Update to Employees - March 9, 2020

Update to Employees Regarding COVID-19

From Human Resources

On Friday, March 6, the first case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was confirmed in Minnesota in Ramsey County. A second case was confirmed over the weekend in Carver County. We are continuing to monitor the situation closely and watch for any update in guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and other agencies. At this time, the MDH has not changed its recommendations for childcare, schools, or institutions of higher education.

The University has engaged our emergency preparedness plan and interdisciplinary group to monitor this ongoing situation and to make decisions related to campus preparation in case of a pandemic or related needs. This group includes human resources, academic affairs, student affairs, health and wellness, and facilities. 

 

Individual Exposure Concerns

Staff and Faculty 

  • Anyone who is ill should stay home and not report to work. If you develop a fever or other symptoms of acute respiratory illness, you should not report to work until you are symptom-free for 72 hours. Health officials have recommended that if you suspect you might be infected with the COVID-19 virus, or you have come into contact with someone who may have been exposed to or contracted the virus, contact the MDH immediately at 651-201-5414. 

    If you know that you have been exposed to the coronavirus, you must self quarantine at home for 14 days. Contact the MDH immediately at 651-201-5414 if you develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Follow MDH recommendations regarding when it is safe for you to return to work. You must contact Human Resources prior to reporting to work. 

  • Faculty and staff planning personal travel (either domestically or internationally) should carefully watch U.S. Department of State and CDC’s travel information on COVID-19, and prepare for the possibility of rapidly changing travel restrictions that might prevent you from returning to campus. If travelling internationally, make sure you receive all recommended vaccinations, including influenza. It is not too late to vaccinate.

  • While travelling, if you encounter an area with widespread and ongoing spread of the COVID-19 virus (level 3 Travel Health notice countries/areas), and you return home without being quarantined, you must self quarantine at home for at least 14 days.  Upon your return home, contact MDH immediately at 651-201-5414. Inform them about any symptoms and your recent travels. Avoid contact with others. Notify your supervisor, CHAD or Dean of your planned absence. Follow MDH recommendations regarding when it is safe for you to return to work. You must contact Human Resources prior to reporting to work. 

  • Faculty and staff who need to extend their travel plans due to exposure to the COVID-19 virus while travelling and need to be quarantined must contact their supervisor, CHAD or Dean. Upon returning home, contact MDH immediately at 651-201-5414. Inform them of your recent travels and the fact that you were quarantined. Follow their recommendations and timeline for reporting to work. You should not report to work until you are symptom-free for 72 hours (fever or other acute respiratory symptoms). You must contact Human Resources prior to reporting to work. 

Students 

  • Faculty have been instructed to excuse students from curricular activities who may be experiencing fever or other symptoms of acute respiratory illness (cough, or shortness of breath). Anyone overseeing co-curricular activities and athletic teams have the same expectations. 

    • We are working with MDH to establish quarantine procedures should this become necessary. 

    • All managers of student workers should encourage students to sign up for direct deposit if they have not already done so as the University cannot guarantee its ability to issue a paper check during a closure event. 

 

Contingency Planning and Potential for Campus Closure

All department leaders should make plans for the possibility of having employees unable to report to work due to being ill or family members being ill. It will likely become necessary to adjust the level of work being done in departments. Knowing which services and activities to suspend and in which order is essential to continued operations of the University, and must be determined now to ensure smooth and effective operations remain in place. The cross-training of employees for essential functions within the University should be in place and documented. All department leaders should ensure that key positions have the necessary access to work remotely, if needed or required.  

Should a campus closure need to be made, the University would activate the following plan:

  • Academic departments move to an online format to allow students to complete the semester. Academic departments need to plan now for this possible transition.  

  • Non-academic departments should determine what services are essential, and the positions that would still be required to perform their responsibilities and how, as well as those positions that are not required during this type of closure.

  • Direct deposit: Staff and faculty who do not currently have direct deposit are strongly encouraged to sign up by completing a Direct Deposit Form and submitting it to Payroll or Human Resources. In the event of a University closure, the University is unable to guarantee its ability to issue a paper check during a closure.

The thought of a large scale pandemic can be overwhelming. We want to assure you that significant efforts are underway to ensure the success of our students and safety of all of our community members. Thank you for your support and your time to help us all remain safe and to be prepared should this situation require us to take new actions. 

We encourage you to remain engaged and informed as we work through this constantly changing situation together. All University information regarding this situation will be included on our COVID-19 information page. Please review it for additional and up-to-date information.

If you have questions regarding University policies, please contact HR at hr@stkate.edu. Please visit the Minnesota Department of Health and CDC websites for information about COVID 19, health and safety procedures, and the latest travel information.