COVID-19 Faculty/Staff Information

 

Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 Faculty and Staff Information

The Paladin Promise

Furman is a special place and it is our pleasure to welcome you back to campus. To make that a reality during the COVID-19 pandemic, each of us will share a responsibility for the health and wellbeing of our whole community, including students, faculty, staff, and the Greenville area. We call it the Paladin Promise.

For the latest information and announcements regarding our institutional response to COVID-19, visit furman.edu/covid-19.

Prisma Health Information

Prisma Health has created a webpage with the most up-to-date information about COVID-19. https://www.PrismaHealth.org/Coronavirus

Use Prisma Health’s Virtual Visit online care option, including a new on-demand video option. Visit https://www.PrismaHealth.org/Virtual-Visit or call your primary care provider if symptoms develop.

Coronavirus Workplace FAQs

As COVID-19 cases increase in South Carolina and Greenville it will be most important for faculty, staff, and students to adhere to the guidelines set forth by the University as well as the CDC.  Along with social distancing practices, washing your hands, not touching your face, and avoiding contact with sick individuals can help you protect yourself and others from the virus.

All employees should be completing the COVID-19 questionnaire via the LiveSafe App or on hard copy each day they come to campus. Once on campus and inside buildings, all employees are required to wear a face covering at all times unless an accommodation or special exceptions has been granted.

Employees are asked to review the following workplace frequently asked questions (FAQs). These FAQs are subject to change as developments occur on the national and local levels. Questions may be directed to the Office of Human Resources at the following email address: humanresources@furman.edu

We wish to support our community and understand that employees may be feeling stress and/or anxiety about these events. Employees should contact Furman’s Employee Assistance Program (866.799.2485) if they are experiencing these issues.

Link to various resources and assistance available in Greenville County.

What should I do if I feel ill?

Do not come to campus.  The CDC recommends that employees who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms (ie., cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work, or develop such symptoms during the day, should go home immediately.  If you are unable to leave work immediately due to transportation issues, it is recommended that you physically distance yourself from others as much as possible (e.g., outside or in a low traffic area) until transportation arrives.  If you do not have access to transportation, the university will work with Furman’s Police Department to provide you with EMS transportation.  It will be important to notify your supervisor of the areas with which you came into contact during the day (including restrooms) so that appropriate sanitizing may take place.

It is the expectation of Furman that if an employee becomes ill with COVID-19 or any other illness that they seek medical care.

There is not an expectation that employees should work during an illness.  If symptoms develop, please contact your health care provider immediately or seek the nearest COVID-19 testing site; you no longer need a doctor’s order to have a test conducted.  It is important for employees to rest and recover prior to returning to work regardless of the source of the illness.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms include but are not limited to mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and shortness of breath. (see additional symptoms on LiveSafe, the daily hard copy screening form, Furman Focused website, or the CDC website https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html. Symptoms may appear between 2 – 14 days of exposure to the virus.

What should I do if I have mild symptoms?

We ask that employees stay home even with mild symptoms consistent with a potential COVID infection, and complete a COVID test.  If employees begin to feel worse, they should follow up with their primary care providers.

What should I do if I have severe symptoms?

If you have a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, shortness of breath and cough, call your primary care provider.  If you feel you have a medical emergency, seek medical care immediately.

What should I do if I think I have been potentially or directly exposed (see definitions below) to COVID-19?

Stay home and do not report to campus.  If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, obtain a COVID-19 test.

Employees working on campus who have (1) received orders for COVID-19 testing or (2) have been potentially or directly exposed to COVID-19 (see below) should notify Human Resources as soon as possible.

Employees working remotely who have (1) received orders for COVID-19 testing or (2) been potentially or directly exposed to COVID-19 and have been on campus in close proximity with other employees should notify Human Resources as soon as possible.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a “potential exposure” as being in household contact, or having close contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more of an individual who is symptomatic for COVID-19. The timeframe for considering contact extends 48 hours prior to the point at which individual became symptomatic. If the symptomatic individual then tests positive for COVID-19, this becomes a direct exposure, and a 14-day quarantine protocol must be followed.

All employees are encouraged to contact Human Resources for information related to benefits applicable to employees who contract COVID-19.

What is direct exposure?

A direct exposure is defined as being within six feet for a time period of 15 minutes or more of an individual known to have COVID-19.  The timeframe for considering contact extends 48 hours prior to the point at which individual became symptomatic, or when infection was confirmed, whichever is earlier. Direct contact is also established if knowingly coming in physical contact with infectious secretions (coughed on, touched).

Can I be tested for COVID-19?

Yes, but you should contact your primary care physician.

What is quarantining?

A quarantine is used to separate people who are close contacts of someone with a contagious disease, like COVID-19, from others for a period of time to see if they become sick.  This is a method to prevent the spread of disease.  When someone is quarantining, that person should stay home and avoid contact with other people until the quarantine period is over.  For COVID-19, the quarantine period is 14 days from the time of last direct exposure to a person known to have COVID-19.

How long do I have to stay home if I am sick?

Employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 should isolate at home away from other family members as much as possible and eliminate all direct contacts. Employees will not be permitted to return to on-campus work activities until the employee provides Furman with documentation from a medical professional releasing the employee to return to work.

The employee will also confirm:

  • That the employee has not had a fever exceeding 100.4 F for at least 72 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication)

That at least 10 days have passed since the employee first tested positive for COVID-19, and that the employee’s other symptoms have improved. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/end-home-isolation.html)

What type of leave options are there if I need to be absent due to COVID-19 or quarantine?

Paid sick leave is available for reasons that an employee can take sick leave under Furman’s sick leave policy.

Paid vacation leave is available for reasons that an employee can take vacation leave under Furman’s vacation leave policy.

The Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) provides unpaid leave of absences to eligible employees for their own serious health conditions, pregnancy and adoption of a child, or to care for a family member with a serious health condition.

Unpaid leave of absence (if no leave time available) which Furman will provide as a reasonable accommodation for an employee with a disability consistent with applicable law.

Faculty should follow the Faculty Absences (120.1) policy and staff should follow the Sick/Bereavement Leave: Support and Administrative Personnel (818.1) policy and discuss individual scenarios with your manager, department head or Human Resources.

What if I am caring for, living with, or have come into direct contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, should I come into work?

No. If an employee has been directly exposed (see above) to an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19, the employee should self-quarantine at home and follow public health guidelines for monitoring their health.  Please contact Human Resources.

Employees who have been following isolation protocol because of having COVID-19 themselves or who have been out to care for someone with COVID-19 should seek clearance to return to work from their primary health care provider or PRISMA telemedicine.

Do my family members or roommates also have to stay home if I have symptoms?

Yes, if one person has symptoms and is diagnosed with COVID-19, all members of the household should self-quarantine for 14 days after the last date of close contact with the person who has COVID-19. If you cannot avoid continued close contact with the household member with COVID-19 (e.g., if you are providing care for a sick family member), your quarantine period continues until 14 days after the end of the isolation period of that person.  (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine.html)

Who do I notify if I suspect I have been exposed directly or if I have tested positive?

Please notify Human Resources at humanresources@furman.edu.

Will I be paid if I am out of work sick with COVID-19 or caring for someone who has COVID-19?

Furman will waive the eligibility requirement for Family Medical Leave that provides job protection should an employee self-quarantine or need to practice social distancing, or to address a family obligation related to COVID-19.

Employees may use their leave time available.

It is important to work with Human Resources if you become ill or you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19. Documentation may be required. You may use Prisma’s Telemedicine feature for clearance to return to work.

Will I need written medical clearance to return to work if I was out sick with COVID-19?

Given the nature of COVID-19 and if you have tested positive, the potential to continue carrying the virus after a period of time is possible.  It is important that we not overload health care resources such as hospitals and urgent care facilities.  You may use Prisma’s Telemedicine feature for clearance to return to work.

Who will notify those that I may have been in close contact with on campus?

If it has been determined that the individual confirmed to have COVID-19 has been in direct contact with others on the Furman campus, Human Resources will work with the Employee Wellness Center and local contact tracers to inform those who have been directly exposed, while maintaining employee confidentiality.  Furman will ask all direct contacts to self-quarantine, per the guidelines above.  If those individuals begin to experience symptoms before being notified by contact tracing, they should remove themselves from campus immediately.

If I am required to self-quarantine may I use sick leave in order to remain in paid status, even if I am not exhibiting acute respiratory illness or flu-like symptoms or am not otherwise ill?

Yes, you may use sick leave during a self-quarantine in order to remain in paid status.

I believe that my co-worker may be carrying the virus. What should I do?

You should discuss the situation with your supervisor. You should not confront the individual yourself.

If I do not have available leave to remain in paid status during a self-quarantine may I use an unpaid leave?

Yes, employees are able to use an unpaid leave during a self-quarantine.

What resources are available to employees who may be concerned about their emotional or psychological wellbeing?

Employees should use the Employee Assistance Program is they feel they are concerned about their emotional or psychological wellbeing my calling Health Advocate at 1-866-799-2485

I am worried about being exposed to the COVID-19 virus at work. Should I still report for work and will I be protected?

Please contact Human Resources if you have concerns about being in the workplace.

I am considered to be at high-risk for serious complications if I contract a virus, what should I do?

Employees may use, sick leave, or unpaid leave pursuant to policy if there is a risk to their health in coming to work. If your supervisor approves, you may arrange to work remotely.  Please work with your supervisor and human resources regarding the ability to work remotely.

Employees who have health issues that put them a greater risk, per CDC guidelines, should consult with their primary care physicians or health care provider.  If their advice is that the employee should avoid contact with others, the employee should email Human Resources.  Furman will be flexible, working with at-risk employees on a case-by-case basis.  An employee in this situation may use regular paid leave options including sick time and vacation time.  The time off must be approved and considered with the employee’s manager in conjunction with Human Resources.

How should Furman handle employees with increased risk factors?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), certain health conditions may increase an individual’s vulnerability to the COVID-19 infection. “We are still learning about this new disease and the impact of other health conditions on risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Information on additional groups that might be at an increased risk can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html

Employees who are instructed to return to work on campus and have concerns about doing so as a result of a medical condition that places them in a higher risk group, those who are caring for someone in a higher risk group, or those who are pregnant should consult with Human Resources.

Employees who believe they fall within one of these categories to seek leave under the FMLA process or accommodation via the ADA process, as applicable. Other extenuating circumstances expressed by employees should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Supervisors may not assume an individual is at increased risk of serious health conditions if exposed to the virus. This includes risk factors identified by the CDC including age and pre-existing health conditions of the employee.

Is it appropriate for an employee to ask another employee if they have tested positive for COVID-19?

It is not appropriate for an employee to ask another employee about their health, including if they have tested positive for COVID-19. Employees are not obligated to reveal to another colleague information about their health.

When an employee tests positive or has symptoms and is expected to isolate, may they work remotely?

Yes, they may work remotely, if their symptoms allow for the completion of work; their duties and responsibilities allow for remote work; and their supervisor approves of the ability to work remotely.

May an employee refuse to use personal protective equipment (PPE) or follow social distancing requirements as directed by Furman or their supervisor?

No. Employees will be expected to comply with the requirements, or they will face potential discipline for insubordination or other Code of Conduct violations.

However, if an employee is unable to adhere to PPE or social distancing requirements established by Furman, they must present justification for why this is not possible to Human Resources, including supporting medical documentation, if applicable.

If the inability to comply with requirements is health related, modification of the requirement should be evaluated consistent with Furman’s reasonable accommodation process under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

How should colleagues treat an employee returning to work after being ill?

Furman is adhering to CDC guidelines for when an employee is able to safely return to work. When a formerly ill employee returns to work, they should be welcomed back by their colleagues. Any intentional isolation, intimidation, or bullying of a formerly ill employee will not be tolerated.

How should a supervisor handle the return to work of a formerly ill employee?

Furman is adhering to CDC guidelines for when an employee is able to safely return to work. When a formerly ill employee returns to work, the supervisor should model welcoming behavior toward the formerly ill employee. If colleagues continue to exhibit inappropriate behavior toward the formerly ill employee, the supervisor should consult with Human Resources.

How does a supervisor handle an employee who reports to the workplace when they are not authorized to do so?

Ask the employee why they are present, and unless the supervisor identifies that there is a need for the employee to be present, she or he must be sent home.

How should a supervisor confront an employee who exhibits symptoms while in the workplace?

If an employee begins to exhibit symptoms such as fever, chills, excessive coughing, or difficulty breathing and they are not attributable to another condition, such as asthma, they should be sent home and encouraged to contact their healthcare provider. This should be done respectfully and compassionately.  The supervisor should explain the conditions under which the employee may return to work, as described above.

If an employee is experiencing significant difficulty breathing, call 911.

Does university travel require approval?

Yes, all university-sponsored travel requires pre-approval by a vice president.

Furman campus in spring, fountains in the background

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