Return to the Rock Fall Plans

Monday, June 15, 2020

Rockhurst Faculty and Staff

We hope your summer is off to an enjoyable start and that you and your family are keeping safe and healthy. A few weeks ago, we announced the establishment of our Pathway Planning Task Force (PPTF) and the work it is doing to prepare us for a return to campus throughout the summer and fall. Today we are providing an update on some of the decisions that have been made to promote health and safety and minimize the spread of COVID-19 on campus. 

As we have seen during the past three months, COVID-19 is a dynamic health pandemic with conditions changing daily. As you read the following information, it is imperative to remember that the University will adjust its plans and activity based on the directives of local, state and federal authorities, advice from external health consultants and best practices. The University cannot eliminate COVID-19, however, we have established resources and protocols that, when implemented in a consistent and comprehensive way, can lead to a significant decline in the acquisition and transmission of the virus. 

Until the phased return to campus begins for staff and faculty the week of July 6, campus remains open only to those who have been designated as essential. While on campus, you must wear a facial covering at any time you are not able to socially distance from others. 

We plan to begin the fall semester on ground at both the Troost Avenue and Westport Road campuses. The PPTF is actively consulting with the Kansas City Health Department, Kansas City Mayor’s Office, MRI Global, Saint Luke’s Health System and other specialists to develop the protocols that will facilitate a safe return to campus. At the same time, we are developing a matrix in conjunction with these experts that will guide decision making for any contingencies that may arise, such as a spike in cases in our area. We have also surveyed students and faculty to inform our plans and to help us better answer your questions. 

Following is an overview of the Return to the Rock plan that applies to faculty and staff based on submissions from the four work groups within the PPTF: Teaching and Learning; Student Experience and Community Engagement; Personal Protective Equipment and Health Education; and Financial, Legal and Human Resources. Our work will continue throughout this summer and we ask for your patience, knowing that we will not be able to answer all of your questions at this time.  

Please read carefully through the following detailed information. If you have questions about any aspect of our return to campus plan, please contact your supervisor or academic department chair. 

Return to the Rock Requirements — Faculty and Staff 

Work Schedule 

  1. Rockhurst employees will return to campus in a phased approach starting on July 6, 2020. Department leaders will discuss specifics with their direct reports. These requirements are subject to change as circumstances continue to evolve. 
  2. Employees who are unable to return to campus should contact Human Resources to request an accommodation at  

Fall Academic Schedule   

  1. We will start classes as scheduled Monday Aug. 24. New student move-in will take place over four days during assigned four-hour blocks in the morning and afternoon from Tuesday, Aug. 18, through Friday, Aug. 21. Likewise, move-in for returning students will occur Friday, Aug. 21, through Sunday, Aug. 23, during assigned move-in times. Residential students should expect to receive their move-in assignments no later than the middle of July.   

  2. While Labor Day will remain a day off, we encourage students, faculty and staff to reduce travel and remain in Kansas City to help prevent transmission of the virus. A reduction in travel for the remainder of the semester would further reduce opportunities for transmission of the virus.  
  3. We will reschedule fall break to reduce the number of students traveling and risking exposure to the virus. The two days of fall break will be shifted into the week of Thanksgiving — Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 23-24 — to allow students to have the entire week of Thanksgiving off with their families. (Wednesday, Nov. 25, was already scheduled as a no-class day.)   
  4. Residence halls will close for most students on Friday evening, Nov. 20.   
  5. Most students (except for those who have courses or experiences that REQUIRE in-person instruction or other activities) will complete the last week of instruction after Thanksgiving and then take their finals remotely the following week.   

 Precautionary Measures and Protocols 

  1. All employees and visitors are required to wear a facial covering while inside all buildings (except when alone in one’s personal office), and are strongly encouraged to wear a facial covering outside of buildings. Cubicle areas and multi-desk office spaces will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Department leaders will discuss specifics with their direct reports. 
  2. Employees should not wear a facial covering if they have trouble breathing, any inability to tolerate wearing it, or if they are unable to remove it without assistance.  
  3. Employees should exercise good judgment, prudence, and consideration of others’ health as well as their own.  
  4. Employees and visitors should practice 6 feet of social distancing at all times in all areas on campus unless essential activities do not permit it. Department leaders will discuss specifics with their direct reports. The 6-foot social distancing does not apply to visitors within the same family unit.  
  5. Work schedules will be modified to limit occupancy in work areas (e.g., Conway 102, Massman 1, Registrar’s office, Financial Aid area) to no greater than that which can maintain 6-foot social distancing at all times. Department leaders will discuss specifics with their direct reports.  
  6. Meetings should be virtual. In-person meetings should occur only when essential. When essential, 6-foot social distancing should be maintained at all times. Department leaders will discuss specifics with their direct reports.  
  7. Plexiglas shields have been installed in work areas where frequent in-person interactions occur.
  8. NOTE: Plexiglas shields will not be installed in personal offices.  
  9. Work area layouts and seating arrangements, including guest chairs, have been modified to allow for 6-foot social distancing.  
  10. Capacity of meeting rooms and communal areas are limited to that which can maintain 6-foot social distancing and 50% of listed capacity limits (as promulgated by the City of Kansas City) at all times.  
  11. Dining areas will allow for a maximum of two people per table. 
  12. No limits or caps are placed on in-person gatherings so long as 6-foot social distancing and 50% of listed capacity limits are followed.  
  13. Common areas and high-touch areas will be cleaned twice daily by Facilities. Employee offices and cubicle areas will be cleaned nightly by Facilities.  
  14. Employees are responsible for cleaning their own offices, work areas and shared spaces during the work day. Disinfecting supplies will be supplied by Facilities upon request. 
  15. Hand sanitizer and health-information posters will be placed in all buildings. 

COVID-19 Symptoms and Reporting 

Employees should be mindful of the symptoms of COVID-19 which are as follows: 

  1. Fever or chills 
  2. Cough 
  3. Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing 
  4. Fatigue 
  5. Muscle or body aches 
  6. Headache 
  7. New loss of taste or smell 
  8. Sore throat 
  9. Congestion or runny nose 
  10. Nausea or vomiting 
  11. Diarrhea 
  12. If you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, or if you are sick, you should contact your supervisor and Human Resources and stay home. 
  13. Employees should report to the University (by sending an email to when they are under investigation for having COVID-19, are presumed positive with a case of COVID-19, or have a laboratory confirmed case of COVID-19 (see definitions below). The University will contact those reporting to learn additional details and arrange for follow-up.   
  14. Person under investigation: Any person who is under investigation for having the virus that causes COVID-19, or who was under investigation but tested negative for the virus.  
  15. Presumptive positive case of COVID-19: Anyone who has tested positive for the virus, but testing was conducted at the local or state level. Currently, presumptive positive cases must have a sample undergo confirmatory testing at the CDC.  
  16. Laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19: Anyone who has tested positive for the virus at the CDC laboratory.  

Additional measures employees should take to minimize the risk of transmission: 

  1. Avoid contact with sick people. 
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. 
  3. Cough into your elbow rather than your hands. 
  4. Clean your hands often by washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty. 
  5. Refrain from shaking hands when greeting people. 
  6. Get plenty of rest. 
  7. Maintain a healthy diet and physical activity. 

Education and Testing 

  1. The University will require all students and university employees to take an initial course related to COVID-19 precautionary measures and protocols. Additional training may be required for those who fail to follow the established community standards.  
  2. We have a case management system in place for any student or employee that is suspected of having or confirmed with COVID-19 to assist with self-care, tracing, and related disinfection and quarantining efforts.   
  3. We are exploring COVID-19 testing options and at this time, we are not inclined to do “baseline” testing of all students and employees.  However, we are developing options for “symptom-based” testing as well as exploring the feasibility of targeted/surveillance testing (i.e., residential, athletic, and academic cohort groups that have physical contact due to skill-building aspects of their educational experience).  More details will be shared later.  

We want to close by expressing our gratitude for the care and attention faculty and staff have shown for each other and for our students during the challenges of the spring semester and moving into the summer. We will continue to provide updates as new information is available.  


Barbra Upton-Garvin, MBA 

Director of Human Resources 

Doug Dunham, Ph.D. 

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs