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Re-opening Guidelines for Gordon Employees

Updated August 31, 2020

The College has developed a full slate of protocols for students on campus involving extensive social distancing, hygiene, cleaning, contact tracing, monitoring, and other efforts. We encourage you to review these guidelines. ➔

COVID-19 Project Manager—Updated 8/5/2020

For any concerns related to the pandemic, protocols, etc., please contact the COVID-19 Project Manager at .

Off-Campus Travel Involving Students—Updated 8/5/2020

The College is asking campus departments or faculty members not to arrange any field trips, retreats, or other off-campus activities for students at this time. While we are not barring students from leaving campus, we are discouraging it and want to model this behavior to our students. For the time being, the College will also not be renting out College-owned vehicles. Should conditions allow, this policy will be evaluated further on in the semester.

Staff Return to Work Plan

Staff are requested to return to the office for all scheduled hours.  However, it is understood that there are some situations where an exception to this may be warranted.  Please see below for possible flexible options that you can discuss with your supervisor and HR as needed.

  • Telecommuting agreement: Requests for remote work beyond what the above guidelines allow can be considered through the Telecommuting Agreement (located on HR webpage), which needs to be completed and signed by the employee and supervisor and submitted to the Senior Working Group for approval.  Once approved and fully signed, it needs to be filed with the Human Resources Office. Please carefully review the Telecommuting Agreement and Policy located on the HR webpage.
  • Petition due to non-illness, caregiver-related reasons (lack of childcare or eldercare): Staff who are unable to return to campus because they are unable to secure childcare or caregiver arrangements, after exhausting other available options, may submit a proposed telecommuting agreement along with a “request for exception” related to point number five in the Telecommuting Agreement about childcare or eldercare. This “request for exception” should propose a temporary arrangement that could include flexible schedules, a change/reduction in scheduled hours, etc. The Senior Working Group will consider the requests on a case-by-case basis. If no alternative arrangement can be agreed upon, staff may be eligible for an unpaid, personal leave of absence and/or vacation/personal time can be used (subject to supervisor approval).

Daily COVID-19 Check-in Form

It is expected that all employees use the COVID-19 Employee Health Screening Form each and every day they come to campus. This is emailed to each employee every morning and it is expected that you complete it any day you come on campus for any length of time. This will be very important if we have to do any contact tracing. If you are not working on campus right now, you can email CTS to be removed from the daily email, but it is your responsibility to request to be added back when you are going to return. Please save the link to the form in case you decide to come to campus one day, so you can fill out the form properly.

Sick Employee

If an employee develops any possible COVID-19 symptoms, they should not come to the workplace, should notify a supervisor and the COVID-19 Project Manager and should seek a COVID-19 test.

If an employee begins to feel sick while at work with possible COVID-19 symptoms, the employee should immediately separate from other employees, notify a supervisor & COVID-19 Project Manager and head home (or seek medical attention if needed) consistent with CDC guidelines in addition to seeking a test for COVID-19.  See "Sick Employee Flowchart" below.

Any positive COVID-19 test by an employee who has been in the workplace is required to be reported to the COVID-19 Project Manager.   The COVID-19 Project Manager will help coordinate Contact Tracing and close contacts should follow the flowchart below.  

Sick Employee Flowchart (PDF) ➔

Close Contact Flowchart (PDF) ➔

If a student becomes sick, below is the "sick student" flowchart:

Sick Student Flowchart (PDF) ➔

Testing for Employees

Starting late-August, testing will be available throughout the semester on campus for symptomatic faculty, staff, and students.  In addition, the College will also be carrying out representative surveillance testing on a weekly basis for our on-campus community (for students, staff who work directly with students, and faculty), with approximately 1/4 of students being tested weekly as well as a number of faculty and staff members each week.  Each week's testing will prioritize  individuals who may have come into contact with symptomatic individuals (close or potentially close contacts). Remaining tests will be used to conduct testing for a representative sample of students, faculty, and staff.

For now, employees who wish to request a test should contact the .  

Mask Usage

Everyone at Gordon must wear face coverings in academic spaces (at all times) and when social distancing of six feet is not possible, except where unsafe due to medical condition or disability. In general, this means you should wear a mask anytime you are inside a building on campus (except when in your private office, high-walled cubicle or secluded area alone or when you are able to maintain proper social distancing) and have it easily accessible when outside for when social distancing is not possible. While a limited supply of “emergency” masks may be available, especially for visitors who may show up without a mask, employees and students are expected to provide their own reusable cloth mask. It is advised to obtain a couple of cloth masks and rotate them as you wash them after usage. 

Concerns About Students

If an employee has any concerns about the wellbeing of a student (emotional, physical, academic, etc.), the “early alert system” can be used by any faculty or staff member to report the student concern for follow-up by the team. This is the best way to gather information and centralize our response.  It can consist of an email to  or the submission of a freeform: go.gordon.edu/freeform/form.cfm?id=216. If the concern is of a more acute nature (needs immediate attention), please notify the appropriate department, or Gordon Police as necessary.

In-person Business Meetings (not classes)

Current meeting guidance from the Massachusetts governor includes limit meeting sizes, ensure six feet of social distancing and encourage remote participation. In general, this means regular business meetings should continue online (Zoom, etc.) whenever possible. When you do need to meet in person, ensure your meeting room is of sufficient size to easily socially distance. Masks must be used when entering and exiting the room and whenever social distancing cannot be maintained. Meeting organizers are encouraged to talk with participants to gauge their comfort level with meeting in person prior to scheduling in-person meetings, whenever possible.


Face coverings are required in classrooms. 

Classrooms capacity is being reduced to accommodate 6’ social distancing. To offset this shift in capacity Gordon is investing in new technologies to launch DigitalLive. DigitalLive is Gordon College’s commitment to provide a robust educational experience to students primarily through in-person instruction while also accommodating the needs for some students to participate in courses remotely.

  • New Temporary Classrooms are being activated.
    • Alumni Reading Room is being converted into a general education classroom for over 30 in person students
    • AJ Chapel is being utilized for larger in person courses such as Old/New Testament, Chemistry, and History courses
    • The Bennett Aerobics Room is going to serve as another classroom providing social distancing in person educational opportunities for departments including business and economics
    • The Phillips Recital Hall will get a technology upgrade to support additional music and general education courses
    • The Barrington Black Box Theatre will receive technology enhancements to support a modified theatre program and general education courses.

Campus Events—Updated 8/31/2020

How we think about events at Gordon this fall.
As we work to keep students on campus as much as possible, the College will seek to create appropriate, socially distanced opportunities for students to interact with one another over the fall semester. As a rule, all events should be set up in such a way that attendees are not placed into close contact with one another. This means that attendees, whether inside or outside, masked or unmasked, should not be put into a position in which they would be within six feet of one another.

Per the Governor’s guidelines, most indoor events are capped at 25 persons and most outdoor events are capped at 50 persons. The Governor’s guidelines do give some discretion to institutions around occupancy of spaces for gatherings of worship or instruction. Provided social distancing guidelines are met, gatherings in enclosed spaces on our campus that fall within these purposes (classroom instruction, for example) can be larger than the general guideline of 25 persons in a single, enclosed, space. As much as possible, however, we will try to take advantage of outdoor venues and spaces of exceptional social distancing this fall. We will also encourage virtual meetings and gatherings whenever appropriate. Rest assured, Gordon is taking very seriously all the guidelines designed to stop the spread of the pandemic.

All students planning activities or events must confirm with their advisor how they are following these regulations. A faculty or staff advisor must be present at all events. If the advisor is unable to be present, the advisor may designate another faculty or staff person to be there and help monitor the event. All events must use some sort of RSVP system or a way to track numbers, whether that be through wristbands, tickets, etc. All events registered on 25 Live must include a description of the event, or it will automatically be denied by the Director of Student Activities.

The College encourages the campus community to host events, meetings and gatherings outdoors whenever possible. However, student organizations and campus departments may host events with 25 or fewer individuals indoors so long as appropriate social distancing is maintained. In addition, requests for larger indoor events, meetings and gatherings may be granted by the Senior Working Group if they qualify as worship or instruction. Requests should be emailed to William Hagen () with an explanation for why the event qualifies as worship, instruction or performance. 

The College has invested in tents to serve as outdoor flex spaces to benefit students. All these spaces will be available to reserve on 25Live. The Mini-Quad tent is available for reservation with a preference for Student Life use. Up until 7 p.m., the space will be available for students to use on a drop-in basis for dining, attending DigitalLive coursework and for socially distant gatherings. After 7 p.m., this tent is available for reservation for gatherings of up to 48 persons. A smaller Frost Hall Tent is designated for official College use until 5 p.m. on weekdays. After 5 p.m., this tent may be used for gatherings of up to 30 persons.

In addition, the College will have an outdoor stage and AV setup available on the quad throughout the semester. Subject to availability, and for worship only, this space can accommodate several hundred individuals with ample social distancing.

Food at events:
While sharing food at events is highly discouraged, exceptions include food catered by Bon-Appetit or already prepared, individually packaged items that have been purchased for individual consumption (e.g. individual bags of chips). If plates or utensils are needed, they must be disposable.

Business Travel

Business travel (especially longer distances) is currently discouraged whenever possible both from a budget perspective and from a COVID-19 perspective. In general, online meetings should be utilized rather than business travel whenever possible. Where business travel is deemed essential and with the Senior Working Group’s approval, all the guidance should be followed related to quarantine, social distancing, mask usage, etc.  In addition, Governor Baker has issued a travel order that must be followed by all employees.  When traveling on behalf of the College, an employee shall not be asked to ignore guidance related to social distancing due to work-related needs (such as asking you to remove your mask to appear more “friendly” in close social situations). While Massachusetts has a few narrow exceptions to the travel order related to “essential critical infrastructure workers” traveling for work-related purposes, which include “educators supporting . . . colleges and universities for purposes of facilitating distance learning or performing other essential functions,” employees must follow the guidance related to quarantine and/or testing following any work-related exempt travel as stated on the mass.gov website.  In addition, all employees are encouraged to document all travel-related movement for potential contact tracing. Any business travel for employees who are not classified as “essential critical infrastructure workers,” must follow the travel order requirements.  If you, as an employee, become aware of a potential COVID-19 exposure at an off-campus location where you have traveled, please notify your supervisor and the COVID-19 Project Manager and quarantine until further guidance can be provided.

Personal Travel

Gordon College strongly discourages personal domestic and international travel, especially to areas facing surges in COVID-19 numbers. In addition, Governor Baker has issued a travel order that must be followed by all employees. All federal, state and local guidance should be followed related to travel and quarantine and/or testing expectations. Employees must be ready to use additional vacation time to cover potential quarantine expectations after a personal trip as needed. All employees should follow the social distancing, cleaning and mask-wearing expectations as if everyone had COVID-19, to properly protect themselves. 

Front Desk and Office Safety

The COVID-19 Project Manager is the point person on evaluating departments that have a front desk that may need to be modified related to COVID-19 precautions or other physical workplace safety needs. Please work with the COVID-19 Project Manager if you have an area that should be evaluated, and they will help coordinate any needed changes.

COVID-19 Safety Plan

Every department should submit a written COVID-19 plan that describes how you plan to keep your areas safe and follow the expectations around Gordon’s COVID-19 precautions. This plan should include how you are complying with all federal, state and local guidelines related to COVID-19, including quarantine and/or testing expectations as well as protection of employees, students and guests.  This written plan should be sent to the COVID-19 Project Manager.

Campus Visitors

In addition, all visitors should fill out the visitor logbook each and every day they are on campus, and any meetings with campus visitors should follow the mask and social distancing guidelines.

An easy link has been created for any signage or instructions you provide for visitors: http://Gordon.edu/Visitor. Please ensure that you communicate well to any campus visitors that they should fill it out each and every day they come to campus.

Food on Campus

Dining Services is following the Commonwealth’s guidelines for restaurants. Existing dining areas including Tupper Hall, Chester’s Place, Gillies, and the Bistro have had furniture removed to better promote social distancing while eating. Physical Plant has extended bistro seating into the reference room in the library. We are also adding an additional grab and go location in the Ken Olsen Science Center. This will provide a similar experience as the Bistro but without the coffee service. Lastly additional dining seating for students will be available in the first-floor lobby of the science building as well as the Chairman’s Room.

During the first few weeks of the semester, employees are asked to bring food from off-campus or go off campus for food rather than using the on-campus dining options. This will give time for the Dining Services team to set up and modify as necessary the processes to safely feed our student body well.

Hygiene, Safety and Cleaning Protocols

All employees are asked to abide by the following protocols:

  • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Wear facemasks to cover nose and mouth when in public spaces.
  • Practice 20 seconds of handwashing with warm water and soap often.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Practice proper respiratory etiquette (coughing or sneezing into a tissue or upper arm).
  • Practice social distancing in public places.
  • Sanitize shared surfaces.
  • Cooperate with testing and quarantine guidelines.

Gordon has implemented a higher level of cleaning intended to kill 99.9 percent of germs. “Force of Nature” (a multi-purpose, 100 percent eco-friendly, cleaner, deodorizer and disinfectant) has been distributed to departments, and faculty/staff are expected to keep their own office suites and spaces clean. Physical Plant will continue to clean all common areas and bathrooms daily using bleach, micro-ban and BruTab.

Physical Plant has been working to assure the operational status of HVAC units across campus and to increase airflow as possible and appropriate. Physical Plant has also been ordering and installing higher filtration air filters where possible. Finally, the Registrar is working with faculty to begin classes a few minutes late or end them a few minutes early to give additional time for cleaning and for air to circulate.