COVID-19 Human Resources
COVID-19 Human Resources
The following message is sent on behalf of Carl Lejuez, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs; Scott Jordan, Executive Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer; and Chris Delello, Associate Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer.
Please note that this guidance applies to UConn Storrs and the regional campuses only. Due to the clinical needs at UConn Health, employees working for or assigned to UConn Health should continue to work with their managers on telecommuting requests.
As we round the mid-point of the fall 2020 academic semester, we write to you about two important issues: extending UConn’s work-from-home practices into 2021, and the importance of remaining vigilant in protecting your health, and that of others, as the pandemic stretches on.
Right now, a substantial number of our professional staff are working remotely, with the agreement of their supervisor, as we do all we can to limit density on our campuses. The University previously communicated that this practice would continue for these employees at least through the end of the calendar year.
Today we are confirming that staff who are working remotely should plan on continuing to do so through the spring semester, pending some change in the status of the virus and the tools we have to combat it.
The university arrived at this decision based on a few factors: the continued prevalence of the virus in our state, which has risen as of late; uncertainty regarding the future, including the potential for COVID-19’s continued spread; and the availability of a vaccine.
For faculty, teaching and research activities will largely determine your need for on-campus presence. The same general principles apply for preserving density and protecting the health of yourself and others: Wear a mask in common and public areas; maintain social distance; and work that does not require your physical presence on campus should be conducted remotely when possible.
It is clear that we will not be able to return to normal as a workplace until circumstances and public health guidance change to a level where the University believes that we can return to working on-site on a large scale. As always, we will adjust to the state of the pandemic and will explore different options, including employees potentially returning at different times depending on certain factors, such as vaccinations. We will have more updates and are committed to keeping you informed as we know more, and will work to give you as much advance notice as possible to help your planning should circumstances change.
The existing caveats for staff working remotely will all continue to apply: While some employees must be on site to do their work, others can effectively work from home. Where an employee works is subject to an agreement between each individual employee and their reporting organization. In general, no employee is barred from coming to campus if necessary, but no one should be coming to campus on a regular basis if they are not on the Human Resources registry.
Every employee (staff, faculty, and graduate students) who works on campus full time, part time, or rotationally must be on the Human Resources registry and should take a COVID test, some more than once. For additional information regarding working remotely, click here. The Office of Human Resources will be issuing Spring Semester Registry and testing information by the end of the month as a follow-up to this message.
In Connecticut, the pandemic is approximately in its seventh month and it is not surprising that a certain fatigue can set in. No doubt some have slowly begun to relax the precautions we have been practicing to help keep ourselves and others healthy. But as a community that cares for each other, we must remain vigilant. Though infection rates among employees have remained very low, we have seen a recent uptick. The virus is as present and potentially as deadly today as it was in March, April and May. And it will continue to be in the months ahead.
We urge you to do the simplest and best things: wear masks, stay distant from others outside of your family unit, wash your hands, and don’t take any needless risks. Nothing is more important than your health and our community’s health – please do all you can to protect it. Thank you for your continued support of these efforts.
We write to share a reminder about Family Care Resources and to provide an update on Lactation and Wellness Rooms on the Storrs and Regional campuses.
Family Care Reminder
As we navigate COVID-19 and its myriad challenges, we must remember that the safety, security, and well-being of our families is essential to our own personal happiness, well-being, and success. To that end, COVID-19 has disrupted schooling, child and elder care, our personal sense of security, and our schedules. With the beginning of the school year upon us, you may be experiencing concern and anxiety for your children – and for you.
As we did in the spring, we want to share the University’s Family Care Resources on the HR Well-Being and Work/Life Family webpages. Please review these materials, as needed, and – as always – please contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) if you’re in need of confidential guidance and support.
Lactation and Wellness Rooms Update
The Fall 2020 Lactation/Wellness Rooms list for the Storrs and regional campuses is now available on the HR website. Due to COVID-19 and the unavailability of several buildings on campus, there are fewer available rooms than in previous years.
The Branding website has available signs for “COVID-19 Lactation Room Cleaning Protocols” and “Room Use Reminders” to ensure room cleanliness.
UConn remains committed to providing employees and students who are breastfeeding a private space and reasonable break time to express breast milk. Employees and students may contact Vicki Fry to acquire assistance in finding available and convenient space on the Storrs or Regional Campuses. The HR website contains additional information on the University’s lactation policy and resources.
From UConn Human Resources
Governor Lamont issued Executive Order 9C that further modifies the requirements associated with individual travel to states and countries that continue to experience high rates of COVID-19 transmission. The University has released updated travel guidance that will apply to all faculty and staff when returning to Storrs and Regional campuses. Separate guidance will be issued to employees at UConn Health. This guidance does not address the University and UConn Health’s policy with respect to the approval process for business travel to high-risk countries.
The updated guidance will implement stricter protocols at the University than those required by Executive Order 9C and the travel and return to work advisory issued by the Department of Public Health. We are taking this step to protect public health and ensure the safety of our faculty, staff, students, and our community. We are appreciative of the cooperation you have demonstrated and your commitment to the success of the new academic year at UConn.
Chief Human Resources Officer
This information is also present at https://hr.uconn.edu/employee-domestic-travel-storrs-regionals/.
Following the issuance of the Governor’s Executive Order, UConn issues the following updated travel guidance.
This guidance applies to all UConn employees (including Graduate Assistants) at Storrs and the Regional Campuses required to be on campus within two weeks following return from personal or business travel to an Affected State or an Affected Country. This guidance does not apply to employees who spent less than 24 hours in an Affected area.
This guidance does not apply to employees who are telecommuting, unless they are directed to return to campus within 14-days of returning from an Affected State or Country. This guidance does not address the University and UConn Health’s approval process for business travel to high-risk countries. Separate guidance exists for employees at UConn Health.
Domestic Travel to an Affected State
- Employees must complete the Domestic Travel Form for travel to an Affected State;
- Employees must schedule a test for COVID-19 as soon as possible following their return to Connecticut and prior to returning to work. Employees must self-quarantine upon return to Connecticut and until receiving a negative COVID-19 test result. The COVID-19 test expense will be paid by the employee;
- Employees must complete the State of Connecticut Travel Form and file their COVID-19 test result with the Commissioner of the Department of Public Health;
- Upon receipt of a negative COVID-19 test result and notification to the Department of Public Health, employees will be relieved of the state’s quarantine requirement and eligible to return to campus; employees must also alert email@example.com of a negative test result before returning to work.
- Employees must adhere to the following on-campus guidance for 14 days following return from an Affected State, even following the report of a negative COVID-19 test: (i) wear a mask at all times while present on UConn campuses, (ii) consume food and beverages in isolation from other employees, staff and visitors, (iii) take your temperature prior to arrival for work, and (iv) self-quarantine while not at work;
- Within 5-7 days following your return to work (if within 14 days of your last date in an Affected State) you are required to schedule a second COVID-19 test and if the result of the second COVID-19 test is negative you will be permitted to continue working. This test will be at no expense to the employee. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, identify your situation, and you will be instructed on how, when, and where your test will be administered; and
- Employees will be required to utilize vacation leave for any period of self-quarantine required as a result of travel to an Affected State. If the employee does not have enough vacation leave the employee will be placed on an unpaid leave of absence for the balance of any self-quarantine period.
If an employee has traveled to a state or country that becomes an Affected State while they are present in such state and it is within 14 days of their return to Connecticut, such employee shall be required to notify Human Resources, fill out the Domestic Travel Form, and follow the DPH procedures for travel to an Affected State.
If an individual makes the decision to forgo a COVID-19 test following travel to an Affected State, such employee will be required to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days from the date of their last contact with an Affected State. The employee will be required to utilize personal and vacation leave for the period of self-quarantine. If the employee does not have enough personal or vacation leave, the employee will be placed on an unpaid leave of absence for the balance of any self-quarantine period. All re-entry dates will be coordinated by the employee with HR and the employee’s manager.
International Travel to an Affected Country
- Employees must complete the International Travel Form when traveling to an Affected Country.
- Employees must schedule a test for COVID-19 as soon as possible following their return to Connecticut and prior to returning to work. Employees must self-quarantine upon return to Connecticut and until receiving a negative COVID-19 test result. The COVID-19 test expense will be paid by the employee;
- Employees must complete the State of Connecticut Travel Form and file their COVID-19 test result with the Commissioner of the Department of Public Health;
- Upon receipt of a negative COVID-19 test result and notification to the Department of Public Health, employees will be relieved of the state’s quarantine requirement and eligible to return to campus; employees must also alert email@example.com of a negative test result.
- Employees must adhere to the following on-campus guidance for 14 days following return from an Affected Country, even following the report of a negative COVID-19 test: (i) wear a mask at all times while present on UConn campuses, (ii) consume food and beverages in isolation from other employees, staff and visitors, (iii) take your temperature prior to arrival for work, and (iv) self-quarantine while not at work;
- Within 5-7 days following your return to work (if within 14 days of your last date in an Affected Country) you are required to schedule a second COVID-19 test and if the result of the 2nd COVID-19 test is negative you will be permitted to continue working. This test will be at no expense to the employee. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, identify your situation, and you will be instructed on how, when, and where your test will be administered; and
- Employees will be required to utilize vacation leave for any period of self-quarantine required as a result of travel to an Affected Country. If the employee does not have enough vacation leave the employee will be placed on an unpaid leave of absence for the balance of any self-quarantine period.
If an employee has traveled out-of-state to a country that becomes an Affected Country while they are present in such country and it is within 14 days of their return to Connecticut, such employee shall be required to notify Human Resources, complete the International Travel Form, and follow the procedures for international travel to an Affected Country.
If an employee makes the decision to forgo a COVID-19 test following travel to an Affected Country, such employee will be required to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days from the date of their last contact with an Affected Country. The employee will be required to utilize personal and vacation leave for the period of self-quarantine. If the employee does not have enough personal or vacation leave, the employee will be placed on an unpaid leave of absence for the balance of any self-quarantine period. All re-entry dates will be coordinated by the employee with HR and the employee’s manager.
TRAVEL FOR WORK OR ON GOVERNMENT BUSINESS BY AN ESSENTIAL EMPLOYEE
An Essential Worker is exempt from self-quarantine if they meet the following criteria, but will be required by UConn to comply with the guidance contained herein. To inquire whether an employee is an Essential Worker, by definition herein, please contact HR:
- Returning to Connecticut from an Affected State or Affected Country when the travel is related to their work; or
- State, local and federal officials traveling in their official capacity on government business; and
- Essential Workers traveling for reasons other than work (e.g. vacation or any other personal reason) shall be required to self-quarantine or utilize the testing alternative; and
- Essential Workers are required to complete the State of Connecticut Travel Health Form required by the Travel Advisory prior to or no later than the day of arrival.
UConn Essential Workers will be required to adhere to the following guidance:
- Notify Human Resources and fill out UConn’s Domestic Travel Form for out-of-state domestic travel to an Affected State and if to an Affected Country, the International Travel Form, which includes your dates of travel and the date you are scheduled to return to work;
- Schedule a test for COVID-19 as soon as possible following your return to Connecticut and prior to your return work. Upon notification of your negative test result, you may return to work following coordination with your manager; and
- Within 5-7 days following your return to work (if within 14 days of your last date in an Affected State or Country), schedule a second COVID-19 test through Human Resources; if the result of the second COVID-19 test is negative you will be permitted to continue working.
- Where travel by an Essential Employee is related to their UConn work or is an official traveling on government business the tests will be conducted at no expense to the employee;
EMPLOYEES WHO HAVE HAD A PREVIOUS COVID-19 POSITIVE TEST RESULT
Positive Test Result will qualify for an exception if the positive result (nucleic acid COVID-19 test, e.g. an RT-PCR test) was performed within the last 3 months prior to arriving/returning to Connecticut from an Affected State or an Affected Country and the individual has clinically recovered, has been symptom free for a period of 10 days from the onset symptoms or such positive test result if the individuals was asymptomatic. The Affected Traveler must:
- provide written proof of such result to the Commissioner of Public Health
- complete the State of Connecticut Travel Health Form in accordance with the Travel Advisory
An individual who had a positive test result for COVID-19 received more than 3 months prior to arriving in/returning to Connecticut will be required to follow the guidance for travel to Affected States and Affected Countries in accordance with this guidance.
Employees who fail to adhere to this Travel Guidance may be subject to disciplinary action.
 An Affected State is a state or territory with a COVID-19 positive case rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or higher than a 10% test positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average. Affected States are listed on the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) website and the list is updated each Tuesday.
An Affected Country is a country for which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a level 3 Travel Health Notice. The CDC website lists the countries with a level 3 advisory.
 This guidance does not address the University and UConn Health’s policy with respect to approval process for business travel to high-risk countries.
 An Essential Worker is an individual who works in critical infrastructure as designated by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, including students in exempt healthcare professions. An Essential Worker includes any state, local and federal official or employee traveling in their official capacity on government business. Required military training is considered official travel on government business.
From UConn Human Resources
Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020
In July, when announcing baseline COVID-19 testing for employees returning to campus this fall, Human Resources informed you all that we would evaluate the results of the testing and other early indicators as the University began the fall semester.
The University is committed to the health and safety of our campus community and it is our joint responsibility to ensure the continued health for the entirety of community, which includes our faculty and staff. The University in furtherance of that effort is announcing a weekly employee “potential exposure” and “surveillance” testing program to begin next week.
Further details are also available now on the HR website, and this page will be updated periodically as more complete details of the program emerge:
Potential Exposure Testing:
For purposes of this testing approach, “exposure” is not formally defined. Instead, when an employee and manager have a documented concern over potential exposures in the workplace and with or without affirmation of “close contact,” as defined by the CDC, UConn Health, UConn, or DPH, the University will provide testing at no expense to the employee(s). At this time, all exposure testing requests must be made by contacting email@example.com. HR will work with the employee’s managing organization to obtain any contact and personal information of the employee to set up testing, along with any necessary employee consents.
Each week, HR will select a random sample of employees who have previously been approved to be on campus. Such include: a) employees with primary job duties requiring direct student contact, b) Critical Infrastructure Employees, c) Research employees; and d) Rotational Employees.
HR expects the largest portion of the sampling will include employees from categories a) and b).
Once selected, HR will notify the applicable employee that testing is available. As with baseline testing, the University expects and strongly encourages employees to participate. While not currently mandatory, the University reserves the right to require employee Surveillance Testing based upon participation.
Employees associated with NCAA Athletics and Marine Science will be included in the surveillance testing approaches.
NOTE: Graduate Assistants across all campuses will not be part of this proposal and will be tested using the “graduate student” methodologies in place through Student Health and Wellness.
Testing Locations and Times:
- Brown Building, Depot Campus, Thursday, Sept. 10, from 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.;
- Brown Building, Depot Campus, Friday, Sept. 11 from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
UConn Health will perform the Storrs tests. Identified employees will receive notification by close of business on Tuesday, Sept. 8.
Avery Point and Stamford
- The University intends to have testing available through an outside vendor in the near future, with a testing date on or around Sept. 15.
Waterbury, Hartford and Law
- Testing will occur at UConn Health in Farmington, as required.
On behalf of the University, myself and the entire HR team, we want to want to extend our appreciation to all of UConn’s faculty and staff for your continued dedication and support of the University’s missions during this unprecedented time.
Your flexibility, patience and creativity in finding solutions to situations not presented before has made this semester possible and continues every day. It is our continued perseverance, kindness and commitment to each other which will allow us to move forward as One UConn Nation.
Associate Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer
Dear Colleagues at Storrs and the regional Campuses (excluding UConn Health),
As we approached the start of the fall semester, we understood that organizations would identify employees returning to on-campus work on a limited basis, including new employees undergoing onboarding. We wanted to provide an updated guidance for all managers on our campuses as the semester is upon us.
A registry of faculty and staff (including post-doctoral research associates or fellows) who will be allowed on the campus before, during, and after re-entry will be in the following categories:
- Direct Contact with/Support for Students – Employees with close professional contact with students within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes as a primary job function. For example, a classroom instructor in front of students; residential life staff, certain academic functional assignments, staff providing continued window service; or a food/retail service professional. Even with these roles, where telecommuting or rotational programs can be supported, they should be.
- Critical Infrastructure Support – Employees with a role with or without direct student contact on a full-time basis where all primary job functions cannot be done remotely, such as facility operations, police/fire, and animal care. It does not include work that is “preferred” to be accomplished on site.
- Part-Time or Rotational Critical Support Functions (often without direct student contact or support) – Employees with a role that includes limited critical administrative functions that cannot be done remotely, such as financial, payroll, administrative and HR functions. These functions would require a small number of hours per day over one to two days per week. It does not include work that is “preferred” to be onsite. Employees in this category should be less than 15% of a manager's staff.
- Research – Employees working in a lab approved for research re-entry. Work that may be done remotely should continue to be done so. All employees supported by external funding must work specific to the coded grant(s). Please note if an employee is unable to work in the lab and cannot telecommute. Additional information on this scenario is forthcoming.
We also understand that some employees who fall within these categories are already on our campuses. All managers and employees must adhere to these on-campus employee categories on the registry in order to limit transmission, ensure the capability of social distancing, and to promote contact tracing efforts. Failure to adhere to this guidance may result in discipline to the employee and the respective manager.
UPDATE: ON July 20, HR required managers to submit which of their staff fell within the above categories and we made testing available to them, which ends Aug. 21. All students, including graduate assistants, will be tested using the strategies communicated by Student Health and Wellness. Since the original deadline of July 27, an additional 700 employees have been added to the registry.
At this time and effective immediately, all new additions to the registry are suspended, with the exception of additions of faculty, until further notice.
Any late entrants to the registry may not have availability to testing by Aug. 21 unless they have already secured a testing date and time by the close of testing – again, which is this Friday, Aug. 21.
Once organizations identify on-campus employees, it’s critical for organizations to inform the employee and Human Resources.
The University has informed employees that the employee will be given two weeks’ notice before needing to return to campus, where possible, and it’s important for Human Resources to be aware of who is on campus for potential mid-semester testing by the University and contact tracing efforts by the Department of Public Health. Organizations should inform the appropriate HR Specialist when identifying on-campus employees.
At this time, the University is not offering on campus testing to eligible employees who were not previously identified for their return to campus and part of the University’s “baseline” testing program.
For critical tests after Aug. 21, HR will coordinate testing at UConn Health in Farmington. Please contact the appropriate HR Specialist for critical tests only, or for tests that were not completed by Aug. 21. It is likely that are entrants to the registry before it as suspended may not have accessibility to testing as baseline testing ceases on Aug. 21 and dates and time slots fill up.
UConn Human Resources has developed a strong partnership with our colleagues at UConn Health, and are in the process of developing relationships with external vendors to address any ongoing testing possibilities should developing circumstances warrant. Employees may undergo private testing and, if tested, report positive results to the University via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Effective today, August 4th, the state of Rhode Island was added to the list of Affected States for which a 14-day quarantine is required. The quarantine period applies to travel commencing on or after August 4, 2020.
Please note that all UConn and UConn Health employees residing in Rhode Island are exempt from the quarantine requirement when they are reporting to work in CT per the Executive Order.
As a reminder, on July 21st, Governor Lamont issued Executive Order No. 7III instituting a mandatory quarantine for all travelers arriving in or returning to Connecticut from states with high prevalence of COVID-19 (“Affected States”). This Order went into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 24, 2020.
Governor Lamont’s Executive Order updated and clarified earlier guidance issued on June 24th. The list of Affected States requiring quarantine will be updated weekly by the state’s Department of Public Health.
I am traveling for personal reasons to an “Affected State,” – one of the states listed as a “quarantine” state by the Governor and DPH. Do I need to complete the travel form before I leave and would the quarantine apply to me upon return? Yes. Employees must complete the travel form for out-of-state domestic travel to an Affected State, and the fourteen (14) day quarantine applies to all personal travel to the states listed in accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order. It is the responsibility of the employee to know which states are on the list at all times since the list is updated weekly. Due to the fluid nature of the pandemic, UConn and UConn Health strongly discourage all employees from non-essential personal or professional out-of-state travel.
When does the period of quarantine commence? The 14 calendar day quarantine period begins on the date that you depart any Affected State prior to your arrival in Connecticut.
Are employees able to use accrued time, such as personal leave, holiday and compensatory time, to cover their quarantine period? Employees who can telecommute can continue to do so during the required period of quarantine.
An employee who traveled to a state that was on the quarantine list prior to the issuance of the Governor’s Executive Order on July 21, 2020 and returned to Connecticut after July 24, 2020 will be permitted to utilize up to 14 calendar days of COVID leave, if such employee has not already utilized 14 calendar days of paid COVID leave. Employees may utilize the balance of such leave if they were not previously granted 14 days. If an employee is not eligible for paid COVID leave such employee may utilize vacation, compensatory time or personal leave time to cover the required period of quarantine.
For quarantine as a result of travel beginning on and after July 24, 2020, an employee unable to telecommute may only use available vacation time to cover the required period of quarantine. If the employee does not have vacation time sufficient to cover the period required for the quarantine the employee will be placed on unpaid leave. Employees will not be allowed to utilize holiday compensatory time, personal leave or other compensatory time. Sick time may not be used, unless the employee is or becomes ill.
If I have to use unpaid time because I don’t have enough vacation time, will it be unauthorized? Up to 14 calendar days of unpaid time taken due to required quarantine will not be considered unauthorized leave.
I was already traveling in a state when it was designated an Affected State by the Governor, am I required to quarantine upon my return to Connecticut? Yes. You are required to quarantine for up to 14 calendar days from the date you leave a state on the quarantine list. It is why your dates of travel are important to list on the travel form and why it is important to check in with your manager (remotely) upon your return to Connecticut.
Can I be tested before I return to Connecticut to substitute for the quarantine period? No. The testing substitute has very narrow use. The Governor’s Executive Order states that an individual may have a negative COVID-19 test in the 72 hour period prior to arriving in Connecticut as a substitute for quarantine only if an individual is “unable to quarantine.” This exception is available to out-of-state travelers since, if an individual resides in Connecticut they are capable of quarantining for the required period. There may be some limited circumstances of an extraordinary nature as determined by UConn or UConn Health that would render an individual incapable of quarantining. Employees who can or are telecommuting can do so during the period of quarantine.
Can I be tested after I return to Connecticut and substitute that for the quarantine? Is there any other testing alternative that can substitute for a quarantine period? No. Please see the above. The Governor’s Executive Order did not generally provide for a test to substitute for the period of quarantine. The expectation is that all who arrive in Connecticut after traveling to an Affected State will quarantine for 14 days after arrival. Very limited exceptions, also mentioned below, apply to those who travel to an Affected State for less than 24 hours and those who travel for essential UConn or UConn Health-related business.
Are employees eligible for 14 calendar days of paid leave upon return from out-of-state travel to an Affected State? An employee may be eligible for up to 14 calendar days of paid leave only in the circumstance where the employee traveled for personal reasons to a state that was not on the quarantine list at the time the employee departed for the personal trip, but was subsequently designated an Affected State. Paid leave would apply in situations where the employee had not already received paid COVID related leave or if such leave was less than 14 calendar days. The foregoing is not applicable to employees who are able to telecommute; such employees do not need leave as they are paid for regular time.
If I am required to travel to an Affected State for business that is directly related to the work I perform for UConn or UConn Health am I required to quarantine when I return to Connecticut? The Governor’s Executive Order provides an exemption from quarantine for those who work in critical infrastructure such as healthcare and public health and additionally for state employees that are traveling in their official capacity on state business in the circumstance where travel for business is required and directly related to the individual’s work in Connecticut. Although quarantine is not required in this circumstance under the Governor’s Executive Order, employees who return from Affected States may be subject to additional conditions by UConn or UConn Health before they are able to return to UConn facilities to work.
If I am traveling through an Affected State but will only stop there briefly, have a layover at an airport in an Affected State, or will be dropping off my child at college - am I required to quarantine when I return to Connecticut? If you are merely passing through a state on the quarantine list or are in that state for less than twenty-four (24) hours you will not be required to quarantine.
I will be beginning employment at UConn or UConn Health. If I am arriving from an Affected State should I arrive 14 days prior to my start date in order to quarantine? Yes. A prospective employee should make sure that the employee is aware of the quarantine requirements prior to traveling to Connecticut. If arriving from an Affected State, a prospective employee should plan to arrive in Connecticut with sufficient time to observe the required period of quarantine. An employee who will be telecommuting should discuss these circumstances with the employee’s manager prior to arriving in Connecticut.
What happens if I do not complete the necessary UConn or UConn Health travel forms? An employee who does not fill out the required travel forms, who makes misrepresentations on such forms or who fails to abide by any required quarantine may be subject to disciplinary action.
What happens if I do not complete the State of Connecticut travel forms upon returning to Connecticut or I do not observe the quarantine? The Governor’s Executive Order 7III provides that individuals may be subject to a civil penalty of up to $1,000.00.
Do I have to fill out both the UConn and UConn Health travel form and the form required by the Governor’s Executive Order? Yes.
Am I required to complete the travel form when I travel to a state that is not currently on the list of “Affected States”? No.
Note: that classified employees are governed by guidance issued by the Department of Administrative Service
Dear UConn Employees,
On July 21st, Governor Lamont issued Executive Order No. 7III instituting a mandatory quarantine for all travelers arriving in or returning to Connecticut from states with high prevalence of COVID-19 (“Affected States”). This Order goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 24, 2020.
Governor Lamont’s Executive Order updates and clarifies earlier guidance issued on June 24th. The list of Affected States requiring quarantine will be updated weekly by the state’s Department of Public Health.
It is important for employees planning a vacation that involves out-of-state travel to be aware of the state’s list of Affected States and the requirement to quarantine for up to fourteen (14) days upon their return. Most importantly, employees need to be aware of the expectations and the impact to them as a result of the decision to travel to an Affected State.
UConn and UConn Health strongly discourages employees from any non-essential out-of-state travel to Affected States at this time. While we recognize that some instance of travel to Affected States cannot be avoided, all employees and managers need to be aware of the following travel requirements. It is the obligation of employees who are thinking about traveling out of state to know if a state is an Affected State in accordance with Executive Order 7III.
Requirements and information for any employee traveling out of state to an Affected State:
- Employees are required to fill out a form (which can be found on the Human Resources Website) and notify their manager if they are planning to or have traveled to one of the identified Affected States.
- If employees are able to perform the functions of their job from home, employees will be permitted to telecommute for the recommended period of quarantine following return from an Affected State.
- Employees who travel to an Affected State for personal (as opposed to business) reasons, are unable to telecommute and are mandated by Executive Order 7III to quarantine for a period of time beyond the period of their pre-approved leave will be required to utilize any available vacation time to cover the period of their quarantine. If an employee does not have sufficient vacation time to cover the period of quarantine the employee will be placed on unpaid leave for the balance of the quarantine period. If an employee has no available vacation time to cover the period of quarantine, the employee will be placed on unpaid leave for the required period of quarantine.
- Employees who were traveling from one of the Affected States that was not listed as an Affected State at the time the employee began their travel must notify via email or telephone their manager upon their return to Connecticut. If the employee has not yet had any paid COVID leave and cannot telecommute, such employee will be granted paid COVID leave for any required period of quarantine not to exceed ten (10) workdays.
- Please note that, at this time, the state’s mandatory quarantine does not apply if an individual has spent less than twenty-four (24) hours in one or more Affected State(s) prior to arriving in Connecticut.
- An employee may be permitted to substitute a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours prior to returning to Connecticut for a period of quarantine if UConn or UConn Health determine that the employee is unable to self-quarantine. An employee permitted to substitute the above referenced test, may be allowed to return to work subject to additional conditions by which the employee shall be required to abide.
- An employee’s out of state travel to an Affected State that is approved, related to their work in Connecticut and such travel is on official business will be required to adhere to the same standards applicable to those unable to quarantine as noted above.
- Upon return to Connecticut, employees must provide appropriate documentation (e.g., boarding passes, car rental receipts, hotel invoices, etc.) to support need for leave upon return from travel. The failure to report travel from an Affected State could result in disciplinary action and a civil penalty for failure to comply with the Executive Order 7III requirements
Questions on domestic travel may be sent to email@example.com.
Will there be any cost for Testing?
The University will make available at no costs a PCR test and expects those who have been approved to return to campus at reentry to receive a PCR test prior to returning to campus. Any employee can choose another test option obtained personally but the expense will not be covered by the University and it is not required to submit evidence to the University that a test was administered.
Where Will Tests Occur?
The University-sponsored PCR tests will be provided by UConn Health for approved faculty and staff returning to our campuses at reentry at Storrs, Avery Point, and Stamford. In addition, testing for those approved to be on the Hartford campuses and Waterbury campus at reentry will be available at the UConn Health drive thru in Farmington. At the present time, faculty and staff approved to be on campus after reentry will not be provided tests by the University unless early indicators suggest otherwise or following additional developments.
When will testing Occur?
Currently, the University is working on a plan for testing to start on Tuesday, August 4th through August 21st. On select days during this period testing will take place for 4-5 hours per day at Storrs and Farmington (for Waterbury, Hartford and Law School colleagues) and one day each at Stamford on August 7th and Avery Point on August 13th, as tentative dates.
What are these Tests?
he COVID test being made to faculty and staff is a COVID 19 PCR test. PCR tests are used to directly detect the presence of an antigen, rather than the presence of the body’s immune response, or antibodies. By detecting viral RNA, which will be present in the body before antibodies form or symptoms of the disease are present, the tests can tell whether or not someone has the virus very early on. No other tests of any nature are being performed other than a COVID 19 PCR test which will be performed by the University of UConn Health once an employee consents to the test and schedules an appointment.
Who will see Test Results?
UConn Health will see your results. You will have access to your results as well. A data file will be sent back to Human Resources with acknowledgment of your positive or negative test results. HR will utilize those results to work together with employees who test positive and will not be able to return to campus as planned, as well as notify your manager that you are unable to return to work. If you are already on campus, the manager must inform employees who have been identified as having been in close contact with an employee who has tested positive for COVID 19 and that they have been identified as an individual for whom there was sufficient contact to warrant notification. To the extent possible, this notification should be done by phone, but if this is not possible an email is sufficient. IMPORTANT: At no time should the identity of the co-worker ever be disclosed to any other co-workers; this information should remain confidential and only known to the manager and HR, unless the ill employee voluntarily discloses their status to co-workers.
If your test results come back as negative, then you will be clear to come to campus.
If your results come back as positive, you must not return to UConn with these test results. UConn will be using a symptom-based or a time based strategy if you are symptomatic or asymptomatic,
respectively. You will be able to return to work following notification to HR that the following conditions are met:
- At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since your recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and,
- At least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared
If pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic, the following will be required:
- At least 7 days have passed since your positive test and you have had no symptoms of COVID-19 (you remain asymptomatic); and,
- For 3 days (72 hours) following discontinuation of isolation, you socially distance (stay six feet away from others) and wear a mask. (Remote work is recommended in this circumstance).
UConn HR reserves the right to request and require any and all medical documentation it deems necessary to verify you are able to return to work.
What is Happening Next?
UConn and UConn Health are working together to set up testing. UConn HR will need to know by Monday, July 27th a) who is approved to return to campus, b) which of the four categories of approved employees to which you have been classified and, c) if you are already on campus and have not already been tested, what is your re-entry date.
On July 28th and 29th, UConn HR will send those for whom testing is being made available a communication with specific next steps regarding consent and scheduling for tests to begin on August 4th. At the time, you will be provided how to schedule your test online following consent and the specifics including directions to the testing sites by campus.
Sent on Behalf of Christopher Delello, Chief Human Resources Officer
TO: All UConn Faculty and Staff at Storrs and Regional Campuses:
In a follow-up to President Katsouleas’ recent communication on the fall reopening and testing, I write to provide further guidance on faculty and staff testing, training, and on-campus requirements. This guidance is lengthy but reflects, with specificity, where we are along in our reentry and testing plans:
Faculty and Staff Reentry Testing Summary
Faculty and staff who are required and approved to work on campus to accomplish their primary job functions will have COVID 19 PCR testing made available at reentry at no cost to them through our partnership with UConn Health. Availability as early as August 4th through August 21st will be made on site at Storrs, Stamford (Tentative – August 7th) and Avery Point (Tentative – August 13th) for eligible employees at these locations. Eligible employees at UConn’s Waterbury and Hartford campuses will be provided access to UConn Health’s Farmington drive-through location. We encourage and expect those who have these tests made available to them, to take the test.
Who Will Be Allowed and Approved to be on Campus?
The University continues its plans to de-densify the Storrs and regional campuses. If you are working from home now, you should continue to do so unless approved by the University to return to campus. If asked to return, you will receive at least two weeks’ notice prior to return to campus where possible.
Therefore, most employees are expected to telecommute through December 31, 2020 unless the primary duties of the job require them to be on campus full-time or on a significantly limited basis with manager approval and University authorization. The only faculty and staff (including post-doctoral scholars) that will be allowed on the campus will be the following categories of employees before, during and after reentry:
- Direct Contact with/Support for Students - defined as close professional contact with students within 6-ft for more than 15 minutes as a primary job function. For example, a classroom instructor in-front of students; residential life staff, certain academic functional assignments, staff providing continued window service; or a food/retail service professional. Even with these roles, where telecommuting or rotational programs can be supported, they should be.
- Critical Infrastructure Support - defined as a role with or without direct student contact on a full time basis where all primary job functions cannot be done remotely, such as facility operations, police/fire, animal care and support. It does not include work that is “preferred” to be accomplished onsite or non-critical infrastructure work by an employee or manager or any such work that can continue to be done remotely in areas outside these critical infrastructure responsibilities.
- Part-Time or Rotational Critical Support Functions often with No Direct Contact with/Support for Students – defined as roles that include some and limited critical administrative functions that cannot be done remotely, such as some financial, payroll, administrative and HR functions for a small number of hours per day for 1-2 days per week. It does not include work that is “preferred” to be onsite or non-critical infrastructure work by an employee or manager or any such work that can continue to be done remotely. Employees and those in this category should be less than 15% of a manager's staff.
- Research Colleagues – research faculty and staff working in a lab approved for research reentry under the research ramp up process. Work that may be done remotely should continue to be done so. All sponsored program supported personnel must be working on the aims of the grant as pay for no work expired at the end of June. Any situations where an employee is unable to work in the lab and who cannot telecommute should be noted. In this event, additional information will be forthcoming.
Note: We recognize that some individuals who fall within these categories are already on our campuses; if so, if they have not already been provided a University provided COVID test, one will be made available to them by the University. Undergraduate students and Graduate assistants will be tested using the student strategies that will be communicated by Student Health and Wellness.
It will be important and required that all managers and employees adhere to these registry categories of employees approved to be on campus – adherence will be essential to limit transmission, ensure the capability of social distancing, for contract tracing efforts and for contact notification and other important impacts. Any cases of failure to approve by a manager or onsite visits by an employee to campuses for work outside of these requirements will be swiftly addressed by Divisional leaders and the University.
Employee Exchange Program
The University requires that all manager and employees working remotely are able to continue to conduct meaningful and productive work from home as a full FTE. An employee must be able to work at home and deliver on position requirements or either voluntarily or at the requirement of their manager - be willing to take a temporary assignment to continue to be paid. For these situations, earlier this summer the Office of Human Resources developed and communicated our Employee Exchange Program and there are many roles that are needed as the University reopens. We ask managers and staff to refer here for more details https://hr.uconn.edu/employee-exchange-program/.
Campus Registry and Testing Detail
Tomorrow morning, the Work Force Team in Human Resources will provide organizational leaders across the University with rosters of employees who are members of their teams and within their accountability. The University will ask organizational leaders to identify those employees who will be telecommuting and those who meet the registry definitions above and are approved to be returning to our campuses along with their reentry date (unless they are already on campus). We anticipate that a majority of our professional staff and faculty will continue to telecommute during the fall semester. Additional guidance will be anticipated in mid-December, 2020 regarding registration for January and the Spring 2021 semester. More information about the testing, testing sites and dates are found on the attachment to this communication.
Environmental Health & Safety (EH &S) has developed a return-to-work training for all employees who will be on campus. This training is mandatory for all on-campus employees including regional campuses before returning to campus. More information will be forthcoming from EH &S.
While on campus, it is required that employees adhere to the following: wear a face mask; maintain a distance of 6ft with others; and wash hands thoroughly and frequently. EH & S will be providing more guidance about these requirements.
Domestic Travel Now or Before Reentry
On June 24th, Governor Lamont announced quarantine guidance for all travelers arriving in or returning to Connecticut from several states. As the situation remains dynamic, it’s important for employees traveling out of state domestically to review the state’s most up to date guidance before departing and returning from travel, especially if you are approved for reentry to any of UConn’s campuses by July 27th. UConn Employees should consider the impact of this guidance when considering whether to travel now and before reentry. As communicated by Human Resources on July 2nd, all domestic travel to the states noted by the State of Connecticut require a registry by faculty and staff – please refer to the following communication on the HR website (https://hr.uconn.edu/employee-domestic-travel-storrs-regionals/).
As we move towards the fall semester, I want to extend my appreciation to all of UConn’s employees for your continued dedication and support of the University’s missions during this unprecedented time.
In closing I want to thank our colleagues and the senior leadership team at UConn Health who have been partners with us during the development and roll out of this testing strategy. Please join me in thanking them for their important guidance and contributions to these efforts.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Christopher Delello, Chief Human Resources Officer
To: All UConn and UConn Health Colleagues:
As noted by President Katsouleas and UConn Health CEO Andy Agwunobi, our educational, research and healthcare organizations are facing a difficult FY21. I know each of you are working hard to fulfill the missions of this University and your efforts are inspiring. Still, we are taking steps to reduce the projected deficits.
I have been asked to reach out to you to encourage the use of the Voluntary Schedule Reduction Program (VSRP) that enables employees to temporarily reduce their work schedules with unpaid leave, without affecting most of their other State benefits. This program is authorized by the State of Connecticut in Section of 5-248c of the General Statutes and is administered at UConn by Human Resources at Storrs and Farmington. All employees with at least 6 months of service who work an FTE of at least 50% are eligible, and employees may apply for sporadic days off, work schedule reductions, or a leave of absence.
Your participation in this program is entirely voluntary and the University understands that each of your situations are different.
We are encouraging employees to consider this program and managers to approve those requests that do not result in overtime costs or have a significant impact on critical services. VSRP requests may be approved or declined by management based on the need of the department or division. Storrs and Regional employees may apply and review FAQs through the Storrs/Regionals HR website. UConn Health employees may apply and review FAQs through the UConn Health HR website.
These are difficult economic and personal times for each of us, our families, friends, colleagues, and the University, State of Connecticut, nation, and world. On behalf of President Katsouleas and Dr. Agwunobi, thank you for considering the VSRP program.
As UConn navigates the pandemic, it expects to have opportunities to adjust staffing across the organization, ensuring it is using its available workforce effectively. To that end, Human Resources is introducing an Employee Exchange Program to coordinate temporary staff exchanges across the University. This opportunity will allow managers to request additional support staff during this unprecedented time. More information is available on HR’s Employee Exchange page.
From Christopher J. Delello, Associate Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, UConn and UConn Health
Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues:
Over the last week, Governor Lamont announced a plan would allow various sectors of the Connecticut economy to address reopening gradually, in phases and with guidance. I am writing today to update you on our current workplace and return to work guidance and pay practices while internal planning continues for restarting operations across our campuses. Though lengthy, this communication contains information that all of us, as Huskies, need to know.
Telecommuting Employees: Importantly and for the time being, everyone who has been working remotely should continue to do so until the President announces any changes to the University’s current operating status. If that were to occur, guidance will be provided and your manager will inform you when you should return to the campus or your work location. At Storrs and our regional campuses, we expect more will be known by June 30th as outlined by President Katsouleas last week. Dr. Andy Agwunobi will continue to communicate with our valued colleagues at UConn Health and note that UConn Health employees may be returned to work sites sooner than other areas of our campuses state-wide.
On-site Critical Employees: We continue to be grateful for the exceptional efforts of those of our employees deemed critical to the mission of the University and who have remained on our campuses and health center since the middle of March. All these activities, including Facilities Operations, will continue and we remain deeply appreciative of the professionalism, civility and dedication that is being exhibited across the university on a daily basis as we all continue to adjust to these challenging times.
Research Employees: We fully understand the critical importance of safely resuming research and other scholarly work and consistent with the Governor’s directive it was previously announced that Research would ramp up in a phased process beginning on May 20th.. As a phased process, there is no requirement nor expectation that all research will resume on this date. The OVPR process requires all PIs to complete a template that includes their plan for following CDC and other safety guidelines as well as COVID-19 specific training. Approval of the plan by the OVPR is required before labs can reopen and previously halted research activities can resume.
Toward that end, and as previously announced, Vice President for Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Radenka Maric and her team is leading the effort to safely resume our research programs and related research operations. In partnership with different units including Environmental Health and Safety, guidelines, safety plans, training and cleaning protocols have been developed that can be used by principal investigators, as well as departments, centers/institutes and colleges/schools to begin planning for the ramp up of research activity. Guidance on the phased ramp up research for UConn and UConn Health is available on the OVPR website (ovpr.uconn.edu).
Pay Guidance: Until June 30th,in circumstances in which a manager has no available work or no full-time work for an employee to complete remotely, the supervisor will approve continuing pay for the employee at their current rate of pay and regular scheduled hours/effort, without requiring the use of vacation, sick and/or health and personal leave accruals along with the following understanding: a) The same would apply to regular payroll employees paid on sponsored projects, b) Graduate Assistants with Spring Semester appointments who cannot work a full pay period due to lack of work will continue to be paid through the end of their spring semester contracts, c) Summer Graduate Assistant appointments will be issued in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement and d) Special Payroll employees who are able to continue working with approval of managers will be paid for hours worked and in accordance with their appointment terms or employment agreement.
Guidance for Managers and Supervisors:
- Remote Work – Except for employees “deemed” critical (on-site) and research employees that may be cleared for work on and after May 20, 2020 by their manager or principal investigator, ALL employees currently telecommuting ARE REQUIRED to continue to telecommute and managers and supervisors are not permitted to alter those terms regarding return to work of their direct reports without the expressed approval of University executive leadership. Separate announcements will be made at UConn Health.
UConn is a continuously operating university and some employees must work on campuses to provide services that are critical to residential life, campus health and safety, to conduct and support research, healthcare and/or other core missions of the University. UConn and UConn Health will continue to follow CDC, state and other federal guidance to ensure a safe work environment including social distancing practices, flexible work schedules, enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols, safety training and other measures and practices. If you are unclear if you are to report to work on-site, contact your supervisor.
- Work Flexibility
We encourage managers and employees to explore the boundaries of flexibility and creativity in allowing as many employees to telecommute as possible, particularly with regard to requests involving comorbidity factors of themselves or those living in their households and those employees over the age of 65. During the workweek, allow employees to flex schedule their work within reasonable core hours so that they may juggle the demands of working at home, caring for their families and children while ensuring the work is completed timely and well. Ensure your staff have the necessary equipment and supplies to address the required work within reason. Flexible work hours should be explored for those employees that have been cleared to work on or after May 20, 2020 to ensure adequate social distancing within the work space.
Managers and supervisors must not pressure employees or others to come to work if they are ill. If an employee is cleared to report to work, a manager may send an employee home if they are concerned about the appropriateness of the employee being in the workplace. Employees are asked to cooperate with managers who are taking on this uncomfortable responsibility for community well-being. If you are sick or aren’t feeling well, the most important thing is for you to take care of yourself so that you feel better and stay away from others so that your illness doesn’t spread.
Employees who are caregivers for a sick family member are to exercise caution and stay home if possible and with the approval of their manager. Conversely, if employees who have been told to report to work are well, they should not be pressured to stay away from work.
Exempt and non-exempt employees that are benefits eligible and who are scheduled to return to the work-site by their manager, and who believe that they may have a documented condition which puts them at greater risk even with the safety protocols put into place, may request to review individual needs with their department in conjunction with human resources current leave processes.
Know that not all approvals of leave or the use of accrued time or unpaid leave can be granted to maintain the sustainability of the University’s mission, but we ask that all approaches be considered by managers before the employee is required to return to work.
The University is reviewing the issues surrounding employees caring for children at home when schools are closed against the availability of available child care and the possibility of accommodation within existing leave and flexible policies.
Next week, the University will be socializing and introducing a new Employee Sharing Program with union leadership and then with our colleagues across the state. If there is a lack of work for a current positions, managers and staff employees will be asked/directed to register eligible employees for the temporary redeployment pool and accept redeployment where offered.
Faculty and staff may have concerns about measures that may need to be taken by UConn in the event of even more widespread local, regional or national transmission of COVID-19. The university has extensive and thorough emergency procedures and is committed to doing everything it can to ensure the health and safety of our community. Because this is a rapidly changing situation, UConn has and will continue to prepare for and enact a range of preventative measures based on guidance from state and local health officials to protect public health.
What Should Employees Do Now?
- Unless specifically told by your manager or principal investigator to be on any campus or work-site, you should not return unless scheduled to do so by your manager.
- Follow procedures for social distancing and keep apart from other employees by at least 6 feet both on and off the work-site for your own protection, your loved ones, society and our UConn community.
- Using prior guidance and Executive Order of the Governor, wear face mask/coverings. If you do not have a face mask or covering, contact your manager or call the UConn Warehouse to obtain one.
- Follow all CDC everyday preventive actions to prevent community transmission.
- If you are a returning Research colleague, follow all instructions for safe return to your work-site and adhere to them daily and without fail. You will receive more information in the days ahead on the new procedures.
These are trying times. I recognize that leaving campus with uncertainty is stressful and having a definitive timeline for returning to work on campus and/or our prior ways of working would provide assurances for us all. But that is not something we can provide at this time. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to navigate this evolving situation and to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19.
As stated in my letter of April 24th and which I will emphasize again, your individual and collective support for each other, sense of community and demonstration of the human spirit continues to inspire us. The enormity of the challenges we are all facing continues, but I am proud to say that I know UConn and UConn Health will continue to face those challenges as we always do – together, and only together will we be able to bring our campuses back to life again. I ask all of us to continue to expand on the courage, civility and compassion this crisis calls for.
Please be sure to check for changes to the university operating status at (https://uconn.edu/public-notification/coronavirus/) the definitive source for timely information about UConn’s operating plans and response to the coronavirus.
From Christopher J. Delello, Associate Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, UConn and UConn Health
I am writing to each of you today to inform you that the University is continuing our commitment to all full-time and part-time employees (including post-doctoral research associates) who are actively at work, telecommuting, or working on a rotational basis, and you are being paid for a full pay period. I will keep you informed of any new developments as the University’s response to the pandemic continues.
The governor’s executive order directing as many people as possible statewide to remain at home was recently extended until May 20th or later. UConn and UConn Health employees who are telecommuting under the guidance, direction and approval of managers should plan to continue to do so until further notice. As well, the only employees who should remain on any campus should be those employees whose work cannot be performed from home and are critical to our operations. Any other employees who need to be on campus for any period of time must do so only at the direction of their manager and for only a limited time while practicing social distancing.
Work Guidance Continues: On March 12th and again on April 3rd, the University sent a message indicating that employees on the Storrs, Law, and Regional campuses who are able to telecommute should plan to work from home, with the approval of their supervisor. Additionally, critical operations continued at UConn Health in support of patient care, while some employees are allowed to telecommute.
All full-time and part-time employees on regular payroll who cannot work a full pay period due to lack of work will continue to be paid until at least May 20, 2020. The same would apply to regular payroll employees paid on sponsored projects.
Graduate Assistants with Spring Semester appointments who cannot work a full pay period due to lack of work will continue to be paid through the end of their spring semester contracts. Summer Graduate Assistant appointments will be issued in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement. Special Payroll employees who are able to continue working with approval of managers will be paid for hours worked and in accordance with their employment agreement.
New Executive Order: With orders from the Governor, as of Monday, April 21st a face mask will be required to be worn while at work – please review all daily guidance from UConn and UConn Health. Please refer to a University announcement made earlier this week regarding how to obtain a face mask for those of you at Storrs and our regional campuses who do not already have one by contacting the UConn Warehouse.
Your individual and collective support for each other, sense of community and demonstration of the human spirit continues to inspire us. The enormity of the challenges we are all facing continues, but I am proud to say that I know UConn and UConn Health will continue to face those challenges as we always do – together. I ask all of us to continue to expand on the courage and compassion this crisis calls for.
We write to provide an update related to the communication below.
Human Resources has received many inquiries about exceptions to the process outlined in the prior communication below. As specified by the GEU Collective Bargaining Agreement, once an offer is accepted for a summer Research GA, the Department and School/College is committed to honor that appointment. Given the current circumstances with the Covid-19 pandemic and the unknown timing regarding the University’s return to normal operations, Human Resources will hold all pending requests for summer Research GA appointments until receiving confirmation of one of the following:
- The GA is associated with a laboratory or research project that has been deemed “critical research infrastructure” and approved by the Office for the Vice President of Research (OVPR). Individuals approved to engage in on-campus research activities must provide the email confirmation of approval and the attached documentation of approved activities.
- The GA’s department has confirmed that the GA is able to telecommute, in case the University is not at normal operations during part or all of the summer. However, additional approvals may be required if the remote work is conducted internationally. We encourage you to appoint research assistants soon if you can identify them as (1) approved by the OVPR critical infrastructure and ramp up process and (2) approved to conduct research remotely, including internationally.
- The GA’s academic department has funding to cover the GA appointment in case the GA is unable to perform their duties. Funding must be secured on non-grant funds.
Departments should provide confirmations to email@example.com for all requests currently pending HR approval. For new requests being submitted, comments can be added to the Page Up system confirming which of the three criteria apply.
Teaching and Instructional Support
Page Up requests for summer teaching and instructional support graduate assistants will continue to be reviewed and approved as normal with no requirement to provide additional information to Human Resources. Graduate Special Payroll Lecturer and Graduate Instructional Specialist appointments can be rescinded after an offer is accepted if a class has been cancelled. The GEU Contract provides that where a class is cancelled that a Graduate Payroll Lecturer who is the Instructor of Record has not previously taught, he or she must be paid $375 per credit as compensation for course preparation. The GA’s department should ensure that it can cover these costs were applicable.
Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions regarding this guidance. Inquiries and questions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christopher Delello, Chief Human Resources Officer
Kent Holsinger, Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School
On March 12, a University-wide message indicated that employees on the Storrs, Law, and regional campuses who are able to telecommute should plan to work from home, with the approval of their supervisor, until at least Monday, April 6. Additionally, critical operations continued at UConn Health in support of patient care, while some employees were allowed to telecommute.
On March 20, the governor issued an executive order directing as many employees as possible statewide to remain at home. That order remains in effect, meaning the University will not resume normal operations on April 6. It is likely to remain in effect until April 30 or later.
You will be notified later this month with further information. UConn employees who are telecommuting under the guidance, direction and approval of managers should plan to continue to do so until further notice.
Health and Safety: The health and safety of our campus community and our state is the University’s paramount concern. As such, the only employees who should remain on any UConn campus should be those employees deemed critical to our operations.
Any other employees who need to be on campus for any period of time must do so only at the direction of their manager and for only a limited time while practicing social distancing. In some cases, a face mask will be required to be worn – please review all daily guidance from UConn and UConn Health.
As cases become confirmed or presumptive among our workforce, Facilities is made aware and is cleaning known work spaces. The University, through its managers, is taking additional steps to notify co-workers who may have been in close contact with ill employees (without revealing
Additionally, FAQs are included on the HR section of the UConn Coronavirus website to assist employees.
In an effort to minimize the spread of the virus, UConn intends to balance our needs and the needs of our employees statewide while being committed to our critical operations supporting academics, research and patient care as we work through the implications of this public health crisis.
We are asking all managers to develop creative and flexible solutions that allow telecommuting employees the opportunity to balance other personal needs while still satisfactorily accomplishing work. We are developing rotational programs for our colleagues who need to report to campuses to address critical operations. Employees with specific childcare needs should work with their managers first and then contact Human Resources for additional information.
We may deploy employees who are currently telecommuting to positions that are critical in the weeks ahead, including deployment to specific campuses.
Pay and Lack of Work: All full-time and part-time employees (including post-doctoral research associates) on regular payroll who are actively at work, telecommuting, or working on a rotational basis are being paid for a full pay period. If telecommuting work becomes intermittent while actively at work, please work with your manager to address additional and needed functions that will allow work during a pay period to continue.
All full-time and part-time employees (including post-doctoral research associates) on regular payroll who cannot work a full pay period due to lack of work will continue to be paid until April 30, 2020. The same would apply to regular payroll employees paid on sponsored projects.
Graduate Assistants who cannot work a full pay period due to lack of work will continue to be paid until April 30, 2020 or a date determined by any applicable collective bargaining agreement or protocol.
Special Payroll employees who are able to continue working will be paid in accordance with their employment agreement; if work cannot be performed, Special Payroll employees will be notified by the manager of their separation of employment. For additional information on sponsored program funding, FAQs will be available soon via the Office of the Vice President for Research and Human Resources.
Dear Supervisors of Students,
We are writing with guidance on payment of Student Labor for April 6 and beyond. As we have faced the COVID-19 crisis, we have been guided first and foremost by the need to protect the health of our students, faculty, and staff, and also by the desire to avoid creating undue financial hardship for students.
Our initial guidance, issued between March 14 and April 5, was that departments may elect to pay student employees, even though they may not be able to work hours.
Since the time of the prior guidance, the decision was made to finish the term remotely, and the university has established mechanisms to assist all students facing financial hardship, not just those in student labor positions. Below are two of the larger initiatives that have been established:
- Prorated Refunds for Room, Board and Other Fees
- Financial Hardship Appeals through Student Financial Aid Services, and the Students First Fund, through the Dean of Students Office.
With these initiatives now in place, and others coming soon, starting on April 6, we are providing guidance for departments to return to standard practice in paying student labor for hours worked. The university will continue to payout Federal Work Study, in alignment with the March 14 to April 5 guidance.
Should your department wish to consider employment alternatives, such as remote work, or have previously made arrangements with your employees outside of this guidance, please contact Nathan Fuerst, VP for Enrollment at email@example.com.
Please review FAQ’s for additional details on both the initial guidance through April 5, and this latest guidance beginning on April 6.
Please encourage students facing financial hardship to make use of the financial hardship resources above, or contact financial aid directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s important to take care of your mind, spirit, and body during times of stress and uncertainty. HR has gather resources (see below) to provide employees and their families with information and tools for working remotely, and taking care of holistic health and well-being. In addition, UConn’s Department of Extension has prepared a COVID-19 Resources website.
- Associate Dean and Professor Lucy Gilson on Working Remotely
- Working Remotely During COVID-19: Your Mental Health & Well-Being
- Activities for Kids
The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available for phone and virtual appointments. The EAP is a free and confidential service for employees and their dependents. Employees of UConn Health, please call (860) 679-2877. Employees located at Storrs or a regional campus, please call (860) 486-1307. All employees should call (860) 679-2877 outside of business hours.
- Coronavirus: Helping Yourself and Others resources are available on the EAP website.
Resources for those experiencing an increase in anxiety, or overall concerns over their well-being can be found at Mental Health America.
It’s important to remain active, and the following resources may be helpful to keep employees and their families on the move.
Additional, free resources are available from the following organizations and services, but sign-up is required:
Employees with questions may contact Vicki Fry at email@example.com.
UConn Office of Student Financial Aid Services – Student Employment
Division of Enrollment Planning and Management
We write today to provide additional guidance to student supervisors to help you determine options for your student employees who are not on Federal Work Study.
Due to the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 situation, and the financial hardship that the lack of ability to work places on students, the University is allowing supervisors the option to continue to pay students their regularly scheduled hours from Saturday, March 14 until Sunday, April 5.
This is consistent with the U.S. Department of Education’s guidance on paying Federal Work Study participants for the same reasons.
How will time worked be logged in Core-CT?
Students and supervisors would continue to follow the same process for time submission and approval by utilizing Core-CT. However, Payroll will be following up separately with directions on which Time Reporting and Override Reason Codes to use. Guidance will also be forthcoming to departments that utilize alternative time reporting systems, such as HuskyTime.
How many hours should be inputted for hours worked?
Supervisors should only be approving hours for students based on their regularly scheduled hours and if the student is unable to work. Students should not be paid for hours on days they were not scheduled to work (e.g. student approved for time off during Spring Break should not be paid for this timeframe). This guidance only applies between Saturday, March 14 and Sunday, April 5.
If your students do not utilize a set work schedule, and typical work hours are variable, we suggest utilizing the average number of hours worked per week through the semester thus far to input for hours worked.
Are students required to work?
We also suggest that supervisors be mindful of the optional nature of students working during this time. While it is up to your department to determine the extent to which student labor will be utilized through April 5, be aware that some students may not be physically proximate to campus, or may have concerns coming to campus when they have previously been instructed not to be present on campus.
Are student employees allowed to work remotely?
Some departments have asked whether remote work for student labor will be allowed. Again, this will be left to individual departments to determine. We ask that departments use proper judgment for work duties that require access to secure institutional information systems, sensitive information, etc., as this may not be suitable for remote work for student labor.
Can students utilize sick leave during this time?
As a reminder, student workers are afforded the ability to utilize accrued sick leave, under Public Act 11-52. During this time, should a student employee wish to utilize accrued sick leave, they may work with their supervisor to do so.
Student Employment asks that you convey this information to your student employees in your department. If you have additional questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Message from Christopher Delello, Chief Human Resources Officer
The University is reviewing telecommuting and COVID-19 guidance released by the State Of Connecticut late on Friday afternoon for certain segments in the workplace, but not all, across Connecticut. As a result, more information will be forthcoming in areas where the University is remaining open and where certain buildings have been closed to all operations (not just when the building is locked).
In the interim, our students, patients and each other, as colleagues, will continue to need our support. Some operations will change, now and in the days ahead, and we are all working to understand, without criticism, what those needs will be and how we can best support them.
Many managers are finalizing what their remote work plans will be and must be implemented, if not already, on an informal basis. The manager’s decision is in place until otherwise communicated - in other words, guidance from managers may evolve over the weeks ahead as more becomes
known. However, we ask all managers to work with their employees to understand needs, how their work will change, how work can transition to remote work, if at all, and explore creative work from home arrangements and even flex time at home based on family needs. Again, more guidance is being issued by the state to inform UConn and UConn Health how to navigate and make our own decisions regarding secondary contact, childcare issues and employees in the workplace navigating new exposures.
First and foremost, UConn and UCH managers are directly responsible for determining who is eligible to telecommute and who is unable to telecommute and must provide for a continuity of operation during these difficult and urgent times. This communication outlines, in summary format, key considerations and processes that may be different than previous situations where telecommuting was considered and with prior knowledge of the policies at UConn, UConn Health and the state’s Telework program applicable to employees who are members of classified unions.
We know and understand that suddenly switching employees to remote work in a day or two notice without advance communication and processes in place is challenging and stressful for managers and employees alike. We ask for all of us to respect one another, rely on managers’ guidance and decisions and employee input and work through these difficult moments together as colleagues and with flexibility. During these moments before and after remote work implementation (or not where it is not possible), consider what was learned and whether remote work can be leveraged on an ongoing basis in new and creative ways working with the University and with the partnership of our unions now and in the future.
During these unprecedented times, we ask all of us to take care of our students, our patients, our family and loved ones and each other with patience and flexibility. There is much we do not yet know about this public health situation and many actions to date have been taken out of an abundance of caution or are needed to address the current continuity plans. Please know your managers, departments and the University is doing its best to support you and we know many questions are still unanswered. So many of you are showing the persistency and respect for one another that makes UConn a stronger place – thank you.
1. Informality – Until further notice, all telecommuting forms and guidelines previously known to us are not in use. Effective immediately, no telecommuting forms are required and HR approval of telecommuting or alternate work arrangements are not required with the caveat that 1) the total number of hours required from the role are worked in a work week and continuity of operations are continuing without a decrease in performance requirements AND 2) a manager and business unit must be in agreement with all telecommuting approvals at the department and organizational level before they begin.
2. Telecommuting Letters – HR has crafted telecommuting letters for Storrs/Regional employees and UConn Health employees. We ask all managers to complete a letter for every employee with whom you have developed a remote work arrangement – even if the arrangement is underway. No telecommuting forms are required and no HR approval is necessary, regardless of any previous communications, to the effect a remote work arrangement at this time and until further notice.
3. Key Considerations – When determining if work can be done remotely now and in the days ahead:
- Evaluate department and team priorities.
- Consider collaborator or consultant impact.
- You, as a manger, are responsible for your own remote work plan and duties of your staff.
- Review ITS’s guidance for technology and internet connectivity.
- Identify the team member’s need for equipment and internet capabilities – for example, will they need a scanner, printer or other technology to carry out primary functions of their job?
- Compile the cell phone, home numbers and addresses and how and with whom this information will be shared to maintain privacy.
- Determine how schedules and availability will be known to colleagues and constituents.
- Determine the preferred group communication method and collaboration tools your employees need.
- Determine how frequently you as a supervisor will connect with your team members – trust works both ways.
- Discuss how time and performance will be managed once remote work begins. Focus first on output and completion of deliverables when evaluating performance.
- Can you include alternating or rotating schedules so that team members can share on-site responsibilities, even when all members would not have to be on site each day.
- Experiment with different schedules – if it does not work one week, try something different the following week.
- Everyone should be clear on duration, agreed upon schedules, work deliverables, communication approach and expectations.-
More FAQs about telecommuting will continue in the days ahead and will be placed on the University’s Coronavirus website. In addition, Payroll and Student Employment FAQs have been added to the existing HR FAQs, which were updated and re-organized today.
Over the next several weeks UConn will be incurring unusual expenses attributable to Coronavirus. It is important that departments add additional identifiers to Travel, e-docs, Requisitions, and Purchase Orders for these expenses directly associated with the prevention of COVID-19. Some of the types of expenses that we would consider to be unusual:
- Non-refundable Travel Costs because of Coronavirus
- Purchasing of equipment to work remotely (Computers, cables, iPads, etc.)
- Purchase of office and research supplies as a result of Coronavirus
- Purchase of additional cleaning materials to clean offices, bathrooms, doors, etc.
- Additional services needed from UConn vendors for facility services and housekeeping
This list is not all inclusive and ask yourself if the expense you are incurring is a normal expense or because of the current situation with Coronavirus.
Please follow these instructions when coding your expenses:
In Concur, add the following identifier COVID19 to this field:
In Husky Buy, add the following identifier COVID19 to this field:
Kuali Financial Systems:
In KFS, add the following identifier COVID19 to this field:
For items purchased and already posted to KFS:
If you have already purchased an item or service related to COVID-19 and it has posted to KFS, please complete an IAA (Intra-Account Adjustment) edoc to update the Project field.
Need additional help? We are here to help you:
Kuali Financial Systems - KFS
Lori-Anne Hansen – Associate Controller
Nancy Patrylak – Procurement Manager
Concur – Travel
Dan Warren – Director
Information Technology Services has worked with the campus community to develop a set of technology resources for telecommuting and other assistance, including an IT Guide to Telecommuting provides step-by-step instruction to access the many resources available to employees of UConn Storrs, the regional campuses and School of Law when working remotely.
While many tasks can only be accomplished on campus, others can be achieved remotely, including accessing email, hosting and attending virtual meetings, moving files to OneDrive for sharing and collaborating, and other services. We encourage everyone to review the materials before starting their telecommuting period.
The information is part of the ITS Information Technology Knowledge Base, a searchable resource containing answers to scores of IT questions.
The ITS support center will maintain limited staffing on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through April 6, but many questions can be answered through the online services.