Special meeting on campus reopening

June 23, 2020

Several items were discussed with University Cabinet members, Tim Leary, Michelle Clements, and Mary Petersen, about fall reopening. Much work has been done and more still left to do. Additionally, the first of several communications about reopening came out on June 23 and there will be more to follow throughout the summer.  The campus reopening survey was helpful in collecting input about physical spaces and staff/faculty needs. Emphasis was placed on all the safety concerns and there is a strong commitment to working together. Throughout the meeting, the need for flexibility and adaptivity was emphasized.

Other topics and concerns discussed:

Upcoming “Guide for Returning to Campus Workplace” for staff, faculty, and student workers

  • The guide will include information about all aspects of returning to work especially regarding health and safety of campus community as well as protocol on face coverings/masks, PPE, transportation, cleaning office spaces and equipment, etc.
  • Attempting to give as much information as possible and resources about where to go
  • The university is working with an infectious disease specialist and is using science and facts to inform decisions to mitigate risks

 Work of the Facilities team

  • Looking at conference rooms and classrooms, adjusting rooms to allow for social distancing
  • Providing resources for employees and spaces, including flyers, floor markers, plexiglass, etc.
  • Special attention to Vi Hilbert including ventilation and other issues

Re-adjustment to being back on campus may be anxiety-producing 

  • Likely many of us will have issues with returning

Reinforcement of safety measures

  • Reality is that there will not be people designated to enforce safety protocol
  • The university is approaching this with the mindset that people will do the right thing because they care about each other

Flexibility in return-to-work

  • Phased approach to working on campus
  • Examining the number of staff in each office so supervisors can ensure physical spacing
  • Exploring to see if other offices/spaces can be used to create distancing, providing as much flexibility as possible

Concerns about shared spaces such as offices, bathrooms, etc.

  • Bathrooms will have stalls roped off to ensure social distancing, but the reopening taskforce is open to input about how to manage these spaces
  • Lunch/break spaces and shared appliances still being discussed

Status of local schools

  • Being watched very carefully
  • if King County does not move to Phase III, this will have a direct impact on Seattle University

Supporting those who stay at home with an illness

  • We must count on people working remotely, employees cannot come into work with cold symptoms

Independent Colleges of WA State meeting regularly with Governor Inslee

  • All are aware that we need to have clarity on timing

Timeline of decisions

  • Early to mid-August is a more realistic timeline to determine King County’s move to next Phase of reopening
  • We will know more when Governor Inslee holds conference on higher education in mid-August
  • Until then, we are working with a lot of uncertainty

Improving what we are already doing online

  • Suggestion that SU could be focusing energy on improving what we are already doing online, instead of working in hypotheticals
  • Opportunity for faculty to take courses through CDLI, but what opportunities are out there for staff?
  • Additional investment in IT
  • Father Steve has raised an additional $150-175k for students in need, including technology

Campus maps

  • It would be helpful if campus maps could include space/capacity, all-gender restrooms, wheelchair access restrooms

 General public on campus

  • How will SU handle this?
  • Conversation around having an information center, one central place where all visitors would need to check in and masks could be provided
  • Campus is porous, so how do we funnel people to this central location?

Daily health screenings for all people on campus

  • There will be signs at every entrance to campus, describing regulations, and requesting visitors check in
  • Masks will be required for all
  • Further questions about enforcement of community guidelines
  • Confidence that if we ask people to do this, they will since we have an obligation to protect one other

 Ventilation issues

  • Still big concerns about areas that are “modified where possible”
  • Cleaning agents can be somewhat noxious, how do we navigate this in low-ventilation areas?


  • Burden is on each individual to clean every office object including refrigerator, copier, etc. before and after use
  • Question on looking into non-toxic cleaning agents. All cleaning supplies and disinfectants are EPA approved and sustainable.
  • Electrostatic cleaning methods to be used
  • FAQ page on HR website related to facilities/space and questions and answers will be added to this page as they arise

Interactions in workspaces

  • During the first university closure in March, there were concerns of students continuing to enter workspaces
  • Students were told if they were staying in residence halls, their movement was restricted from other areas but they were not following this directive
  • What is the plan if SU shuts down again? Tim Leary said that at this time, there is no plan in place.

Data security

  • With most employees working from home, what is SU doing to make sure our data is protected?
  • Confidentiality is maintained through the piloted health screening app, which asks benign questions related to symptoms and exposure; this information goes only to Public Safety
  • Screening results do not go to your supervisor, but they will be told if you have received an excused absence
  • An individual with a fever will be required to be out of office for 72 hours


  • SU will not be testing asymptomatic people unless for strategic reasons; for ex. student athletes, lab faculty/staff
  • There will be a system in place for testing symptomatic people
  • Faculty/Staff testing will not occur on campus for reasons of privacy