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Faculty and Staff Update March 13

Faculty and Staff Update in Response To COVID-19

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Before we share information specific to faculty and staff work concerns, we would like to express how grateful we are for those who continue to respond and react to this rapidly evolving situation – and for doing so with the health and safety of our community as our shared goal. Without question, the decisions announced Wednesday evening pose significant challenges, which we will work together to resolve.

After careful consideration and consultation with medical experts, and in collaboration with faculty and staff across campus, the University announced several actions necessary to protect the health of our campus and the Greencastle community. Previous communication to date has been primarily focused on the suspension of in-person classes and providing instructions for students related to spring break and the remainder of the spring term. In what follows, we focus on employee well-being and continuity of work during the continually evolving COVID-19 situation.

Ongoing Communication

Information and guidelines relevant to work-related matters may change, and it may take some time to accurately assess what the needs of the University will be once the majority of students have left campus. During this time, please make an extra effort to carefully review communication from the University. Updates will be posted to the preparedness website and shared by email. We will also post a Q&A document on the Human Resources website by Monday that we will continue to update as more questions arise.

As previously reported, there are no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 on DePauw’s campus or in Greencastle. However, if that status changes, you will receive an email and/or a text message through the emergency notification system.

Continuity of Work

For now, DePauw’s normal campus operations will continue and campus will remain open for business. However, effective Monday, March 16th, until further notice, employees who can telecommute some or all of the time without detracting from DePauw’s services to students and others will be asked to do so. Vice Presidents and supervisors -- and their individual offices -- should work closely together to determine and communicate specific details about telecommuting, meeting virtually and office coverage where needed.

Care for a family member

For employees who need to care for a family member (such as a child whose school system has closed due to COVID-19 concerns), supervisors should look for ways to allow them to continue their work by telecommuting. This includes hourly staff, if feasible. Supervisors and hourly staff members must follow wage and hour laws and must track time. Please consult with Human Resources if you have questions.

Employee or Dependent Illness

To support employees and to avoid adding more burden to local health care systems, we are relaxing our sick leave policy that requires supplying a doctor's note after five consecutive absence days. Employees should still follow the current process for notifying their supervisor about illness. However, a physician’s note is not necessary if they need to be out for more than five consecutive days; instead, a return to work slip or a personal affidavit stating an employee who has been exposed to illness has been symptom free for 14-days is all that is required.

If an employee has had known close contact with a coronavirus symptomatic individual they should self-quarantine for 14-days and will not be required to use vacation days. They should work with their supervisors to look for ways to allow them to continue their work by telecommuting.

We recognize that some employees may have additional concerns related to their immunocompromised status or other health conditions that place them in a high risk category for complications. These employees should speak with Human Resources regarding their personal situation and potential risk. Employees may be required to provide documentation from their physician. Human Resources recognizes the importance of keeping our employees safe and healthy and will work with an employee’s supervisor to ensure that appropriate arrangements are made.

A new ADP code (COVID-19) has been developed to allow employees who need to use sick time during this highly cautionary period to preserve their accrued sick time. Hourly staff should use this code when reporting their sick time.


Travel

University-Sponsored Travel: International or domestic travel is not permitted unless an exception for essential travel is granted by a divisional vice president. Employees who are currently located internationally may conclude their travel as scheduled. However, these individuals will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days off campus if they originate from, or pass through, CDC level 2 or level 3 risk areas as they return to campus.

Personal Travel: For personal travel beyond commuting to and from work, we urge employees to carefully consider their intended destinations and to check for restrictions or quarantine measures that may be recommended or required by the CDC upon arrival or return. As of March 12th, there are no such restrictions in place for locations in the United States. Personal international travel is strongly discouraged and the University may not be able to accommodate complications associated with such travel. Employees who return from international travel to CDC level 2 or level 3 risk areas will be required to self-quarantine off-campus for 14 days using vacation time.

CDC information regarding travel can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html


Additional Employee Health Resources

At this time the DePauw Health Clinic plans to remain open through the end of the semester; we will post updates to this schedule at www.depauwhealth.org.

Benefit-eligible employees who develop symptoms should first call DePauw Health at (765)658-4555. To minimize the spread of illness, please do not go directly to DePauw Health if you are sick or symptomatic. 

If an individual is sick or has symptoms such as a fever above 100.4 degrees F/38 degrees C, a cough, or shortness of breath, individuals should contact one of the following for a health assessment first, rather than going directly to a medical facility.

  • DePauw Health 765-658-4555
  • Putnam County Health Department 765-301-7660
  • Hendricks Regional Health Hotline 317-520-5500
  • Indiana State Department of Health 800-382-9480

In the event someone in our DePauw community has COVID-19 or is presumptive positive, you will receive a text message through our emergency notification system. You may be asked to immediately separate yourself from others and await further instructions, which may include not being able to depart campus for an extended period of time (up to 14 days) due to self-quarantine isolation requirements

Additional Information can be found on the Human Resources website.


Prevention

We urge everyone to take precautions for their own safety and for the safety of others around them.

  • We strongly encourage everyone to practice social distancing, and to avoid large gatherings and social events where individuals are within six feet of one another. Virtual meetings are preferred whenever possible.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place; using the restroom; after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing; and, before eating.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick or symptomatic.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household. cleaning spray or wipe.


Where to Direct Questions

Employees with questions or concerns are encouraged to first ask their immediate supervisor. Supervisors and divisional Vice Presidents will continue to evaluate the business needs of their areas and also be mindful of the health and wellbeing of their employees. Employees should also feel comfortable reaching out to Human Resources if their supervisor is not readily available or they have concerns that are confidential in nature.

Supervisors should continue to work closely with their divisional Vice President and the Human Resources team. Resources and training will be shared with supervisors as they become available to assist in daily decisions.

Additional COVID 19 Resources

  • World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 information: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/events-as-they-happen
  • Center for Disease Control (CDC) COVID-19 information : https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html
  • Indiana State Department of health COVID-19 information: https://www.in.gov/isdh/28470.htm

In Closing

We know you have many additional questions and will work to answer them as quickly as possible; we will post a Q&A document on the HR website that addresses as many of them as possible.

Thank you again for your patience as we navigate the unprecedented and rapidly-changing landscape ahead of us. We are fortunate to have great colleagues who work together in times of need such as this. For instance, some people are learning new technologies, and many of you are supporting each other in a number of ways. It’s inspiring to see. Truly, thank you. We will continue to keep you updated.

With sincere appreciation for your collaboration,

Dave Berque, Interim VP for Academic Affairs
Jana Grimes, Executive Director of Human Resources
Bob Leonard, VP for Finance and Administration