Faculty/Staff COVID-19 FAQ

Information regarding frequently asked questions for faculty & staff can be found below. This list will continue to be supplemented and modified.

Saginaw Valley State University is closely monitoring the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. Learn more about SVSU's response here. 

What assistance is available to help my family and I cope with life challenges during the COVID-19 Situation? 

Return to On-Campus Work Questions

On June 1, 2020, Governor Whitmer lifted her executive order to “stay home, stay safe”. Faculty and staff in a “work from home” environment should continue to work remotely until they receive further notice and guidance from their supervisor(s). Employees who are working remotely must continue to adhere to all University policies, practices, and procedures in the remote environment, including confidentiality, etc.

Deans and Directors have prepared a phased return to the workplace plan for their department(s)/area(s). Once the return to work plan has been approved by the Executive Officer of the Division, Deans/Directors will be responsible to share the plan with employees. Questions about department/area specific return to campus plans should be directed to your Dean/Director.


SVSU is committed to creating the safest environment as can be created to continue high-quality, high-impact learning and to support our students, faculty and staff using the best public health guidance available. As we plan for Fall 2020, a phased in approach over the next three months will allow us to provide a healthy environment for our campus community.

Phase 1 – Starting on June 8, 2020, Deans/Directors will begin evaluating the workflow, office areas, and staffing needs of their office or department, using as many risk-reduction strategies as feasible, to create a return-to-the-workplace plan. Once the return to work plan has been approved by the Executive Officer of the Division, Deans/Directors will be responsible to share the plan with employees.  

Phase 2 – This phase is a four-week process beginning July 6 that will gradually and deliberately return employees to on-campus work as determined by deans/directors with review of the Executive Officer. Offices will prepare to restart on-campus services.

Phase 3 – Starting on July 27, 2020, offices are expected to be open during normal operational hours of 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. Offices may be covered by minimal staff and efforts should be made to reduce office density.

Given the current health guidance, we recognize we must reduce the number of students, faculty, and staff on-campus at any given time and decrease overall density. Many employees temporarily continue to work remotely for positions that are being performed effectively and are not necessary to ensure basic on-campus operations. 

The phase-in for each area and ensuing operations will look different based on the type of work that the area is responsible for. What is the same, however, is that health protocols and guidance is followed, which includes lowering density in offices, ensuring space for social distancing and physical space considerations, and enhancing cleaning protocols.


Faculty and staff are required to adhere to the "Practice 5" campaign in the SVSU NEST plan https://www.svsu.edu/nestplan/sharedresponsibility/practice5/. These five practices are required to keep our campus safer: Daily Health Self-Screening, Masks/Face Coverings, Physicsal/Social Distancing, Hand Washing/Sanatizing and Be Considerate of Others. 

SVSU has and continues to focus on creating and maintaining a healthy environment. However, this will be a shared responsibility amongst everyone in our community. Faculty and staff can help create a culture of health and safety by adopting behaviors that reduce the spread of COVID-19, such as practicing social distancing, frequent hand washing, keeping your work area clean, and staying home or self-isolating when appropriate.

Faculty and staff will be expected to complete a daily health assessment before coming to campus each day. The assessment is available online at www.svsu.edu/dailyscreening. Once on campus, faculty and staff will be expected to wear a face covering/mask inside all SVSU buildings and outside in circumstances where social distancing can not be maintained (read the full face covering/mask policy here).

Please see the additional health and safety guidance for on-campus work here.

 


Yes. Safety guidelines are being followed to allow faculty and staff to continue to work and maintain the functions of the University.


Consistent with existing policies a supervisor may deny a request for a vacation in order to meet operational needs and employees may be requested to adjust vacation plans based on operational demands. Compliance with CDC and other travel guides is highly recommended as employees may be required to comply with return to work requirements and restrictions. 


K-12 schools are currently working on re-opening plans for fall 2020. However, these plans may include a mixture of face to face and remote instruction that may cause many faculty and staff added strain in the coming days and weeks. We want to be flexible and accommodating during this situation as we maintain university operations. 

For the safety of your child as well as your co-workers, do not bring a child to work. Employees should work with their supervisor to determine if appropriate work from home arrangements can be established. Employees working remotely are responsible for the timely completion of work responsibilities. For those who cannot work from home and other work place flexibility options (i.e., adjusted work schedules) cannot be established, you should discuss time off options with your supervisor.


Health and Attendance Questions

If you are sick, stay home from work. We ask supervisors to accommodate student workers and employees who stay home while sick. 

If you feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or have recently traveled from an area with the ongoing spread of COVID-19, call your healthcare professional.

Your healthcare professional will work with your county and the State of Michigan's public health department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.


If you cannot come to work due to self-isolation based on a public health department directive, the advice of your doctor, or guidance from human resources (but not showing signs of illness): We encourage you to work remotely if possible.  If remote work is not possible based on your role, you may be eligible for continued wage payments based upon your pay and workgroup status. Your supervisor can provide additional information. 


Employees with household members who are experiencing these symptoms should also stay home and report the absence and the reason for it to their supervisor. 


All members of the household should self-monitor for symptoms and practice social distancing to the extent possible, such as using different bathrooms, sanitizing frequently touched surfaces and avoiding close contact.  However, until someone in the household tests positive for COVID-19, household members are at no identifiable risk under CDC guidelines and employees can continue their established work routine. 


Yes, faculty and staff will be sent home if they are exhibiting symptoms consistent with the virus which include coughing, fever, and shortness of breath. Pay for this time will be consistent with salary continuation, sick leave or unpaid leave policies. 


Benefit Related Questions

Yes, through your Blue Cross/Blue Shield coverage you can consult a physician through Blue Cross Online Visits. Visit bcbsmonlinevisits.com for more information.

 **Note the cost of medically-necessary COVID-19 tests for members, including out-of-state members, will have copays and deductibles waived through their Blue Cross/Blue Shield and MESSA coverages.


Please visit the Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan COVID-19 information site for resources available through your Blue Cross/Blue Shield benefits. 

https://www.bcbsm.com/content/public/en/index/common/important-information/covid-19.html

 


It is very unlikely that this virus will cause such a long-term illness. To be eligible for LTD, you must meet the definition of a disability, as defined by the University’s long-term disability insurance carrier, for a minimum of 90 days, which varies by the workgroup. 


Workers’ compensation is a system established by state law that provides wage replacement, medical, and rehabilitation benefits to workers who are injured on the job. Because it is extremely difficult to trace the origin of a communicable disease, an illness such as COVID-19 is usually not a covered illness.


SVSU provides an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to help benefit-eligible employees and their family when they need it most. Offering referral services for life challenges such as stress, depression, addiction, childcare, eldercare and more. The EAP provides confidential, short-term counseling at no cost to the employee. For assistance, call 1-800-854-1446 (24 hours a day, 365 days a year). You can also access their website at www.unum.com/lifebalance.  

In addition to the EAP services offered, employees who are actively enrolled in one of SVSU’s medical plans can also access telemedicine behavioral health care through Blue Cross Online Visits bcbsmonlinevisits.com

For additional resources, please visit https://my.svsu.edu/FacStaffInfo/HR/Benefits/Pages/default.aspx 

If you have any questions, you may contact the Benefits Manager at hr@svsu.edu.  

 

Outside Resources – Not Provided by SVSU

Crisis Response and Resources: New Directions is offering emotional support and resources to anyone that is affected by the Coronavirus through their Crisis Response Line 833-848-1764 and website https://www.ndbh.com/CrisisResources

Coronavirus - Coping Tips and Crisis Line (143KB)

2-1-1: Call 2-1-1 from any phone to be connected to a list of statewide resources for everything from food and diapers to rental assistance and bus fare. You can also search their online database. 

AT&T: will offer free internet access to new customers for two months and low-income households can continue to subscribe for $10/month. All public WiFi hotspots are open to anyone. AT&T will not terminate service of any customer due to an inability to pay and all late payment fees will be waived.  

Comcast and Charter Communications: will offer free internet access to low-income families. Internet and cable will not be suspended.

Feeding America: has a nationwide network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries. They help food banks across the country support the most vulnerable communities affected by the pandemic. You can donate here or find your local food bank here. 

Meals on Wheels: Delivers nutritious meals to vulnerable seniors. You can contact your local provider or donate to the national group here. 

Michigan Treasury Collections Service Center: Assistance may be available for those who have been laid off due to COVID-19 regarding past due state taxes or other state debts call 517-636-5265 or visit www.michigan.gov/taxes 

United Way of Saginaw County: Has a lot of useful information for those affected by COVID-19 here https://www.unitedwaysaginaw.org/get-help 

 *Please contact the United Way in your county for services in your area


Flex Spending Dependent Care:

The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) is allowing updates to existing Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts. If you have a change in dependent/childcare provider or cost of coverage, you may update your flex spending election. Updates must be made consistent with the change reason. Example, if a daycare provider stopped services due to COVID-19, the election can be reduced or eliminated.

 

Flex Spending Health Care:

The CARES Act for Flex Spending Health Care has now considered over-the-counter drugs & medicines, along with menstrual care products to be qualified medical expenses. These products are eligible for payment or reimbursement through an FSA. All expenses incurred after December 31, 2019 qualify. In addition, employees who have a carry-over balance in their 2019 Flexible Spending account, will have 120 days after March 31, 2020 to file for reimbursement of any unused funds from 2019. Unfortunately, having more or fewer medical expenses does not allow you to make changes to your Flex Spending election amount, only life events qualify.


Student Employment Questions

In light of Governor Whitmer’s executive order to “stay home, stay safe” through Monday, April 13, we are moving forward with plans to further reduce the number of staff reporting to campus, while maintaining University operations.

We strongly student employees who can work from home to do so, in consultation with their supervisor(s).  Student employees who are working remotely must continue to adhere to all University policies, practices, and procedures in the remote environment, including confidentiality, etc. 


Domestic students are temporarily allowed to work up to a maximum of 25 hours per week.

International student VISA’s prevent international students from working over 20 hours per week.  


Please contact Career Services with the student name, ID number and a short description of their job responsibilities. An attempt will be made to temporarily reassign these employees.


CONTACT US.


Office of Human Resources
Wickes 373
hr@svsu.edu
Phone: (989) 964-4108 / Fax: (989) 964-7066





Employment & Hiring
Wickes 373
hremployment@svsu.edu
Phone: (989) 964-4108 / Fax: (989) 964-7066