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Faculty and Staff COVID-19 Weekly Update, August 10

Dear Emerson Faculty and Staff,

As we are just a ­­few weeks away from the beginning of the Fall 2020 Term, I am writing to share an update about our work and some important reminders from Emerson’s COVID-19 Playbook Team, a cross-functional group of staff that has been meeting multiple times weekly over the summer to plan the safe reopening of our campus.

I know that for many of us who will be returning to the campus, there is a mix of emotions, from the excitement of welcoming our students and seeing our colleagues again, to the anxiety of not fully knowing what this semester will look like. Although this won’t be like any fall we’ve experienced before, I can assure you that the Playbook Team, working closely with the College’s senior leadership team, is committed to fostering a safe environment for all of us to teach and work, while providing a robust and meaningful educational experience for our students.

We are also committed to keeping you informed. Starting today, we will send a Weekly COVID-19 Update to our community, which will provide highlights of the Playbook Team’s work and any new information. This update will also be available on the College’s One Emerson Knowledge Center. (Note: Emerson students will also continue to receive weekly updates from the Dean of Students.)

COVID-19 Preparedness by the Numbers

Below is just a snapshot of the preparations the College has made for our safe return to campus.

Emerson has purchased:

  • 1000 disposable face covers
  • 1000 surgical face covers
  • 1300 KN95 face covers
  • 100 gallons of hand sanitizer
  • 320 hand sanitizer dispensers
  • 6000 disposable gloves
  • 200 face shields
  • 150 safety goggles
  • 100 disposable gowns
  •  2200 public health reminder signs
  • 300 social distancing floor decals
  • 200 containers of disinfecting wipes

We have installed:

  • 200 Plexiglass installs across campus
  • Public health reminder signs across campus, including signs at every building entrance, restroom, classroom, conference room and elevator and in other public spaces
  • EPA filters and pre-filters with a MERV rating of 15 (hospital grade) in all the buildings. In addition, the air filtering system is designed for normal capacity, although the College will be operating at a greatly reduced capacity this semester.
  • UV-C lighting in the air handling system of our health care facilities, and mobile UV-C air cleaning systems in classrooms and labs with reduced air flow. 
  • Operating exhaust fans in all restrooms.

New Information


There are two types of testing that all employees should understand: Baseline testing is required of all employees returning to campus and will happen prior to their return to campus. Surveillance testing is the weekly COVID-19 test, and employees can opt-in for a weekly test. Regarding baseline testing, a survey has been sent to all returning faculty and staff members, requesting a response by Thursday, August 13 (if you are returning to campus but did not receive that survey, please submit an HR ticket). Additionally, opt-in instructions for weekly testing will be sent next week. As a reminder, we are partnering with the Broad Institute and Tufts Medical Center to support this testing of all members of our community who are returning to campus.

Contact Tracing

Emerson will be collaborating with the Boston Public Health Commission and the Massachusetts Contact Tracing Collaborative to ensure that any community members testing positive are interviewed, isolated, and fully supported until they are cleared to return to on-campus activities. This will include the contacting, quarantining, and testing of exposures to positive cases. More details will be sent in a future weekly update, but right now, we ask all community members to ensure that they are answering phone calls from unknown numbers to ensure that state, local, and Emerson contact tracers can reach them.

Upcoming: COVID-19 Community Dashboard

The College plans to publish data from our community’s test results, updated regularly throughout the fall term, on the One Emerson Knowledge Center. Please note that test results are private, and the College will not share any identifying information.

Dining Options

While the Dining Center will be reserved for students in order to maintain a de-densified space, there will be plenty of dining options close to campus. Faculty and staff will be able to use EC Cash at a number of establishments near campus. In addition, El Jefe, Tatte and Garbanzo, three newly opened restaurants in the Little Building, provide convenient ­­­­options.


Face Coverings

As you have seen in the Return to Work Guide, a face cover is required anytime you are on campus. Two reusable face covers will be supplied to every student, faculty and staff member returning to campus for work. Campus Services is currently coordinating the delivery of all face coverings; if you have any questions please contact Donna Brescia at We ask that everyone remember this policy and always have their face covering on when outside your individual private office. Together we can help keep the community safe.

Searchable FAQ, and Return to Work and Return to Campus Guides

If you haven’t yet had a chance to check out the Knowledge Center or the Return to Work Guide, please take a moment to review the information there. The FAQ has a new search feature that will make it easier for you to find the information, which will also be timestamped. You can search by topic, audience, or keyword.

Return to Work Training

All returning employees will be asked to click through a brief training and take an accompanying quiz to ensure that they have read and internalized the Return to Work Guide posted in the One Emerson Knowledge Center. Stay tuned for an email with a link to that training soon.

Contact Us

If your department would like more information or would like to schedule a time with any member of the Playbook Team please let us know!  We are happy to visit a staff meeting and share the latest information and plans.  Reach out to, and we will be in touch with appointment times.

ELA faculty and staff can contact Tim Chang at for questions or more information.


Erik Muurisepp
AVP of Campus Life and COVID-19 Lead

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