Human Resources

COVID-19 FAQ for Faculty and Staff

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Southern 7 Health Department

What should I do if I am sick?

Employees should not come to work when they are sick. Employees should stay home and use appropriate leave. Regular benefits-eligible employees have leave available to them to cover absences. Employees should follow standard request and approval procedures. The employee will be expected to use appropriate leave to cover the time away and may be expected to provide a release from a healthcare provider to return to work.

If I came into contact with someone with COVID-19, what should I do?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines indicate that persons who have possible exposure to a person with the COVID-19 illness should remain home for 14 days with self-observation.  

Self-observation  means you should remain alert for symptoms of fever, cough, or difficulty breathing. If you feel feverish or develop a cough or difficulty breathing during the self-observation period, you should take your temperature, self-isolate, limit contact with others, and seek advice by telephone from a healthcare provider or their local health department to determine whether medical evaluation is needed.

As much as possible, stay away from other people in your home. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.

If you have a medical appointment, call the healthcare provider and tell them that you may have been exposed to COVID-19.

Follow everyday preventive steps that are recommended by the CDC to slow the spread of respiratory illnesses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Soap and water are the best option, if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw used tissues in a lined trash can. Immediately wash your hands as described above.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home. After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.
  • High touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables should be cleaned with disinfectant.
  • Make sure that shared spaces in the home have good air flow, such as by an air conditioner or an opened window, weather permitting.
  • Household members should use a separate bedroom and bathroom, if available.
  • Prohibit visitors who do not have an essential need to be in the home.

Can you force an employee exhibiting symptoms of illness to go home?

If an employee appears to be exhibiting symptoms associated with coronavirus while at work, a manager should excuse the employee from work and advise them to seek care from a healthcare provider. Regular benefits-eligible employees have leave available to them to cover absences. 

Someone in my office is displaying symptoms but is still present at work. What should I do?

If you have someone in your office who is displaying symptoms of COVID 19 (fever, cough, and difficulty breathing), advise them to stay home/go home and work remotely if they feel well enough to do so. It is also important to understand that everyone who sneezes or coughs is not infected with coronavirus. It is peak time for seasonal allergies as well. We should all practice good hygiene by covering our nose/mouth when sneezing or coughing with a tissue or inside of your elbow, washing hands frequently and wiping down frequently touched surfaces (keyboards, doorknobs/handles, phones, etc.).

If I have been ill, when can I return to work if I am not allowed to work remotely?

Out of an abundance of caution, all persons reporting that they have been self-isolating with respiratory illnesses will need to follow the CDC guidelines below before returning to work.

Persons with COVID-19 who have symptoms and were directed to care for themselves at home may discontinue isolation under the following conditions:

  • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and,
  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

For additional guidance, please see your health provider or refer to the CDC website.

Can (or should) employees still take vacation or sick leave?

  • The employee plans to participate in a non-work activity that one would normally request the use of vacation leave.
  • The employee is ill, caring for an ill family member/dependent, or taking bereavement that one would normally request the use of sick leave.

Will FMLA cover me if I become ill with the COVID-19?

It depends… If you are eligible for FMLA and you have tested positive for COVID-19, then yes FMLA will be available to you. If employees have only been exposed to the virus, FMLA is not applicable. However, they may still need to be quarantined, and applicable non-FMLA leave (to include sick leave) could be an option subject to standard request and approval procedures. Employees may also telework during a period of self-quarantine. 

Will FMLA cover me if an immediate member of my family contracts COVID-19?

Yes, FMLA allows an eligible employee to take FMLA leave if either the employee or an immediate family member, defined as spouse, child or parent, contracts the virus.

What is the The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)?

Signed into law on March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides two new distinct leave categories that Delta State University is making available to all employees to alleviate some of the work, health, family, and leave challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The FFCRA is effective April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.  The amount of leave available is up to 80 hours for full-time employees. For part-time employees, the leave available is the average hours the employee works over a two-week period. Please note, if you are able to remote work or telecommute, you may not be able to take the leave.

When, due to COVID-19 conditions, an employee is unable to be physically present or telework, leave is available for the following:

  1. subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order;(a Stay at Home order does not qualify)
  2. advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine;
  3. experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
  4. caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantined as described in (2);
  5. caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed; or
  6. experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by federal or state authorities.

Rate of Pay for Leave: For situations numbered 1-3 on the list above, Delta State will pay a full-time employee the full rate of pay for up to 80 hours and a part-time employee will receive full pay for an average number of hours.The maximum amount per day is $511.For situations numbered 4-6 on the list above, Delta State will pay two-thirds of the employee’s normal rate of pay up to a maximum of $200 per day.

Reporting: Employees should first discuss their leave request directly with their supervisors and then complete the appropriate leave form in the Office of Human Resources.

CHILD CARE: EMERGENCY FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE EXPANSION ACT

Effective Dates: April 1 through December 31, 2020

Eligible Employees: All Delta State employees including part-time faculty, staff and students employed for at least 30 calendar days

Amount of Leave: Up to 10 weeks beyond the two weeks of Emergency Paid Sick Leave described above<

Eligible Circumstances: When, due to COVID-19 conditions, an employee is unable to telecommute or be physically present in order to care for a child under 18 years of age due to the closure of the child’s school or place of care, or unavailability of a childcare provider. The definition of eligible child here is the same as has always been the case under the Family Medical Leave Act.

Rate of Pay for Leave: The employee shall receive two-thirds of salary, provided the total amount paid does not exceed $200 a day.

Reporting: Employees should first discuss their leave request directly with their supervisors and then complete the appropriate leave form in the Office of Human Resources.

If you are eligible and plan to request either of these options,please submit your request to the Office of Human Resources.Remember to first familiarize yourself with guidance on your eligibility and determine whether an FFCRA option is best for your specific situation. A helpful resource is the FFCRA FAQs on the COVID-19 website.We appreciate your continued commitment to the Delta State Community as together, we balance safety priorities with the essential work of running the university.

Please note that the Department of Labor is in the process of drafting regulations for the FFCRA. This guidance may be altered by subsequent statutes, regulations, or institutional needs.
Useful Links

About COVID-19 from the CDC

Mississippi Department of Health

How to Protect Yourself and Others

What To Do If You Are Sick (CDC)?

What To Do If You Are Sick with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (MSDH)?

Stop the Spread of Germs

Handout: Handwashing the Right Way

Coronavirus Disease 2019 FAQ – CDC

 

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