Update on Return to Workplace Plan

May 27, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

We are writing to update you on Seattle University’s return to workplace plan, a key part of the work we are overseeing as co-chairs of the university’s Reopening Task Force for this fall. The plan is being closely coordinated and integrated across our work to prioritize your health and safety and mitigate potential risks of spreading COVID-19.

The Reopening Task Force is comprised of a group of key campus leaders and supported by three planning groups: (1) Instructional Continuity, (2) Student Care and Experience and (3) Safe and Healthy Campus. The task force and planning groups are meeting frequently each week to develop plans and consider recommendations for the next academic year. While more details about our ongoing planning for the fall will be shared in June, the task force is developing more immediate plans to initiate the reopening of certain offices and facilities on campus in a careful and prudent manner.

This task force is charged with coordinating the process, developing the plans and gaining the appropriate approvals needed to reopen campus in a phased and gradual approach, consistent with Governor Inslee’s Safe Start plan for reopening the state. The task force will work with each college, school, division and administrative unit to establish and implement clear policies and protocols in regard to appropriate social distancing practices, building controls and access, campus guidelines on the appropriate PPE and other safety and sanitizing resources. The task force will also be seeking further advise from public health and infectious disease experts.

While the stay-at-home orders for the state of Washington and King County are expected to expire on May 31, we expect the majority of the university’s workforce to continue to work remotely at this time. Therefore, no unit or division should increase on-campus staffing beyond current levels until further notice. Only employees who have been specifically designated as essential and informed by their supervisors should be prepared to return to campus after May 31 should the Governor’s order be lifted and his phased approach permit it.

We recognize not everyone has access to their own personal work space or office on campus. The Reopening Task Force is currently working with campus leaders to address and plan for the safe return of faculty and staff. These assessments will be location-specific, evaluating all spaces and concerns as we begin phasing faculty and staff back to campus. It is also important to gather the input and feedback from our campus community in the design of these plans. We invite you to provide feedback and assistance via the Return to Work survey.

The university will provide a guide and instructions designed to assist supervisors, faculty and staff prior to returning to campus. The guidance will address areas such as:

  • Daily screening and symptom monitoring;
  • Personal safety practices (specifically face masks or coverings and hand sanitation);
  • Office and meeting guidelines;
  • Transportation, building entry and signage;
  • Health and safety training; and
  • Physical distancing.

While much uncertainty remains, we want to emphasize our decisions will be guided foremost by the health, safety and well-being of our campus community. We will move forward together in support of and in service to our students, care for each other, our university and our mission. We are deeply grateful to our essential staff serving on campus and all of you who are working remotely to advance our mission in new and innovative ways.


Shane P. Martin
Co-Chair, Reopening Task Force

Timothy P. Leary
Executive Vice President
Co-Chair, Reopening Task Force