Dear Students and Families: Congratulations—we crossed the threshold of the midway point of the fall semester earlier this week! I hope you’ll take time this weekend to recharge your batteries, connect with friends and burn off some stress. The activities…
Coronavirus Update: Staff Accommodations
Dear Syracuse University Faculty and Staff:
Over the last several days, a team of administrators, staff and faculty experts has been working diligently to manage the University’s response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global health emergency. In addition to actions taken to reduce the risk of community spread of the virus, and to transition from in-person instruction to online learning, the Human Resources Team has collaborated closely with managers to provide guidelines regarding practices and policies that address the impact COVID-19 may have on daily operations and any special accommodations that support our staff in a fast-changing environment.
As promised earlier in the week, we have identified a set of frequently asked questions to guide staff, as well as their managers, with navigating this truly unprecedented time. The University will continue to evaluate the health situation and University practices to ensure that we are supporting staff during these challenging times.
Working Remotely: Remote work is being encouraged as much as possible and where appropriate. When telecommuting is not possible due to the nature of an employee’s job or personal situation, flexibility is encouraged in order to allow for recommended social distancing. Special consideration is being given to staff who may have underlying health conditions (or need to care for someone with underlying health conditions) that may put them at greater risk for serious health consequences should they contract COVID-19 and for those who have new dependent care needs as a result of the coronavirus. We have simplified the procedures supporting our existing Flexible Work Policy and have created an online process to expedite requests for telecommuting and flexible work.
Travel and Exposure Guidance in Returning to Main Campus: Faculty or staff who are traveling outside of the Central New York region (including Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga and Oswego counties) for personal or professional reasons should exercise caution and adhere to the advice and guidance of public health agencies including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the NYS Public Health and Onondaga County Health Department.
- Given the current situation, Syracuse University advises faculty and staff who plan to travel outside the Central New York region in the coming weeks to be aware of and adhere to the following:
- If you travel to a country where the CDC has issued a Level-2 or higher travel advisory, you should not come to work and remain away from campus for 14 days, following their return to Central New York.
- If you have been in close contact (6 ft.) with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you should implement self-quarantine protocols immediately. You should not come to work during the period of self-quarantine (14 days).
- If you become aware that you have had a proximate exposure to anyone who meets the following criteria, you should—out of an abundance of caution—not come to work and remain away from campus for 14 days following such exposure. Specifically, remain away from campus for 14 days if:
- You have had proximate exposure to any person who has been directed by a medical professional to be tested for COVID-19, even if that person is not displaying symptoms; or
- You have had proximate exposure to any person who has traveled to China, Iran, Japan, South Korea or Italy while COVID-19 was prevalent; or
- You or another member of your household has traveled to any location in the United States, where State or County health officials have declared a local or regional state of emergency in response to COVID-19.
In those instances where a faculty or staff member meets any of the above criteria, or is directed for other reasons to self-isolate away from campus, the faculty or staff member should work with their supervisor to coordinate remote work arrangements in accordance with the modified Flexible Work Arrangements, if available and appropriate. For additional question, faculty and staff should contact HR Shared Services at 315.443.4042 or email@example.com.
COVID-19 Testing: We have heard questions from some individuals about whether they should be tested for COVID-19. According to the CDC, your healthcare provider may direct and authorize you to be tested for COVID-19 if:
- You have come within proximate contact (same classroom, office, or gatherings) of another person known to be positive; or
- You have traveled to a country that the CDC has issued a Level 2 or Level 3 Travel Health Notice, and shows symptoms of illness; or
- You are quarantined (mandatory or precautionary) and have shown symptoms of COVID-19 illness; or
- You are symptomatic but have not tested positive for any other infection (flu, strep throat, etc.); or
- The facts and circumstances warrant as determined by the treating clinician in consultation with state and local department of health officials.
Sick and Personal Leaves: The University provides paid sick and personal leaves for benefits eligible staff. It is our collective responsibility to look out for the health and well-being of our fellow community members. As such, if you’re exhibiting symptoms, consistent with the coronavirus, the flu or other respiratory illness, you should not come to work. If you have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19, you should not be at work and you should contact your primary care physician. The frequently asked questions supplement already published documentation regarding the University’s benefits, including paid time off (sick, personal, vacation), disability and family leaves.
Health Benefits: We have been in close contact with the University’s health benefit providers to ensure we continue to provide high quality, comprehensive coverage. Questions on coverage can be directed to our dedicated phone representatives at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield (800.493.0318 or TTY: 800.662.1220) and OptumRx (866.854.2945 or TTY: 711). Additional benefit provider contact information can be found on the HR Contact website. For general benefit questions, contact the HR Shared Services at 315.443.4042 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I encourage you to visit syracuse.edu/coronavirus to remain informed of frequent announcements and new developments during this quickly evolving situation. You may also find answers to frequently asked questions by visiting the Human Resources website.
Finally, please feel free to reach out to your HR business partner, the Labor Relations Team or to me directly if you have specific questions.
Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer