Governor's Executive Order
On Friday March 5, 2021, Governor Henry McMaster issued Executive Order 2021-12 directing all state agencies, including the University of South Carolina, to “immediately expedite the transition back to normal operations.” Since the issuance of that order, Human Resources, in coordination with the President and senior leaders of the university, has developed a plan to carry out the order and return our administrative personnel and staff to full strength.
University Plan to Return to Normal Operations
The University's Plan to Return to Normal Operations [pdf] has been approved by the State of South Carolina. The plan will begin on March 15, 2021 and our administrative employees and staff will return to full strength by April 17, 2021. The plan builds on the work that has been done over the past year to ensure a safe and healthy workplace.
The visionary work of our Future Planning Group, comprised of faculty and staff, has given us the ability to not only create a safe physical environment, but also aggressively identify and rapidly respond to COVID-19 on our campus, creating one of the safest public environments possible. From COVID-19 testing to wastewater monitoring and from mitigation practices to vaccine delivery, UofSC has set a national standard for caring for its students, faculty and staff.
In accordance with the Governor's Order and in coordination with the President and senior leaders of the university, all administrative personnel and staff are to return to on campus work during the week of March 15, 2021 unless the employee qualifies for and is granted an exception. Exceptions are limited to those listed below. Employees should coordinate with their supervisor to review their situation and determine the specific date of their return to on campus work.
The Return to Normal Operations plan allows for a temporary extension of remote work under a limited number of circumstances. Employees who believe they qualify for one of these exceptions should coordinate with their supervisor to initiate the approval process.
University facilities is working to ensure that appropriate health and safety equipment are installed and functional in workspaces in support of your return, and they report ample availability of cleaning and disinfecting supplies.
For any physical work area that does not meet current CDC and OSHA guidelines for safety, the university will install the necessary equipment and safeguards by April 5, 2021. Staff assigned to those areas will be required to report no later than that date. Your immediate supervisor will advise of your work environment status.
The Governor’s Order provides leeway for staff employees working remotely because of childcare responsibilities. If you are in this category, coordinate with your supervisor to review the specifics of your situation and to determine your report to campus date. Employees in this category will have a report to campus date of no later than April 5, 2021.
Employees who are unable to return to the workplace on April 5, 2021 due to childcare issues may request an emergency extension to their original request using the following form:
To qualify, employees must provide documentation showing that their child is currently on a childcare establishment's wait list with an estimated enrollment date AND a letter from the employee explaining the situation that has resulted in their inability to find childcare.
Upon final approval, employees may continue to work remotely until the circumstances justifying emergency approval have been resolved or until May 1, 2021, whichever occurs sooner.
If you had a formal, long term, telecommuting arrangement in place on or before February 19, 2020, the terms of that agreement will remain in place.
For staff with documented health conditions that make them high-risk for contracting COVID-19, the Order gives you until April 17, 2021 to complete the vaccination process. To be included in this category you will need to request an accommodation and provide appropriate supporting documentation from your primary healthcare provider. Staff must coordinate with their supervisor to initiate the approval process and submit the necessary documentation to their College or Division HR Contact.
Staff who qualify for the Temporary COVID-19 Health Accommodation but are not able to complete the vaccination process (required shot or shots plus 14 additional calendar days to reach full level of protection) by the April 17, 2021 deadline may request additional time by using the following form:
In order to receive a temporary accommodation beyond April 17, 2021 you must submit both forms, documenting your high risk status and proof that you have begun the vaccination process. Qualifying employees will have a return to work on campus date immediately following full efficacy of the vaccination.