University of Utah leadership has scheduled a series of webinars this summer to talk with faculty, staff and students as we prepare to return to campus for fall semester on August 24. The first, held June 18, focused on human resources questions, including:
- Use and distribution of face coverings
- Early retirement incentive programs
- Services/exceptions available for employees who are immune-compromised
A full transcript of the video can be found after the answers to questions section below or by clicking here.
Return to Campus webinar series schedule:
Wednesday, July 15 | 2-2:30 p.m.
Friday, July 31 | 4-4:30 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 13 | 8:30-9 a.m.
Thursday, Aug. 20 | 2-2:30 p.m.
Below are the answers to questions submitted for Return to Campus Webinar: HR issues
I believe I read that the U will be providing face masks to staff. If so, when and how will they be distributed?
Human Resources purchased 40,000 face coverings for every member of the University of Utah. University of Utah Health employees have received theirs at hospitals and clinics. Student-athletes on campus during the summer have received face coverings; other students will receive theirs later this summer. The rest will be mailed in the coming weeks to faculty and staff at their home addresses by Print & Mail Services.
On June 15, 2020, the SIRP offered by the university for incentive early retirement expired. Is there a plan to offer another SIRP either this year or in 2021 that is similar to the SIRP that just expired?
The SIRP that just expired on June 15 was intended as a cost-saving measure and included a requirement that the position could not be filled for one year. As the university’s budget becomes clearer through legislative action, another early retirement plan may be possible, but nothing is planned.
I would like to know what is going to be done for those of us who are immune-compromised or live with others who are high-risk and are required to go back into the office, when we are able to and work well from home?
For those who qualify, the university is providing accommodations through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). For others whom the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classify as at high-risk of getting a COVID-19 infection, we are offering Temporary Work Adjustments (TWA). If employees have other reasons they cannot work, this form provides some flexibility.
Can staff request to not return to the office because they indicate they feel at risk because they consider themselves immune-compromised?
I get sick and am in the hospital for two months…what happens to pay and benefits? Will the university put out a clear statement about this?
University of Utah Health Plans will cover 100% of any COVID-related testing and treatment at normal rates. The university also will be providing paid administrative leave for those who go into quarantine. University leaders encourage anyone who is symptomatic to stay home until they are well, and before returning to campus, complete an attestation. Some may be able to work while in quarantine, but that is a decision that you should make in consultation with your physician and supervisor.
During these difficult times and due to ongoing changes, has the HR Department developed a strategy to have adequately trained staff available to answer faculty inquiries?
HR staff are meeting regularly and being briefed to make certain they have the most up-to-date information to provide to employees.
Is the university looking at bumping up Graduate Teaching Assistant stipends in light of a good chunk of classes being taught online?
Funding and benefits for graduate students are provided at the department or college level, or by the external grant from the research supervisor. Consequently, extensions for funding of stipend and benefits are made by your college or the POI. These funds are not under the control of the central administration.
The new extended tuition benefits program (xTBP) allows colleges and departments to unilaterally extend tuition benefits for the student for another year, or more if necessary.
I think we all agree that working from home during the last few months was a success, and most departments were able to continue operating without major issues. Are there plans to give departments more flexibility to come up with their own “work from home” policies once the pandemic is over and we are back to normal?
The coronavirus pandemic has changed a lot of the ways we do things, possibly long-term. And university leaders are willing to offer as much flexibility as practicable, so long as we can still meet the university’s three core missions: education, research and service. If we expect students to be on campus in the fall, we also expect the faculty and staff who teach and serve them to be available in-person to advise, mentor and network. Exceptions are being made for health and safety reasons. These conversations are ongoing.
I am uncomfortable using public transportation to get to campus as well as campus shuttles to get around campus. Are there any steps being taken to increase parking capacity on campus? What steps are being taken to ensure that campus shuttles will be a safe mode of transportation?
Unfortunately, land and funding for additional parking lots and garages are limited. Face covering guidance posters will be posted in on-campus shuttles. The university also is reaching out to Utah Transit Authority to make sure public transportation buses and trains have similar messaging.
My question for today’s webinar is about face coverings. It feels like there’s contradictory information about face coverings between the returntocampus.utah.edu website and the staff training & attestation. In one place, it is stated that “all employees of the university are required to wear face coverings while working on campus as a condition of their employment,” but later goes on to say that that there are certain situations where an employee wouldn’t have to wear one (e.g. in an office occupied by a single individual). Would it be possible to get clarity on this point?
We’ve had questions come up about working in an open office—if those in cubicles are over 6 ft apart, do employees have to wear a face covering all day? And when instructors are teaching, does wearing a face covering or face shield enable them to close the 6 ft distance with students, or must they still maintain that?
Face coverings will be required for all students, faculty and staff in classrooms, hallways and other close indoor spaces where physical distancing is not possible. The same commonsense rules will apply to gatherings outside. Faculty and staff in offices with doors will be able to remove their masks and close the door but put on a face covering when meeting with others.
However, if a student, faculty or staff member cannot wear a face covering due to a disability or other medical condition, exceptions will be granted and other safety measures (face shields or additional distance) will be put in place.
As a member of an “at-risk” population, I would like to teach on campus if I can take safe social-distancing and the personal accountability of my students for granted. I notice the return to campus guidelines indicate facemasks are “expected.” Everything I am seeing in the news seems to indicate one key to slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus is the use of facemasks by everyone in a social space. Will faculty members be able to require students in their class wear facemasks? What recourse will faculty have if students refuse to wear facemasks?
The Dean of Students has classified the face covering requirement as a part of the Student Code. Faculty will be responsible to ask students who come to class without a face covering to retrieve it. Repeated violators of the policy may be reported to the Dean of Students for progressive discipline.
If our class is meeting on campus, can we require students to attend, assuming, of course, that the students do not have an excused absence because they are ill, quarantined, or other defined excused reasons for missing class? If students are not required to attend class, how are we expected to deliver material to them? My expectation is we will provide in-person, synchronous, and asynchronous options, which is hugely burdensome. I am not opposed and understand the reasons why, but I would like to know explicitly what the expectations are and what support is going to be available to faculty who are juggling multiple deliveries for every course?
All instructors need to prepare for online and digital instruction, with in-person instruction delivery where schedules and planning permit. This agility means being prepared for concurrent use of both modalities, as well as potential rapid transitions from one mode to another.
As soon as possible, instructors should engage Teaching and Learning Technologies (TLT) and the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence (CTLE) on pedagogical preparation and best practices for online, hybrid and in-person instruction. TLT and CTLE are holding summer workshops and boot camps and would be happy to schedule training with individual units.
I found examples of departmental return-to-campus plans at other institutions (Michigan Tech and Kansas State University), and I’m wondering if the University of Utah will be providing a template? For some reason, I thought that each department would be asked to create an individualized plan of action for the return to campus and I was hoping that there would be a template that stipulated most of what we see on the websites you referenced so that we wouldn’t have to recreate it. I’m just trying to support the groups that I work with, and I see that each unit will be trying to comply with the recommended precautions and individualize their plans for their unique personnel, mission, etc. It seems more reasonable that a formal written plan won’t be required of each unit, but if there is such requirement a template may be helpful.
Thank you for sharing this perspective and these links. The returntocampus.utah.edu website is being constantly updated and reimagined. We will continue to try to provide the most helpful information in the most intuitive format possible. Stay tuned throughout the summer.
What I’m hoping to learn about is long-term plans for having employees telecommute that do not need to be on campus 40 hours per week to do their jobs. Some department heads want employees on campus as a matter of personal comfort level, but will there be any oversight by the administration to strongly encourage continued telecommuting where it makes sense? Will a broad-stroke rule be applied, or are the individual situations/demographics for each department being considered? For example, my department has 19 staff members. Of those, 17 are full time, and at least 9 are age 55 and over. While we don’t have direct contact with faculty, staff or students as part of our jobs, but we do have people coming in and out of our office, and we have two student employees. We manage a large workload, and if any one of us contracted COVID it could be detrimental to the department.
Discussions about telework are ongoing between university leaders and deans/department heads. The Spring semester shutdown has shown that many university employees can perform their jobs just as effectively at home. But the decision about making work at home permanent will depend on whether an employee is outward-facing (serving students, faculty, etc.) or not, and whether their job is better performed in-person to allow for enhanced communication, collaboration and teamwork. These decisions will be made on a case-by-case and department-by-department basis.
I do have a question that I want to ask the administrative staff this afternoon: I have a minor child who has a weak immune system due to her medical conditions. I don’t feel safe sending her back to school this fall. Will the U consider giving some accommodations to allow me to do more remote work so that I can support her with her remote learning?
Faculty members who are not eligible for an accommodation under either the ADA or a TWA will be able to use FMLA time to provide care for their dependents. Please reach out to Human Resources for more information.
Full video transcript.
Chris Nelson, communications director: I want to thank everybody on campus for being engaged, and also patient as we refine our formatting technologies for these conversations. I think future meetings like this will be streamed so as many people as possible can watch. My appreciation to Shawn Wood for being our technical producer today.
I want to point out a couple of websites for the group listening today. These are: coronavirus.utah.edu, as well as returntocampus.utah.edu. These hold plans from a number of working committees from across campus. A lot of information can be found there and it’s updated very frequently so I encourage you to check it often.
I also want to thank everyone who submitted questions. We received about 20 questions, really great questions. We’ll try to get to as many of those as we can in today’s 30-minute session but we will also provide answers to those questions on the sites I mentioned before.
Again, today’s format will include brief remarks and then we’ll get to the Q&A in just a few minutes. So, with that I’ll turn it over to President Watkins.
President Ruth Watkins: Thank you so much Chris we appreciate your organization.
And thank you all, for taking the time to join us today. I am so grateful to you for your creativity and innovation. You have done remarkable things over the past three months. Innovation in terms of keeping the University of Utah operations moving even during this time of very abrupt change and a lot of uncertainty. We have wonderful people at the U who care about each other and are taking actions to protect the health and well-being of our community. I am grateful to you.
I also want to take a minute to acknowledge my empathy and how very sorry I am for the uncertainty, and the anxiety that is caused by this uncertainty. We don’t have a great roadmap for how to manage a pandemic at the University of Utah. Fortunately, we have wonderful people across this campus and in Health Science, Infectious Diseases, and many other departments who are joining with us to help us solve problems in this very dynamic situation.
So, I think one of the most important messages of today is, use the resources available and use the Return to Campus website. Access that information and stayed tuned with us in this dynamic situation. If you think back eight weeks ago, we knew a lot less about coronavirus and COVID-19 than we do today. I know that eight weeks from now we’re going to be that much wiser and a lot of dynamic changes will happen during this time.
I think a question that’s on everyone’s mind is why return to campus? Wouldn’t it be safer if we could continue the way we are? And I know that’s a tempting question, but I have to say our business is important and our work matters. We believe that what happens on a face-to-face campus does add value and there’s some work that just simply cannot happen without engaging that way. And that’s the primary reason. We believe in the value of education, learning together, research and scholarship, and that work needs to happen. There’s no end date to the pandemic so waiting on the sidelines for it to end is hard too.
Finally, the very vitality and vibrancy of the institution is under question and it’s important that we engage to the extent we can. Now of course, health, safety, and well-being are paramount. We are very interested in the public health guidance that we’re receiving and we’re monitoring it all the time. I think that is a very important element of planning and risk management.
I want to comment on a couple aspects that are still continuing to be in progress and under way as we think about managing risk for fall. Of course, testing and contact tracing are very important elements of the safe opening of our campus. We are working with the guidance of Dr. Ed Clark on Dr. Mike Good’s team and also Stephen Lacey who is our new chair of the Division of Public Health and using their leadership and guidance to develop our campus testing plan.
There are parts of the testing plan that we already know and our preparation well underway and there are parts that we are still refining. The good news there is we are learning more every day about validity, reliability, sensitivity, and specificity and different kinds of testing. That new knowledge is guiding us as we develop our campus plan.
I think that it’s an important element of risk management to be able to test symptomatic people, do contact tracing, test those contacts of symptomatic people, get responses quickly, and to be able to have a safe space for people to be and stay while waiting to know if they have COVID-19. So, that’s an important element of risk management. But so is all of the basic action that we can take to promote health from face coverings to hygiene to physical distancing. And you will see lots of messaging and the training that’s available to everyone to promote those many actions that we can all take.
Now, there have been a lot of questions about who’s making decisions on the campus and who’s guiding and advising. There have been no fewer than six groups including faculty, staff, a lot of leadership in the university and in the state. From the state system to the Governor’s Office, helping as we develop plans for fall. Those groups have been very valuable for us and the advice and questions of many have helped shape our actions.
I want to give a particular shout out to those who may be with us today who helped as we’ve developed our plans for fall and returning to campus. I’m very grateful for the many people that have given their wisdom and time to this effort.
I know you have lots of questions about things like when we will be able to lift the hiring freeze. I want to say that in the moment, as we wait to hear from our colleagues in the state about the base budget plan for fall, the most prudent thing is to first address the most urgent hiring needs. You can imagine that there may be particular needs in the area of healthcare and healthcare professionals, and we are able to address those. But short of the most urgent matters it is a wise thing for us to hold a little bit and survey that landscape carefully. So, stay tuned for more information on when the hiring freeze can be lifted or modified or softened, but for the moment it’s a wise action that we’re taking.
And finally, I just would make one comment about the other issues in society and certainly issues of racism, white privilege, and our own attention to how important racial justice is for our campus. We have work to do in this area and we have every intention of doing it. There are actions that are already underway and many more that will happen across our campus. I look forward to that work with you and it is very relevant both in terms of health disparities and in terms of how we become a more fully equitable and just institution. Which is so important to the success of our mission.
So, thank you and I’m going turn back to Chris for where we go next.
Chris Nelson: Dr. Good, you’re next.
Mike Good, senior vice president for Health Sciences: Great, thanks. Welcome everyone. Three points to help start our conversation today.
One, I really want to give a shout out to the University of Utah Health faculty and staff who have continued to work every day here on campus in the health center. Although our work has changed and, in some ways, changed dramatically. We’ve been at work taking care of patients and more recently, resuming important bio and life science population health research and so on.
So many things have happened initially. We stopped elective surgeries. We tried to make sure we would be ready to handle however many patients with coronavirus came to the medical center. Because of all of the strategies we took together, we did slow the spread significantly. We did flatten the curve in Salt Lake City in the state of Utah.
In recent weeks as you followed in the news, we’ve switched everybody over to virtual telehealth visits. We’re now fully immersed in that process. We’ve learned a lot and those telehealth visits revealed that there are needs for things that can only occur in person. So, now, with better understanding of our personal protective equipment, having our work protocols even more honed, wellness checks at all the entrances to the health center occur before entering a facility.
We are back to scheduling surgeries and are now up to about 80-85% of previous surgical volumes as an example. Our ambulatory visits are right about at pre-COVID levels, although 30% or more are still being done telehealth.
We have implemented universal masking policy throughout the health system. All faculty, staff, visitors, guests, everyone are required to wear a mask in our facilities. And our students are also back in the clinical environments. And as I mentioned, research activities are resuming.
So one, thank you to our team who has continued to work every day throughout the pandemic.
We’ve also learned a lot. We’ve learned how to take care of our own employees better as they interact with patients. I just got the numbers from our Work Wellness team; these are employees tested for COVID-19 through the course of the pandemic. Nearly 2,000 healthcare workers have—for one reason or another been tested the coronavirus—and around 100 workers tested positive. Those individuals were treated appropriately, isolated and their contacts similarly identified and make sure of isolation until they could also get tested and treated.
In all of these we have been able to trace the cause to either a household contact, a contact in the community or from employee to employee transmission. Very, very, few are the result of contracting COVID-19 in the workplace. Very few cases resulted from patient to employee transmission.
I really am proud of our Resiliency Center. This is a very stressful time and the pandemic stresses everyone in ways we’ve not felt or experienced previously. Our center is open and the team there have spent a lot of time making sure that a wide variety of resources are available when needed. Most of our communications and transmissions end with this list of resources and people are using those to help themselves navigate this difficult time individually.
Finally, my third point is that each week now I’ll share a video update, a little longer form, that will include updated numbers for Salt Lake City and Utah. So watch for those.
I tell people to remember two numbers; 99 and 93. Of the 99% of Utahns who become infected with coronavirus will recover. And 93% will recover at home. There are lots of variables, lots of statistics but overall 99% recover and 93% will recover at home.
So again, if you want a more detailed way to follow the statistics and the evolving situation, I will make sure to cover those in my weekly update that is shared with you.
With that, Chris, back to you.
Dan Reed, senior vice president for Academic Affairs:
Thanks Chris. I want to begin by echoing what both President Watkins and my colleague Mike Good said. A big “thank you” to all of you in the academic community for your flexibility as we sort through what’s an extraordinary situation. As we plan for the fall semester, I know certainty is what we all crave. I certainly do. But the most important thing we can do right now is be flexible and be prepared to adapt to changing circumstances.
A survey has been done of our students and our faculty this spring to gain insights from the online transition. We’re taking those ideas and implementing changes for the fall in terms of training and technology and other processes.
Specific guidance continues to be developed for laboratory instruction, the design studios, and other experiential education, that are precisely the kinds of things that President Watkins highlighted as examples of why in-person education is so critical.
We’re also mindful of the need to protect you, our faculty and staff, and that’s the reason for new work assignments and other processes and sanitization guides for classrooms all of those things that go with that. We will be releasing later this week, probably tomorrow, a very detailed operational guide for fall instruction planning for each instructor. It includes language for syllabi that addresses face covering guidance for students, for classroom processes, around contact tracing and other kinds of things.
To end, I just want to say thank you all for your flexibility. Recognizing that the shift to online, mid semester, during the fall break and then the shift to online after Thanksgiving is driven by protecting you our faculty and staff and also our students. So again, thank you. I appreciate your flexibility. I know this is a cause for stress and know that we’re here to support you.
I’m sure Jeff Herring will say a few more words about resources available, but I’m just so appreciative of the way the community has stepped forward and engaged these extraordinary circumstances. I’ve just been incredibly impressed by what you’re doing and I just want you to know how appreciative I am. So thank you, thank you, thank you.
Chris Nelson: Thank you, thanks Dr. Reed. Jeff, a few minutes from you then we’ll get to the questions.
Jeff Herring, chief human resources officer: Perfect. I don’t have too much more to say other than I want to reiterate what Dr. Reed, Dr. Good, and Dr. Watkins have said about the thanks all of you deserve. I have the privilege of being able to lead what I think is the most valuable resource across the campus, which is our humans, all of you.
As Chris mentioned we really are trying to do our best in these dynamic and complex times, to try and put as many resources and tools and information out as possible. The Return to Campus website has a current listing of where we’re at today. You’ll see many things there regarding face coverings, what temporary work adjustments mean, and the process to go through.
I think as Dr. Good mentioned, these are anxious times for many of us and I want to reiterate that we do have our Employee Assistance Program available to all faculty and staff. It’s now a benefit available to all non-benefited staff as well. So there’s no excuse to not be able to take care of yourselves as you go through any of these times.
I think we’ve got a few questions that we’ll probably get into deeper and the details and resources that we’ve got available so I will wait for those and turn it back over to Chris.
Chris Nelson: Thanks Jeff. We’ve got about just about just under 15 minutes for questions submitted before today’s meeting. All names have been removed and we’ll work through as many of them as we can. Let’s start with an easy one here. Jeff, this one’s for you: I believe I have read that you will be providing face masks to staff. If so, when and how will they be distributed?
Chief HR Officer Herring: That is a great question. Yes, HR was able to use some resources to order 40,000 face coverings for faculty and staff. As I’m sure you can imagine that’s a logistical challenge to get those distributed, so we’ve got multiple avenues of how that’s taking place. Some of those individuals that have been on campus throughout this pandemic, we have distributed those to UUHC. For those in Health sciences, those coverings will be distributed to team leaders which will then be distributed their team members.
You might have heard that athletes have come back on campus. We’ve already distributed coverings to our partners in Athletics and in Housing & Residential Education staff. They are starting to get ready for students return to campus and will be assisting with distributions.
For all other areas of campus we have partnered with Print & Mail Services to make deliveries. We think this is the easiest the most streamlined and safest way to get the masks in place. Here is an example of what they look like. I thought I’d bring in an example today. They are very, very, nice. We expect the deliveries to all our faculty and staff across campus, beginning next week. Print & Mail needed to get some packaging for that and then we will do some correlation of all those and so I would expect in the next couple weeks to get those out to you.
Chris Nelson: One clarification Jeff. Are the masks being provided to faculty, staff, and students for free? I think Print & Mail also has an option to purchase more if necessary. But as more information comes out, I just want to make that clear for everyone.
Chief HR Officer Herring: That’s right. These are for faculty and staff. We are also working with Lori McDonald, VP of Student Affairs, to purchase face coverings for students.
Chris Nelson: Jeff, since you’re on the floor we had a question about the special incentive, early retirement program that expired earlier this summer. The question: is there a plan for another one of these this year or in 2021 that’s similar?
Chief HR Officer Herring: You know, as we started talking about the hiring freeze, we had to look at additional issues like the fiscal consequences of putting that freeze in place. As part of the hiring freeze, there was a requirement on that special retirement plan to not fill the position for one year. That special retirement plan ended on June 15 of this year. I think as we get an assessment of the fiscal landscape going forward, we could take a look but there are not any current plans for a different type of retirement program as of right now. But again, that can always be dynamic as we look at the future of the budget and what we need to do as a University. But it was really designed as a cost savings measure for us.
Chris Nelson: Okay, another question around: those faculty and staff individuals who are immunocompromised or live with others who were at high-risk and required to go back into the office even if they might be able to work well from home. What would be your advice? I know there’s a lot of information on the Return to Campus website with information but maybe touch on that a little bit.
Chief HR Officer Herring: Yeah if you look on that Return to Campus website there is a flowchart for faculty, staff, and student employees. It outlines how to navigate this return to campus. Certainly there are individuals that truly have a disability and we in HR initiate that process and work with that person through the ADA process.
And we understand that there are people at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 than others and they and have legitimate concerns. But we need to balance that against the need to run a college campus with students and staff on campus as well. So we have created a “Temporary Work Adjustment” tool and that form is on the Return to Campus site. This tool will helps us evaluate requests with the help of the guidelines put out by the Centers for Disease Control to make these determinations. All decisions are at the discretion of department chairs or the deans for faculty and managers and director for staff because they know what will work best for their staffing needs. We certainly want to make as many accommodations or adjustments as we are able to make employees feel comfortable and safe on campus.
SVP Reed: And if I could just add to the discussion, I wanted to highlight that as an example of something where we heard you. The initial version of the form did not include the ability for faculty and staff to specify other personal circumstances beyond the CDC and ADA guidelines. And hearing concerns from you, we modified the form to give you a mechanism to make your supervisor aware of other issues that might be relevant to your situation.
Chris Nelson: Dan or Jeff, we’ve had a lot of questions around, kind of, departmental specific return to campus plans like working from home. I know you know Salt Lake City’s still in the orange phase and so we’re still working remotely. Can you provide advice for those departments at a more local level about developing those plans in alignment with the Return to Campus plans?
Chief HR Officer Herring: I’ll let Dan comment on that too, but let me just say that we’ve got a project, Orange Team that’s made up of a good cross-section of campus. What I think is important for us to remember as we develop those plans, is that we have the resources, the infrastructure to do that in a safe and smart way so we don’t want to it all at once. We want to make sure we’ve got the facilities and the supply chain for the cleaning products and the PPE in place before we reopen. We want to bring people to campus but we want to do it in a way when the time is right. We’ve decided that the university won’t move from Orange to Yellow status until at least seven days after the city goes to yellow. We want to make sure that as we reopen that campus is safe and supported by the necessary infrastructure.
SVP Reed: Yeah and I’d just echo that safety is driving all of this. We will certainly be circulating a checklist that sort of walks through the process of reopening an office. It will make sure the appropriate groups are contacted and will make sure these things have been done appropriately. And that’s true for all of the services. Certainly as we think about the return of our students to campus in the fall we want to make sure that we have the critical offices staffed in a safe way so that students can see people and engage them and that’s part of the Return to Campus instructional guidance that will be shared as well.
Chris Nelson: And I do want to thank people who submitted questions. A lot of people had done some research and some other schools have provided departmental templates so we are listening, we are incorporating that to our planning as well. Jeff, just a basic question for a couple of people. So the scenario is, I get sick, I’m in the hospital for two months with COVID, what happens to my pay and benefits? How might that be different than you know that occurring from some other reason?
Chief HR Officer Herring: You know, it’s going be different for everyone. But what I want everyone to know that we do have great health insurance benefits that cover the testing about 100% and any type of treatment at the normal rates. It’s a great plan that we’ve got for our faculty and staff.
That being said what I have discussed with the President’s cabinet and other leaders is, we want everyone to make sure that they are doing their part in making sure they’re not coming to work if they do have symptoms. Individuals should get tested and be given the time they need to recover if the test comes back positive for CoVID-19. We want to alleviate the pressure individuals may feel to return to work because there is a real economic impact for being off of work.
We will be providing paid admin leave people as a supplement to those that are getting the test done or have a subsequent positive test and have to go into quarantine. Now certainly, there’s different levels. I think Dr. Good would agree that most people will be able to do some work while you are in quarantine. But we certainly want to do as much as we can until an employee can return to work.
Chris Nelson: Excellent. We’re getting close to the bottom of the hour. Jeff, this information is on the page but maybe just provide a clear statement about the face covering policy at the University of Utah.
Chief HR Officer Herring: Yeah, face covering. I think this is something we’ve all got to learn to live with. Especially on campus and in other areas of society. We are in this all together and all together we’ll get through this. We are providing the face coverings for all faculty and staff. The clearest statement I can make is that face coverings will be required when you’re not able to physically distance and when you’re inside of any building. It’s the safest way I think for us to protect each other. That is our paramount, North star, focus, making sure people are safe. So, yes, it is going to a be a requirement on campus for face coverings. And I think that’s as clear as I can say. I want to say one more thing about resources on this as well.
In addition to the questions and answers on the Return to Campus website, we do have our Employee Service Center. The number for that is 1-801-581-7447. Know that they are providing answers for all of campus so they will take those calls, build a case and get back to you as soon as possible. We have a reallocated resources in HR to make this the best stop for personal information for any aspect of these questions that we could have going forward. We have meetings all the time and they’re going through that with our HR team very carefully to try and develop answers to all the questions you might have.
Chris Nelson: Excellent. Thanks everyone. We’re about out of time. I would like to turn it back over to President Watkins. I just want to remind our audience here. We are going to continue to host these meetings. Dr. Good is going to continue to update campus and we will continue to update our sites and @theU pages and just continue to try to get as much good information out there knowing this information changes. So, with that President Watkins, I will give you the last word.
President Watkins: Thank you everyone. I appreciate that so many people would join us today. I want to give really special thanks to my colleagues; Mike Good, Dan Reed and Jeff Herring. Remarkable people helping lead this campus forward and I would just say if you want to be reassured watching and hearing from a health expert, watch Dr. Good’s video. It does help to look at the metrics that matter and to know that we are all paying careful attention to those. So stay well and join us for the next webinar. Thanks very much.