Coronavirus (COVID-19) Employee Guide - Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the question you are interested in to see the response. Questions were asked by PACE or employee related questions submitted for the Talk with Tuminez Town Hall Meetings.  Please also read the Return to Campus FAQ that has questions related to campus and not specific to Human Resources.

Campus

Which campus services are open?

As of 08/03/2020, all offices are opened. Please see the uvu.info website or the Campus Service FAQ for information about any specific service closures. 

Is there a possibility of campus closing or going remote again?

The COVID-19 Task Force meets regularly to look at key factors and review on a case by case basis. If our cases spike in Utah County or if we see that we have an issue on campus where we were having tremendous transmission, then we would evaluate and decide what the best course of action to make sure our employees are staying safe. Supervisors are authorized to approve remote work (including flexible remote work schedules) through the end of the calendar year, wherever possible, for positions in which work can be done remotely and not impede university functions. We're making sure that we're using exceptional care as we're working through this pandemic. (TWT 08/13/2020)

 

COVID-19

If an employee calls in sick, how long do they need to stay home?

If an employee calls in sick with any of the below symptoms that are not connected with a previous known condition (i.e. asthma, allergies, pregnancy, etc.), they are required to stay home sick or work from home for a minimum of 24 hours after the symptoms subside, and fill out the Returning to Work after Illness or Exposure Form.

Fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.

Employees who have been tested for COVID-19 are encouraged to complete the UVU COVID-19 Self-Reporting Form for Illness or Exposure

When, where, and how should I get tested for the coronavirus?

Testing capabilities for COVID-19 have increased dramatically since the beginning of the pandemic. Please see the most up to date information on COVID-19 Testing Information webpage. UVU Student Health Services is not testing for the virus and serves students only. For more information regarding medical and RX benefits related to COVID-19, please refer to the Magellan RX management COVID-19 virus FAQ's and the Regence COVID-19 Notice of Claims

COVID-19 testing is covered at 100% in-network and out-of-network for covered employees.

What happens if someone on campus tests positive?

The local health department will be notified of people who have tested positive. They will then conduct tracking, tracing and surveillance. If you have had a significant exposure to a person testing positive, you will be contacted by the local health department to self-quarantine. UVU has also created a voluntary UVU COVID-19 Self-Reporting Form for Illness or Exposure that allows students, faculty, and staff to self-disclose if they have tested positive for COVID-19. With this information we will assist the health department as needed and ensure areas have been thoroughly cleaned if applicable. (TWT 04-08-2020)

What will happen if someone tests positive and they've been working on campus in an area with other employees?

To ensure campus safety, we follow the CDC guidelines and the State Department of Health guidelines and follow their procedures if we have someone test positive. Individuals who test positive, will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. We work with the Utah County Health Department to make sure we have contact and tracing going on. (TWT 06-17-2020) 

What COVID-19 / illness form should I complete?

The UVU COVID-19 Self-Reporting Form for Illness or Exposure should be completed if you have been tested (positive/negative) for COVID-19. This form is used to track, and diagnosis the spread of COVID-19 to ensure the safety of all employees, students, and visitors to campus.

The Returning to Work after Illness or Exposure Form should be completed if you are returning to work and have been ill in the last 14 days. This form is a safety tool used to review symptoms prior to releasing an employee to work on campus. 

Will UVU accept liability if employees returns to work on campus contracts COVID-19? 

 

If an employee believes they contracted COVID-19 at work on campus, they can file a workers compensation claim and the claim will be investigated for coverage eligibility. 

 

Benefits and Leave

If I am asked to self-isolate, can I still work and get paid, or do I need to take vacation leave, sick, unpaid time?

Employees who may have been exposed to COVID-19, and are required to not report to work, are required to use leave time or telecommute to work, with supervisor approval. Supervisors are encouraged to provide flexibility. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides UVU employees who are eligible with Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and Expanded Family Medical Leave (E-FMLA) for specified reasons related to COVID-19. More information can be found in the UVU FFCRA Information Sheet and the FFCRA FAQ. For more information, please visit the UVU Human Resources Coronavirus (COVID-19) Employee Guide or the Leave website for the HR Benefits Service Center

Do employees need to speak with HR to request continued remote work if they believe they are high risk?

Supervisors have the authority to approve continued remote work and/or alternative work schedules (if doing so will not disrupt the essential job functions and business need). If supervisors are unable to approve the request, employees can reach out to Human Resources to start an interactive process to review possible options (medical documentation is required).

To encourage employees to stay home when they are sick or have symptoms of being sick, are you going to provide additional PTO sick time?

Employees that are feeling ill (regardless of current circumstances) are requested not to come to work so they can heal and recover, as well as protect the campus community. If you are ill, please notify your supervisor of your absence due to illness.  Further, UVU employees are asked to self-report if you have been or are being tested for COVID-19. The UVU COVID-19 Self-Reporting Form for Illness or Exposure helps in ensuring a safe working environment and in tracking the spread of COVID-19.  Employees who have recently been ill, should complete the Returning to Work after Illness or Exposure Form available on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Employee Guide webpage. The University offers generous sick leave and sick leave accrual as well as leave provided through FMLA. Additionally, the Federal government has enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which provides employees with emergency paid sick leave (EPSL) and expanded family and medical leave (E-FMLA) for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions will apply from April 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020. Employees can reach out to EmployeeWellness@uvu.edu for additional information regarding FFCRA.

What mental health services are available at this time?

UVU offers full-time employees the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), allowing benefits-eligible faculty to receive up to four counseling sessions free of charge. UVU benefits also include a robust list of mental health professionals. Please contact HR if you have questions. 

If you are having suicidal thoughts or are concerned about a loved one who may be having suicidal thoughts, please call the 24-hour Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or you can visit the Suicide Prevention Lifeline website. For more information regarding suicide and prevention, please visit utahsuicideprevention.org.

What is FFCRA?

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides UVU employees who are eligible with Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and Expanded Family Medical Leave (E-FMLA) for specified reasons related to COVID-19. More information can be found in the UVU FFCRA Information Sheet and the FFCRA FAQ.

 

Phased Return to Campus

What is the expectation for full time staff returning to full time work on campus? How long are staff able to continue working at least partially from home?

Supervisors are authorized to approve remote work (including flexible remote work schedules), wherever possible, for positions in which work can be done remotely and not impede university functions.  Employees authorized to continue temporary remote work (including flexible remote work schedules) must submit, with supervisors’ approval, a new Temporary Remote Work Agreement.  These new agreements can be for a short period of time or go through December 31, 2020. (TWT 06-17-2020)

What counts as high risk? How will "High Risk" employees be identified? How will supervisors identify high risk employees while maintaining their privacy as we begin to bring employees back to campus?

Governor Herbert’s Utah Leads Together plan, provides guidance on who is considered as “high risk”.  This plan and forthcoming USHE guidance provides instruction for high-risk individuals and those around them.

If any employee believes they are high risk based on this guidance, they are encouraged to contact Human Resources.  You may need to provide personal health information to Human Resources, but Human Resources does not share personal health information with others, including your supervisor, so employee privacy is maintained.  Human Resources will work with you and your supervisor to implement the Tiered Guidelines for High Risk Individuals provided by USHE.

Perhaps most important, if we all consider everyone we may be working with as potentially “high risk”, we can demonstrate exceptional care for each other by vigilantly following the health guidelines of wearing a mask, maintaining 6 feet social distance, washing our hands frequently, covering coughs/sneezes, and not coming to campus when ill. 

What guidance would you give to MANAGERS of non student-facing offices where all work can be done remotely, who have pressured employees to return to campus starting June 8 only to sit isolated, in closed offices, and meet via TEAMS- both of which could be done in a more safe environment from home? What is our goal as a supervisor with balancing working from home with time working on campus?

There is not a one-size-fits-all response to this question given the diversity of work staff perform for UVU, but there is guidance.  People managers, please review the training and guidebook available on UVU’s Return to Campus website.  It provides great information and a variety of resources to assist you.  As this guide indicates, if an employee’s job and your department/division allows for continued remote work (partial or full), the employee requests remote work, and their work can be done remotely and not impede University functions, supervisors have authority to approve remote work through the end of 2020 by submitting a new Temporary Remote Work Agreement  (TWT 06-17-2020)

Who can we turn to if we feel our supervisors and/or AVPs are being very rigid and not helping us with flexible schedules, especially when we are pregnant, have young children at home, don't feel safe coming to campus, and/or are having difficulty finding childcare. Who can we turn to if our supervisors are not communicating at all with the staff and leaving us completely in the dark?

To ensure continuity of processes, employees are requested to follow their chain of command. Working with Human Resources may be appropriate if an employee believes they are high risk and they are unable to work out an agreement with their supervisor, if an employee is requesting leave through FFCRA for childcare challenges, or if the employee has other unresolved questions or concerns. (TWT 06-17-2020)

Will there be a grace period as employees return to campus for those that had to remove children from childcare to find new services?

 

Supervisors have the authority to approve continued remote work and/or alternative work schedules throughout the end of the calendar year (if doing so will not disrupt the essential job functions and business need).

Additionally, UVU has implemented the various programs provided by the Federal government through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) including emergency paid sick leave and emergency FMLA.  The emergency FMLA is available for employees (full and part time) caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed or childcare provider is unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.  You can find more information in UVU’s Coronavirus Employee Guide or by contacting  EmployeeWellness@uvu.edu.  (TWT 05-12-2020)

 

General Safety

Do I have to wear a mask? 

All employees of the university are required to wear a face covering while working on campus as a condition of their employment. Employees who disregard the requirement to wear a face covering may be in violation of UVU policy and state and federal law or regulation and subject to corrective action. Refer to required face coverings for UVU Employees and Students for more details. 

What is an approved face covering? Do I have to wear it in my office?

The Required Face Covering Guidelines are intended to minimize ambiguity and promote consistency across campus in complying with face-covering requirements. Refer to this guide for questions related to face coverings. 

What if a colleague refuses to wear a mask or face shield in our department?

If a coworker refuses to wear a mask, as per the Required Face Covering Guidelines, bring up your concerns to your supervisor. In certain cases, the use of a face covering is not advised. These cases should be addressed on a case-by-case basis with the employee’s supervisor and, if necessary, with the employee accommodations coordinator in Human Resources (EmployeeWellness@uvu.edu ) and as per Policy 152: Accommodations for Individuals with Disabilities Such cases include:

  • Individuals with a medical condition for whom wearing a face covering could cause harm or obstruct breathing.
  • Individuals with hearing impairment or communicating with an individual who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.

How often will our departments’ public spaces and offices be cleaned?

Departments will be responsible for cleaning their space beyond the daily cleaning Campus Services provides. Departments should consider ordering their own disinfectant and paper towels as well as requesting cleaning supplies from Campus Services. Faculty members and staff with concerns about cleanliness are to clean their own areas beyond what Campus Services provides. Administrative assistants cannot be assigned to clean individual offices or spaces occupied primarily by single individuals. If you do not feel comfortable with Custodial Services cleaning your offices, please post a note on your office door.

Is UVU’s air system filtered for viruses?

UVU has a filtering system, MERV, in all large buildings. Systems vary, since some areas such as the science buildings have traditionally needed higher levels of filtration. UVU will increase air exchange rates to push the air through the filters and slightly over-pressurize the buildings to help exchange the air. Filters are changed on a rigid schedule. Even before COVID-19, UVU was changing air filters more often than recommended.

Is UVU going to be requiring a negative COVID-19 test before returning to work?

Employees who are ill with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 are to self-isolate at home. This includes an employee who tested positive, negative, or did not test at all for the COVID-19. Employees who have been tested for COVID-19 are encouraged to complete the UVU COVID-19 Self-Reporting Form for Illness or Exposure. Employees who have been out sick for any symptoms related to COVID-19 are required to complete the Returning to Work after Illness or Exposure Form.
Will I have my temperature taken before working on campus?
Employees who are in positions that put others at risk (e.g., health clinic, food services, etc.) will have their temperatures taken by qualified nursing students.

Can supervisors send their employees who show symptoms of COIVD-19 home?

If a supervisor observes an employee with COVID-19 symptoms, the supervisor must send the employee home. Employees who have been out sick for any symptoms related to COVID-19 are required to complete the Returning to Work after Illness or Exposure Form.

 

Working Remotely

If COVID cases break out in our young children’s school requiring the classroom or school to close for a time will employees be able to work remotely while we stay home with our children?

Leadership is constantly meeting and monitoring the current uncertainty and changing situation we are in. If employees need to be at home because of children’s school requirements, supervisors are authorized to approve remote work (including flexible remote work schedules), wherever possible, for positions in which work can be done remotely and not impede university functions. Where work from home is not feasible, Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides additional leave options for employees that need to stay home because of family. Because each situation is unique, please contact HR for additional information regarding FFCRA. (TWT 8/13/2020)

If employees can be just as productive from working at home, will we allow that to continue even after the pandemic?

In late June, President Tuminez requested we start working on a matrix decision making model for how to fairly determine a more strategic approach towards a permanent work from home option and updated agreement. There are a number of factors that must be taken into consideration – position, technology, office space, expectations, preferences – some employees have welcomed coming back to campus. Watch for future communication as these plans are solidified. (TWT 08/13/2020)

I completed the Temporary Remote Work Agreement Form, but it is now outdated, how do I update the form?

If your job and your supervisor/department allows for continued remote work, you request it, and your work can be done remotely and not impede university functions, your supervisor has full authority to approve further remote work through the end of the calendar year (must complete another Temporary Remote Work Agreement). Faculty do not need to complete the form. (Updated 08/19/2020)

If I am directed by my supervisor to work from home, and I don’t have the necessary tools (computer, software, etc.), what am I supposed to do?

This concern should be discussed with your supervisor, who can determine resources that may be temporarily provided for you to perform your work from home. Employees must complete the Temporary Remote Work Agreement. The Office of Information Technology (OIT) has provided support and options to work remotely. UVU has also provided Tips to Work Remotely.

If I am directed by my supervisor to forward my work phone to my cell phone, will I get paid for using my personal cell for work?

This concern should be discussed with your supervisor. In accordance with UVU Policy 329 Telephone and Cellular Phone Usage, employees required to use a personal cell phone to perform their duties may be provided an allowance from UVU for business purpose use. This form is available here. If you are not on campus and not forwarding your work phone, make sure you update your UVU voicemail

Will staff who are capable of working from home be permitted to continue to do so?

Supervisors have the authority to approve continued remote work and/or alternative work schedules throughout the end of the calendar year (if doing so will not disrupt the essential job functions and business need).  Work at home expectations should be set between the supervisor and the employee and approved through a Temporary Remote Work Agreement Form

Can employees speak with HR directly instead of with their supervisor if they want to continue working from home?

To ensure continuity of processes, employees are requested to follow their proper chain of command. Working with Human Resources may be appropriate if an employee believes they are high risk and they are unable to work out an agreement with their supervisor, an employee is requesting leave through FFCRA, or there are unresolved questions or concerns.

Who do I speak with if I live with and/or care for someone who is considered high risk?

For requests due to dependents or family members, employees should work with their supervisors for possible options in their area. If an employee is requesting a leave of absence related to COVID-19 or to care for an individual, please reach out to Human Resources.

 

Employee Travel

Am I allowed to travel out of the state/country on personal travel?

We encourage you, when considering your personal travel choices, to follow travel advisories issued by the CDC and local and state authorities. Refer to the Travel FAQ for guidelines and more details.

Can I travel for business purposes?

All nonessential university-related travel, whether in state, out of state, or international, through December 31, 2020, must be cancelled. All UVU-sponsored Study Abroad programs (credit or non-credit bearing) and any other UVU-sponsored international student travel must also be cancelled through December 31, 2020. As an exception to the above travel restriction, travel considered business essential for the university must be approved by the divisional vice president prior to making travel arrangements. Additionally, until further notice, all future airfare must be purchased through Concur or the State Travel Office. Please review the Travel FAQ for the most current business travel information.

 

Employment and Financial Impact

Why weren’t there funds to increase employees’ pay if enrollment numbers are doing well and tuition was increased?

In March, Legislature pulled back all salary/wage increase funds. UVU’s medical premiums increased by 10% this year and the legislature only provided 75% of funds to cover the increase. UVU utilized all of the tax funds provided by the legislature for the medical premium increase and 1.38% tuition rate increase to cover the 10% medical premium increase and provide all full-time employees $300 base salary increase to help offset the employee portion of the medical premium increase.

Due to the economic impact of COVID, UVU was asked to cut their budget by 2.5%. UVU employees placed as their number one funding priority to preserve jobs and their number two priority to maintain benefits, UVU was able to accommodate the budget cut by eliminating vacant positions, reducing current, travel and capital budgets while still maintaining UVU employee priorities. (TWT 08/13/2020)

Why are employees at UVU paid far less than those at other Utah Universities?

All compensation is allocated in a manner that is compliant with university policy and all applicable legal requirements. UVU compensation strategies are designed to help the university provide wages, salaries and benefits which are competitive within appropriate labor markets and are administratively and financially sustainable in an ever-changing environment. Peer institutions for market evaluations are determined by size, type and operating budget. Within those parameters, we work to be as competitive as possible. (TWT 08/13/2020)

In what ways will employees be shown appreciation for their extra work during the pandemic?

Spot awards were established to promote productivity and provide immediate and visible recognition of full-time staff contributions. Due to COVID-19, Spot Awards have temporarily been expanded to include part-time, full-time, and faculty employees. Maximum an employee may receive during a fiscal year has been increased to $2,000 total with a one-time award ranging from $100 to $1,000. Leaders are encouraged to recognize employee efforts through spot awards as their budgets allow. Other ways supervisors can show their appreciation to their employees may include purchasing lunch, Wolverine Sighting Awards, thank you notes, appreciative words, etc. (TWT 08/13/2020)

 

Some are worried about the financial impact of COVID-19. How will UVU try to minimize the financial impact of COVID-19?  

Based on information from legislative leadership, UVU did not allocate new funding that had been appropriated during the 2020 legislative session.  Further, UVU implemented Temporary HR Guidelines and Temporary Financial Resource Guidelines in anticipation of a base tax fund reduction.  In mid-June, the legislature reversed nearly all of the new funding appropriated during 2020 legislative session and reduced UVU’s base tax funds by 2.5% ($3,217,600). University leaders are working to identify budget reductions to implement this cut. 

Is there a possibility that the University will furlough or lay-off employees? And if so, how will that be determined?

Our goal is to maintain and preserve jobs as best we can. However, due to the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus), Utah Valley University continues to operate under modified conditions requiring the temporary closure of certain programs, services, and facilities. These temporary closures have created a lack of work for a number of employees. A furlough or layoff occurs through no fault of the employee. Refer to the Furlough FAQ or the Layoff FAQ for more information. Some UVU employees have been furloughed or laid off and some of these employees have already returned to work. 

Employees at schools around the country are being furloughed. Should I be concerned this could happen at UVU? If the fall semester is altered, what chance is there of having staff cuts, and what areas might be most impacted? Will voluntary unpaid leave be an option to keep the books in balance for UVU?

Great questions!  You don’t have to look very hard to find stories of universities or other businesses requiring employees to take unpaid leave.  Such actions may provide some universities with short-term, one-time savings.  Fortunately, at UVU, we do not have some of the fiscal challenges others may be experiencing.  We maintain contingencies and fund balances that will help us meet short-term financial challenges while we make strategic decisions for our long-term financial health. I do not anticipate employees being asked to take unpaid leave to balance our books.

Will UVU full time employees still be getting their $300 annual increase to cover the rise of healthcare costs this year?

Absolutely!  This increase will be effective on July 1, 2020, and full-time employees will see the change in their July 31 paychecks. 

Will UVU employees receive merit pay for the new coming fiscal year?

UVU received no new tax funds including no additional funding for compensation.  To fund medical plan increases, we used our 1.38% tuition increase and internal reallocation.  All full-time employees will receive $300 to their base salary to help offset medical premium share increases.  Unfortunately, we simply did not have any new ongoing funds available to allocate for merit pay increases for 2020-21 fiscal year. (TWT 06-19-2020)

Are we going to have double cost of living increases next year to make up for this year?

The continuing impact of COVID-19 on the global, national, and state economies is unclear. The continuing impact of COVID-19 on students enrolling and completing higher education is unclear at this point. In this uncertain environment, UVU is not able to forecast wage & salary increases for next year. (TWT 08/13/2020)

 

 Furlough & Layoff

What is a furlough?
A furlough is a temporary separation from work with the expectation that the employee will return to work at the conclusion of the furlough period. Employees are not paid during a furlough, which is treated as a temporary, unpaid leave of absence. A furlough means that the employee ceases work for the university, does not conduct any business for the university, and does not receive pay. Please refer to the Furlough FAQ for a PDF of FAQ's.
What is a layoff?
A layoff is the dismissal of an employee without the expectation that the employee will return to work; the employee is let go from their job. Sometimes layoffs are referred to as a reduction in force. Please refer to the Layoff FAQ for a PDF of FAQ's.
Why would UVU layoff an employee?
Due to the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus), Utah Valley University continues to operate under modified conditions requiring the closure of certain programs, services, and facilities. These closures have created a lack of work for a number of employees. Further, the economic impact of COVID-19 is creating budgetary constraints for UVU. This combination of operational and economic pressures requires UVU leadership to make some difficult personnel decisions. A layoff occurs through no fault of the employee.

What are the short, medium, and long-term chances of furloughs happening at UVU?

UVU did furlough 130 part-time and student employees in June after it was determined venues on campus would not be opening during the summer. About half of the furloughed employees have returned to work and we anticipate the other half returning when fall semester begins. (TWT 08/13/2020)

We were told that we wouldn’t have to do layoffs, but my department has already done layoffs. Why did this happen? 

Unfortunately, 13 Wee Care Center part-time and student employees were laid off because of the unknown time frame of when it will be able to reopen. No full-time positions have been laid off. UVU’s goal has and will continue to be to maintain employment for all employees. (TWT 08/13/2020)

 

Due to the continual changing environment surrounding COVID-19, FAQ's that were previously asked but are no longer relevant to the current situation have been moved to a Employee Historical FAQ List