To our Non-Medical Faculty and Staff:
We have seen significant developments in our community related to coronavirus since our last message to you on Friday. Yesterday, it was announced that a second person in Monroe County tested positive for COVID-19. In the following hours, Monroe County and several surrounding counties declared states of emergency and closed schools, effective Monday, March 16. In addition to the challenge of school closings, it is likely that some of our colleagues may be placed under quarantine by medical professionals and public health officials due to the possibility of community transmission.
We know this is a time of uncertainty and anxiety for many of our staff and faculty, who are concerned about the health and well-being of family, friends, and colleagues, as well as their own, and who have questions about University operations, reporting to work, unexpected childcare issues, or essential staffing.
The University and Medical Center remain open as research, student, faculty, and staff support, and other operations continue, though some in a modified capacity. The following information and resources are for Non-Medical Center faculty and staff. (Medical Center employees will receive separate communications with information specific to their operations.)
Guidelines for Non-Medical Center Staff starting Monday March 16, 2020
- If you are an essential employee, you must report to work. Essential employees are determined by the Dean or Director of your school or unit and include, but are not limited to, those who perform duties that ensure the safety and well-being of students, faculty, and staff, and are critical to continuing University operations.
- If you are a non-essential employee and can practice social distancing within your work area, we ask that you report to work until your manager can assess your ability to work from home using the guidelines below.
- If you are non-essential and do not want to come into work because you have concerns about your safety, or have childcare or family care issues, you may use vacation time until your manager can determine your ability to work from home using the guidelines below. Please note that we are currently awaiting guidance from the federal government on Employer-Provided Sick Leave and the Family and Medical Leave Act. Once we have further guidance, adjustments to your vacation balance, if required, will be made retroactively.
Guidelines to Assess Who May be able to Work from Home
Managers should review the guidelines for remote work in collaboration with their employees and department heads, as appropriate, using the Process for Requesting Remote Working. Managers can work with their HR Business Partners if they have questions about the guidelines or process. If there are technical questions about remote access and equipment, managers should follow their department’s standard protocol for requesting IT support. Managers must assess and approve the request and get Cabinet-level, Dean, or Department Head approval.
If remote work is approved, hourly-paid employees working from home need to continue to record their time so they can be paid for all time worked. Managers will continue to approve time per payroll schedules. If you are salaried you should report time as normal.
Employee benefits will not be affected by these arrangements.
We understand that some non-essential roles cannot be performed remotely due to the nature of the work and/or circumstances at home. We ask that you discuss these situations directly with your manager. We will provide further guidance regarding these roles as soon as possible.
If you are a non-essential employee who is unable to work from home, you can use your vacation and Paid Time Off (PTO), if applicable, until it is exhausted. Once it is exhausted, you will need to apply for a short-term leave of absence under Policy 357: Leaves of Absence. This is unpaid leave for up to 30 workdays, with the possibility of an extension if necessary.
Information for University Staff on Absence Due to Quarantine
The University has revised Policy 324: Reassignment/Absence due to Contagion to extend coverage for the COVID-19 pandemic. The revised policy now applies to all faculty and staff across the University and grants full pay for up to 14 days to employees who have been placed under voluntary or involuntary quarantine by the Department of Public Health. This policy aligns with Center for Disease Control guidelines.
Answers to other questions you may have about workplace scenarios can be found on a guide for University faculty and staff. As always, we encourage you to visit the University’s COVID-19 website for the latest updates, information, and resources. You may want to bookmark this page and check it often. It holds many answers to frequently asked questions, including those related to students and families and faculty and staff.
Finally, we want to remind any of you who may be struggling with anxiety, fear, or stress—related to COVID-19 or any other issue—to please know that you are not alone and there are counseling and support resources through the Employee Assistance Program, which is available to all University faculty and staff.
The health and well-being of our community are of upmost importance and we will continue to monitor the situation closely and take steps to keep us safe. Thank you for your patience and efforts as we all work together to plan, prepare, and support one another and our community during this challenging time.
Holly Crawford, Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance, Chief Financial Officer, and Treasurer
Tony Kinslow, Associate Vice President for Human Resources/Chief Human Resources Officer
Note: This message was sent via email to faculty and staff on March 15, 2020.