Weekly COVID-19 Committee Update - Faculty and Staff

To: W&L Faculty and Staff
From: COVID-19 Committee
Date: Tuesday, July 28

Below is this week's update on the university's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including details on a variety of topics related to the community's return to campus. While the committee will provide regular updates by email, please also remember to check the COVID-19 Resources website, which includes the latest campus messages, a variety of resources, and FAQs that are being updated regularly, and to submit your questions to covid19@wlu.edu.

Dates and Deadlines

  • Friday, August 7 at 12:00pm: Undergraduate Faculty Zoom Open House with the Deans and Provost
  • IMPORTANT CHANGE: The deadline for students to notify class deans if they wish to select only Fall Term classes that are offered virtually has been moved up to August 5.

Reminders

  • Personal travel should be limited, where possible, to the State of Virginia. If you plan to leave the state of Virginia, inform your supervisor or department head of your travel plans. To learn more about current COVID-19 hotspots within and outside of the state of Virginia, see https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/state-data-and-policy-actions-to-address-coronavirus/. Please keep in mind that circumstances may change while you are traveling, and we recommend you check this website frequently. In all circumstances, the University reserves the right to require a 14-day self-quarantine requirement upon your return.
  • It's not too late to place an order for personal protective equipment (PPE) items via the online order form. Please do so as soon as possible to ensure you receive your items in a timely manner.

Employment & Return to the Workplace

Statement of Community Expectations

President Dudley introduced the Statement of Community Expectations in his July 10 communication to the W&L community. All employees and students will be required to review and sign an agreement to abide by these Community Expectations in the coming weeks. The Community Expectations outline our collective responsibility as a university community to foster the creation and stewardship of a healthy environment in the face of COVID-19. Choosing not to follow policies and guidelines may result in sanctions.

Wearing a Face Covering is Mandatory

Employees are required to wear face coverings at all times indoors at W&L facilities, with the exception of when you are alone in your workspace. Below is some related guidance:

  • Multiple employees working in an open space indoors, even with cubicle barriers, will be required to wear face coverings at all times.
  • Employees are required to wear face coverings outdoors on campus when social distancing of six feet or more is not possible.
  • Employees who cannot wear a face covering for medical reasons will be asked to wear a specialized face shield, which will be provided by the university.
  • Face masks and shields are available through the university at https://go.wlu.edu/covid-supplies-staff.
  • Employees who willfully violate the face covering requirement are subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.

COVID-19 Testing for Employees

The university has hired Bode Laboratories to facilitate scheduled COVID-19 testing for the W&L campus community. Students will be tested for COVID-19 upon their return to campus. All employees will be tested for COVID-19 between August 10-21.

  • Anne Remington in Human Resources will be assisting Bode Laboratories with the scheduling of tests. Employees will be contacted by email with a link to a secure portal where they will be directed to schedule an appointment.
  • Test results should be available within 1-2 days through the Bode's secure web portal. Employees with a positive test result will also be contacted directly, most likely by phone.
  • Employees will be required to self-quarantine until their test results are received, to the best of their ability, minimizing close contacts who would need to be notified if a test result is positive.
  • Results will be provided to the employee, along with the authorizing health care provider, Anne Remington, and the Virginia Department of Health (required) in order to facilitate isolation and contact tracing for positive cases.

Employees may request an exemption to the scheduled testing by contacting Anne Remington. Reasons an employee may qualify for an exemption may include:

  • An employee is working entirely remotely.
  • An employee has tested positive and just completed their isolation at the time of group testing.
  • An employee has had a negative test within a week of the scheduled test.

Following the initial testing period in August, Bode representatives will be on campus one day per week during the Fall Term for testing of employees who have been identified as close contacts of a case, but who have no symptoms. Human Resources will assist with referral to this weekly testing. The university's insurance plan covers the full cost of COVID-19 tests performed offsite; however, employees may still be responsible for a physician office co-pay.

Employee Daily Attestation and Contact Log

The university will launch a mobile website designed to work on all types of devices. Every employee will be asked to use this site to attest to any symptoms of possible COVID-19 or exposure history on a daily basis.

  • Instructions on how to use this daily health check tool will be provided at the time of the site launch. Paper forms will be available for individuals with no smart phone.
  • Employees will be required to complete this simple daily check through the mobile website indicating that they have no COVID-19 symptoms and have not been in close contact with anyone who has COVID-19.
  • The health check should be done before the employee reports to work each day. Supervisors will have access to a daily report that indicates whether the employee has completed the attestation. Employees may not work until this daily health check has been completed. All employees should complete the symptom/exposure check daily as a part of their own regular health monitoring routine, even if they not scheduled to work or are not coming to campus.
  • If an employee attests that they have COVID-19 symptoms, have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 symptoms, or have been in close contact with a positive case, the daily attestation tool will direct them to stay home and contact their health care provider. "Close contact" is defined as having physical contact, or close proximity (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more), shared environment (e.g., restaurants, office space), and sharing food and bathrooms, even when wearing a mask. Seasonal allergies are not considered a new symptom and do not warrant someone needing to leave work.
  • The university will collaborate with the Virginia Department of Health on case investigation and contact tracing.

If an Employee is Sick with Possible COVID-19 or Has Had a Close Contact

Employees should not report to work if they have COVID-19 symptoms, have tested positive for the virus, or had close contact with a suspected or confirmed case. Supervisors may send an employee demonstrating COVID symptoms home if they come to work. Supervisors should contact Anne Remington and provide information regarding the employee exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms; she will follow-up with the employee. If the employee is waiting to be tested or is waiting for test results, they will receive COVID-19 full pay. Employees will not be required to use CTO during this time. Human Resources will notify Payroll to use this pay code until further notice.

Determining the End of COVID-19 Isolation Period

If you had COVID-19 symptoms and were directed to care for yourself at home, you can leave your "sick room" and home after these three things have happened:

  • You have had no fever for at least 24 hours without the use of medicine that reduces fevers, AND
  • Other respiratory symptoms have improved (for example, your cough or shortness of breath have improved), AND
  • At least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared.

A doctor's note is not needed to return to work.

Guidance for Employees Dealing with High-Risk Factors for COVID-19

Employees who need to work remotely due to high risk for severe illness from COVID-19 for themselves or their immediate family member should contact Mary Main (Human Resources) for a Request for Workplace Modification. If the employee can work remotely, they will be allowed to do so, regardless of work responsibilities. If there is no remote work option, the employee will be placed on FMLA, if qualified, and may use their CTO. Once CTO is exhausted, the employee may go on an unpaid leave and may apply for unemployment benefits.

Visitors to Campus

As a reminder, visitors are restricted from coming into W&L campus buildings through the Fall Term. Visitors include spouses, partners, and children. Should a visitor enter a building accidentally (i.e., Elrod Commons), you should ask them to leave the facility. Visitors may use outdoor spaces on campus that are traditionally open to the public, such as The Colonnade and Front Lawn.

Health & Wellness

What does a 14-day self-quarantine mean?

In the event an employee travels to a domestic region that is experiencing a high occurrence of the virus, the University reserves the right to require a 14-day self-quarantine upon their return to Lexington.

  • Upon return from international travel, employees must self-quarantine for 14 days before coming back to campus. If they are unable to work remotely during this self-quarantine period, employees will be required to use CTO.
  • Self-quarantine means the employee should stay home, separate from others inside their home, monitor their health, and follow directions from Virginia or local health officials. This separation is a protective measure that limits exposure to people who may be infected with COVID-19 and can transmit the virus. We recognize this protocol may pose challenges, but it is a highly effective tactic to limit the spread of virus to campus once school restarts.
  • If an employee is unable to self-quarantine, it is essential they minimize contact with others during this 14-day period. Specifically, the employee should not attend any large social events or interact with more than a few people (3-5) at a time. They should be vigilant in physical distancing (maintaining at least a 6-foot distance with others), using a face covering, washing hands frequently, and refraining from touching their face (especially eyes) without washing hands first.

To learn more about current COVID-19 hotspots within and outside of the state of Virginia, see https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/state-data-and-policy-actions-to-address-coronavirus/. Please keep in mind that circumstances may change while you are traveling, and we recommend you check this Kaiser Family Foundation website frequently.

Faculty/Staff Access to Dining Services

As part of the university's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dining Services is making some adjustments to its operations.

  • Faculty and staff will not be able to eat in The Marketplace or Evans Dining Hall until further notice. Faculty and staff will be able to purchase food to go only at all other retail locations (Café 77, E. Café, Fireside, Foodside, Tea House, and Brief Stop).
  • For those using meal plans, one swipe of your plan allows you to purchase $6.50 for breakfast and $8.75 for lunch and dinner. Note: Items not produced by W&L are not allowed to be purchased by swipe.
  • Flex dollars may be used at any of our units except The Marketplace and Evans until further notice.

If you have questions about these meal plan changes, please contact Jen Hickey.