Saint Leo University Takes Steps Toward Reopening, Creating Healthy Environment

June 11, 2020

By: Staff Report

COVID-19 Testing, Face Masks, Temperature Checks Required for All Employees

ST. LEO, FL –  Saint Leo University’s plan to reopen its University Campus is rooted in the concern for the health and safety of all students, faculty, staff, and visitors. The university will implement many protocols as employees begin returning from work-from-home status on June 22.

The transition will be a methodical process and vary depending on the different needs and working environment of each department and location of the university. Some of Saint Leo’s education centers continue to have external restrictions that will prevent them from returning to the workplace. In the meantime, University Campus, Tampa Student Support Center, and standalone education centers are ready to begin this transition on June 22. Stage 1 of returning to campus is anticipated to remain in place through August 14 unless there are changes to the situation, which university officials will continue to monitor.

Saint Leo University is following Centers for Disease Control guidelines as well as guidelines from local, state, and national governments in its return-to-work plan.

Steps Saint Leo Taking to Ensure Healthy Work Environment

  • Every employee must be tested for COVID-19 and report negative results before returning to work.
  • COVID-19 drive-thru anterior nasal swab testing was provided by AdventHealth on June 8 and June 9 on campus. There was capacity for nearly 1,000 employees to be tested.
  • Daily monitoring is required including daily temperature/fever checks.
  • Face masks or face coverings must be worn by all staff working on-site when in the presence of others and in public settings both indoors and outdoors.
  • Social distancing practices will be employed. Saint Leo employees must stay at least 6 feet away, even when wearing mask, and keep groups to less than 10 people.
  • Work areas during Stage 1 will not exceed 50 percent capacity.
  • Some employees will continue to work from home; some may work in the office on alternating days to limit the number of people on-site; and reporting schedules could be staggered to accommodate those entering and exiting buildings
  • Deep cleaning processes are being used so that office spaces and workspaces are aligned with the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control guidelines. Hand-sanitizing stations are located at major building entrances, elevator stops, and high traffic areas. Employees should also wipe down commonly used surfaces before and after each use.
  • Elevators will be limited to one person per trip. Stairwells will be one-way for routine use and will be marked accordingly.
  • Employees will be expected to bring their own meals or they may purchase grab-and-go items available in Benedict’s Coffeehouse. During Stage 1, employees will not be able to have meals in the Dining Hall or at the Lions’ Lair.
  • Only visitors conducting essential university business are allowed on campus. All visitors to campus are required to follow the same guidelines as employees, including the use of masks/face-coverings and social distancing.

“Colleges and universities are known for being tight-knit communities,” said Saint Leo University President Jeffrey D. Senese. “That is a hallmark of what makes our university great and an important part of the learning experience for our students. Our return to work allows us to focus on the preparations needed to continue this tradition of learning and to serve our students in a way that is important to them.”

The university is planning to reopen all on-ground classes at University Campus on schedule in August. However, given that many experts have suggested there may be another peak in cases of coronavirus in the late fall, associated with the onset of flu season, the university has preemptively decided to adjust its instructional approach for the end of the fall semester.

Following the Thanksgiving holiday break, all courses at University Campus will resume online for the last two weeks of the term. This change will allow students who reside on campus the option to remain home following Thanksgiving and avoid travel during this time should they so choose. The residence halls and dining facilities will remain open until the end of semester in accordance with our regularly published academic calendar for those students who would prefer to remain in-residence through this period.

About Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University is one of the largest Catholic universities in the nation, offering nearly 60 undergraduate and graduate-level degree programs to more than 19,500 students each year. Founded in 1889 by Benedictine monks, the private, nonprofit university is known for providing a values-based education to learners of all backgrounds and ages in the liberal arts tradition. Saint Leo is regionally accredited and offers a residential campus in the Tampa Bay region of Florida, 32 education centers in seven states, and an online program for students anywhere. The university is home to more than 95,000 alumni. Learn more at saintleo.edu.

Media Contact: Marie Cirelli Thornsberry, director of University Communications, (602) 421-2909, marie.thornsberry@saintleo.edu

Photo caption – Saint Leo Testing: Saint Leo University President Jeffrey Senese participates in testing for COVID-19 at a drive-thru testing event on University Campus. All university employees are required to be tested before returning to work.

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