Employee Return to Work Guidelines

Maricopa County Community College District’s policies and procedures for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic will be rooted in safety for our students, safety for our faculty, safety for our employees, and for the public.

The primary goals for our response to the COVID-19 pandemic are to protect public health and continue the District’s vital mission of higher education for diverse students and communities.

Our plans will also be aligned and consistent with local orders and ordinances of Maricopa County, as well as the State of Arizona’s Phased Reopening Model. Maricopa’s plans will also follow recommendations from the federal government (Opening Guidelines), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Arizona Department of Public Health.

Our knowledge and understanding of the COVID-19 virus continues to evolve, and our policies and plans will be updated as appropriate as more information becomes available.






Workplace Expectations and Guidelines

All employees are expected to fully comply with Maricopa’s Policies and Procedures, as well as the guidelines outlined in this document as part of Maricopa’s Workplace Expectations. Failure to do so may result in corrective action.

In order to promote a safe working environment for employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, Maricopa Community Colleges has created COVID-19 Return-to-Workplace Standards. Each employee must adhere to these standards in accordance with MCCCD Administrative Regulations 4.2, Employee Safety and Health Program, and 6.7, Employment Standards.

Self-Assessment Requirements

Employees who have been instructed to return to the workplace must conduct self-symptom monitoring every day before reporting to work. You must be free of any symptoms potentially related to COVID-19 to be eligible to report to work.

Currently, these symptoms include one or more of the following: 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, and new loss of taste or smell.

If you have symptoms, you must follow the Exposure and Case Reporting guidelines.



Exposure and Case Reporting and Response

Employees who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19 or have a confirmed case must follow the steps below:

  1. Employees who believe they may have COVID-19 or been exposed to COVID-19 must immediately isolate themselves, go home if at the office, and notify their supervisor
  2. Employees must report their case or exposure to Risk Management
    1. Report potential exposure to COVID-19
    2. Report confirmed case to COVID-19
    3. For questions, call 480-731-8947, 480.731.8888, or email dl-dssc-risk-management@ domail.maricopa.edu.
  3. If the employee has been in the office, the employee will compile a list of each person the employee has come in contact with and the areas the employee has been via the online reporting form
    1. Risk Management will notify the affected individuals of a potential exposure
    2. Facilities will ensure the surfaces are cleaned and disinfected
  4. Return to work
    1. If the employee believes they were exposed the employee must self-isolate for 14 days and follow the CDC guidelines
    2. If the employee has a confirmed case of COVID-19, please reach out to the Leaves department fmla-leaves@domail.mariocpa.edu for the proper return to work requirements



Higher Risk Individuals

According to the CDC, individuals with certain conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Those at higher risk are:

  • People 65 years and older
  • People with HIV
  • People with asthma (moderate-to-severe)
  • People with chronic lung disease
  • People with diabetes
  • People with serious heart conditions
  • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
  • People with severe obesity
  • People who are immunocompromised
  • People with liver disease

Employees who have been instructed to return to work on-site may request an ADA Accommodation if the employee has a medical condition that places them in a high risk group, is pregnant, or is caring for an individual in a high risk group.



Phased Staffing

Maricopa Community Colleges will phase in a return of employees over time in a coordinated process to ensure appropriate social distancing, availability of necessary protective equipment and supplies for COVID-19.

Maricopa will assess expanded staffing based on mission-critical operations, monitoring of COVID-19 cases, ability to control and manage specific work environments, and necessity to access on-site resources. These decisions, once approved, will be communicated through your respective College President or Chief Officer.

The need to reduce the number of people on campus (density) to meet social distancing requirements will continue for some time.

Expanded staffing will be tightly controlled and coordinated to mitigate potential risks and ensure the safety of faculty and employees, as well as the communities we serve. Once decisions to expand on-site staffing in certain areas have been made, employees should follow the policies and procedures for returning to work on campus.

As staffing on-site increases and operations expand, officials will closely monitor and assess the potential spread of the virus, as well as existing policies and procedures to mitigate it. Testing will be a critical part of assessing the impact of increased staffing. If localized outbreaks emerge, tighter restrictions and reduced staffing may need to be implemented again.



Staffing Options

Once employees members who have been instructed to return to work on-site, there are several options Colleges should consider to maintain required social distancing measures and reduce population density within buildings and work spaces.

Remote Work

Those who can work remotely to fulfill some or all of their work responsibilities may continue to do so to reduce the number of individuals on campus and the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus. These arrangements, which should be approved by the immediate supervisor and the college president or district office executive or his/her designee, can be done in on a full or partial day/week schedule as appropriate.

Alternating Days

In order to limit the number of individuals and interactions among those on campus, departments should schedule partial staffing on alternating days. Such schedules will help enable social distancing, especially in areas with large common workspaces.

Staggered Arriving/Departing

The beginning and end of the workday typically bring many people together at common entry/exit points of buildings. Staggering arrival and departure times by at least 30 minutes will reduce traffic in common areas to meet social distancing requirements. (See Enter/Exit Controls for further details).



Personal Safety Practices

Face coverings must be worn by all employees working on campus when in the presence of others and in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., common workspaces, meeting rooms, classrooms, cubicles, bullpen style workstations, etc.). Appropriate use of face coverings is critical in minimizing risks to others near you. You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. The mask or cloth face covering is not a substitute for social distancing, both are critical to ensure a safe environment. In order to fully support our employees and ensure their health and safety, MCCCD will provide face coverings to all employees. Employees may provide and use their own face coverings if they prefer.

You may also wear a cloth face covering, which will help Maricopa reduce the need to purchase additional face coverings, which are in short supply. Cloth face coverings must only be worn for one day at a time and must be properly laundered before use again. Having a week supply of cloth face coverings can help reduce the need for daily laundering. If individuals are unable to wear a face covering they may request an ADA accommodation and go through the interactive accommodation process.

Type and Intended Use of Face Coverings/Masks

Cloth Face Coverings

Home-made or commercially manufactured face coverings that are washable and help contain wearer’s respiratory emissions.

Intended Use
Required for campus community use in non-healthcare settings (office spaces, general research/work settings, shops, community areas where 6’ social distancing cannot be consistently maintained. Must be replaced daily. (While likely necessary for ingress and egress, and public spaces, not required when working alone in an office)

Disposable Masks

Commercially manufactured masks that help contain wearer’s respiratory emissions.

Intended Use
Required for campus community use in non-healthcare settings (office spaces, general research/work settings, shops, community areas where 6’ social distancing cannot be consistently maintained. Must be replaced daily. (While likely necessary for ingress and egress, and public spaces, not required when working alone in an office).

Medical-Grade Surgical Masks

FDA-approved masks to protect the wearer from large droplets and splashes; helps contain wearer’s respiratory emissions.

Intended Use
These masks are reserved for healthcare workers and other approved areas with task-specific hazards.

N95 Respirators

Provide effective respiratory protection from airborne particles and aerosols; helps contain wearer’s respiratory emissions.

Intended Use
These masks are reserved for healthcare workers and other approved areas with task-specific hazards. If an employee voluntarily uses the N95 Respirator, they will be asked to sign a voluntary use form in accordance with OSHA 1910.134.

Use and Care of Face Coverings

Putting on the face covering/disposable mask:

  • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer prior to handling the face covering/disposable mask
  • Ensure the face-covering/disposable mask fits over the nose and under the chin
  • Situate the face-covering/disposable mask properly with nose wire snug against the nose (where applicable)
  • Tie straps behind the head and neck or loop around the ears

Taking off the face covering/disposable mask:

  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when removing the face covering/disposable mask
  • When taking off the face covering/disposable mask, loop your finger into the strap and pull the strap away from the ear, or untie the straps
  • Wash hands immediately after removing and storing or disposing of the mask/ face cover

Care, storage and laundering:

Keep face covering/disposable mask stored in a paper bag when not in use; do not place on surfaces

Cloth face coverings may not be used more than one day at a time and must be washed after use; cloth face coverings should be properly laundered with regular clothing detergent before first use, and after each shift; cloth face coverings should be replaced immediately if soiled, damaged (e.g. ripped, punctured) or visibly contaminated

Disposable masks must not be used for more than one day and should be placed in the trash after your shift or if it is soiled, damaged (e.g., stretched ear loops, torn or punctured material) or visibly contaminated.

Social Distancing

Keeping space between you and others is one of the best tools we have to avoid being exposed to the COVID-19 virus and slowing its spread. 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 have no symptoms. Social distancing is important for everyone, especially to help protect people who are at higher risk of getting sick. Employees that work on-site must follow these social distancing practices:

  • Stay at least 6 feet from other people at all times
  • Do not gather in groups of 10 or more
  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings


Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or 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, and wash your hands after touching your face.


Healthcare workers and others in high-risk areas should use gloves as part of necessary protective equipment, but according to the CDC, gloves are not necessary for general use and do not replace good hand hygiene. Washing your hands often is considered the best practice for common everyday tasks.

Goggles/Face Shields

Employees do not need to wear goggles or face shields as part of general activity on campus. Good hand hygiene and avoiding touching your face are generally sufficient for non healthcare environments.


Facilities has established cleaning and disinfecting practices based on CDC guidelines. Building occupants should also wipe down commonly used surfaces before and after use with products that meet the EPA’s criteria for use against COVID-19 and are appropriate for the surface. This includes any shared-space location or equipment.

Coughing/Sneezing Hygiene

If you are in a private setting and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. Then throw used tissues in the trash. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.



Guidance for Specific Workplace Scenarios


Post, in areas visible to all students, required hygienic practices, including not to touch face with unwashed hands or with gloves; washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, depending on the type of alcohol; covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing as well as other hygienic recommendations by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Faculty should assess the class environments to institute safety measures to ensure students:

  • Have limited access to predetermined areas on campus in order to complete required coursework
  • Wear masks or face covers at all times while in a shared space with other students
  • Maintain at least 6 feet distance between themselves and other students
  • Follow the classroom-to-car method, ensuring minimal physical proximity for student, faculty, and employees safety

Working in the Office

If you work in an open environment, be sure to maintain at least 6 feet distance from co-workers. If possible have at least one workspace separating you from another co-worker. You should wear a face mask or face covering at all times while in a shared work space/room.

Departments should assess open work environments and meeting rooms to institute measures to physically separate and increase distance between employees, other coworkers, and customers, such as:

  • Place visual cues such as floor decals, colored tape, or signs to indicate to customers where they should stand while waiting in line
  • Place one-way directional signage for large open workspaces with multiple through-ways to increase distance between employees moving through the space
  • Consider designating specific stairways for up or down traffic if building space allows

If you work in an office, no more than one person should be in the same room unless the required 6 feet of distancing can be consistently maintained. If more than one person is in a room, masks/face coverings should be worn at all times. A mask or face covering is not required if you are working alone in a confined office space (does not include partitioned work areas in a large open environment).

Masks/face coverings should be worn by all employees in a reception/receiving area. Masks/face coverings should be used when inside any Maricopa facility where others are present, including walking in narrow hallways where others travel and in break rooms, conference rooms and other meeting locations.

Using Restrooms

Use of restrooms should be limited based on size to ensure at least 6 feet distance between individuals. Wash your hands as recommended by CDC guidelines

Using Elevators

No more than two people may enter an elevator at a time, so please use the stairs whenever possible. If you are using the elevator, wear your mask or face covering and avoid touching the elevator buttons with your exposed hand/fingers, if possible. Wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers with greater than 60 perfect ethanol or 70 percent isopropanol as the preferred form of hand hygiene in healthcare settings upon departing the elevator


Convening in groups increases the risk of viral transmission. Where feasible, meetings should be held in whole or part using the extensive range of available collaboration tools (e.g. WebEx, Google Meet, telephone, etc.).

In person meetings are limited to the restrictions of local, state and federal orders and should still maintain 6 feet of separation for social distancing requirements. Departments should remove or rearrange chairs and tables or add visual cue marks in meeting rooms to support social distancing practices between attendees. All attendees should wear a mask or face covering while sharing space in a common room.

During your time on-site, you are encouraged to communicate with your colleagues and supervisors as needed by email, instant message, telephone or other available technology rather than face-to-face. You can also use a range of available collaboration tools (e.g. WebEx, Google Meet, Jabber, etc.).


Before and after eating, you should wash your hands thoroughly to reduce the potential transmission of the virus.

If dining on campus, you should wear your mask or face covering until you are ready to eat and then replace it afterward. Employees are encouraged to bring their lunch to work and eat at their desk or away from others. Departments should remove or rearrange chairs and tables or add visual cue marks in break rooms to support social distancing practices between employees. Wipe all surfaces, including table, refrigerator handle, coffee machine, etc. after using in common areas.


Building occupants are expected to follow signage on traffic flow through building entrances, exits, elevator usage and similar common use areas.



Mental and Emotional Well-Being

Basic Needs and Community Resources

Maricopa Community Colleges has pulled together information and resources to support our community. Visit the Basic Needs and Community Resources website for information regarding food resources, housing and shelter, personal safety, transportation and more.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

EAP is offered by IBH Solutions and available to offer emotional support during this period. Telephonic or video counseling is available, as well as a number of other resources. You may contact IBH Solutions by calling 1-800-395-1616 or visit bhsolutions.com/members. More information is available on the EAP website.

Wellness Maricopa

Wellness Maricopa is committed to supporting your overall health and wellbeing. Visit the Wellness website for more information and resources to offer support, manage stress, and enhance your resilience.

Departments and building coordinators should identify usable building access points and coordinate arrival and departure times of employees to reduce congestion during typical “rush hours” of the business day. Employees arrival and departures should be scheduled in 30-minute increments to reduce personal interactions at building access points, hallways, stairs/elevators, etc.

Once you have been instructed to return to the workplace, you should report to work or depart work through the designated building access and at the designated time to limit the number of people entering and exiting buildings at any one time.

Violation of these guidelines may result in the immediate revocation of building access privileges, as well as corrective action. This does not apply to emergency evacuation events.