AU Coronavirus Workplace Policies
As the University continues to monitor the local, national and worldwide incidence of the novel Coronavirus and the illness it causes, COVID-19, faculty and staff members are asked to review the following workplace policies and guidance. It is likely this information will change as the situation evolves and more becomes known.
Ashland University’s priorities in setting these workplace policies are to:
- Maintain a safe and healthy campus environment, including minimizing the transmission of contagious disease;
- Sustain academic programs and general University operations;
- Encourage an environment of fairness, open communications and concern for the wellbeing of our faculty and staff.
Actions to Take Now
All faculty and staff are urged to take basic preventive measures to avoid exposure to or infection by the virus causing COVID-19. Preventative measures include:
- Staying at home when you are ill.
- Avoiding hand-to-face contact.
- Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or cleaning hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95 percent alcohol.
- In addition to cleaning provided by Building Services, routinely clean/disinfect all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops and doorknobs.
Well Employees: Faculty and staff who are well are asked to work as usual, even if they have been in contact with or caring for someone who is ill with an ordinary respiratory illness (in which case, typical preventive measures are recommended for them as caregivers). Well employees are expected at work unless they have been:
- caring for someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, in which case they are required to self-isolate;
- physically present in a CDC Level 3 area of concern;
- instructed to refrain from attending work by a health professional or public health officials.
Sick Employees: Faculty and staff who have symptoms of respiratory illness must stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g., cough suppressants). A fever is defined as a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius taken by an oral thermometer. Those with Medical Mutual as their health carrier can call with concerns or questions about their illness or to seek advice about whether to come to work via the Medical Mutual Nurse Health Line at 888-912-0636. Similar lines are available via other health networks.
Return to Work: In general, writtenmedical clearance will not be required for return to work. (Ashland departments with specific health and safety requirements, such as food services, may have different policies.) This is being done to avoid overtaxing health care resources.
Returning from University or Personal Travel to Affected Areas: Please refer to the CDC page at https://www.cdc.gov/ for up-to-date recommendations about return from travel to affected areas and other topics.
Workers at Higher Risk: Employees who are at increased risk for complications from COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions are urged to consult their physician about steps they can take to protect their health. These may include requesting a temporary change in job location, hours, assignment or duties, or implementation of additional protective measures to reduce their exposure to others or chances of being infected.
If an employee at risk for complications from COVID-19 and their physician agree that increased social distancing in the workplace is prudent, the employee should contact the HR office to formally request a temporary change. Human Resources will confidentially evaluate the request, explore alternatives and attempt to appropriately address the employee’s health concerns while maintaining Ashland’s operations. A doctor’s note may be required.
Preparing for Increased Telework/Remote Work: Employees who can work effectively from home by telecommuting should make sure that they are prepared for the possibility of teleworking now and possibly for a protracted period. If public health conditions worsen, and/or Ashland institutes stronger social distancing measures (for example, by reducing the density of faculty and staff in a workspace), some employees may be asked, given the option, or required to telecommute. All such arrangements must be approved and coordinated with the employee’s supervisor.
Essential Employees: As a 24/7 residential university, Ashland rarely closes. Many employees must work on campus to provide services that are essential to residential life, campus health and safety, the protection of physical and intellectual assets or the continuity or resumption of academic programs and operations. Additional measures and policies to support these employees are being considered. Which employees are deemed essential will vary depending on the University’s operational state. Additional details will be forthcoming as the situation evolves.
Additional Workplace Guidance for Managers
Managers and supervisors, including faculty who supervise staff, must not pressure others to come to work if they are ill or need to stay at home to care for ill dependents.
Given Ashland’s interest in maintaining a safe and healthy workplace for all, managers and supervisors (with the support and involvement of HR as needed) should ask employees who are ill to go home and stay home until 24 hours after they are free of symptoms.
A “doctor’s note” or documentation of dependent care responsibilities will not be required from employees when using sick time, except in very rare cases where abuse of paid sick/dependent care time is suspected. It is assumed that Ashland employees are honest and trustworthy in their dealings with each other and the University.
Potential Additional Policy Changes
If public health conditions worsen or change, Ashland’s workplace policies may be further amended. This would be done to address the effects of more widespread illness or absences, more frequent needs for self-isolation or quarantine, disruption of care arrangements or Ashland’s priorities for pay continuity. Faculty and staff will be notified as necessary of such changes and should also check this page for updates.
Update Your Emergency Contacts
Employees with computer/internet access are asked to make sure that personal and emergency contact information is up-to-date in Colleague under the self-service tab of the main Portal page.
Register for Campus Shield, Ashland’s emergency notification system.