Dear Faculty, Staff and Students:
NEOMED’s protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic have been developed with the safety and health of our employees and students as our primary concern. The resulting guidelines and expectations of adherence have been done in coordination with all of the public universities in Ohio, and is fully aligned with all guidance by Ohio’s governor and Department of Health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the American College Health Association (ACHA). Critical to our ability to sustain the safety and health of all members of the NEOMED community is the obligation each of us bears to not only adhere to these expectations, but to also ensure that others do. NEOMED is one community for which each of us is empowered to protect the health of all us ― reminding those who aren’t complying to do so and informing College leadership and human resources when students and employees disregard the request for compliance. No one is beyond reproach.
Please note that the state of Ohio currently has a statewide mandate on face coverings in public places. The task of enforcement falls to the state and local health departments, rather than police or individual businesses. But violating the order is considered a misdemeanor, with penalties of up to 30 days behind bars and a $750 fine.
Clearly the state’s intentions are not to be punitive. The governor simply wants to point out the seriousness of protecting ourselves and others from COVID-19. So, all must play a part in keeping us healthy.
This document sets forth the empowerment of all members of the NEOMED community as we are needed to engage one another to ensure a culture of safety during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The following guiding principles for employee and student empowerment apply:
- Ensuring a safe and healthy campus is everyone’s responsibility. It is not just the job of public safety, HR, the Colleges and the University.
- The vast majority of NEOMED’s community will wholeheartedly adhere to campus safety exceptions.
- Many of us are uncomfortable with asking others to comply, but it is now critically important that we work to overcome these discomforts in the interest of the health and well-being of all of us.
- It is understood that all of us have had to work to develop new habits in the face of this pandemic, including wearing face coverings, practicing physical distancing, and maintaining appropriate health hygiene. There may be moments when any one of us may need to be reminded of the need for these new habits.
- Safety has no hierarchy. Compliance is expected at all levels of our organization. Therefore, each of us is empowered to speak up, even to those who may have “higher authority” at NEOMED than we. Negative repercussions ― implicit or explicit ― against those who reminded others to comply or informed Colleges or human resources of non-compliance, will not be tolerated.
Compliance with campus safety expectations is expected throughout campus grounds and buildings including common areas inside and outside of the Village.
As your safety and wellness is NEOMED’s primary concern, we appreciate all who support and comply with our protocols. And while we are healthier and better as one community that complies, reminds and informs, the University must also have in place provisions in the event members of the community do not comply and for which enforcement may be necessary.
For those who do not comply, the following may apply:
- Students may be subject to the Committee on Academic & Professional Progress (“CAPP”) (see the student handbook: NEOMED Compass 2020-21) with regards to adherence to academic and professional standards.
- Employees may be subject to (see “Employee Handbook”) general expectations for employees. All employees must adhere to the polices in this handbook which include the following: Consideration, respect and cooperation; Professionalism; and Safety.
Empowerment of students and employees to remind and inform will therefore be supported by policies in the University’s student and employee handbooks and the applicable procedures for enforcement as deemed appropriate in any of following situations.
First episode of non-adherence
It is anticipated that a friendly reminder will be all that is needed to correct the non-adherence. If, however, the encountered individual refuses to comply, or demonstrates willful disregard for campus safety expectations, it is important that such behavior is reported to someone at the respective College (if a student is not adhering) or to human resources if it is an employee. If you know the name of the individual, and whether a student or an employee, you should report the behavior by e-mail as follows:
- For an employee, report to firstname.lastname@example.org
- For a student, report to:
If the individual is unknown to you, you should ask them to identify themselves and whether they are a student or employee ― ask to see a NEOMED identification badge. Please note that any member of the NEOMED community, if asked, must display a NEOMED badge to identify their status and department of responsibility.
Second episode of non-adherence
Individuals observed to be in non-compliance for a second time, presumably after being reminded, should be reported as outlined above. Such individuals may receive a verbal warning upon meeting with their respective College or human resources.
Third episode of non-adherence
Individuals who are non-complaint for the third time face disciplinary action. Such individuals may either be reported by the same observer or by a different observer who reports the non-compliance event occurring on a day following the second occurrence for which a verbal warning was received. If the non-compliant person is an employee, HR will work with their supervisor to decide on appropriate consequences. For students, their respective College official will decide on the appropriate action, which could include referral to Student Conduct Council and/or CAPP.
Any individual being reported will have the opportunity to speak to their supervisor or the appropriate administrator in their College or human resources. Of course, false reporting of any kind will not be tolerated, and any individual who is found to have submitted a false report will be subject to discipline.
Hostile or Threatening Behavior
If when engaging someone with a reminder to adhere to protocols, the individual becomes hostile or threatening in any way, please do not escalate the situation. Simply remove yourself and contact campus police to ensure a safe environment.
Please find several suggestions on how to approach someone with a reminder to comply with any of NEOMED’s protocols including face coverings, physical distancing, use of spaces and places, and so on.
Of course, whether you are the provider or the recipient of a reminder, neither position is easy to be in upon an initial encounter. For those who are receiving the reminder, we appreciate your understanding and compliance. For those who are providing it, we appreciate your compliance as well as your willingness to remind others and report situations when necessary.
We are all thankful to you for keeping us healthy.
John T. Langell
Richard J. Kasmer
Vice President for Academic Affairs
Dean, College of Pharmacy
Steven P. Schmidt
Vice President for Research
Dean, College of Graduate Studies
Elisabeth H. Young
Vice President for Health Affairs
Dean, College of Medicine