View plans for in-person Commencement and fall 2021 on ourCOVID-19 News & Information website.
Human Resources Service Center

Return to Campus Guidelines and Expectations

Updated 3/30/2021 - This plan will be revised as information evolves. See Revision Control.

Chico State will phase-in the return of employees (faculty, staff, and student employees) to campus in a coordinated process to ensure appropriate physical distancing, availability of PPE (personal protective equipment) and compliance with state and local restrictions. These guidelines and expectations align with recommendations from the federal government (Opening Guidelines), Center for Disease Control (CDC), California and Butte County Departments of Public Health, Cal/OSHA, and the CSU, Chancellor’s Office and will be updated as our knowledge and understanding of COVID-19 evolves. The President has authority to approve in-person or other campus activities as long as health and safety measures are taken that comply with this policy or as other safety considerations evolve.

Prior to authorizing return to campus, Chico State will:

  • Perform a detailed risk assessment and implement a site-specific protection plan in each department or unit that initiates a return to campus request.
  • Train employees on how to limit the spread of COVID-19, including how to screen themselves for symptoms and stay home if they have them.
  • Implement individual control measures and screenings.
  • Implement disinfecting protocols.
  • Implement physical distancing guidelines.

Employees approved to return to campus will:

  • Conduct symptom monitoring every day before coming to campus.
  • Maintain physical distancing.
  • Wear face coverings in common and public indoor spaces, and outdoors when physical distancing is not possible.  Refer to the current CDPH guidance (PDF) for additional information and limited exceptions. In the event that State or County requirements change, employees will be advised and will be expected to comply with updated requirements.
  • Wash hands and use hand sanitizer frequently.

Chico State has designated the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) with responsibility to implement these guidelines and evaluate all requests for employees to return to on-campus work or otherwise exercise oversight of return to campus processes. Requests shall be submitted to, or via the online submission when available.

Phased Return to Campus Plan

The return to campus process will be tightly controlled and coordinated to mitigate potential risks and ensure the safety of students, faculty, and staff, as well as the communities we serve. Deans/Directors shall seek approval from their Vice President/Dean to begin the return to campus process. Once approved, departments will submit a Return to Campus Request on the standard templates (Appendix C)(opens in new window), including site-specific prevention protocols, to the EOC for evaluation or oversight. During Phase 1 and 2, requests will be evaluated through a process of risk and resource assessment to establish approval, prioritization, and sequence. No unit or department will increase on-campus staffing levels without appropriate authorization.

All employees needed for effective on-campus operations will be included in the repopulation request. Managers are to provide at least 14 days’ notice before transitioning an employee back to campus to work. Employees who have medical concerns regarding their ability to return should contact the Benefits unit in the Human Resources Services Center to explore available options. Benefits team can be contacted at or (530) 898-4360.

Phased Staffing

Phase 1: Return Employees Currently Unable to Work Remotely

In Phase 1, employees that are able to effectively work remotely should be afforded the opportunity to continue. Employees who are not able to effectively work remotely will begin returning to campus. During this phase, the University will have the opportunity to refine safety measures and operational protocols before campus density is increased. Vice President/Dean approval and risk assessments are required.

Phase 2: Create opportunities for limited on-campus work to support instruction, student support, and research

Expand staffing to support the summer term and prepare for the fall term. Faculty may be permitted to utilize their office and/or classroom/lab space for preparation of activities. Limited in-person student support services may be allowed. Research activity that includes the use of University facilities on a limited basis may be permitted. Vice President approval and Departmental Risk Assessments are required. Employees requesting an "early" return to campus may work with their appropriate administrator to submit a Return to Campus Plan (Under Phase 2 of the Return to Campus Guidelines).

Phase 3: Create opportunities for additional on-campus work to support the institution’s mission

As of June 7 we are moving into Phase3. This includes continuing to expand on-campus staffing to support the institution’s mission and prepare for a return to in-person campus operations while striving for all departments to provide on-campus services during normal operating hours. Faculty are permitted to utilize their office and/or classroom/lab space subject to physical distancing and safety protocols. All departments must complete Return to Campus documentation.

August and beyond - All departments will provide on-campus services during normal operating hours. While all employees are not expected to return to campus on a full-time basis, managers should consider all employees when developing departmental/unit Phase 3 staffing plans. Hybrid work schedules may be considered. Upon return, all employees will be required to maintain proper physical distancing and wear face coverings in common and public indoor spaces, and outdoors when physical distancing is not possible.

Phase 4: Return to full in person operations

Phase 4 staffing is currently tagged for January 2022.

COVID-19 Hotline

The WellCat Health Center has launched a COVID-19 hotline—530-898-2222—to answer faculty, staff, and student questions about a variety of COVID-19-related topics.

Hotline staff can assist with identifying symptoms, provide guidance about prevention and slowing the spread of COVID-19, and refer individuals to WellCat services, including basic medical care, mental health services, support groups, access to confidential Safe Place advocates, and more. Whether you’re looking for the latest Centers for Disease Control guidance on prevention, links to Butte County and other local resources, or help navigating Chico State’s online COVID-19 information, our hotline is here to help!

The hotline can be reached at 530-898-2222 Monday–Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Calls received after hours will be returned on the next business day. Alternatively, you may email hotline staff at

Health and Safety (Workplace) Guidelines

Institutional Responsibilities

Develop a detailed Return to Campus Request plan for each department or unit that initiates a return to campus request. This Plan will include a departmental risk assessment which includes site specific details and requirements. EH&S will provide an electronic template as an aid in completing this review and documentation.

Train employees on how to limit the spread of COVID-19, including how to screen themselves for symptoms and stay home if they have them

Training shall be provided by Environmental Health & Safety (EHS). Employee training is required before returning to campus, and will include all applicable OSHA/CDPH/BCPH guidelines as well as topics highlighted in this document. Topics include:

  • Signage standards
  • Symptom recognition and reporting
  • Social and physical distancing standards
  • PPE and face covering expectations
  • Hand washing techniques
  • Other applicable topics

Implement individual control measures and screenings

  • Provide face coverings and guidance on appropriate use.
  • Provide and ensure employees use all required personal protective equipment.
  • WellCat Health Center will be responsible for COVID-19 case management which includes:
    • A COVID-19 Hotline for all employees (530-898-2222 or
    • Liaison with Butte County Public Health officials
    • Support and/or implement the investigation of any COVID-19 illness and determine if work-related factors could have contributed to the exposure
    • Support and/or implement contact tracing as required
    • See Appendix B (PDF) for additional details

Implement disinfecting protocols

  • Cleaning in high traffic areas. The University will sanitize high traffic areas (entrances/ hallways/elevators/lobbies) 2x per eight-hour shift, at a minimum.
  • Provide hand sanitizer at entrances and high-traffic areas.
  • Provide products that meet the EPA’s criteria for use against COVID-19 and are appropriate for the surface.
  • Ensure that sanitary facilities (e.g., restrooms) stay operational and stocked at all times.
  • Custodial teams will clean classrooms, offices, and workspaces 1x per day, following CDC guidelines.
  • Hand air-dryers in bathrooms will be rendered inoperable.
  • All HVAC air filtration will be upgraded to a minimum MERV13 filter.
  • Increase outside air intake to reduce recycled air in buildings.

Implement physical distancing guidelines

  • Physical barriers will be installed if person-to-person contact regularly occurs or if physical distancing between people cannot be maintained.
  • Seating areas will be arranged to be physically distanced. Chairs will be turned around or “Do Not Use” signs will be placed on seats.
  • Floor markings will be used to indicate appropriate physical distance between persons as necessary.
  • Signs posted to indicate your process: i.e. “please wait here…”

Employee Responsibilities

Every employee must contribute to a safe and healthy work environment. In consideration of fellow employees, and to be respectful of others’ needs to protect themselves and their families, employees are responsible for the following:

Conduct symptom monitoring every day before coming to campus. Employees must be free of any symptoms potentially related to COVID-19.

Employees experiencing any of these symptoms, should contact their supervisor and the COVID-19 call center (530-898-2222) immediately and do not report to campus.

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Runny nose or new sinus congestion
  • Muscle Pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • New gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Pink eye

Employees experiencing any of the warning signs below should contact a medical provider or report to the nearest emergency department immediately. Enloe’s phone number is (530) 332-7330.

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

Maintain physical distancing and use of face covers

  • Provide for appropriate physical distance from one another at all times in the workplace.
  • Wear face coverings in common and public indoor spaces, and outdoors when physical distancing is not possible. Refer to the current CDPH guidance(opens in new window) for additional information and limited exceptions. In the event that State or County requirements change, employees will be advised and will be expected to comply with updated requirements. (The University will provide face coverings for employees.)
  • Avoid unnecessary meetings: use videoconferencing, telephone calls, and email to communicate. In person meetings should not exceed 50 percent of a room’s capacity, assuming individuals can still maintain separation for physical distancing requirements.
  • Consider eating outside or at their desk and avoid facing others while eating.
  • In the workplace, employees must follow all notifications, posting, and markings related to physical distancing on campus. These markings will appear both indoors and out.

Wash hands or use hand sanitizer frequently.

The University will provide hand sanitizer as available. A better alternative is to thoroughly wash one’s hands.

Clean and sanitize individual spaces

  • Clean and sanitize shared equipment and surfaces between each use (e.g. copiers, printers, computers, A/V and other electrical equipment, coffee makers, desks and tables, light switches, door knobs, etc.).
  • Clean touchable surfaces between shifts or between users, whichever is more frequent.
  • Frequently clean and sanitize personal work areas. Personal cell phones should be regularly cleaned, particularly before and after eating.
  • Use products provided by the institution that meet the EPA’s criteria for use against COVID-19 and are appropriate for the surface.

Additional Information/Resources

Appendix A - Highlighted Guidance from CDC on Maintaining Healthy Institutions for Higher Education Environmental

See Appendix A

Appendix B - COVID-19 Case Management Procedure

CSU, Chico has established a COVID-19 Case Management Procedure to guide our communication and required actions related to suspected or confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 on the campus. See Appendix B Case Management Procedure.

Appendix C - Return to Campus Request

CSU, Chico has established a process to assist departments with returning activities to campus, including a template for evaluating the physical workspace and proposed in-person activities in order to design site-specific prevention protocols. These forms can be downloaded to your device, and then filled out using Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader only or completed electronically when available. If you need to download Adobe Acrobat go to Knowledge Base Article "Help installing and configuring Software(opens in new window)", click Request Service for Adobe Creative Cloud which will allow you do download Adobe Acrobat DC.  If you still have difficulties with the forms please contact the EOC at

Phase Three Resources