COVID-19 Workplace Guidance

Updated October 20, 2021

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Be Informed

Learn more about notifying close contacts on the Be Informed site from Safe Campus. Supervisors can find information in the Supervisor and HR Lead Guide.

Face Covering Requirement

Starting August 3, 2021 a mask or face covering is required for all students, faculty, and staff in University buildings, regardless of vaccination status. Learn more about the University's face-covering protocol.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Time away to get vaccinated

  • Emergency Leaves Available to Employees and Student Workers can be used to get vaccinated or help a family member who needs assistance to get vaccinated. Learn more about how to use it and how much time you have available for 2021. 
  • If you have used all of your Emergency Paid Leave time for this year, talk with your supervisor about other leave time that you can use, such as sick time or related time away: 

Time away for Vaccine Side Effects 

  • If you or a family member feel ill from the vaccine’s side effects, you can use Emergency Paid Leave for the time off. You can take it retroactively--ask the person who manages time entry for your department or unit, or your unit HR staff.
  • If you have used all of your available Emergency Paid Leave, use sick time. Based on your employee group, you can also use earned paid time off, such as vacation or medical leaves.

Find a Vaccine 

Wellbeing Program Points

  • Starting September 1, you can take the COVID-19 vaccine pledge to get 1,000 points if you are participating in the 2021-2022 Wellbeing Program.

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Complete the Required Attestation Form to Indicate Your Vaccine Status

Starting August 24, 2021, faculty, staff, and temp/casual employees must complete an online form to confirm their current vaccine status and agree to follow public health and testing guidelines. 

New employees have three weeks from the date of hire to complete the required form to attest their vaccine status. Employees who are returning from an approved leave of absence also have three weeks upon return from leave to complete the attestation form. 

Who needs to Complete the Attestation

  • All faculty and staff will be asked to complete the certification process, which is an expectation of employment.

  • All employees, even those who work remotely, need to complete the form. Those who are working remotely still need to complete the attestation form so they can return to campus when needed.

Process and Form

  • You do not need to share your vaccine card or verify that you have received a COVID-19 vaccine to indicate your vaccine status. Just check a box on the form.

  • Here are definitions from the form:

    • Fully Vaccinated: at least 14 days after the second dose in a 2-dose series COVID-19 Vaccine or 14 days after a single-dose COVID-19 Vaccine. 

    • COVID-19 Vaccine: a U.S. Food and Drug Administration or World Health Organization authorized or approved vaccine to prevent Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). These vaccines include AstraZeneca/Oxford (Vaxzevria), Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty), Moderna (Spikevax), Sinopharm/Beijing (Covilo), Janssen/Johnson & Johnson, Serum Institute of India/Covishield, and Sinovac/CoronaVac. 

    • COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements: being Fully Vaccinated and maintaining any further required COVID-19 vaccinations, such as boosters, in the future.

You can click here to complete the form with your University employee email. Or, use this link with your employee ID number if you do not know your employee email address.

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Testing, Quarantine/Isolation Requirements for Employees

As of October 15, 2021; subject to changes by the University in the future.

If you are Fully Vaccinated

Symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, headache, muscle pain, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, congestion, runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea)

  • Get tested as soon as possible.

  • Stay home from work. You can use Emergency Paid Leave or sick leave. Based on your employee group, you can also use earned paid time off, such as vacation or medical leaves.

  • Notify your supervisor that you have COVID-19 symptoms.

  • Follow University quarantine or isolation guidance.

  • Notify individuals that you may have been in close contact with. More information is available on the Be Informed page on the University's COVID-19 Response.
  • Talk to a healthcare provider or public health partner and return to work when they say it’s OK. 

Exposure to someone with COVID-19 (interaction closer than 6 feet away for 15 minutes or more in 24 hours [with or without face covering] with someone with a confirmed case of COVID [tested or diagnosed by a health care professional or public health partner])

  • If you have no COVID-19 symptoms, you do not need to quarantine

  • Get tested 5-7 days after exposure. You can work while waiting to get tested unless you have COVID-19 symptoms.

  • Notify your supervisor if your COVID-19 was at work.

  • Follow University quarantine or isolation guidance.

  • If positive, talk to a healthcare provider or public health partner and return to work when they say it’s OK.

Work with employees, students, or guests/visitors (both in person or remotely)

  • No testing is required.

Domestic Travel

  • No testing is required.

International Travel

  • Notify your supervisor that you are traveling internationally, whether it's for business or pleasure. 
  • Get tested 1-3 days before traveling and 3-5 days after returning.
  • Stay home from work if you feel unwell. You can use Emergency Paid Leave or sick leave. Based on your employee group, you can also use earned paid time off, such as vacation or medical leaves.
  • Follow University quarantine or isolation guidance.
  • If you test positive:

 

If you are Not Fully Vaccinated

Symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, headache, muscle pain, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, congestion, runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea)

  • Get tested as soon as possible

  • Stay home from work. You can use Emergency Paid Leave or sick leave. Based on your employee group, you can also use earned paid time off, such as vacation or medical leaves.

  • Notify your supervisor that you have COVID-19 symptoms.

  • Follow University quarantine or isolation guidance.

  • Notify individuals that you have been in close contact. More information is available on the Be Informed page on the University's COVID-19 Response.
  • Talk to a healthcare provider or public health partner and return to work when they say it’s OK. 

Exposure to someone with COVID-19 (interaction closer than 6 feet away for 15 minutes or more in 24 hours [with or without face covering] with someone with a confirmed case of COVID [tested or diagnosed by a health care professional or public health partner])

  • Get tested as soon as possible; if negative, get tested again 5-7 days after exposure. During this time, you must isolate for 10 days from the date of known exposure but can return to work after 10 days if you are symptom-free. PLEASE NOTE: You will need to isolate for 14 days if the close contact is a member of your household or if you are a healthcare worker.

  • Stay home from work. You can use Emergency Paid Leave or sick leave.

  • Notify your supervisor that you have been exposed to COVID-19 and if it was at work.

  • Follow University quarantine or isolation guidance.

  • If positive:

    • Notify individuals that you have been in close contact. More information is available on the Be Informed page on the University's COVID-19 Response.
    • Talk to a healthcare provider or public health partner and return to work when they say it’s OK.

Work with employees, students, or guests/visitors (both in person or remotely)

  • Get tested every week. (See testing options.)

Domestic Travel

  • Notify your supervisor that you will be traveling domestically, whether it's for business or pleasure. 
  • Get tested 1-3 days before traveling and 3-5 days after returning.

  • Stay home from work. You can use Emergency Paid Leave or sick leave.

  • Follow University quarantine or isolation guidance.

  • If positive:

International Travel

  • Notify your supervisor that you will be traveling internationally, whether it's for business or pleasure. 
  • Get tested 1-3 days before traveling and 3-5 days after returning. PLEASE NOTE: Upon your return, you will need to quarantine for 7 days AND get tested 3-5 days after you arrive in the US.  Even if the test is negative you will need to quarantine for 7 days.

  • Stay home from work. You can use Emergency Paid Leave or sick leave.

  • Follow University quarantine or isolation guidance. 

  • If you test positive:

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More Information About Testing

  • Employees who are fully vaccinated or not fully vaccinated and are exposed to a positive  COVID-19 case or have symptoms while at work should be tested as soon as possible and will be paid for time away to be tested without the need to use Emergency Paid Leave or sick leave.
  • Testing is on the honor system and it is a requirement of employment. Employees who are not fully vaccinated are required to test weekly. In most cases, this can be accomplished outside of the employee's work schedule given the availability of tests through, MTest, the State of Minnesota, or low-cost retail kits that can be taken at home. You can also take advantage of the following campus-based testing options: 

  • If you buy a test at a drug store, you can pay with your University medical Flexible Spending Account or Health Savings Account dollars. 

  • You do not need to share your test results or details with your supervisor or anyone at the University. 

  • The University of Minnesota employee health plan currently covers the full cost of COVID-19 related claims, including testing. 

  • Information on faculty and staff testing requirements is available on Get the Vax 2.0.

Hourly employees who are not fully vaccinated and need to test weekly

  • Rapid COVID-19 tests may be available at work: Some units can provide a rapid test if you want to complete a test during work hours. Talk with local human resources staff or your supervisor to see if rapid tests are available. You will receive 15 minutes of paid time to complete a rapid test at work. Note: The test is intended to be used twice over 2-3 days with at least 24 hours, and no more than 36 hours, between tests. If your unit has rapid tests available and you choose to test elsewhere, you will need to use sick, vacation, or unpaid time off to get tested.

  • Other testing options: You will be paid for the time it takes to complete the test (including travel and wait time). As previously communicated, please work with your supervisor to coordinate taking time off to complete the test.

  • At-home tests can be ordered through the COVID-19 Vault Saliva Testing at Home program from MDH. Order a COVID-19 saliva test kit online at no cost and have it delivered to your home. You can get up to two test kits at the same time, with no limit to the number of test kits you can order over time. 

Salaried employees who need to test weekly

At-home tests can be ordered through the COVID-19 Vault Saliva Testing at Home program from MDH.  Order a COVID-19 saliva test kit online at no cost and have it delivered to your home. You can get up to two test kits at the same time, with no limit to the number of test kits you can order over time. 

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Returning to work

Employees who need to stay home and quarantine or isolate do not need a note from a healthcare provider or public health partner before returning to work. This approach has been adopted because healthcare providers, medical facilities, and public health partners may not be able to provide documentation quickly. Supervisors can allow employees to work remotely if they are asymptomatic and able to complete their job duties from home.

Employees in Healthcare Settings

  • Faculty and staff working in a healthcare setting should still monitor temperature and absence of symptoms each day before starting work.

  • If faculty and staff working in a healthcare setting develop even mild symptoms consistent with COVID-19, they should either not report to work, or stop working and notify their supervisor prior to leaving work, be clinically evaluated for COVID-19, and tested if indicated. 

  • If a faculty and staff member working in a healthcare setting is found to be infected with COVID-19, they should be excluded from work until they meet all Return to Work Criteria. Testing results will impact when they may return to work and for which patients they might be permitted to provide care.

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Frequently Asked Questions

All responses are as of September 7, 2021.

Leaves

Q: What about staff who have used up their sick and vacation time?

A: The University’s Emergency Paid Leave is being continued into 2021 

Q: What happens if I am Labor Represented or Civil Service and run out of sick time?

A: Effective January 1, 2021, eligible employees who become ill with COVID-19 are covered under the Emergency Paid Leave with up to 80 hours of paid leave for full-time staff and those working part-time will receive paid leave hours proportionate to the time they work.  Beyond that time, you can use employee-elected short-term disability insurance.

Q: What if I am a Faculty member or P&A and need to be out for a period of time due to sickness?

A: Effective January 1, 2021, eligible employees who become ill with COVID-19 are covered under the Emergency Paid Leave with up to 80 hours of paid leave for full-time faculty and staff and those working part-time will receive paid leave hours proportionate to the time they work. Beyond that time, you may be eligible for Academic Disability

Q: Can emergency leave be entered intermittently?

A: Yes. The employee and supervisor will need to discuss using a consecutive leave versus an intermittent leave, similar to Family Medical Leave. Supervisors can consult with their local HR staff if they need additional information on leaves.

Q: Can employees donate sick leave?

A: There is not a sick time donation program available at this time.

Q: I see that if I'm sick for more than eight days, and I'm enrolled in the short-term disability plan, I should call UNUM. Does time in quarantine count toward the eight days?

A: Effective January 1, 2021, eligible employees who become ill with COVID-19 are covered under the Emergency Paid Leave with up to 80 hours of paid leave for full-time staff and adjusted down based on the percentage of time worked. Beyond that time, you can use your available sick leave and your employee-elected short-term disability insurance.

Benefits

Q: Do our health benefits with Medica cover the COVID-19 vaccine?

A: Yes, there is no fee for COVID-19 vaccines for University health members no matter where they get the vaccine. Bring your Medica ID card if you are going to a clinic or hospital, and your Prime Therapeutics ID card if you are getting the vaccine in a pharmacy.

Q: Do our health benefits with Medica cover COVID-19 testing?

A: Yes, copays, co-insurance, and deductibles related to COVID-19 diagnostic lab testing are currently waived. Employees should contact Medica for specific coverage questions.

COVID-19 testing is available both through the MTest program on University system campuses and at numerous community testing sites. Most campuses offer COVID-19 tests to those without symptoms, but employees should confirm before getting tested.

Q: Do our health benefits cover the cost of medications to treat COVID-19?

A: Medications for treating COVID-19 that are covered by the UPlan will have standard Pharmacy Program copays. 

Q: The COVID-19 situation has left me feeling anxious and worried. Where can I turn for help?

A: The Employee Assistance Program is available for all employees. In-the-moment support is available 24/7 from the Employee Assistance Program provider, Sand Creek. If you have an urgent need, please call Sand Creek at 888-243-5744 to speak with a clinician. 

Q: If I'm not currently enrolled in Short Term Disability, am I able to enroll now?

A: You can apply for coverage, but coverage is not guaranteed. First, you must complete the Voluntary Disability Insurance Enrollment and Change form and submit it to Employee Benefits. Then, you need to complete the evidence of insurability process. Based on the information you provide, Unum will determine if you are eligible for coverage. Please note coverage can only be canceled at open enrollment.

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