What is the College doing to protect the campus community?
The College has convened its incident response team and is planning for different scenarios in the event it becomes necessary to implement emergency operations. We are in communication with local and state health officials to monitor the impact of COVID-19 and have been notified that there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Crawford County.
The College is closely monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation, and as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is taking action to address a potential future outbreak in the U.S. that could impact College operations, study away programs, and other educational, personal, and business travel for students, faculty, and staff.
I’m worried about a family member who has recently traveled and might have been exposed to coronavirus. What should I do?
Call your family physician.
What preventative actions can I take?
The best protection from the spread of any virus, including the flu and COVID-19, is through everyday preventive actions, including the following:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- 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. Cough into your elbow if you do not have a tissue.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. This includes your cell phone.
Have any College events or activities been canceled?
Non-essential events through the end of the semester are canceled.
Updated: March 16, 2020
What should I do if I’m not feeling well?
Signs and symptoms of coronavirus and influenza are very similar. Faculty and staff who have a fever and have a mild-to-severe respiratory illness, with a cough, sore throat, and/or difficulty breathing, should set up an appointment to be seen by a physician or nurse practitioner as soon as possible.
How a COVID-19 outbreak could affect our workplace
Employees may be absent from work because they are ill, are caregivers for ill family members, are caregivers for children if schools or day care centers are closed, have at-risk people at home, such as immunocompromised family members or are afraid to come to work because of fear of possible exposure.
Reporting for Work
Employees are responsible for reporting to work per their regular schedule unless specifically directed to follow different instructions. The College’s existing paid time off and leave policies remain in place. If you are ill or are a primary caregiver for someone who is ill, sick leave and/or Family Medical Leave Act leave may apply. If these situations do not apply and an employee chooses not to report for work, you may use accrued paid time off as appropriate with approval from your supervisor. Please refer to the Employee Handbook for paid time off and leave policy information.
Information for Employees
- Employees are encouraged to stay home if they are sick. The College’s sick leave policy will apply. Please follow standard call off procedures for your department.
- Refrain from using other workers’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when possible.
- Sign up for direct deposit if you do not currently participate. Please contact the Office of Human Resource for instructions on how to do so.
- Ensure your contact information and emergency contacts are up-to-date. Please contact the Office of Human Resource for instructions on how to do so.
Information for Supervisors
- Encourage employees to stay home if they are sick.
- Identify key personnel in order to continue critical operating functions.
- Consider options for conducting essential operations with a reduced/off campus workforce.
- Take into consideration who your employees interact with and the need for social distancing.
- Consider staggered work shifts to increase the physical distance among employee and other individuals.
- Cross-training workers across different jobs in order to continue operations or deliver critical services.
- Consider how to deliver services remotely if necessary.
- Determine remote work expectations.
- Identify roles and resources needed
- Minimizing contact among employees, clients, and customers by replacing face-to-face meetings with virtual communications and implementing remote work if feasible.
Updated: March 11, 2020
Fair Labor Standards Act Q&A
If your department has a shortage of employees and is looking to “volunteers” to help out, be aware that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has stringent requirements with respect to the use of volunteers. Non-exempt employees cannot volunteer their services as they need to be paid at least the minimum wage. In addition, all employees may not volunteer to perform on an uncompensated basis the same services they are employed to perform.
Can an employee be required to perform work outside of the employee’s job description?
Yes. The FLSA does not limit the types of work employees may be required to perform. This is true whether or not the work asked of the employee is listed in the employee’s job description.
May an employer encourage or require employees to work remotely (i.e., work from an alternative location such as home) as an infection control strategy?
Yes. An employer may encourage or require employees to work remotely as an infection-control or prevention strategy, including based on timely information from public health authorities about pandemics, public health emergencies, or other similar conditions.
In the event an organization prohibits employees from working from their current place of business and requires them to work at home, will employers have to pay those employees who are unable to work from home?
Under the FLSA, employers generally only have to pay employees for the hours they actually work, whether at home or at the employer’s office. When not all employees can work from home, we encourage you to consider additional options to promote social distancing, such as staggered work shifts.
Recording hours worked
Employers would still be required to maintain an accurate record of hours worked for all employees, including those participating in remote work or other flexible work arrangements.
Family Medical Leave Act Q&A
If an employee is out with the flu or are caring for ill family members, an employee’s absence may be covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Under the FMLA, the College is required to provide employees job-protected, unpaid leave for specified family and medical reasons.
Can an employee stay home under FMLA leave to avoid getting pandemic influenza?
The FMLA protects eligible employees who are incapacitated by a serious health condition, as may be the case with the flu where complications arise, or who are needed to care for covered family members who are incapacitated by a serious health condition. Leave taken by an employee for the purpose of avoiding exposure to the flu would not be protected under the FMLA.
What legal responsibility do employers have to allow parents or care givers time off from work to care for children who have been dismissed from school?
There is currently no federal law covering employees who take off from work to care for healthy children, and employers are not required by federal law to provide leave to employees caring for dependents who have been dismissed from school or child care.
May an employer require an employee who is out sick with pandemic influenza to provide a doctor’s note, submit to a medical exam, or remain symptom-free for a specified amount of time before returning to work?
Yes. However, the College acknowledges that during a pandemic, healthcare resources may be overwhelmed and it may be difficult for employees to get appointments with doctors or other health care providers to verify they are well or no longer contagious. The College will handle this on a case by case basis.
Americans with Disabilities Act
Before an influenza pandemic occurs, may an ADA-covered employer ask an employee to disclose if he or she has a compromised immune system or chronic health condition that the CDC says could make them more susceptible to complications of influenza?
No. An inquiry asking an employee to disclose a compromised immune system or a chronic health condition is disability-related because the response is likely to disclose the existence of a disability. The ADA does not permit such an inquiry in the absence of objective evidence that pandemic symptoms will cause a direct threat.
Are there ADA-compliant ways for employers to identify which employees are more likely to be unavailable for work in the event of a pandemic?
Yes. Employers may make inquiries that are not disability-related. An inquiry is not disability-related if it is designed to identify potential non-medical reasons for absence during a pandemic (e.g., curtailed public transportation).
May an ADA-covered employer send employees home if they display influenza-like symptoms during a pandemic?
Yes. The CDC states that employees who become ill with symptoms of influenza-like illness at work during a pandemic should leave the workplace. Advising such workers to go home is not a disability-related action. Additionally, the action would be permitted under the ADA if the illness were serious enough to pose a direct threat.
During a pandemic, how much information may an ADA-covered employer request from employees who report feeling ill at work or who call in sick?
ADA-covered employers may ask such employees if they are experiencing influenza-like symptoms, such as fever or chills and a cough or sore throat. This information will be maintained as a confidential medical record in compliance with the ADA.
When an employee returns from travel during a pandemic, must an employer wait until the employee develops influenza symptoms to ask questions about exposure to pandemic influenza during the trip?
No. These would not be disability-related inquiries. If the CDC or state or local public health officials recommend that people who visit specified locations remain at home for several days until it is clear they do not have pandemic influenza symptoms, an employer may ask whether employees are returning from these locations, even if the travel was personal.
During a pandemic, may an ADA-covered employer ask employees who do not have influenza symptoms to disclose whether they have a medical condition that the CDC says could make them especially vulnerable to influenza complications?
No. making disability-related inquiries or requiring medical examinations of employees without symptoms is prohibited by the ADA.
If an employee voluntarily discloses (without a disability-related inquiry) that they have a specific medical condition or disability that puts them at increased risk of influenza complications, the employer must keep this information confidential.
During a pandemic, may an employer require its employees to adopt infection-control practices, such as regular hand washing, at the workplace?
Yes. Requiring infection control practices, such as regular hand washing, coughing and sneezing etiquette, and proper tissue usage and disposal, does not implicate the ADA.
During a pandemic, may an employer ask an employee why he or she has been absent from work if the employer suspects it is for a medical reason?
Yes. Asking why an individual did not report to work is not a disability-related inquiry. An employer is always entitled to know why an employee has not reported for work.
Updated: March 11, 2020
Combating Stigma Related to COVID-19
(Adapted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Fear and anxiety about a disease can lead to social stigma toward people, places, or things. Stigma and discrimination can occur when people associate an infectious disease, such as COVID-19, with a population or nationality, even though not everyone in that population or from that region is specifically at risk for the disease (for example, Chinese-Americans and other Asian-Americans living in the United States).
Harassment and discrimination are not acceptable at Allegheny College. Speak up if you hear or see discriminatory behavior. Remind each other that prejudiced and discriminatory language and actions make us all less safe. We encourage students and employees who have experienced or observed harassment or discrimination to file an incident report.
Accurate information is another important step in combating social stigma and discrimination. Everyone can help stop stigma related to COVID-19 by knowing the facts. No one group, ethnicity or population in the US is at a higher risk for getting coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) than others.
During such challenging times, we must be especially mindful to stand behind our Statement of Community, showing respect and compassion for others and actively confronting and challenging harassment and discrimination.
For more information on the impact of stigma related to COVID-19 and how you can confront stigma related COVID-19:
Stigma Related to COVID-19, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Share Facts About COVID-19, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Updated: March 13, 2020