Returning to Rutgers - COVID-19 Health and Safety Precautions

This information is intended to mitigate the risks of spread of COVID-19 as staff, faculty, and certain students begin to return to work on campus. All staff and faculty are expected to follow the university policies and guidelines in order to sustain a healthy campus. It is important that we all diligently adhere to these health precautions.

This information is subject to frequent changes with the introduction of additional public health guidelines from local, state, and federal authorities.

How to Protect Yourself and Others

Know how it spreads

  • There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19.
  • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
  • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
    • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet for 15 minutes or more).
    • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

How to Prevent the Virus Spread

If You Are Sick, Stay Home

If you have symptoms of COVID-19: cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, or new loss of taste/smell (CDC COVID- 19 Symptoms), you must stay home.  You must contact your Occupational Health group, as well as UHR OneSource.  You must notify your supervisor that you will be absent due to illness, but you are not required to disclose your medical diagnosis to your supervisor.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19.  You should contact OneSource and forward appropriate medical documentation confirming the diagnosis within five (5) business days of your initial absence. You should also let your supervisor know that you will be absent due to illness, but you are not required to disclose your medical diagnosis to your supervisor.

If anyone in your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19, has demonstrated symptoms, or you have had close contact (within 6 ft for >15 min) outside your home with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 or who has symptoms of COVID-19 within the last 14 days, you must contact your Occupational Health group to discuss when you can return, as well as UHR OneSource.

Seek emergency assistance if you experience:

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


Monitor Your Health

  • All employees must perform self-monitoring each day before coming to work.
  • Be alert for symptoms. Take your temperature and watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, and other symptoms of COVID-19.
  • If you do not feel well or are sick, you must stay home.
  • If signs and/or symptoms develop while you are at work, you must leave work and notify your supervisor. In either case, you should continue to monitor your condition and seek consultation with your primary care physician or a local urgent care center.

Social and Physical Distancing

Increasing the physical distance between individuals can reduce transmission of the virus, and everyone returning to campus must consistently follow social distancing practices. Social distancing must be implemented across all University campuses and facilities.  Keeping space between you and others is one of the best tools we have to avoid being exposed.

  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others when possible.
  • Limit the number of people in conference rooms and common areas to allow for 6-foot physical distancing.
  • If in-person meetings are required, limit attendance to less than 10 people and maintain 6-foot physical distancing.
  • Remove chairs to limit seating capacity.
  • Use virtual meetings and phone calls rather than in-person meetings.
  • Avoid using anyone else’s personal protective equipment, phones, computer equipment, desks, cubicles, workstations, offices, or other personal work tools and equipment. There are some situations where work tools or workstations must be shared. In those situations, employees should take precautions to clean and disinfect them between use, as well as wash their hands before and after use.
  • Remote work arrangements should be continued whenever possible to limit the number of people in shared office spaces.
  • Stagger break times and limit the number of people in breakrooms to allow for 6-foot physical distancing.
  • Arrange seating to be forward facing instead of employees facing each other.

If possible, stagger work schedules to avoid overpopulating work areas.

Face Coverings

When used properly, face coverings can reduce transmission of the virus.

  • Face coverings must be worn by all employees and visitors on campus when in the presence of others and in buildings in public settings.
  • Face coverings are intended to limit the risk of the wearer exposing others to undetected illnesses or infections, including COVID-19. Face coverings do not provide the wearer with extra protection.

Social distancing must be maintained even while wearing a face covering

Hand Hygiene

Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water frequently throughout the day, especially at the beginning and end of your day, prior to and after any mealtimes, after using the toilet, after you have been in a public place, after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or touching your face.

If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Respiratory Etiquette: Cover Your Cough Or Sneeze

Everyone is asked to cover their mouth and nose with their sleeve or a tissue when coughing or sneezing and to avoid touching their face—in particular their mouth, nose, and eyes—with their hands. Tissues should be disposed of in the trash and individuals should wash or sanitize their hands immediately afterward.


Reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 by cleaning and disinfection is an important aspect of reopening our campus.

It is important to understand the difference between cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning removes germs and dust by using detergents or soap and water to physically remove germs from surfaces. This process does not necessarily kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers the risk of spreading infection. Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces or objects by using chemicals and lowers the risk of spreading infection.

Building Areas

Facilities has increased cleaning in all buildings and is routinely cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces including areas in public areas like lobbies, hallways, stairways, elevators, bathrooms, break rooms, etc.

Rutgers is using a disinfectant that has demonstrated effectiveness against viruses similar to 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) on hard, non-porous surfaces and is qualified under EPA's emerging viral pathogen program for use against SARS-CoV-2, a coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Department Areas

Departmentally owned spaces, such as shared office areas, reception desks, shared equipment (e.g., computers, A/V and other electrical equipment, copiers, desks and tables) and research areas must be serviced by the department.  Individual departments must review their work areas to create a plan for maintaining these areas.

Personal Work Areas

Employees should regularly wipe down their personal work areas and frequently touched objects (i.e., workstations/desks, keyboards and telephones).

Cleaning and Disinfecting Recommendations

The following are recommendations for cleaning commonly touch surfaces (i.e. service counters, shared workstations, etc.) for your operations or personal work areas:

Cleaning and Disinfecting Surfaces

  • Clean Visibly Dirty Surfaces with Soap and Water prior to disinfection.
  • Use the Appropriate Disinfectant Product.  Use an EPA-approved disinfectant against COVID-19, and read the label to make sure it meet your needs. Many consumer products (i.e. Clorox, Lysol, PDI Sani-Hands, Alcohol Wipes, etc.) meet the EPA’s criteria for use against COVID-19. For other products, please click on above link or contact REHS for assistance.
    • Always spray disinfectant onto the towel and then wipe on surfaces.
    • Ensure disinfectant is compatible with your equipment.
    • Don’t forget to label all containers following the NJ RTK requirements.
  • Always Follow the Manufacturer’s Directions on the Label. The label will include safety information and application instructions. Keep disinfectants out of the reach of children.
    • Keep the surface wet for the proper period of time (see product label).
    • Use safety precautions, including wearing gloves and using in well ventilated areas.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Electronics

For electronics, such as tablets, touch screens, keyboards, remote controls, and ATM machines:

  • Follow manufacturer’s instruction for cleaning and disinfecting.
  • If no guidance, use alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol (isopropanol or ethanol).
  • Always spray alcohol onto the towel and then wipe on surfaces.
  • Dry surfaces thoroughly to avoid pooling of liquids
  • Whenever possible, use covers that can be cleaned for electronics

If you have any questions or need more information, please contact REHS at 848-445-2550