The Office of Human Resources held a Return to Campus Q&A session on July 31, 2020. The session recording has been replaced by the frequently asked questions that arose from the session..
Download the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs - pdf)
Q. My building (MLK) has documented ventilation issues. Will this be considered a special consideration, and will anything be done about the ventilation issue?
A. At present, there are no plans to do special ventilation testing.
Q. Knowing that people may be asymptomatic, and could unknowingly infect others why is testing suggested not required?
A. At the time of the presentation, the protocol was that it was recommended that employees be tested. On July 31, 2020, the University System of Maryland (USM) Chancellor Jay Perman issued a new directive requiring all employees and students of USM institutions to be tested for COVID-19 before returning to the campus to provide a unified standard of precaution.
Q. In an effort to reduce office traffic, etc, will the email/electronic approval processes continue to be in place for routing documents?This will help to reduce the number of individuals going to offices to deliver documents.
A. Yes, the email/electronic approval processes will continue for routing documents.
Q.What is the minimum presence required/desired for campus offices? In other words, is there an expectation that offices be physically "open" for business M-F, even if all staff could telework effectively?
A. The individual work needs of each office must determine the staffing numbers. As a general guideline 50% occupancy is the target. If mission requirements dictate a higher number, then physical changes to the space would likely be necessary. If a unit can function efficiently with less than 50% occupancy, then that would be satisfactory. All decisions need to be a proper balance of performing the unit functions while minimizing the risk.
Q.What additional support will HR make available to help navigate this new space, mentally and emotionally, i.e. "Zoom Free Days", how to calendar family time, and training managers to be mindful and considerate of new challenges to employees' ability to work from home?
A. BSU offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to assist with any work-life balance and emotional support matters. The provider is Guidance Resources.They can be reached on GuidanceResources.com by using the Web ID: USMEAP or bycalling855-410-7628.The Office of Human Resources isalso providing webinars to provide guidance and support during these uncertain times.
Q. If I am currently not back on campus working, and have not yet received my COVID test am I allowed Admin leave until they require me to return?
A. As of July 31, 2020, the COVID-19 testing directive for employees and students requires testing before returning to the campus however the results are not required prior to your return.
Q. It was said that we should have set schedules with no flexible hours; however, the current state of health changes daily within our country, thus how can we function effectively without planning for flex schedules?
A. What was stated in the presentation was a general guideline. Once a schedule is set, for example at 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., it is expected that the employee will work that schedule for the rest of the semester. Obviously, circumstances may arise that require a person to adjust that schedule, just as they might have arisen pre-COVID. Should that occur, the employee needs to address the matter with their supervisor.
Q.Is it not imperative that as a preemptive measure we assume with the daily changes that our start and end time may have to fluctuate as we receive state/health updates?
A. Of course, if the State updates its guidelines, BSU will act accordingly.
Q. What is in the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kit? And does everyone get one? If so, how?
A. The PPE kit will include disposable face mask, disposable gloves, hand sanitizer, sanitizer wipes and digital thermometer. They will be provided by your supervisor when you report to work.
Q. The majority of my staff has expressed having special considerations not to return to campus. Would they be required to come to campus in October?
A. As of now, it expected that those who cannot telework, and who are not returning to work because of special considerations will be expected to return to work in October 2020.
Q. Is testing a "requirement" to return to work?
A. Yes, as July 31, 2020 a community announcement stated that University System of Maryland (USM) Chancellor Jay Perman issued a new directive requiring all employees and students of USM institutions to be tested for COVID-19 before returning to the campus. If you are an employee, who is scheduled to return to on-campus duties and already approved to work on site,you need to complete a COVID-19 test by Friday, Aug. 7. Employees should report results by email to Human Resources at email@example.com.
Q. What if I had a negative COVID-19 test 3 weeks ago, am I required to take another test before returning to campus?
Q. If we have children at home, can we telework?
A. Yes, you can telework. We have EFML available to the majority employees that will allow an employee to take up to 12 weeks of leave. The initial two weeks we will pay you 2/3rds for the remaining weeks you will first have to exhaust your annual, sick and personal leave, after that you will be paid 2/3rdfor any remaining weeks. If you are interested in using this leave, please complete an EPSL/EFML form and submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. Will the PPE kits be distributed by Aug 3rd?
A. They will be distributed when you report to work.
Q. Is it mandatory that all departments implement staggered on-site work beginning August 10th?
A. The term "staggered" refers to schedules other than 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. No unit is required to have staggered start times, but all are permitted to. Schedules for reduced occupancy must be in effect by as soon as a unit's employees return.
Q. If you have a job that can clearly be performed successfully at home (like working with numbers), why wouldn't that employee be allowed to continue to telework? It means less bodies on campus and the work would still get done virtually.
A. How a unit's tasks get performed - - whether by telework or on campus - - is a decision for each unit's manager. All employees are free to discuss scheduling issues with their supervisor.
Q. If we are not comfortable returning given the spike in cases, can we continue to work from home?
A. Work from home is a matter of each unit's manager, and all of these matters will need to be reviewed on a case by case basis.
Q. What is needed for high risk individuals?
A. We will need your telework schedule and a medical note as well.
Q. How are front office, 1st point of contact staff able to receive social distancing if they are less than 3 feet away from the entry?
A. Steps have been to install Plexiglas barriers at office reception and service desks, professor teaching stations, computer labs and other spaces where social distancing may be difficult and enhanced cleaning of high-traffic public spaces by housekeeping staff multiple times per shift.
Q. Does the Expanded Paid and Medical Leave count for employees whose children are in school remotely?
A. Yes, it does. Its only to be used if you are not able to work remotely or on campus.
Q. Can you use emergency sick leave more than one time?
A. No, you can only use it once. This leave will only be available through 12/31/2020.
Q. Is COVID-19 testing being conducted on campus?
A. Yes, employees can now get a free, self-administered COVID-19 test on campuson Wednesday August 5, 2020, or Thursday, August 6, 2020, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Testing is available by appointmentonly on a first come, first served basis for employees who show a photo ID. Tests are available for up to 500 people.
Q. As we come back to the campus, I understand that we will be given a Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) full of supplies. Once the supplies are finished, are we able to request a second PPE?
A. As of now, only the sanitizer supplies will be replenished by the University.
Q. I am a part time employee am I eligible for EPSL?
A. Yes, we will use your average amount of hours to see what you will be paid
Q.Are the Prince Georges County COVID testing sites free?
A. The County-operated sites are free. Most need an appointment but no referral from a doctor.
Q.Can I telework beyond October 1, 2020?
A. Some level of telework is expected to continue beyond October 1. However, employees who elect to not return to campus because of anxiety related issues will be expected to be worked back into their unit's schedule by October 1.
Q. You mentioned a return to work document, where can that form be found?
A. If you are working with your supervisor on a flexible schedule please speak with your supervisor and complete and send HR your schedule.