitizing shared spaces. A bottle of disinfectant and a cloth will be available for each office so individuals may clean their work/study areas between formal housekeeping services. Housekeepers will collect and washcloths on a regular schedule.
  • Staff and faculty will be prohibited from placing food items in their office trash cans. These items should be placed in a common area receptacle or taken home.
  • Faculty and staff may order quart bottles of hand sanitizer from Facilities Management for faculty and staff to use at their workstations. Please note that quantities are limited.
  • JMU will not assign housekeepers to individual buildings; however, they will work in teams. Their priority will be the disinfecting of public spaces, restrooms and classrooms.
  • Housekeeping will clean outdoor benches, tables and bus stops daily.
  • Facilities Management is currently in the process of distributing disinfectant and hand sanitizer to university buildings.

Cleaning Personal Workspace

  • Faculty and staff should regularly clean frequently touched areas in their personal workspaces, including tables, desktops, light switches, phones, keyboards and mice.
  • For electronics, remove visible contamination if any is present. If the manufacturer's guidance for cleaning electronic devices is unavailable, consider cleaning these surfaces with disinfectant spray provided by JMU. Apply sprays to paper towels rather than directly to electronics.
  • Dry surfaces thoroughly to avoid pooling of liquids.

Cleaning Work Vehicles

  • Those using State-owned vehicles must clean them in accordance with Facilities Management guidelines. Contact Facilities Management Transportation for additional information.

Thank You

As usual, we thank you for your patience as we work to successfully resume on-campus operations at JMU while ensuring the safest working environment possible.

The Return to Workplace Guidelines will help address potential questions and concerns you may have about the steps we are taking to provide a safe working environment. You can see the most up-to-date version of the guidelines by clicking on this link:

Once you have reviewed the guidelines, if you have additional questions, you may send them to

Rick Larson
Assistant Vice President, HR, Training, and Performance

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Published: Monday, June 1, 2020

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 1, 2023

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