Supporting our Highlanders during COVID-19
In an effort to provide employees with resources to stay well in this unprecedented time, this website has been established to share information and resources to support the physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing of our Highlanders. Employees are encouraged to take advantage of these resources, especially if they are struggling with anxiety or stress, to effectively navigate the pressures associated with COVID-19.
Social distancing is the best way to protect your health and your community. Limiting face-to-face contact with others is the best way to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Social distancing, also called “physical distancing,” means keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home. To practice social or physical distancing:
- Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people
- Do not gather in groups
- Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings
In addition to everyday steps to prevent COVID-19, keeping space between you and others is one of the best tools we have to avoid being exposed to this virus and slowing its spread locally and across the country and world.
Limit close contact with others outside your household in indoor and outdoor spaces. Since people can spread the virus before they know they are sick, it is important to stay away from others when possible, even if you—or they—have no symptoms. Social distancing is especially important for people who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
While on Campus
Radford University has been working diligently to make modifications to campus in order to both enable and promote physical distancing. All Highlanders are encouraged to be mindful of spacing and maintain physical distancing as necessary and appropriate.
Updated signage for classrooms and laboratories will indicate the new occupancy limit. Revised configurations and occupancies for all classrooms and laboratories have been created and are on file with Facilities Management. Campus signage, including revised capacity numbers for every classroom, laboratory, conference room, meeting space, etc., as well as a two-person limit on all elevators and dedicated entrances and exits for all buildings, has been produced and installed throughout campus.
Other work to ensure physical distancing has occurred in offices, common areas, and other locations across campus. To submit COVID-19 related requests for physical distancing, as well as housekeeping and personal protective equipment, visit http://radford.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cNt5JvweCk03p6B. To date, Facilities Management has conducted a thorough analysis of all spaces and configurations to ensure physical distancing in every situation possible.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), handwashing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community.
Individuals are encouraged to follow these five steps every time:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dryer.
Due to COVID-19, handwashing is critically important at the following times:
- After you have been in a public place and touched an item or surface that may be frequently touched by other people, such as door handles, tables, gas pumps, shopping carts, or electronic cashier registers/screens, etc.; and
- Before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
The CDC also encourages individuals to utilize an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. As such, the University has installed hand sanitizer stations. Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to utilize these stations as necessary and appropriate.
For detailed information from the CDC regarding handwashing, visit https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/index.html. Additional information about hand hygiene is available from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) at https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/haiar/infection-prevention/standard-precautions/hand-hygiene/.
Radford University is requiring face coverings to be worn effective with the campus reopening beginning on July 27, 2020. The University will provide face coverings to all students, faculty, and staff. For students living in on-campus housing, face coverings will be distributed as part of move-in. For non-campus housing, student distribution will vary. Broad-based distribution will be coordinated by the Office of Environmental Health and Safety with support from various campus partners. The Cloth Mask or Face Covering Distribution Plan is available online.
Students will be required to wear face coverings while in class, conducting business on campus, and in shared/common spaces. Faculty will be provided the option to stand behind a clear barrier at a podium or wear a face covering. The clear barrier is preferred as some students require accommodations for comprehension of material being discussed and/or presented. Employees, both faculty and staff, working independently in their offices will not have to wear face coverings. Employees in common areas and shared/meeting spaces will be required to wear face coverings. Face coverings will not be required outside; however, they will be required anywhere that appropriate physical distancing is not possible.
The face covering requirement will be enforced by the local health district and will be monitored by the appropriate University division, department, and/or office. Individuals are asked to exercise social responsibility, as well as kindness, with respect to the face covering requirement. If you encounter students, faculty, and staff who are not wearing face coverings, be mindful that there could be clear and compelling reasons. The full text of the Universal Masking and Cloth Mask Guidance is available online.
Radford University is proud to be part of the Virginia Department of Health’s “Mask Up Virginia” Initiative. For additional information about the importance of cloth masks, students, faculty, and staff are being encouraged to visit https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/blog/2020/05/11/masks-up-why-you-need-to-be-wearing-a-cloth-mask.
Radford University has developed and launched the Daily Symptom Tracking for COVID-19 Screening. The symptom tracking tool is available at http://www.radford.edu/symptom-tracker. The tool is also available through the RU Mobile app and MyRU portal.
Through the utilization of this tool, all members of the Radford University community are being asked to monitor their health on a daily basis. This tool is intended to assist with the consistency of regular health screenings and can serve as a journal for individual Highlanders.
During these unprecedented times, everyone has different reactions to the burden of stress due to the novel coronavirus
You may experience:
- Increased stress and anxiety beyond your normal levels
- Concerns about balancing school, work, and relationships from home
- Anger and anxiety about having to confine your daily movement to one space
- A desire to use unhealthy coping mechanisms that interfere with normal eating, sleeping, and self-care behaviors, such as eating too much or too little, and excessive use of drugs or alcohol
- Boredom and frustration because you may not be able to go about your daily routine
- Symptoms of depression, such as feelings of hopelessness, changes in appetite, or sleeping too little or too much
How to support yourself:
- Connect with others. Reach out to people you trust using text messaging, the telephone, emails, video chats, and social media to keep in touch and talk about how you are doing.
- Maintain a routine and take care of your body. Stick to a sleep schedule and eat a healthy diet.
- Avoid excessive exposure to media coverage of COVID-19. It’s good to be knowledgeable, but too much exposure can become overwhelming.
- Identify things you are hopeful for or grateful for in your life.
- Infuse some variety into your daily activities. Try something new you have been meaning to do.
Source: Informaiton from CDC
Employee Assistance Program – In light of COVID-19 and the crises our country and communities are facing with racial disparities and tensions, remember that numerous EAP resources are available to help employees.
Employees have access to online EAP resources on individual counseling, legal/financial consultations, and other services through their individual state health plan benefit. To utilize this benefit, please call the number associated with your health plan below:
Anthem (COVA Care)
Aetna (COVA HealthAware)
Kaiser Permanente - EAP
- Phone: 1-866-517-7042
- Kaiser Permanente Website
Physical activity can help you clear your mind and get rid of all that extra stress. A stretch in the morning, a jog outside, or a dance party on video chat with friends can improve your emotional and physical health.
Try these free workout videos to turn your home into a personal gym! (and be sure to consult with your health care provider before beginning any exercise program)
Updated: October 13, 2020