COVID-19 updates for employees

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View Return-To-Workplace Guide (May 15, 2020)

Update to employees on returning to work on campus (May 4, 2020)

This message is to provide an update to Marshall University employees regarding returning to work on campus.

  • According to Governor Jim Justice’s “West Virginia Strong” comprehensive plan to reopen the state, state government offices are set to open in Weeks 3-6, which begins next Monday, May 11. The governor has said that the exact opening schedule will be based on the recommendations of state medical experts and testing data available at that time. As of this morning, Cabell County is still listed among the state’s COVID-19 community clusters or “hotspots,” although state and county officials are reviewing this classification. Kanawha County was removed from the hotspot listing over the weekend. Hotspot counties are subject to more restrictive measures than are other areas of the state, and much of the university’s reconstitution timeline will depend on these decisions. We expect further guidance from the governor’s office at his briefing later today.
  • The university’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety has worked with Human Resource Services and Marshall Health’s chief medical officer to write a phased-in plan to safely return employees to campus when we have received clearance to do so from the state. This plan was shared with university leadership last week, and each unit is being charged with developing a strategy to gradually return employees over a period of several weeks, with specific guidance regarding face masks, physical distancing, sanitation procedures, etc. As these plans are developed and approved, your unit’s leadership will be sharing them with you.
  • Until further notice, only essential functions are being performed on campus, and all other personnel will continue to telecommute or work adjusted schedules. University leadership continues to monitor the situation and will adhere to the guidelines set forth by Governor Justice and state health officials.
  • Although it is expected that employees will be returning to university offices over the next several weeks, buildings will continue to be secured to limit entry by the public until further notice.

If you have questions or comments about plans for returning to work on site, please contact safety@marshall.edu.

Message regarding governor’s announcement about staffing of state agencies (March 18, 2020)

This afternoon, Governor Jim Justice announced he was asking state agencies to keep essential services going, while allowing as many people as possible to work from home during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Human Resources Services is already working with supervisors to determine which employees will be considered essential for the circumstances. Supervisors have been instructed to provide Human Resources with their staffing plans by tomorrow.

Please wait to hear from your supervisor for further guidance. Decisions regarding essential and non-essential positions will be made no later than this Friday, March 20.

Thank you for your patience as we work through this rapidly changing situation.

Human Resources Guidance: COVID-19 (March 17, 2020)

The global COVID-19 pandemic is impacting all facets of our lives. The rapid spread of this virus has caused communities worldwide to reinvent how we interact socially and maintain the communities in which we live and work. Marshall officials are staying in close contact with local, state and federal agencies to ensure the safety of our students, faculty and staff, while maintaining continuity of operations.

As we continue to operate during this pandemic, it’s now time to release guidance on staffing arrangements. As you know, many changes have been made regarding classes, work arrangements, travel and campus events; however, the university and affiliated operations remain open for business.

We are managing this situation with guidance from the Center of Disease Control (CDC) and our local and state health officials. Upon their recommendation, we are encouraging and implementing the following actions:

Childcare:

  • It is not recommended that employees bring children with them to work sites or classes. We strongly encourage employees with children to back-up childcare arrangements when their normal childcare arrangements are not available.
  • If an employee doesn’t have childcare arrangements available, they will be permitted to use annual leave for time off during this pandemic.
  • Supervisors are encouraged to use flexible scheduling that permits continued operation of departments and units. Flexible scheduling, or flextime, is a workplace scheduling structure whereby employees are approved to come in early or work late based on family responsibilities and operational needs.

Working from home:

  • Telecommuting (working from home) is encouraged for staff and faculty when possible based on work duties as assigned. Although telecommuting is not standard practice at Marshall, the university has encouraged leaders and managers to look critically at the work of their employees to support this option as much as possible. Departments should consult with their division vice president and the director of Human Resources regarding the possibility of temporary telecommuting privileges. All employees who are requesting to temporarily telecommute must complete and submit a Telecommuting Request Form.
  • Due to the nature of some jobs, telecommuting is not an option. If job duties cannot be performed remotely, employees are expected to continue to work on site. Employees and their managers are encouraged to discuss and implement flexible work arrangements for the next few weeks.

What paid time off benefits are available to employees?

  • Employee may use applicable sick leave, annual leave and/or compensatory time.
  • If the employee has exhausted all applicable paid leave balances, the employee may be placed on paid administrative leave for a time period to be determined by the university. Department leaders should consult Human Resources regarding approval of paid administrative leave.
  • Additionally, pending federal legislation may provide qualifying employees with leave options that are not currently available. We anticipate sending out this updated information as soon as the federal government has finalized the benefit.

What if an employee becomes ill with fever, cough or other concerning symptoms?

  • Managers and supervisors should recommend that employees who are sick remain out of the workplace until symptoms resolve, and that they seek medical assistance as appropriate. Employees will not be permitted to return to work without medical documentation.
  • Employees should seek immediate medical care if symptoms become more severe (e.g., high fever, difficulty breathing, etc.). Call your primary care physician or urgent care facility prior to traveling there.

What if an employee believes they have been exposed to COVID-19?

  • If an employee is in close contact with someone with COVID-19 and/or develops symptoms of the virus, they should call their healthcare provider and tell them about the symptoms. The healthcare provider will decide whether or not the employee needs to be tested.
  • If an employee is a resident in a community where there is ongoing spread of COVID-19 and the employee develops symptoms, they should call their healthcare provider and tell them about the symptoms.
  • Employees should stay home if COVID-19 symptoms develop and should go home immediately if symptoms occur at work.

What if an employee or immediate family member has been diagnosed with COVID-19?

  • An employee who is sick or whose family members are sick may be entitled to FMLA leave under certain circumstances. These circumstances may include a virus such as COVID-19, where complications arise that create a “serious health condition” as defined by the FMLA.
  • Marshall University is finalizing a Certificate of Illness or Quarantine form that employees can use during this period in lieu of medical documentation when absent due to illness or leave related to COVID-19.

What if an employee has been told by a healthcare provider that they need to be isolated or quarantined due to exposure?

  • Telework should be considered and utilized where feasible. Departments/units should consult with Human Resources to assist with this assessment if they are unclear how to handle work-from-home arrangements for staff or faculty.
  • If telework is not feasible for the impacted employee, the employee will use sick leave, vacation and/or compensatory time, when available.
  • If the employee has exhausted all paid leave balances, the employee may be placed on paid administrative leave for a time period to be determined by the university. Departments/units should consult with Human Resources regarding approval of paid administrative leave.
  • The university will require an authorization from a healthcare provider prior to the employee returning to work.

May the university prohibit an employee from coming to work if the employee is known to have contracted COVID-19, or to have had close contact with someone who has?

  • Yes. The university is obligated to provide a safe workplace and may take necessary and reasonable steps to minimize health risks for its employees, including requiring that employees not come to work if they have been diagnosed with, or have been exposed to, COVID-19.

In closing, this matter continues to evolve. The content in the above message is subject to change as determined by the university. Please continue to monitor the COVID-19 website.

Message to Marshall employees regarding COVID-19 and work (March 16, 2020)

Marshall University is committed to the safety of its staff, and is moving forward quickly to help minimize spread of COVID-19 and to protect the most vulnerable in the university family and our larger community.

Telecommuting and Flexible Schedules

Beginning as soon as possible, supervisors are asked to allow employees who can do their job duties remotely to telecommute temporarily. Since the university remains open and operating, supervisors’ staffing plans must allow offices to remain open. This means, for instance, that employees may primarily telecommute, while taking turns staffing the office.

Information guiding supervisors about how to address telework questions will be sent later today. Supervisors are asked to work with Human Resources if they are unsure if an employee can telework or if they may be essential to that department’s operations.

If job duties cannot be performed remotely, supervisors are asked to offer flexible scheduling, wherever possible, to allow employees to balance childcare and other needs.

Employees should consult with their direct supervisor regarding temporary telecommuting privileges or flexible scheduling.

Meetings

Until further notice, consider transitioning in-person meetings to teleconferences, Skype, Zoom, etc. It is also strongly suggested that non-essential meetings be canceled to allow people to focus on the task at hand.

Office Hygiene

When employees and/or customers are in the workplace, social distancing is required. This includes maintaining at least 6 feet distance when interacting with others. Also, remember the importance of thoroughly washing your hands and not touching your face.

Additional information about COVID-19 and the university’s response is available at www.marshall.edu/coronavirus. For information about the university’s Infectious Disease Preparedness plan, e-mail safety@marshall.edu.
Please continue to monitor your e-mail and the website for updates and, if you haven’t already done so, enroll in the university’s MU Alert System.

Update for Employees (March 13, 2020)

Here are the latest updates related to COVID-19 preparedness at Marshall University:

Employees with School Children

The university recognizes that cancellation of K-12 schools across the region creates a challenging situation for parents. Human Resources is reviewing the situation and will have further guidance in the next day or two.

Out-of-State and International Business Travel

By order of the governor yesterday, university-sponsored out-of-state travel is now prohibited until further notice. All university-sponsored international travel continues to be suspended until further notice. If you are traveling internationally for any reason, you must complete the online International Travel Registration Form.

University Events

University events with an expected attendance of 250 or more are being cancelled until further notice. Smaller events are being evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the Office of Environmental Health and Safety and the university’s chief medical officer. If you have an upcoming event with expected attendance of less than 250 people and want to submit it for consideration, please complete this online form. A running list of cancelled/postponed events is available on the university website.

Changes to Building Hours

From March 16-April 10, buildings on the Huntington campus, with the exception of the Memorial Student Center, will be unlocked at their regular time and locked at 5 p.m.

The hours for the Memorial Student Center will be as follows:

  • March 16–20 – 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • March 23–27 – 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • March 30–April 3 – 7:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.
  • April 6–10 – 7:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.

MSC will be open on Saturdays on an as-needed basis.

Cleaning Protocols

Physical Plant is working closely with the Office of Environmental Health and Safety regarding cleaning protocols. The housekeeping staff is using disinfectant spray daily on “high-touch” surfaces, including, but not limited to the following: entryway touch points, doorknobs, water fountains, elevator panels/call buttons, stairwell handrails, restroom fixtures (sinks, faucets, toilets, towel dispensers, etc.). A disinfectant will be used on keyboards in computer labs periodically. Hand sanitizer stations are available throughout university buildings.

These measures align with the university’s Infectious Disease Preparedness Plan.

At this time, Environmental Health and Safety is not recommending the sanitizing of personal office desks, chairs, etc. Physical Plant will be disinfecting classroom furniture next week and will reassess the situation as new information becomes available.

Preventative Hygiene

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Avoid shaking hands.
  • Avoid large gatherings of people. (Hold meetings by telephone, Skype, Zoom, etc., if at all possible.)

Continuity of Instruction

The Office of Academic Affairs has set up a website for faculty and academic staff to ask questions and stay up to date regarding all instructional activity on any of the institution’s campuses.

Student Employees

Student workers may continue to work during this time. They may maintain their regular schedules if there is work for them to do and if they have elected to be on campus and available.

If they will be leaving campus or are unavailable to work during the period that classes are not being offered face-to-face, they are not required to work their regular schedules.

If there is no work for a student worker, no time should be logged for those times.

Additional information about COVID-19 and the university’s response is available at www.marshall.edu/coronavirus. There is an e-mail address, COVID19@marshall.edu, for students or employees who have questions about general university procedures related to the virus or COVID-19-related changes to the university calendar.

For health-related concerns, have students contact Student Health Services at 304-691-1100.

Marshall Health has set up a dedicated phone line at 304-696-2900 for the general public, particularly for patients who think they may have been exposed to the virus. The line is staffed by healthcare professionals from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.