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AUM Employee FAQ Regarding COVID-19

AUM Employee FAQ Regarding COVID-19

Warhawk Champions

Warhawk Champions is an initiative to recognize those that have gone above and beyond in service to AUM during this time.  Check out those that have been recognized already and take a moment to give a shout-out to someone that should be.

COVID-19 AND ME
  • You are urged to take basic preventive measures to avoid exposure to or infection by the virus causing COVID-19.
  • Utilize social distancing,
  • You should review the information that is on the COVID-19 resource page.at least twice each day.

If feasible, and working with your supervisor, you should begin preparations to work remotely, possibly for an extended period of time, if it becomes necessary.

If a person has questions about being tested for COVID-19, they should call their healthcare provider to make arrangements for testing. It is important to call your healthcare provider’s office before going in to let them know you may have COVID-19. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep others from getting infected or exposed to COVID-19.

  • If you do not have a healthcare provider, please call 1-888-264-2256, starting March 14 at 8:00 a.m. In the event the line is busy, please try to call again.
  • Notify your supervisor and the Office of Human Resources at 334-244-3641 or by email at HR Contact.
  • ADPH is no longer requiring patients meet a certain criterion in order to be tested for COVID-19. However, healthcare providers are the only persons who can perform specimen collections and request testing be completed by our State Lab. Results should be available in 24 to 72 hours.
  • For more information, the public can call Alabama’s 211 system by dialing 2-1-1 or texting 888-421-1266—or visit the Alabama Department of Public Health’s coronavirus webpage.

As the university continues contingency planning related to ensuring learning, business, and educational continuity, it is important to remember that the University remains open and operational. As we know today, the likelihood of being exposed to the virus in the U.S. remains very low. Unless you have returned from a CDC Level 3 country or region within the last 14 days, or been advised by health authorities to self-isolate or self-quarantine, you are expected to follow the operational plans approved by your Supervisor. If you choose to take leave, you must follow the University’s policy and obtain your supervisor’s permission.

  • Notify your supervisor and the Office of Human Resources at 334-244-3641 or by email at HR Contact.
  • Refer to the CDC website.
  • If eligible, FMLA leave does apply.

If you are well but have a sick family member at home with COVID-19, you should notify AUM Human Resources and refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of your potential exposure. If it is an eligible family member and you need to take leave, FMLA leave does apply with the appropriate approval.

According to the CDC, people with certain preexisting health conditions are at a higher risk to develop complications from a COVID-19 infection. Your health is the top priority, so public health officials may recommend that you stay home if there is concern of community spread.

The CDC has developed guidance to help you plan and prepare in the event of needing to limit time in public or if you become sick. Your healthcare practitioner can also help you assess your current medications and conditions to help you think about actions that can minimize risk to you and your household.

If it is feasible to work at home, please work with your supervisor or department head to make appropriate arrangements and for approval. If you need to be out, you may use your sick or vacation leave. If necessary, the salary continuation program (SCP) may be available for eligible employees. Eligible employees can also apply for job protection under the Family Medical Leave Act.

No, employees are not required to submit annual (vacation) or sick leave during the alternative operating model. However, employees are expected to communicate with supervisors and seek approval of any absences in which they are not available for work.

-Updated March 24, 2020

Any annual or sick leave that was requested for March 15, 2020, or later will be removed from Kronos, and will not count against the employee’s leave accrual. Employees and timekeepers do not need to do anything. (Timekeepers: Annual and sick leave will be programmatically removed by HR and replaced by the applicable earnings code. No further action is required on your part at this time; however, it will be critical that you check your time comparison reports during the payroll process to ensure all hours for your department are correctly recorded.) 

-Updated March 24, 2020

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), individuals are encouraged or even required in some cases to engage in social distancing, especially if it is possible that they may have come in contact with COVID-19.

  • Connect with Others: Reaching out to people you trust is one of the best ways to reduce anxiety, depression, loneliness, and boredom during social distancing and isolation. You can use the telephone, email, text messaging, and social media to connect with friends, family, and others.
  • Maintain a Routine and Take Care of Your Body:
    • Stick to a scheduled sleep routine (see the Sleep Page on A Sound Mind website)
    • Eat healthy and avoid excessive use of caffeine, alcohol, or other substances
    • Infuse some variety into daily activities
    • Read (books, magazines, blogs, etc.)
    • Do homework: stay connected with professors by email and keep up with classwork
    • Spend time in meditation or just taking deep breaths and stretching
    • Journal about your experience during this time
    • Monitor time spent on social media
    • Engage in or develop a hobby: try something new you have never tried before!
  • Manage Emotions: Expect that this may be challenging at times and it is normal to feel a variety of emotions.  Be sure to talk about how you are feeling with others.  “Fear of Missing Out” (FOMO) is a normal thing to feel; use social media sparingly if you start feeling this way and turn your attention to things you enjoy. Have actual conversations with others if you feel lonely.

The website “Calm” is providing free meditations during this time; this may be a great resources to maintain emotional health.

Additional resources include: “Taking Care of Yourself during COVID-19”, which is provided by the Auburn University Department of Psychological Sciences, and “Manage Anxiety & Stress” from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

More links

AUM is committed to fostering an environment of diversity, equity and inclusion. While the spread of disease may cause fear and uncertainty, we reject discrimination and any speech or action that would be biased toward any member of our campus community. It is wrong to assume that because of someone’s perceived country or region of origin they have come in contact with or have contracted the new coronavirus. If you or someone you know has experienced harassment based on discrimination, contact the Office of Human Resources at 334-244-3641. Additional information

COUNSELING AVAILABILITY
    • Through our Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which is administered by American Behavioral, any full-time employee — even those who don’t subscribe to our Auburn University health insurance plan — has access to three EAP calls per covered family member free of charge.
    • AU health insurance plan subscribers also have up to 30 visits for mental health treatment available in a year. If the claim is deemed to be COVID-19-related, the copay, deductible and inpatient admission copay will be waived.

    -Updated March 24, 2020

Taken from “Mental and Emotional Self-Care during COVID-19”, which is provided by Auburn University Student Affairs.

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), has been stressful for many people and communities. Fear about the spread of a novel virus can be overwhelming and cause various emotional responses.  Auburn University has been actively monitoring the evolving nature of COVID-19 and has implemented guidelines to ensure the safety of the campus environment.

This tip sheet describes feelings and thoughts you may have during and after social distancing and/or self-isolation. It also suggests ways to care for your mental health during these experiences and provides resources for more help. Further, it offers ways to reduce social stigma or discrimination of groups of people in relation to COVID-19.

What to Expect During This Time

Typical Reactions

Every person may experience their own unique reaction to a stressful situation such as the COVID-19 outbreak. As such, you may feel some combination of what is listed below.

You may feel:

  • Anxiety, worry, or fear related to your own health status.
  • Concern about effectively managing your life demands while choosing to isolate for your own safety and safety of others.
  • Concern about friends and family back home, if home is in an area heavily affected by COVID-19.
  • Stigmatized or singled-out, including if you are part of a group of people who may experience stigma related to COVID-19 (see Social Stigma section below).
  • Anger and frustration about having your movements in the world confined to one space.
  • Boredom and frustration because you may not be able to work or engage in regular day-to-day activities.
  • Uncertainty or ambivalence about the situation.

Not-as Typical Reactions (But Can Still Occur)

Some people have pre-existing emotional or psychological conditions that can be exacerbated by a high-stress event, such as the COVID-19 outbreak. This may include:

  • A desire to use unhealthful coping behaviors that interfere with normal sleeping, eating, and self-care behaviors such as excessive late nights, over-eating, and excessive use of substances.
  • Symptoms of depression, such as feelings of hopelessness, changes in appetite, lethargy, isolation, or sleeping too little or too much
  • Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), such as intrusive distressing memories, flashbacks (reliving the event), nightmares, changes in thoughts and mood, and being easily startled
EMPLOYEE FAQ

Several tactical approaches have been ongoing to safeguard the AUM community.

  • Transitioning all in-person courses to remote delivery through the end of spring semester to limit the possibility of community spread of COVID-19 through large groups while allowing students to continue their studies.
  • Implementing telework for all employees to limit employee, student and community exposure.
  • Increasing the number of hand sanitizer stations and positioning them at building access points.
  • Implementing social distancing (a 6-foot buffer zone between individuals) and restricting visitor access to campus housing.
  • Modifying dining services to provide pre-packaged foods to campus housing residents.
  • Encouraging students to continue their studies from home, if possible, while promoting social distancing and offering wellness checks for those students electing to remain in campus housing.

AUM prioritizes the health and well-being of its students, faculty, and staff. AUM has the following protocol in place should an employee report a positive test:

  • Instruct the employee to stay at home for at least 14 days and self-quarantine during that time.
  • Assure the employee that he or she will not be identified by name to their co-workers as having contracted the virus, in keeping with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
  • Seek information that will help determine potential exposure to other personnel. Steps will include asking the employee when they tested positive, determining their work unit, identifying individuals the employee may have interacted with, and immediately sanitizing in accordance with CDC guidelines all workspaces in which they were physically present within the previous 14 days.
  • Without disclosing the infected employees’ identity, contact those employees who may have had contact with them and advise them that an individual that has been physically present in their work area has tested positive for the virus. They will then be advised to stay at home for the next 14 days and to self-quarantine. Where possible, the impacted employees will be allowed to work remotely. Impacted employees will be encouraged to reach out to a qualified healthcare provider to seek advice on what potential next steps, if any, should be taken.
  • Offer transparency. Without disclosing the infected employees’ identity, AUM will advise employees that an individual who has been physical present in the office during the previous two weeks has tested positive for the virus. Advise employees that the affected office will be closed until further notice in order for the space to be cleaned and sanitized in accordance with CDC guidelines. Individuals with concerns may contact Human Resources.
FINANCIAL AID

A Pass/Fail grading system will work similarly to the credit/no credit grading system used for some developmental courses. Grades of Pass/Fail are not included in the grade point determinations, and therefore, do not impact a student’s AUM GPA for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). If a student passes the course and receives credit, the credit hours are counted as passed (not earned), and positively impact a student’s passing rate for SAP. If a student fails the course and receives no credit, the hours are considered attempted and not passed like a failing grade.

GRADING POLICY

Yes. The university has temporarily changed its policy due to the COVID-19 crisis. Students can choose to submit a request to convert a course grade to a “Pass” (S will be the letter grade used in this case) or “Fail” (U will be the letter grade used in this case) by contacting their academic advisors.

Students who are concerned about applying to graduate school, or who have experienced minimal disruption from COVID-19, may benefit from having letter grades displayed and calculated into GPA.

 

Here’s how the process will work:

  • Faculty members will assign normal range of letter grades to their students.
  • Students will have until June 1, 2020 to decide if they would like to switch any classes to pass/fail grading. In most cases passing grades will still count toward degree requirements. It is important to speak with an advisor to determine the impact of this change.
  • For Undergraduate courses within the Colleges of Business, Education, Liberal Arts and Social Science and Sciences, upon the student’s request and with advisor approval, grades of A, B, C, and D, can be changed to S, and grades of F, and FA can be changed to U.
  • For Undergraduate courses within the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, upon the student’s request and with advisor approval, grades of A, B, and C, can be changed to S, and grades of D, F, and FA can be changed to U.
  • For graduate courses, upon the student’s request and with advisor approval, grades of A, B, and C can be changed to S, and grades of D, F, and FA, can be changed to U.
  • It should be noted that in certain instances, while a grade of D or C could be changed to S, if a specific program requires grades of a certain level or higher be earned, then a student may be required to retake a course for which they have recorded a grade of S.
  • For courses for which a “C” is normally acceptable for inclusion in the plan of study, then a course for which the student has made a “S” during Spring semester can be included in their plan of study with advisor permission.
LEAVE REQUESTS
  • Employees are not required to submit annual (vacation) or sick leave during this period. However, employees are expected to communicate with supervisors and seek approval of any absences in which they are not available for work.
  • Any annual or sick leave that was requested for March 15, 2020, or later will be removed from Kronos, and will not count against the employee’s leave accrual. Employees and timekeepers do not need to do anything. (Timekeepers: Annual and sick leave will be programmatically removed by HR and replaced by the applicable earnings code. No further action is required on your part at this time; however, it will be critical that you check your time comparison reports during the payroll process to ensure all hours for your department are correctly recorded.)

Email payroll@auburn.edu if you have additional questions.

INSURANCE

Medical Services Coverage 

Telehealth services are available to all members. Telehealth allows in-network PPO providers to provide medically necessary services to members that can be appropriately delivered via telephone consultation. This is applicable for members who wish to receive their care remotely and wish to limit their exposure. It can also serve as an initial screening for members who need to be tested for COVID-19.

In addition to office visit consultations, telehealth also includes physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy and behavioral health. You may ask your provider if they are equipped to provide telehealth services instead of an onsite office visit.  In many cases providers are calling patients and scheduling existing appointments via telehealth.

Telehealth services provided by in-network PPO providers will be covered at 100 percent with no member cost sharing regardless of diagnosis code. Telehealth services provided by out of network non PPO providers will be covered at the out of network benefit level.

In-network diagnostic tests for COVID-19 will be covered at 100 percent with no member cost sharing. Out-of-network diagnostic tests for COVID-19 will be covered at the out-of-network benefit level.

If an in-network office visit, urgent care visit, emergency room visit, behavioral health visit, or telehealth service results in a claim being filed by the in-network PPO provider with a COVID-19 related diagnosis as outlined by the CDC and American Medical Association, that office visit, urgent care visit, emergency room visit, behavioral health visit, or telehealth service will be covered at 100 percent with no member cost sharing. Out-of-network services will be covered at the out-of-network benefit level.

More than one in-network office visit, urgent care visit, emergency room visit, behavioral health visit, or telehealth service for the same member incurred on the same day will be covered if the urgent care visit, emergency room visit, behavioral health visit, or telehealth service is rendered by different in-network PPO providers and the claims are filed with a COVID-19 related diagnosis as outlined by the CDC and American Medical Association.

Inpatient facility deductibles, copays and co-insurance will be waived if a member is admitted to an in-network hospital with a COVID-19 related diagnosis as outlined by the CDC and American Medical Association.

Please be assured that Blue Shield of Alabama/American Behavioral will continue to meet the needs of groups, members and providers. For additional information, please visit AlabamaBlue.com or www.americanbehavioral.com.

Answers for general COVID-19 questions and other resources are available at “AlabamaBlue.com” under Important Information Regarding COVID-19 (https://www.bcbsal.org/web/coronavirus).

Members looking for information on testing sites in their area can visit https://www.cdc.gov/publichealthgateway/healthdirectories/healthdepartments.html to access health departments links in all 50 states, 8 U.S. territories and freely associated states, and the District of Columbia.

PRESCRIPTION DRUG COVERAGE

Yes. We are working with Prime to allow members to obtain early refills of their medications. Prime will allow early refills on prescription drugs including retail, maintenance, mail order and specialty drugs from March 7 to May 31. We recommend members use their 90-day refill option when available. Prime is maintaining communication with all pharmacies and notifying them how to submit early refill prescription claims. Please contact benefit@auburn.edu if you have any questions.

SUPERVISION AND MANAGEMENT

You should prepare business continuity plans in the event that the University has to implement alternative operational plans.  This includes:

Operations

·         Strongly encourage all open position interviews to be conducted remotely (for example, through Zoom). Collaborate with Office of Human Resources for consistency in conducting all interviews in the same manner.

·         Prepare for the work that must be done during the period, as defined by departmental leadership.

·         Identify the essential work that must continue and designate essential personnel in collaboration with senior leadership. Identify the essential work that can be handled remotely and at the worksite. Identify non-essential work that may be postponed on a temporary basis,

·         Identify equipment, resources, and access that may be available for working remotely (VPN, Zoom, laptops, etc.), and, how you will communicate with your staff, reminding them that they should regularly visit the University’s coronavirus website and also register for AUM ALERT.

·         If you are assigned to work from home, we encourage regular communication between the Supervisor and the employee throughout the workday. The Supervisor will communicate clear expectations to employees who are working remotely.

·         Instruct employees to login to AU Access to ensure that personal and emergency contact information is updated.

Personnel

·         Identify those employees who will be performing essential work on the worksite, and those performing essential work remotely; provide an update to the Office of Human Resources for continuity purposes.

·         Establish and validate all non-exempt employees who have access to clock in and out remotely utilizing Kronos.

You should encourage any employee who has a fever or difficulty in breathing to reach out to their healthcare practitioner (it is recommended that they call their office in advance, as they may have protocols in place to minimize risk of exposure to others). The likelihood of an employee having the COVID-19 coronavirus is extremely low. However, it pays to err on the side of caution.

Yes, as with any other illness, good judgment must be used. A decision to send someone home may be based upon the following factors:

·       If they have been or may have been exposed,

·       If they are under a doctor’s care,

·       If they have a fever, or

·       If they have trouble breathing.

Please contact AUM Human Resources at hr@aum.edu if you have any questions.

You should encourage any employee who has been exposed to COVID-19 to call their healthcare provider and confirm arrangements before visiting their office to limit potential exposure.

  • Contact the Office of Human Resources to develop a communication plan to Inform any other employees of possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • It is important to maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when developing communication plans.
  • Employees exposed to a co-worker with confirmed COVID-19 should refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.

Yes, a manager and supervisor have the right to temporarily reassign employees to work outside their usual classifications/responsibilities to the extent they are qualified and can safely perform the work. This includes employees with the necessary skills that are needed to work outside their colleges/divisions. Depending on the circumstances, the University will notify these employees that they are designated as performing essential functions and when and where they must report to work.

It is important that AUM employees avoid stigmatizing or generalizing about coronavirus in the workplace. You should avoid making assumptions about individuals who you believe may or may not have been exposed to the virus.

There have been individuals at colleges and universities who reported encountering discrimination and harassment due to biased assumptions and overreactions. It is understandable to feel uncertain or anxious during a public health crisis. However, it is also important to remember to not make assumptions about others’ perceived symptoms, travel history or identity. For employees who are looking for support, the Employee Assistance Program is a resource available to help employees through stressful situations and events. Additional information.

ALTERNATIVE OPERATIONAL PLANS

Yes. As of March 16, 2020, in an effort to control the spread of the virus, the University activated alternative operational plans to maintain continuity of operations. This includes some employees working on site, remotely or telecommuting whenever feasible.

·         You may be asked not to return to campus for an extended period of time.

·         Exempt and non-exempt employees should follow the operational protocols given by their Supervisor for onsite and remote work expectations.

·         All employees must be available for work during their normally scheduled working hours.

Administrative/Professional (A&P) and Faculty (Exempt) Employees

Full-time A&P and Faculty employees will be paid 40 hours per week.

Part-time A&P and Faculty employees will be paid based on their FTE, as they are today.

University Staff (Non-Exempt) Employees

Full-time Staff employees will be ensured payment of 40 hours per week, and any additional appropriate compensation for hours worked over 40 in the workweek. All Staff employees who are working will continue to clock in using Kronos, whether working on campus or remotely, to ensure proper payment of overtime and any relevant differential pay (shift differential, lead pay, etc.).

Part-time Staff employees will be ensured payment of the average of hours that were worked for biweekly pay periods 2-5 (January 5 – February 29, 2020).   All Staff employees who are working will continue to clock in using Kronos, whether working on campus or remotely, to ensure proper payment of overtime and any relevant differential pay (shift differential, lead pay, etc.).

Temporary Employment Services Employees (TES) and Student Employees

All TES and Student employees will be ensured payment during this time, and will be paid an average of hours that were worked for biweekly pay periods 2-5 (January 5 – February 29, 2020).   All TES and student employees who are working will continue to clock in using Kronos, whether working on campus or remotely, to ensure proper payment of overtime and any relevant differential pay (shift differential, lead pay, etc.).

Guidance for clocking in from home will be communicated shortly.  Additionally timekeepers will receive guidance about payroll processing responsibilities in the coming days.

Note that this guidance may change as we consider the University’s response to this pandemic.

Any employee taking vacation or sick leave during this time will have their leave charged in accordance with standard operating procedures.

TRAVEL

As of today, you are not prohibited from traveling on your personal time. Auburn University at Montgomery strongly recommends against personal travel to CDC Level 2 or Level 3 Travel Health Notice countries. However, if returning from a Level 3 Travel Health Notice country, you may be required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon return. If traveling to other locations, you should monitor and follow updated guidance from the CDC, and you should be aware that if at any time there are travel restrictions that impact the areas to which you have traveled, you may be unable to return to the US and/or to Montgomery.

Following updated guidance from the CDC, if you traveled to the U.S. from countries subject to a CDC Level 3 Travel Health Notice (e.g., China, South Korea, Iran, and Italy), you must self-quarantine for 14 days from the time you left the impacted area and be free from symptoms of COVID-19 prior to coming onto campus. If you fall into this category, you will be required to comply with the self-quarantine protocol. Please contact human resources and advise them of this situation.

Your employee should inform you and utilize available personal leave.  If outside the United States, sick employees who are covered under the University’s health insurance plan carry their healthcare benefits with them through Blue Cross and Blue Shield Global (https://www.bcbsglobalcore.com/). Contact BCBS Global for assistance in finding an appropriate healthcare provider in that country. A U.S. consular officer can help locate healthcare services.

WITHDRAWALS

The university has made a temporary modification to the withdrawal date, extending the deadline for students to drop a course with a “W” to Friday, April 24. Students are encouraged to consult with their academic advisors to understand how withdrawal may affect academic progress.

Want More Info About AUM?

Location

Taylor Center 101

Address

7400 East Drive Montgomery, AL 36117

Office Hours

8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Friday

Call Today

334-244-3000

Fax

334-244-3795

E-mail

admissions@aum.edu

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