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Survey raw responses: shelter in place

Unedited responses from APPA’s survey on Grounds/Landscaping, conducted April 2020.

How are you handling grounds/landscaping staffing with a shelter in place order? Is grounds/landscaping considered essential?

Grounds maintenance is considered essential. Grounds new construction is not considered essential.  We follow the distinction.
Modified work schedule.  Yes, our grounds/landscaping department is considered essential personnel.
Our HR department has also provided letters/memo’s to law enforcement for all essential staff to have with them for commuting purposes if necessary, which they can pair with their essential employee designation letter (re-issued at beginning of pandemic by University leadership, specific to the pandemic circumstances).
Landscape work that mitigates risk is considered essential such as flail mowing for fire mitigation, tree and shrub pruning for safety and security. Pest control is another.
Yes, but balancing with keeping staff safe by rotating them about 50% on each week.
It is considered essential to a point- we have greatly reduced our schedule.  Doing things once every 2-3 weeks vs. weekly.  Emptying trash cans and removing debris is still happening a few times a week.
Grounds wasn’t deemed an essential function at our institution the last part of March and into early April.  That changed as spring weather came and grass started growing and certain timely things needed to be done.  After April 6, we are working half of our crew on campus every other week, the other half on call sheltering in place.  It is important to note that no cases of the virus have been identified within our local work group.  If that changes, so to the way we operate most likely.
Grounds is considered essential only for certain duties such as emergencies, snow removal and trash removal, etc.
1/3 of staff on campus at any one time
We have split grounds into two crews.  Half of staff work a six day cycle, 12 hour days, OT is anything over an 8 hr. day; while the other half has off.  We switch every week.
Landscape group is part of Facilities and considered essential staff.  We reduced the number of Landscapers coming to campus to perform the essential tasks
While all Facilities staff have an essential designation, it is for only essential activities.  In our case the work only includes the following: • Cold patch repair of drives as needed for safety   • Inspection for outdoor pest control   • Inspection and cleaning as required for storm drains to maintain flow, particularly after rain/storm events   • Inspection and removal as needed of downed trees/debris due storm events   • Provide general services for moving/delivery of essential equipment/inventory   • Periodic sweeping of sidewalks and parking areas to remove geese droppings • Replace outdoor lamp bulbs per reports from Security • Respond to any other campus emergency as required
Operations and Maintenance staff are considered essential and have been allowed to attend work, while other parts of the city are shut down.
Yes, we are considered essential. Those that can work from home are doing so (office support for the most part).
We allowed them to come back to work with clear directions and social distancing guidelines.  We monitor the local COVID-19 cases and management reserved the right to send everyone home, if cases developed on campus or increases in the local community increased significantly.
We are considered essential at my college.  We are allowing our staff to be flexible so they can take care of family while kids are home schooled.
Yes.  We are operating under a shelter in place order and are considered essential personnel.
We do consider them essential especially for utility excavation.
Grounds Services is considered essential. We have implemented a rotating schedule with only 3 staff working per day.
Our staff is deemed essential. We all stayed home for 2 to 3 weeks when the order was made. Now that people have left campus we have safe areas to work in practicing our protocols.
We are rotating small groups for mowing.
We work carefully – social distance, individual vehicles, and wipes sanitizer everywhere. Different schedules.
Grounds is considered essential. Staff currently work 3 days on campus and 2 days from home. Work from home entails review of safety manuals. ‘work-from-home’ day’s staff are on an as needed basis.
We have 2 hospitals and clinics running to support cleaning, disinfecting and littering. So most of our work is essential. We do not do any work related to aesthetics.
We are currently conducting inspections only. In the upcoming weeks, staff will mobilize into grass cutting and cutting back naturalized areas. This work is required to keep weeds and grass airborne particulate to a minimum in order to cut down on respiratory reactions from public.  We are also putting in planning for hardscape work later in the season as things may open up.
Essential, but split in half.  Half the crew works one week, half the next week.
As mentioned we are transitioning from Winter to Spring and grounds staff are also working to ensure exteriors of facilities are inspected/maintained. Roof inspections, drainage, and other asset protection preventative maintenance.
Divided the staff into two teams to minimize employees on campus. We have dropped services from weekly to every other week. Essential employees only in that we are trying to remove debris, maintain a clean building for our COVID-19 researchers. We also need to have an eye on the entire campus while it is empty.
Our Grounds and Landscape is considered essential due to our Urban footprint.
Yes, essential.  All expected to report unless they request and receive a special accommodation (underlying medical issue or high risk family member at home).
Grounds / landscaping is considered essential to the college. Team members were given letters from HR to be used for identifying the team member as essential to local authorities if needed. The college has allowed team members who are concerned over coming in to work during the pandemic, to work from home.
Yes it is essential up to a point.  We are mowing and providing minimal trash removal.  Our campus is closed but there continue to be some research activities on campus that create trash.  Also, Housing remains open.
Yes maintenance is considered essential with a very loose definition of maintenance.
Having a Stay-at- Home Exemption Littler/Shelter – in- Place Exemption letter.
Currently our department is essential to operations, however the department is divided into two shifts that work by-weekly.
Yes essential, social distancing in all work, single occupancy in vehicles, social distance in breakroom and offices; reduced staffing from 8 FT regular staff and 10 PT students to ONLY 2-3 FT regular staff; all students laid off.
Our trash truck operator is the only one deemed essential at this time.
Landscaping is not considered essential.  Grounds staff has been furloughed.
Yes.  We are having crews come in a week at a time.  One crew one week another crew another.
Yes– reporting as normal with proper social distancing and PPE.
Here in Ontario snow removal is now longer required and vegetation maintenance has not yet begun. We will wait to see if the shelter in place restrictions are lifted.
Cosmetic landscaping is not considered essential. Landscaping maintenance is only allowed for emergency reactive maintenance or fire prevention.
Providing of P.P.E. when on campus, constant reminders of protocol around use of same. Grounds maintenance is considered an essential service.
We are essential and people are expected to report for duty. We are working closely with those who face family challenges.
Grounds/landscaping is considered an essential service.  We’ve reduced the Groundkeepers shift schedule to 1/3, with staff on call during their normal shift in case there is an emergency when they may be required.
Working separately as much as possible. 
Workload proceeding as normal.  Many special projects and sports field maintenance able to proceed at a deeper level with campus closed to students and faculty.  Grounds and facilities personnel are essential employees.
Reduced hours, individual working practices to promote social distancing.
Grounds staff has been designated critical staffers.  Very limited work is being done on campus.
YES. Currently we have split the department in half. Each crew works two days a week.
Grounds is considered essential, because our University has not closed campus (or even part of campus) so we have to keep maintaining grounds.
Yes they are essential but we have eliminated non-essential work. We are continuing to mow and remove trash/debris only.
We are essential staff.
Landscape is considered essential but we are working on a rotating shift.
The team alternates days coming in to work to help minimize the amount of employees on the campus, daily. They support each other by completing their daily PM tasks simultaneously, each day.
Higher Education has been defined as an essential business and maintenance staff, including grounds employees are permitted to work. We have reduced the staff to limit the number they do report to the campus.
Grounds are done by essential personnel and maintenance of property inside and out are essential services.
They are considered essential, and the school has provided a travel letter.
Only trash removal duties up until now, but since the grass is now growing, full staff will be next week.
Limited tasks are deemed essential.
Grounds maint work is considered essential in NJ.  We’re trying to balance the need to limit interaction/maintain a small footprint with a growing workload. As such, we had no grounds maintenance for weeks but have been slowly ramping up as we get deeper into spring.
Trash dumpsters are being emptied 1x weekly.  Grounds/landscaping is NOT considered essential and will not be returning to campus until May 4 at the earliest.
We are not performing any work to enhance the landscape – this is merely to keep areas mowed and trimmed so we do not have an overgrown condition.  We do have about 200 students sheltered in place on campus.  This approach is in keeping with State guidelines on essential work.
Grounds work is considered essential.  We have established certain online training and compliance work that workers can accomplish remotely in the event of inclement weather.
We have reduced their on-campus workload.
We are in DC.  It is not a shelter in place but a stay at home order.  Landscape work is an essential service. All our staff have been issued lettered from the university saying that we are essential staff.
Skeleton crews only.
No.  They have been sent home.
Universities as a whole are considered essential business in Alabama.  Each employee reporting to work has a letter with their name specifically stating they are exempt from travel restrictions when they are going to and from work.
All facilities staff are considered critical workers. Grounds staff are critical to maintain high level of landscaping at College and ensure we don’t incur damage from no maintenance. However safety is our prime concern – if it’s compromised we immediately cease doing it.
We are considered essential but with a union crew, we are being mindful of people’s fears and have stopped all landscaping services. We will continue when the grass begins to grow and there is an OBVIOUS need to work, not just to mulch and make campus look good for graduation.
Mangers are considered essential – staff are sustainable, meaning they are on call.
We have 28 out of 85 staff listed as essential.
Yes – most staff in landscape are.
University is still open and grounds staff is required to report.
Continuing to pay staff. Communicating to staff at least 2 voice conversations weekly. Yes considered essential at a reduced level for general services. Essential at a higher level for storm response and clean up.
Management and supervisor’s working remotely, grounds workers, tree surgeons and equipment mechanic paid to shelter in place from March 23 until April 10.  April 13 we brought in 4 supervisors, equip mechanic and 5 grounds workers to pick up grounds and mow.  Shelter in place currently goes until April 30.
some portions have been authorized as essential, and more will open up as spring progresses in our area.
Grounds is considered essential. They are working 4 hour shifts but being paid for a full day. I’ve established different break times for the team and have supplied sanitizing supplies that are used to wipe down the break room after each break. I’ve also implemented a 1 person per vehicle/golf cart policy.
We are designated essential personnel, so shelter in place order does not apply to us.
Yes, we are considered essential. But we go over and above the safety protocols required.
We are considered an essential service through our State Governors Proclamation which has certainly been a blessing to some of our workers and their families who rely on a single income.
Yes, as we are supporting the educational mission (trash pick-up, plowing).
It is considered essential.  We’ve divided the staff into 3 rotating teams. Each team works 2 days on campus and then home for 4 days.
Yes, the tasks of trash services are our primary, keeping grounds alive is still an important task as a beautiful campus will increase admissions.
No, but university maintenance is essential.
Yes we are essential. Working at half crew one week then alternating.
Only occasionally to respond to emergent problems on campus.
Grounds/landscaping is providing only essential and emergency response to the campus.
We are considered essential but have sent 1/2 the crew home.
Yes but limiting number of staff.
We are rotating staff to reduce risk of exposure. Yes we are essential.
Grounds is considered essential however, we are working at a very reduced staffing level.
Only addressing things that affect the infrastructure of the campus. Debris that could plug storm sewers and intake vents like leaves and trash. Pot holes and drainage.
Yes, Grounds staff are considered essential. Employees work two days out of the week and stay home for the other three days.
Essential to maintain grass cutting.
They are considered essential. While Facilities and custodial staff may not have as much to do if the buildings are empty, the campus population has no relation to Grounds. Stuff still grows……
Yes, all of our maintenance staff have been deemed essential.
All M&O staff are considered essential. We carry letters from our College District that describe why we are out on the roads, driving to work.
Though Louisiana’s order from the Governor did not specifically identify landscape personnel as essential, the industry has been able to continue as essential.  At our university, we have been identified as essential from the start.
Only trash collection and snow removal is essential on a regular interval.  Otherwise we would only consider offensive graffiti and hazard tree issues.  That may change as we move into the late spring and summer.
We have about 60% of our grounds team members coming in for a couple days a week.  We have been slowly ramping up our work days and work hours for the past 3 weeks.
Yes, making sure that they are following all acceptable guidelines.
We are considered as essential but we are working a reduced work schedule of 2 days a week and staggered work shifts to avoid multiple staff showing up at the same time. We have staff here 6 days a week with a minimum of at least 2 staff per day up to at 5 staff on 1 day but at altered shift start times.
Yes essential.  We rotate 4 staff daily and have a small volunteer crew on Mon and Thurs to just mow string trim and landscape   We also utilize contractors as we have in the past.
Yes we are essential I split the guys every other day take turns to go in to work.
We do consider basic services essential. We are only working one day each week.
All Facilities and Grounds employees are formally identified as Key and Essential and have been.
Grounds is essential, only 50% report to work at one time and the other 50% report the next week.
All Facilities personnel are considered essential including grounds.
Our entire Facilities Management team has been deemed essential by the institution.
Eight workers spread across campus, communicate via phone work instructions. When in contact with co-workers practicing 6ft. social distancing.
Each person is asked to work one eight hour day per week. They are scheduled on different days and times to limit their exposer to each other and are always practicing social distancing and proper ppe.
We are considered essential.  To follow the orders, we have formed (2) teams that are under 8 people each that work Monday-Saturday.  One team does M, W, F and the other does To, THs, Sat and this will switch weekly for the duration of this order.
As stated before we are working 50% or less personnel each day.
Yes, with skeletal crew only.   All other Grounds staff have been placed on temporary leave.
Landscaping is considered essential but we are limiting work to not put our staff at risk.
NO, we are offering emergency services for flood, snow or storm damage as well as minimal golf and nursery operations.
Reducing and spreading the workforce to allow 20% on sight each day.
We are working shifts with half-staff in each day. We rotate M-W-F and T-T each week.
They are essential to our campus’ safety.
Staff are at home.  Michigan doesn’t view as essential.
Yes, but on a very limited basis.
Agriculture and grounds/landscaping is considered essential.
We’re only providing staffing for essential services like emptying trash cans, litter and disinfecting outdoor touch points like hand rails, etc.
Crews have been split up, and they are working different days and practicing social distancing from each other and other staff and what remaining students are on campus.
Basic services such as trash removal, mowing, emergency response, hardscape repair are continuing.
Yes, considered essential but we are limited to the number of staff we can bring in at one time.
We are essential personnel and are working 3-day weeks (3×10) to encourage social distancing.
We are considered essential, however, our work until has decided not to do maintenance until absolutely necessary.
Landscaping was immediately deemed in essential duty. We are currently working three days a week rather than five so that we can stagger people’s arrival and presence.
At the moment, the grounds staff is considered essential.
Essential snow removal and mowing.
Educational support is “essential.”  We’re operating on our internal definition of “essential”.  Important to minimize exposure while taking care of requirements to minimal acceptable level.
Yes they are considered essential but we are attempting to honor the shelter in place by only bringing in 3 employees per day.
All grounds staff are considered essential but we are running with a skeleton crew to provide basic services and not allow the landscaping and turf to get away from us.
Limited aspects considered essential; shifts focus on essential services with an on call capability for those not on shift on campus.
No shelter in place order but a safer at home order (Tennessee).  Grounds is considered essential personnel.
Our governor has deemed ALL state employees as essential, and therefore, if an employee is not able to do his/her work by tele-commuting, then they are expected to come to work, unless they have a medical or family reason why they cannot.  Then, those people have to use their own sick leave or vacation time for their absence and/or apply for Federal Emergency Assistance.
They are essential, but we have reduced on-site staff to no more than 6 or 7 per day for four days.  Construction repair, Pest Control, Mechanics, Arborist, Welding, Storm water management and Irrigation staff are 24/7 on-call status, Administrative staff monitor emergency and other work tasks from home and issue e-mail or phone alerts to management for response needs.
Mowing, minimal weed control, tree protection treatments, and irrigation infrastructure are deemed essential.
Yes, they are essential and part of our maintenance team which the governor includes in essential workers… the grass keeps growing.
Yes, they are considered part of essential services that must continue on site since their work cannot be done remotely.
Yes, in terms of duties considered essential- mowing, weed spraying, litter pickup. Working 2 days per week. Half of the crews report 30 minutes early to minimize the amount of people inside the shop at the start and finish of the workday, and are staggering lunches as well.
Normal staffing.  Work is outside.   Social distancing preached and monitored.
Staggered shift of 2 on campus at a time. Only the basics.
This week:  we staff enough employees to perform only essential duties (mowing and weed-eating).  Next week:  essential duties will be increased (out of necessity) to include planting, spraying, fertilizing, and weeding. We cannot let this critical spring time be neglected and be detrimental to summer and fall landscape quality.
We are deemed essential but only performing critical tasks to limit exposure.
As state employees we are classified Essential employees on are job descriptions. We are here for most emergency situations.
Reduced number of staff report to work each week. 
Split shifts have been implemented.
3 groundskeepers per shift.   Yes, they are essential staff.
All facilities staff are deemed essential. As such, we have documentation if there were any real enforcement of the shelter in place orders. Allowing telework for those who can do it has greatly reduced staffing on campus, all classes are now online, so that’s eliminated student contact and reduced faculty contact. We’ve shortened work week for all essential staff, and staggered the work week so that all days are covered with minimal essential staff on campus.
Reduced staffing.
Yes we have a shelter in place order. Our grounds staff is considered essential. Because we are also Union we have to follow collective barging agreements. We asked for volunteers and then assign duties according to the employee that has the least amount of overtime hours. Employees that work are paid time and half.
They are essential under the governor’s executive order and have been given letters to produce if necessary when traveling to campus.
Reduced to 50% staffing; still considered essential to litter control and general upkeep of campus.
We consider them “conditionally essential.”  That is, they become essential based on campus conditions. For instance, if it snows, we need them to campus to remove the snow.  As the grass grows, we need them to mow it.
Yes. All education is considered essential. We have reduced mowing frequencies and changed to bush hogging in some less visible areas to reduce mowing and trimming.
Limiting staff from coming to campus. Yes it is considered essential.
As part of maintenance yes it is considered essential support of education.
Yes. 1/2 staff.
Grounds is considered essential due to cleaning up after the homeless.
They are considered essential, identification badge serves as notice to any law enforcement.
They are not essential according to our Governor’s Executive Order.  All are at home.
Providing liberal leave and allowing up to 10 hours of self-guided training away from campus.  All Facilities Management staff is essential.
We are considered non-essential. We rally together electronically for now.
We have reduced staff to 1/3, rotating staff weekly.  Staff levels will be adjusted as needs change (grass cutting May 1, etc.) We are performing essential services in accordance with social distancing guidelines.
Service contracts are allowed as long as state guidelines are followed.
For a two week time period all maintenance personnel were on-call; as of 4/13 all personnel have returned to work full-time.   All buildings (schools) and grounds are essential and safety must be considered for all users
We are considered essential and because we are a public university, we are exempt from the order.
We have designated them as essential for the purpose of safety. Again the reason we are not trimming and manicuring the lawns.  Our grounds staff also removes trash.
It is considered essential in the state, but the university is saying only to do the bare minimum (mow, weed control, trash).  We are working on reduced number and standards.
At this time they are not considered essential, they can only do waste removal.
Yes, there are considered essential but only focus on sanitation and perceived normal/cleanliness.
Yes, however campus leadership has decided that trash and snow removal are the only services considered essential at this time. Discussions are being held now for what services will be added to that list over the next two months and beyond.
Only some of our work is considered essential.
It is considered essential, due to the wide spectrum of tasks they handle.
It is considered essential in a reduced capacity (to encourage social distancing). Litter control and turf/shrubbery maintenance is essential to minimizing pest infestations.
We have a minimum daily staffing with rotating shifts so everyone works at most twice per week and only for the number of hours it takes to get the essential services done.
University business falls under a general exemption for essential infrastructure.
Not essential at this time. Staff using FFCRA and paid for staying at home.
Yes they are essential. as mentioned earlier we split the crew into two teams.
Grounds/landscaping is considered essential in the sense that only the minimum services necessary are being performed to maintain the turf and to keep the campus safe from debris.
Yes.  Staff are reporting to work one to two days per week (with emergency pay) and remaining home to self-isolate the remaining days on paid administrative leave.
We are essential – for some reason the shelter in place order only applies to those University employees that can work from home.  Those that can’t – trades, housekeeping, and grounds are here at work.
Yes, We need to maintain basic services, primarily trash/litter (which there is very little of), storm cleanup such as branches, mowing, and weeds.
Higher Ed, including all its support departments, have always been considered exempt from the semi-mandatory stay-at-home order (less restrictive than a true shelter-in-place requirement).  Additionally, the governor just released landscaping businesses to return to work if they can maintain social distancing.
Uncertain. Michigan’s stay at home order specifically speaks to commercial landscape companies as non-essential, but does not address grounds crew staff at colleges/universities, golf courses, retirement/residential communities, parks, etc. Most, including our campus, continue with basic services but not with aesthetic upgrades.
Only the director is working 40 hours/week in the office.  One Grounds Supervisor and one hort. tech (for each campus) come in daily for two hours to patrol campus and take care of refuse.
Yes; provided detail in a previous question regarding how we are meeting social distancing protocols.
Grounds/landscaping staff are under an executive order to “Stay home, stay safe.” Grounds/landscaping staff are considered non-essential.
Grounds is not considered essential, and all grounds activities/operations are on-hold.
Yes, Essential letters have been prepared for staff coming to campus to give to law enforcement if requested.
Grounds and landscaping are essential personnel.  However, we have cut their hours by more than half, reporting later and leaving earlier and fewer days reporting.
Staff given letter of designation as essential personnel signed by VP for public safety.
Baseline maintenance (mowing, trash removal, basic landscape upkeep) is able to continue. We have a small grounds crew (5 full time and 2 temporary staff), so employees are able to adequately socially distance and complete solo projects.
Weekly rotation plan.
They are working reduced schedules and only emptying trash.  Our Governor has declared “Grounds Staff” as non-essential.  I consider our Grounds staff as “essential”.
It is essential, but we only come in once a week.
Limited staff is considered essential to maintain mowing and trash removal.
Our university has deemed them essential but they have limited duties now.
Working each staff member 1 day a week and off for 4 days.  We also issued essential staff ID.
We are using a 40 hrs. at home doing meaningful work for 50% of workforce while the other 50% is on campus.  All (100%) are receiving regular pay.  We are not paying any premium pay unless requires an emergency response.
Grounds is considered essential.  We are alternating 50% of the staff to allow for distancing and less people across campus at one time.  This is done with the whole Facilities Department.
Construction work has been deemed essential, and we are considering grounds work essential as it relates to safety (snow removal, etc.) and preserving assets (tees, hardscape, etc.).
Yes, our staff is considered essential, but we have a limited (very) staff on campus four days per week.
Essential for just key services, not all landscape services.
For now we are still working on grounds. Time will tell.
We have discussed that preserving the campus grounds contributes to the overall health of the campus, therefore making this an essential service.
Only 2 staff per day for 4 hours to empty trash and handle any emergencies.
The University is open but has implemented a COVID-19 time off policy that allows people to not use their personal time for COVID-19 related issues.  All crews are working together to supplement crews that are short on staff and assist where necessary.
We are essential and they are providing service for health, safety, and ordinance compliance.
First two weeks of shelter in place no staff reported to work.  Now easing in to mowing/grounds duties by working 2 staff members each day M-F with no overtime.
Grounds is not considered essential unless responding to an emergency or to prevent immediate damage. Maintenance staff that would be working in this area are either at home (if contracted labor) or reassigned to custodial crew temporarily (if in-house staff).
As stated before, adjusted schedules, allowing time away from work, social distancing.   Considered essential- we are the marketers for the next class of incoming freshmen.
The college considers our services ‘crucial’ not ‘essential’.
Yes.  We are still hoping the campus will reopen at some point and we know Grounds plays an important role on the first impression of our campus.  We do not plan to let our campus landscape die off just because we are in a ‘temporary’ situation.
All facilities hourly trades are essential at our university.
Yes, but as previously stated they are only completing the minimally required portions of their job duties.
Yes … they are issued letters that enumerate them as essential in case they should be needed.
Staggered shifts, remote time clock. Yes they are essential.
We are only doing essential work, and doing inspections of campus out outlining properties to ensure no safety issues have come up.
Grounds/landscaping staff are considered emergency personnel.
They are considered essential for public health reasons. We are currently scheduling half on / half off for the entire crew, this is rotated weekly.
Yes, they are essential but reporting to work is voluntary at this point.
Grounds is essential but we have lowered our standards to providing basic services only and have gone to a bi-weekly maintenance schedule.
Yes, they are essential. Each person has a state approved essential ID card.
Emptying exterior trash and a general review of campus only.  As we get into our growing season we will re-evaluate cutting of grass, etc.
Yes, it is essential, but we are working with a reduced crew and focusing primarily on mowing.