Making UND offices Healthy Hawks-ready

Plexiglass barriers and other modifications have been installed for one reason: to help UND offices operate as safely, and as normally, as possible

Thanks to plexiglass barriers such as the one shown here, plus the fact that people on both sides of the counter will be wearing face coverings, face-to-face service at the Registrar’s Office and elsewhere in UND’s Twamley Hall should be able to resume for the fall semester. Photo by Mike Hess/UND Today.

In its COVID-19 safety guidance for employers, the Centers for Disease Control offers this advice: “All employers need to consider how best to decrease the spread of COVID-19 and lower the impact in your workplace.” And when it comes to encouraging physical distancing – one of the key components of decreasing the spread of the virus – the CDC suggests this: “Alter your workspace to help workers and customers maintain social distancing and physically separate employees from each other and from customers, when possible.”

That’s what the COVID-19 modifications to UND’s office spaces are all about.

In this photo feature, UND Today hopes to show UND faculty and staff what they can expect when on-campus operations resume for many on Aug. 3.  This feature is part of a series; the first installment showed the coronavirus-related changes that have been made to UND classrooms, and the next, which will run in UND Today in August, will show how UND’s residence halls and dining facilities are being modified to maximize safe operations.

In line with the CDC’s guidance, the changes in UND’s office spaces are meant to “help workers and customers maintain social distancing and physically separate employees from each other and from customers.” In addition, cleaning stations campuswide will be stocked with hand sanitizer and other materials.

And across UND, signs are being put in place to offer guidelines for all. UND Facilities Management will install most of the physical-distancing signs, but departments may download  additional signs at the UND Coronavirus Blog’s Education and Signage page to help reinforce CDC guidelines.

Meanwhile, throughout the semester, UND will strive to abide by another key CDC guideline: Protect employees “through supportive policies and practices.” Do you have questions or concerns about any of the changes you’re seeing, or suggestions for improvements? Please don’t hesitate to reach out to get your questions answered, concerns addressed and suggestions heard. “We’re trying to be as flexible and supportive as possible as we stress safety,” UND Interim Provist Debbie Storrs has said; and in a challenging global environment, Storrs noted, the University administration stands ready to help faculty, staff and students succeed.

Physical and visual guides to safety

To protect students and employees, employers should “place signage throughout (the workplace) to remind employees and customers to maintain a distance of 6 feet from others,” “place visual cues, such as floor decals, colored tape, or signs to indicate to customers where they should stand,” and “place a barrier … between employees and customers,” among other steps, the Centers for Disease Control recommends. UND’s plexiglass shields (such as this one at a One-Stop Student Services desk in Twamley Hall) are one result.

Photo by Mike Hess/UND Today.

One-way entrances and exits, traffic-arrow stickers in hallways and reminders to maintain “a six-foot wingspan” all are meant to reduce crowding in UND buildings – and by doing so, help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Retractable-belt stanchions such as this set in Twamley Hall are being used for the same purpose.

Photo by Mike Hess/UND Today.

Virtually all of UND’s 200-plus buildings will feature some measures to boost COVID-19 resistance, such as these physical-distancing reminders in an office-products storage room in O’Kelly Hall.

Photo by Mike Hess/UND Today.

“Use stanchions … or other ways to mark pathways to help people travel in one direction and stay 6 feet apart,” the CDC’s guidelines for employers recommends. That’s a big part of the thinking behind signs such as this one, which direct people to enter and exit an office in Twamley Hall in one direction only.

Photo by Mike Hess/UND Today.