Vice President for Human Resources & Dean of the Faculty's Message to Employees Regarding COVID-19 Testing & Training Protocols

Aug. 18, 2020

On August 18, Vice President for Human Resources Lianne Sullivan-Crowley and Dean of the Faculty Sanjeev R. Kulkarni emailed all faculty and staff with the following update about COVID-19 testing and training protocols:

Following up on President Eisgruber’s August 7 memo in which he announced that our undergraduate program will be fully remote this fall, we asked unit leaders, academic chairs and directors, and all faculty and staff to re-evaluate their resumption of fall operations plans. We thank you for again demonstrating your resilience during these uncertain times by responding promptly and thoughtfully to this request, ensuring that we continue to provide, as the president wrote, “the best possible undergraduate education consistent with the difficult conditions imposed by the COVID pandemic.”

While departments have been developing resumption plans to support online instruction, on-campus research, and services for graduate students and a small number of undergraduates approved to reside on campus, more than 40 committees have been tirelessly working for months to develop policies, guidelines, and practices designed to limit the spread of COVID-19, including the testing and training protocols described below. We are grateful to the members of these committees for all they have done to keep the University operational, compliant, and safe.

Testing

As announced earlier today on Princeton’s website, the University’s asymptomatic testing strategy and asymptomatic testing protocol were developed in consultation with several offices and working groups across campus, including University Health Services’ (UHS) Global and Community Health team, the Office of Environmental Health and Safety, and the University’s Scientific Advisory Committee. Under our comprehensive asymptomatic testing protocol, participants will be tested for COVID-19 using saliva. The tests will be provided at the University’s expense at no cost to participants. The asymptomatic testing protocol is separate from testing individuals with symptoms. This asymptomatic testing program is designed both to address public health objectives and to meet participants’ needs for clarity, privacy, compassionate communication, and accountability. More specifically:

  • The testing protocol is required for and includes only individuals who are approved to be physically on campus this fall for at least eight hours per week and/or have frontline exposure to students.
  • The University will monitor how frequently participants should be tested and adjust the interval as appropriate. Additional testing information beyond the dates in the chart below will be forthcoming.
  • Tests for faculty and staff will be administered in the initial weeks in clinics at the Princeton University Stadium Concourse:

 

Category

Dates

Times

Additional Information

Week 1: August 24

Healthcare workers and Department of Public Safety staff

August 24 and

August 28

9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

Individuals in this group must be tested on both dates, i.e., twice in Week 1.

Staff who work overnight shifts

August 25 or August 27

6:30–8:00 a.m.

Choice of either day for test

Staff, faculty, researcher

August 26 or August 27

9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

Choice of either day for test

Week 2: August 31

Healthcare workers and Department of Public Safety staff

August 31 and September 4

9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

Individuals in this group must be tested on both dates, i.e., twice in Week 2.

Staff who work overnight shifts

September 1 or September 3

6:30–8:00 a.m.

Choice of either day for test

Staff, faculty, researcher

September 2 or September 3

9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

Choice of either day for test

  • Approved participants will receive an email this week with specific details and clear instructions for preparing for the test, as well as information about social distancing and face covering protocols at the clinics, what to bring, directions to the stadium and parking, and guidance regarding registration, to be completed either on paper or electronically.
  • Testing is required weekly, at a minimum, and will be administered by a trained staff member who can answer questions.
  • The University is planning to provide testing during work hours. We ask supervisors to be aware of which employees are required to be tested and to provide and coordinate, as necessary, release time during the workday, because test time at the clinics is considered paid time.
  • Participants will receive their test results and, if applicable, instructions regarding further steps within a few business days.
  • Supervisors should know which of their employees are required to be tested. If supervisors have questions, they should consult with their managers.
  • Supervisors are encouraged to provide support to ensure their staff members are able to go to the clinic.
  • Staff and faculty who are unsure whether they are expected to participate in testing should contact their supervisors.

Should approved participants develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19, e.g., new fever, cough, shortness of breath, or loss of taste or smell, they must not report to work or expect to be tested by Princeton. They are expected to follow their normal departmental call-out procedures and consult with their primary healthcare providers. They may alternatively utilize testing sites in their local communities or contact VitalCheck—Doctors in Your Office, a testing option available to all Princeton employees and their eligible dependents, covered at 100 percent by health insurance. Additionally, we remind you that all University community members, no matter where they live, are asked to email communityhealth@princeton.edu if they are tested for COVID-19 in any jurisdiction (other than UHS).

Not included in this testing protocol are staff and faculty who have not been approved to return to campus and are working remotely, even if they come to campus on an occasional or intermittent basis only.

Training and Access to Campus Buildings

Before coming physically to work on campus regularly, intermittently, or even just to stop by to gather materials needed to work remotely, all individuals must complete the online training “Safe Practices for the Resumption of On-Campus Operations,” which takes approximately 10–15 minutes. TigerCard (prox) and other access to campus buildings will be dependent on completing the online training. We will be sending additional communications about this requirement. We ask that you plan accordingly.

Resources

Please consult the Office of Environmental Health and Safety’s website for updated information on the phased resumption of fall on-campus operations process, policies regarding face coverings and communicable disease, training, FAQs, and other relevant topics.

Additional resources are available on the University’s Fall 2020 website, HR’s Coronavirus Resources webpage, HR’s Fall 2020 Campus and Workplace Operations webpage, the Office of the Dean of the Faculty’s website, and the University Health Services' website.

If you have any questions, we encourage you to speak to your manager or supervisor, chair/director, or, for staff, your senior HR manager.

We again want to express our deep gratitude for your continued flexibility in adapting to these unprecedented times. As the University prepares to begin a new academic year, we take great pride in recognizing that each of you is contributing to our collective ability to offer high-quality online instruction and laboratory-based activities. As the semester advances, the pandemic landscape will undoubtedly continue to evolve, but, together, we will confront whatever challenges lie ahead.

We hope that you are taking good care of yourselves and remind you of the various health and well-being resources available to you and your families.
 

This announcement was updated on August 26, 2020, to reflect new University Health Services resource webpage for on-campus asymptomatic testing protocol. 

This announcement was updated on August 19, 2020, to clarify training required.


Related: University to launch asymptomatic COVID-19 testing protocol for on-campus students, faculty, researchers, staff
 
For helpful benefits, well-being, work-related, and other information, refer to the HR Coronavirus Resources for Employees webpage.
For interim benefits updates, refer to Benefits Updates During COVID-19.
For current learning opportunities, refer to Learning & Development Updates During COVID-19.
For various time off benefits available, refer to Time Off Options for Staff Due to COVID-19.