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Return to Work

The campus will operate mostly virtually for the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters to provide an experience that is safe for the entire campus community and enriching for students as they progress toward their degree.

February 3, 2021

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The health and safety of students, staff and faculty are the number one priority when examining how and when the University will resume operations.
  • The University is aiming to stay under 30% density. This includes students, faculty, and staff and will prioritize those who are supporting or participating in face-to-face classes and other activities.
  • Repopulation plan takes a phased approach for the safe return of students, faculty, and staff.
  • Wellness self-checks must be performed by EVERYONE prior to coming onto campus.

Preparing for Academic Year 2020-2021

The progression of students toward their degree and the health and safety of our campus community are paramount and drive key decisions that are being made in conjunction with state and local partners. 

Among those decisions is limiting the number of people who can be on campus at the same time—about 30 percent of our normal capacity. With this threshold and safety in mind, teams of faculty, staff, and administrators who represent departments across campus have been charged with planning for a hybrid virtual and face-to-face approach for the Fall and Spring semesters. 

Returning to Work

The University will be repopulated based on a set of criteria. While most (majority) employees will work remotely, others will return to work on campus in order to support essential academic and business operations. To ensure the campus community remains healthy and safe, the University has identified which employees will return to campus—a process that involved extensive reviews and approvals from multiple units and based on stringent health and safety standards. 

Health and Safety Protocols and Preparations

To minimize possible exposure to and spread of COVID-19, the campus community will need to adhere to several measures, including daily wellness self-checks. Each day before coming to campus, everyone (students, faculty, staff, and visitors) will be required to do a wellness self-check and must be aware of the signs and symptoms of COVD-19.

All employees are expected to read and adhere to the guidelines in the Social Responsibility Commitment, which outline safe distancing, cleanliness, facial coverings, self-monitoring, self-isolating, and quarantining if necessary.

Repopulating Campus

The repopulation plan takes a phased approach for the safe return of students, faculty, and staff. It outlines the process of bringing back essential employees and prioritizes the reopening of services.


HSU Phase 1: Extension of Essential Personnel

Criteria for this phase: State of California AND Humboldt County must be in Stage 2 of their reopening plans AND approval by Humboldt State University Policy Management Group (PMG).   

The University is in the first phase of the repopulation plan and expects to remain in this phase through the Fall semester. Due to concerns of a possible second wave of COVID-19 coinciding with the influenza season, the University foresees maintaining a low campus density to assist in minimizing any possible outbreak impacts. 


  1. Individuals (as consistent with CDC, state and county public health) who are considered high risk or care for someone who is considered high risk have the opportunity to work with Human Resources to receive appropriate accommodations and should be allowed to continue to work remotely. 
  2. A priority list will be developed by Advanced Planning and sent to the Policy Management Group (PMG) for approval. Any exceptions to the priority list will be handled and approved at a divisional level. Divisional leadership has the authority to extend the essential personnel list as they see necessary.
  3. Supervisors will complete a Supervisor’s Checklist form for EVERY position that would be returning to work. This completed form will be sent to both Information Technology Services (ITS) and Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) for review. If EHS determines a Job Hazard Analysis Form needs to be completed as well, they will reach out to the requesting supervisor. This will allow for ITS and Facilities Management (FM) to triage support for those returning to campus. 
  4. Once EHS, FM and ITS confirm that the appropriate modifications/support have been put into place the employee and supervisor will be notified.
  5. Supervisor will ensure that the employee completes appropriate training and signs a training verification form. 
  6. All employees are expected to read and adhere to the guidelines in the Social Responsibility Commitment.
  7. This process may take around two weeks to complete depending on the influx of those working through the process. This timeframe will allow EHS, ITS, and FM to identify possible modifications and provide the needed support services for return to campus. 
  8. Controls may include an altered schedule for individuals working in shared spaces. See Health & Safety guide for more information.

HSU Phase 2: Voluntary Repopulation

Any individuals (as consistent with CDC, California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Humboldt County Public Health) who are considered high risk, or care for someone who is considered high risk have the opportunity to work with HR to receive appropriate accommodations and should be allowed to continue to work remotely.

Criteria for moving to this phase State of California AND Humboldt County must be in Stage 3 of their reopening plans  AND approval by Humboldt State University’s PMG.


  1. PMG would prioritize by division or by Major Budget Unit (MBU) the order in which voluntary repopulation would be extended. This is meant to prevent a bottleneck in the process and allow for ITS, EHS and FM to appropriately support and modify work areas prior to re-occupancy.  
  2. The process would be the same as Phase 1. However, supervisors would extend the offer to employees who would like access to campus to complete their work and submit those names.

HSU Phase 3: Repopulation of Campus

Criteria for moving to this stage: State of California AND Humboldt County should be in Stage 4 of their reopening plans AND approval from the University’s PMG.


  1. Divisional Leadership would create a prioritization list to determine the order/roll out. Once a department has been cleared by their division to return to campus, the process would be the same as Phase 1.
  2. Any individuals (as consistent with CDC, CDPH and County Public Health) who are considered high risk, or care for someone who fits into that category in their home would be extended accommodations with a doctor’s note per the current HR policies should there not be a viable vaccine or therapy available

Campus Life and Services

Residence halls will house up to 1,000 students—about half of capacity—in single-occupancy rooms. Move-in times will be staggered by residence hall to provide for social distancing and avoid group gatherings. Some critical services  will be offered virtually and in-person such as the Cashier’s Office, Student Health Center, Testing Center, and Student Disability Resource Center. Student clubs and organizations will be active during the academic year and allowed to host organization meetings and events virtually. Classrooms, dining areas, and certain community spaces (such as the UC Lounge) will be assessed and reconfigured to maintain physical distancing. 


While the CCAA fall season has been canceled, HSU is preparing for the time when more activity within Humboldt County will be permitted. Plans take into consideration government (national/state), NCAA and other national/regional/local agency/organizational recommendations and guidelines. 

The effectiveness of these policies procedures requires 100 percent cooperation, accountability, and compliance by all parties. Student-athletes will be under strict supervision and strict limitations as they navigate through athletic facilities, receive proper medical treatment, and return to permissible practice/workout routines.  

The goal of HSU’s Athletics policy is to: 

  • Ensure a safe return, re-engagement and transition of student‐athletes, coaches and staff to campus for retention purposes, progress toward degree, training and competition
  • Improve overall hygiene practices and utilize all resources available to mitigate the contraction and spread of common illnesses and communicable disease
  • Ensure that coaches and staff are assessed, equipped and educated on proper protocols and that communication procedures are in place to provide a smooth transition back to activity
  • Minimize time on campus to help with low density population

For more information see the Athletics Guide.