Supervisor Guidance on Returning Employees to Campus

This guidance has been created as a resource for supervisors in addressing employee relations issues that may arise as we bring employees back from remote work. During the phased return to campus of our employees, supervisors’ leadership will be of the utmost importance.  Our goal is to remain flexible, adaptive, and resilient as we work through the phases of returning employees to campus. We also must be ready to adjust our plans based on changing COVID-19 data and updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH).

 

  • It is imperative that supervisors understand the health-related guidance concerning COVID-19.  
  • Supervisors should remind employees to be respectful to others, and monitor that employees are taking the necessary precautions and following guidance:
    • Practice frequent handwashing with soap and water, especially after sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose. Hand sanitizing stations will be made available in all campus buildings.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unclean hands.
    • Avoid handshakes, high-fives, fist-bumps, and similar greetings.
    • Cover all coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands or cough and sneeze into your elbow instead of your hand.
    • Be aware of COVID-19 symptoms (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html).
      • Employees who develop symptoms should stay home, limit contact with others, and contact their health care provider.
      • If you believe an employee may be ill or displaying symptoms of COVID-19, contact Human Resources. Human Resources personnel will assist you in addressing the concern.
    • Ensure that all employees working on campus are aware of and comply with the requirement of certifying the daily health self-assessment.
    • Wear face coverings in public environments where social-distancing measures would be difficult to maintain.
    • Respect social distancing measures of keeping at least 6 feet of distance from others – ensure workspaces are set up to allow appropriate social distancing.
    • Ensure that workspaces are regularly cleaned and disinfected.
      • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces with disinfecting/cleaning spray.
      • Work with Facilities Management on needed supplies (i.e., disinfecting supplies, plexiglass, etc.)
    • Keep buildings secure.
    • Restrict common areas where employees are likely to congregate.
    • Encourage elevator safety – capacity in elevators must be limited for appropriate social distancing.
    • Replace in-person meetings with video- or tele-conference calls.
  • Supervisors should address employees that refuse to follow health and safety guidance. Contact Human Resources for guidance (Lisa Milam, lhmilam@uark.edu, 479-575-6207, or Tonya Zarlingo, tzarlin@uark.edu, 479-575-7418).
 
  • Plans for returning employees to campus must be reviewed by the chain of command to ensure consistency with campus guidelines.
  • Determinations must be for job-related reasons that are legitimate and non-discriminatory.
  • Documentation of how positions were assessed, and determinations were made should be maintained in case these decisions are questioned later.
  • Supervisors cannot make decisions on who returns to campus based on the supervisor’s assessment of who is vulnerable or at a higher risk of illness due to COVID-19 (i.e., age, health condition, etc.). While well-intentioned, this action could be deemed discriminatory.
    • Employees who self-identify as having underlying health conditions that enhance risk from COVID-19 such that they do not believe they can safely perform their job duties should be referred to OEOC for potential accommodations (see below).
  • Once the determination is made on which positions are needed to return to campus, supervisors should provide timely and appropriate notice to employees who will be required to return to campus. The notice should allow for employees to have time to address childcare and other potential issues prior to returning to campus.
  • The university has committed to a phased return of employees to campus – with many employees continuing to work remotely during the early stages. The need to reduce the number of people on campus to meet social distancing requirements will continue for some time.
    • Employees who can continue to effectively work remotely are encouraged to continue doing so, especially through the early phases of the return to campus.
    • Staggered schedules will allow offices to reopen while still respecting social distancing guidelines. Supervisors should consider staffing rotations that allow for both on-site and continued remote work.
      • Alternating workdays: To limit the number of people on campus, departments can consider scheduling partial staffing on alternating days, with employees continuing to work remotely when not on campus.
      • Staggered reporting and departing times: The start of the workday and the end of the workday bring many people together. Staggering these reporting and departing times will reduce this.
  • For employees that continue to work remotely due to COVID-19, supervisors should avoid referring to these temporary remote work arrangements as “telecommuting” – supervisors are not approving positions for telecommuting, rather, they are approving temporary remote work during a crisis.
    • If supervisors are considering approving a long-term agreement for telecommuting (position will telecommute after the COVID-19 crisis is over), an analysis and possible update of the position description will be needed.
    • If approved for long-term telecommuting, an updated telecommuting agreement should be executed (See Fayetteville Policies and Procedures 412.3). This agreement requires the approval of a Dean, Director, or Department Head.
  • Decisions on who should return to on-campus work will need to be reassessed on an ongoing basis as we move through the early phases of retuning to campus and into later phases where more employees will be needed on site.

 

 
  • We anticipate that some employees may be hesitant to return to campus. Anticipated reasons include:
    • Employee is fearful of exposure to COVID-19.
    • Employee is fearful of using public transportation to get to campus.
    • Employee has left the area to care for or to be with family/others and does not want to return to the area.
    • Employee whose childcare facility/camp/school etc. has closed or the employee is fearful of putting children in a childcare situation.
    • Employee who identifies as vulnerable or at higher risk of severe illness due to COVID-19.
    • Employee who lives with family members who identify as vulnerable or at a higher risk of severe illness due to COVID-19.
  • If an employee informs a supervisor that they cannot return to work due to their own medical condition, caring for another individual, or any other medical reason, supervisors are responsible for referring employees to the appropriate office as outlined below:
    • Employees may request leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) if the employee is unable to work (including remote work) due to the reasons listed below. These employees should be referred to Katherine Moore in Human Resources (hrleave@uark.edu, 479-575-3717).
      • The employee is under a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
      • The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19.
      • The employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is awaiting a medical diagnosis.
      • The employee is caring for an individual subject to a quarantine or isolation order as described above.
      • The employee is caring for his or her child whose school or place of care is closed (or childcare provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons.
      • The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the US Department of Health and Human Services.
    • Employees who need an accommodation to perform one or more of the essential functions of their job should be referred to J’onnelle Colbert Diaz in the Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance - OEOC (titlevii@uark.edu, 479-575-6208).
      • Supervisors are responsible for notifying OEOC and referring employees that indicate the need for an accommodation, including leave as an accommodation or continued remote work.
      • According to the CDC, individuals with certain conditions may have a higher risk of severe illness due to COVID-19. If requested by an employee, the employee should be referred to OEOC to potentially seek an accommodation.
      • Employees may have other concerns related to requirements once they return to campus (i.e., sensitivity to cleaning products, etc.). These individuals should be referred to OEOC to potentially seek an accommodation.
      • Access issues and barriers may arise for individuals with disabilities, particularly as decisions are made about temporary signage, egress and temporary designations of doors to buildings, egress at shift change, assigned times that may interfere with medication schedules, structured cuing, and medical conditions that preclude the wearing of a facial covering, etc. Employees experiencing barriers to access or supervisors that observe barriers to access for employees should consult with OEOC.
    • Supervisors should anticipate an increase in requests for vacation/time off since many employees canceled time off plans while working remotely. Supervisors should be prepared to review requests for leave and to approve use of accrued leave as appropriate.
      • Some employees will be prohibited from taking vacation during June and July due to the implementation of Workday.
      • Employees may be fearful of losing accrued vacation leave that they cannot roll into 2021.
    • Supervisors must appropriately address employees that go into a leave without pay status, establish a pattern of abuse in their absences, or have other disciplinary issues related to leave and absence. If these situations arise, supervisors should consult Human Resources (Lisa Milam, lhmilam@uark.edu, 479-575-6207, or Tonya Zarlingo, tzarlin@uark.edu, 479-575-7418).
  
  • Ensure employees know that they should not come to campus if they are sick or have been exposed to COVID-19. Employees should stay home or go to a healthcare facility if they are sick.
  • Employees are responsible for notifying their supervisor that they will not be coming to campus.
  • Employees should contact their primary care provider for further assessment. If they do not have a primary care provider, they should contact the Pat Walker Health Center on campus at 575-4451, option 1 for further assistance.
  • Employees should self-isolate until further medical evaluation and directions are given.
  • The supervisor will ensure that Human Resources (479-575-3717) is notified.
  • If campus officials become aware of employees who are ill with COVID-19, they will notify local health officials while maintaining confidentiality to the extent possible in accordance with applicable laws or regulations.
  • Campus officials will work with the ADH and with supervisors and others to determine who had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19. Those individuals will be asked to stay home and self-monitor for symptoms. CDC guidance should be followed if symptoms develop.
  • Employees who, in the last 14 days, have traveled to a COVID-19 hot spot or international destination, as identified by the ADH or the CDC, should not come to campus.
  • Employees who have traveled to or from a country with a CDC travel advisory of Level 2 or higher within the last 14 days should contact the ADH at 1-800-803-7847. The ADH may require the employee to self-isolate for 14 days.
  • No, a question that could cause an employee to disclose a disability should not be asked.
  • Although employees are allowed to discuss their own health concerns, they should still be reminded that they are not required to and that if they need any assistance to contact the Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance or Human Resources.
  • The simultaneous concerns about physical and economic health, combined with social isolation and social unrest has led many people to prioritize self-care and reach out for mental health support for themselves and others. Please follow this link to access services for you and your employees including referrals to local mental health providers