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Social Distancing

Policy Number: HR-19
Effective Date: January 2017
Responsible Officer: President of Drexel University Online

In an increasingly global and highly interconnected world, infectious diseases like influenza can spread with lightening speed causing widespread illness and death. In the event of a pandemic or other health crisis, it is Drexel University Online's responsibility to take measures to protect its professional staff and their families from potential exposure to disease. One such measure is social distancing.

This policy applies to all Drexel University Online Professional Staff Members and to those engaged to further the interests of Drexel University Online.

Implementation of this policy is the responsibility of the Department of Human Resources.

The President of Drexel University Online is the Drexel University Online official responsible for the administration of this policy.

In the event of an outbreak of a highly infectious and/or deadly disease, including a pandemic, Drexel University Online will enact its Social Distancing Policy in an attempt to limit the spread of disease through human to human contact. Actions to minimize contact between infected and healthy individuals will range from the use of sick time, limitation or cancellation of events or localized closing, class dismissal and suspension of all services and operations (see Essential Personnel Policy). The Drexel University Online President in consultation with Drexel University administration will determine which level of social distancing is needed to protect members of the Drexel University Online Community.


Professional Staff Member is defined as an individual employed in any non-faculty category by Drexel University Online, including an individual who is deemed to be either exempt or non-exempt under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and/or applicable state law.

Social Distancing is a public health practice designed to limit the spread of infection by ensuring sufficient physical distance between individuals. Taking measures to ensure social distancing decreases opportunities for close contact among persons, thereby decreasing the potential for disease transmission among people and slowing the spread of disease.

Social distancing measures may include:

  • Maintaining a personal distance between oneself and a person showing symptoms of illness.
  • Recommended minimum distance is three to six feet. Personal contact can be further minimized by avoiding shaking hands and by scheduling meetings via the phone or web.
  • Maintaining significant personal distance from students and coworkers via the use of sick time when you are experiencing symptoms of illness.
  • Limiting public events, including civic, cultural, athletic, educational, social and others.
  • Cancelling public events.
  • Suspending all but critical operations.

Student is defined as any person currently enrolled, whether part-time or full-time, in undergraduate or graduate courses or programs. Undergraduate Student denotes any Student who is primarily enrolled in undergraduate courses or program and has not obtained a bachelor's degree in such course of study or program. Graduate student denotes any Student who is primarily enrolled in graduate courses or program who is working toward a graduate degree or certification after having earned a bachelor's degree.


  • In the event of a pandemic or other health emergency, the Drexel University Online President, the Provost, in consultation with other University Executives as needed, will determine the appropriate level of social distancing measures to employ. Federal, state, and local governing authorities may provide guidance in making the determination, and those authorities are likely to follow Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.
  • Decisions regarding social distancing for an outbreak of influenza or other highly contagious disease will be guided by such factors as the epidemiology of the disease, its response (if any) to anti-viral or other medications, the availability of effective medications, specific at-risk groups, proximity of confirmed infection to a particular locale, and other factors.
  • In support of decisions made by Drexel University Online and Drexel University leaders regarding social distancing, the Human Resources Department will develop specific protocols which will address the nature and severity of the health emergency. These protocols may establish new guidelines or may modify existing policies and procedures such as those related to leaves, return to work requirements, notification, remote access, and others. Protocols will be developed in consultation with all relevant departments (ex., Office of the General Counsel, Public Safety, School of Public Health). These protocols may be in effect for no more than 90 days without approval of senior leaders.


Notwithstanding anything to the contrary stated in this policy, nothing herein is intended to alter the at-will status of any Professional Staff Member. Drexel University at all times retains the right to terminate any Professional Staff Member at any time for any lawful reason, or for no reason at all.