Campus Reminders, RSCA Update and County Break Room Guidance

Sent: January 11, 2021

Dear colleagues,

The start of the spring semester is two weeks away. 

Due to the indefinite extension of the state’s Stay-at-Home order, and in an effort to keep density low during the remainder of winter break and beginning of spring semester, staff should not come to campus unless deemed essential. Essential staff are expected to report to work as scheduled. Faculty not scheduled to teach during winter session or work on RSCA projects approved for campus access should also not come to campus. 

For those employees who may need to come to campus for an essential purpose on a one-time or occasional basis, the COVID-19 Return to Campus Request must be completed and approved prior to coming to campus. The request must be submitted with as much advance notice as possible so that the University Police Department (UPD) and our facilities team can ensure appropriate safety, cleaning, and maintenance protocols are in place. 

As always, please continue to self monitor for COVID-19-related symptoms by using the SJSU COVID-19 Symptom Check Tool before coming to campus. If you are feeling ill, do not come to campus for work and contact your appropriate administrator to advise them of your situation.  

Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity (RSCA) Update

As of today, January 11, approval requests for new or modified RSCA “Project Plans” that are “Critical and/or Time-Sensitive”, as defined under Phase 2 of SJSU's RSCA Adapt Plan, may be submitted for approval. 

RSCA work that can be done remotely should be done in this manner. “Critical and/or Time-Sensitive” RSCA projects that have been approved for access by the Vice President for Research and Innovation, appropriate college dean and Environmental Health and Safety are permitted to continue operation as approved without any modifications. For approved RSCA operations involving travel from or to Santa Clara County, any travel that extends beyond a 150 mile radius of Santa Clara County requires a 14-day quarantine when returning to the County, as required and outlined in the SCC Travel Directive.  

Due to the Stay-at-Home order affecting Bay Area counties, campus access for RSCA is being cautiously assessed and approvals will only be granted to “Project Plans” that demonstrate:

  • operation within the allowable space densities,
  • appropriate safety precautions,
  • criticality and/or time-sensitivity as defined under Phase 2 of SJSU's RSCA Adapt Plan, and
  • ability to immediately shutdown all activity and revert to Phase 1, if or when requested.

Updated County Guidance Regarding Break Room Access

The County of Santa Clara has identified employee break rooms as a frequent cause of workplace COVID-19 transmission. As a result, the County Health Officer recently announced additional restrictions to limit access to indoor breakrooms and break areas in workplaces. 

These changes are designed to further increase existing workplace safety and are outlined in the County’s Mandatory Directive on Capacity Limitations (see section titled Workplace Break Rooms and Break Areas). The updated Directive prohibits personnel from using any indoor breakrooms or break areas for eating or drinking (even if they are alone in the room at the time) or gathering but allows access solely for the purpose of using appliances (such as coffee makers, refrigerators, or microwaves) to store, prepare, or warm food or drink items.  Exceptions are also allowed for other purposes provided by law (such as lactation) and for healthcare facilities.

These requirements were previously implemented by SJSU, as described in Phase 2 of the SJSU Adapt Plan. This memo is meant to serve as a reminder for the proper use of break rooms during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a reminder, use of break rooms or break areas at campus facilities are allowed for the purposes of food storage and warming only. The room or area shall not be occupied by more than one person at any given time. 

Departments are encouraged to develop a staggered schedule for breaks and meal periods. Meals or snacks may not be consumed within the room or area. Employees are encouraged to go outside during these periods, go to their car or stay at their desk if they are alone in the office or have their own private enclosed office. Employees using this space shall sanitize all equipment and/or flat surfaces used prior to and following each use. Cleaning supplies are provided and available through Facilities Development and Operations (FD&O).

We appreciate your continued diligence in care for not only yourselves, but also your families and the Spartan community.


Vincent Del Casino
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Charlie Faas
Vice President, Administration and Finance and CFO

Mohamed Abousalem
Vice President, Research and Innovation