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Tulane’s goal is to implement a phased return to normal operations in a thoughtful and careful manner to provide guidelines and protocols to protect our students, faculty, researchers and staff. Tulane departments should continue their current instruction and remote work protocols with a phased reduction of off-site work requirements.

The following is a recommended framework to provide instructions for supervisors to follow to prioritize the order of return and management of administrative staff. Supervisors need to coordinate with and receive Senior Vice President approval before employees are allowed to return to the workplace.

Recommendations provided were developed by the university’s Workforce Resumption Committee and are intended to provide a framework to help departments prioritize the order of return and management of administrative staff. Information regarding faculty and research staff is covered separately below.

Phases of Return

Target dates and any referenced capacity percentages are tentative and subject to change as the university will continue to be flexible in ensuring we are keeping our community safe.

Phase I

May 18-July 7

During phase 1, only a small number of essential staff members required to support the university’s mission and remote instruction have returned to on-site work; many employees will continue working remotely. Department leaders should manage this process consistent with work needs and to protect the safety of students, faculty and staff.

Phase 2

Tentatively July 8

During phase 2, staff employees preparing for the return of students and on-premise instruction will begin to return to on-site work. We anticipate the number of employees returning to on-site work will not exceed 50% of full-time employees in a given area. Many employees will continue to work remotely to maintain reduced occupancy at worksites in support of social distancing.

Phase 3

Tentatively September 8

In the final phase, remaining workers can return to on-site work, presuming public health conditions do not change. Supervisors are encouraged to remain flexible. Some employees may be authorized to continue working remotely with supervisor approval.


Employees who are notified to return to work on-site but have concerns about returning, should contact their supervisor who should coordinate with their HR Business Partner to determine available options to address the employee’s concern. Flexibility by supervisors and employees is important in these circumstances. An option for temporary remote work arrangements may be provided by the supervisor to address an employee’s concerns such as self-quarantine, currently positive with COVID-19/other illness or childcare/eldercare. Additionally, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees to take job-protected leave for qualified medical reasons. The Americans with Disabilities Act may be considered as well.


Decisions on faculty staffing will be determined by the appropriate dean, with the recommendation that faculty continue working remotely as much as possible until the start of the Fall semester.

Research & Clinical Staffing

Laboratories and research-based spaces are unique to their associated purpose, project, number of participants and location. We will be providing, and continually updating, university guidelines for safe research practices, but specific decisions on how our laboratory-based research returns to full operation should be overseen by the appropriate dean, on a case-by-case basis, considering all safe work practices, including social distancing, face covering or respirator use and laboratory disinfection methods.

For Supervisors: Return to On-Site Work Process

Step 1: Request to Return Your Department

Email Patrick Norton and Robin Forman at to request to return your department to on-site work. Please include tentative dates and any other preliminary information you believe is necessary. The Office of Environmental Health & Safety (OEHS) will be notified of your request to return, and a SWAT team comprised of OEHS, Campus Services, Risk Management, the Office of Human Resources & Institutional Equity, and JS Held will be assigned to your department to help support you through this process.

Step 2: Site Assessment

Work with your assigned SWAT team to complete any pre-site assessment work and schedule an on-site walk through of your physical workspace to determine what actions need to be taken to ready your workspace. As you are assessing the workspace, you should analyze your workforce, communicate with employees and determine who you expect to return to on-site work. A decision tree guidance document and tool have been developed to aid in the process of analyzing your workforce.

Step 3: Recommendations, Audit, Approval

After the assessment is conducted, a member of your assigned SWAT team will reach out to you with recommendations. During this step you can expect to take actions to ready your workspace and team including ordering supplies to support social distancing, having your area cleaned and disinfected, completing training and scheduling COVID-19 testing for those who will return. Training materials, testing instructions and sample communications will be provided to you by your SWAT team. Once all actions have been taken, the SWAT team will complete an audit of your area as a final check.

Step 4: Return to On-Site Work

Resume on-site work as planned after all prior steps have been completed. Once you are back on-site, employees should begin daily health checks and should be prepared to begin random COVID-19 surveillance testing. More information will be provided when it is available.