COVID 19 Employee FAQ 3-14-20

UW-Parkside Human Resources is monitoring the potential impact of federal legislation and will update this resource as more information becomes available. If you have more specific questions, please feel free to reach out to your manger or the Office of Human Resources.

What should I do if I am showing symptoms of the COVID-19 virus?

Minimizing the spread of virus is critical. If you are showing symptoms, contact your health care provider and/or local health authorities. You should also contact your supervisor. You should not report to work if you believe you may have a contagious disease. Use of sick or other leave such as vacation will be handled pursuant to existing policies and procedures.  If you are showing symptoms, your supervisor may direct you to leave work and use available leave until you are cleared to return to work by a health care provider.

I am worried about being exposed to the COVID-19 at work. Should I still report and will I be protected?

UW-Parkside employees should report to work until directed otherwise. We are public university employees and have obligations to keep the university running to the extent possible during an emergency. We are making every effort to reduce exposure in the workplace and provide information regarding disease prevention.

May I use vacation, sick leave, or other type of leave to avoid working?

Employees may request leave time in accordance with existing leave policies. At this time, employees are encouraged to keep working.

Will the University require “social distancing?”

Social distancing measures are designed to reduce the spread of virus by reducing direct contact between individuals.  We highly recommend hygienic practices including disinfecting surfaces, frequent hand washing, limited touch of the faces, keeping distances from others where possible, reducing the sharing of paper, and reducing travel or group meetings.

Can I be assigned to perform work that is not normally part of my position?

Yes, in times of emergency, employees must remain flexible to ensure that the work gets done and you may be asked to do work outside of your normal duties.  If the University remains open during the pandemic, employees should anticipate being asked to perform work that is outside of their normal duties or you may be asked to work in place of absent or ill co-workers.

If I am asked by my physician or public health authorities to self-isolate and not to come to work, will I be paid, or must I use sick leave?

You should contact your supervisor about the advice received and request the time off.  Your supervisor may require medical documentation from you in accordance with normal leave policies.  You must use sick leave or other leave time if you are advised to self-isolate unless your supervisor is able to plan for you to work remotely. If you or your supervisor has any questions, please contact Human Resources.

I believe that my co-worker is carrying the virus.  What should I do?

You should discuss the situation with your supervisor.  You should not confront the individual yourself.

I am considered to be at high-risk for serious complications if I contract a virus, what should I do?

Employees who provide a letter from their medical practitioner may use sick or other leave such as vacation pursuant to policy if there is a risk to their health in coming to work.  This documentation should be provided to your Human Resources Department.  If your supervisor approves, you may arrange to work remotely.

If Parkside cancels classes because of the COVID-19 pandemic, will I be paid for not working? Will I have to use accumulated leave?

Telecommuting may be a possibility. The policy is designed to provide a short-term (up to two-weeks) telecommuting arrangement based on an employee, department, or organization-need. Not all positions are eligible for short-term telecommuting.  All short-term telecommuting agreements must be approved by your supervisor and Human Resources.

Will the University be liable if it does not impose travel restrictions on employees (beyond our existing policies) or ban someone from campus who has no physician or health authority recommending such?

The University is a state entity and has immunities and liability limitations particularly where we operate by following the advice of those charged with advising us in this area (chiefly the Wisconsin Department of Health Services).  Decisions should not be made based upon fear of liability.  Rather decisions should be based upon facts, informed by experts and government agencies, and justified by the University’s need to protect the health and safety of campus.

Are students workers allowed to continue to work?

Yes.  Student employees are allowed to continue to work. If you have any questions about assignments or work schedules, please speak to your supervisor or Human Resources.


What if I’m sick or not feeling well?

Employees who are sick or have cold, fever or flu-like symptoms should remain at home.

When can I use my sick leave?

Sick leave may be used when appropriate and in accordance with UW System policies. When employees are sick or experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms, they should remain at home and sick leave is permissible.

What about telecommuting?

Telecommuting may be a possibility. The policy is designed to provide a short-term (up to 2 weeks) telecommuting arrangement based on an employee, department, or organization-need. Not all positions are eligible for short-term telecommuting.  All short-term telecommuting agreements must be approved by supervisor and Human Resources.

What other options are available?

We are exploring other options which include but are not limited to: reassigning work that is normally not included in the employee’s job description; redirecting an employee to another employer workstation, site or building that has not been isolated or quarantined; and making use of available leave accounts.  All such options require approval. Human Resources is also closely monitoring potential federal legislation.

What are “Quarantines” and “Isolations” and how do they relate to me?

An official quarantine may only be imposed by an authorized governmental body such as a local public health authority.  Isolation is the separation of a person who either has or has been exposed to a communicable disease.

Links to Important Information

UW System Administrative Policy 1212: Sick Leave

UW System Administrative Policy 1213: Wisconsin and Federal Family and Medical Leave Acts

EEOC- Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

HIPAA’s Privacy Rule and the Novel Corona virus.

CDC Interim Guidance for Administrators of US Institutions of Higher Education


Coronavirus Related Travel Changes/Cancelations 

Our institution is only allowing essential travel, who determines what is essential? 

This will vary by campus, please refer to your institution’s guidelines.

How is essential travel defined?

For purposes of the interim guidance, essential travel is defined as supporting activities that are absolutely necessary, cannot be rescheduled, and must be done in person. Each institution has appointed institutional leadership that can approve essential and necessary travel.

I recently cancelled my trip to Washington due to increased number of Coronavirus cases; what happens to my ticket and can I still be reimbursed? 

Your ticket will remain on file for future use with Fox, and you can still be reimbursed for the purchase of the ticket.

Is the exchange fee reimbursable when I decide to travel later? 

Yes, as with all travel, you should discuss travel plans with your supervisor since travel is dependent upon department/intuitional funding and approval.

I called Fox World travel and was told my ticket was not refundable, is that true?

Yes, all University tickets are non refundable (our policy does not allow the purchase of refundable tickets). Some airlines are cancelling routes (routes to China were the among the first to be cancelled) and if an airline decides to cancel a route, and not rebook you, they often will refund the ticket (that was non refundable) since the airline is no longer able to meet the obligation of the service that was purchased.

I recently found out that the conference I was scheduled to attend has been canceled and I can’t get my hotel deposit refunded; can I still be reimbursed? 

Yes, per policy, the UW System allows and reimburses for a one-night lodging deposit.

My conference hasn’t been cancelled but many speakers/vendors that I was planning on seeing are no longer attending due to Coronavirus concerns.  I no longer think it’s worth my time to attend.  If I cancel, can I still be reimbursed? 

Yes, please note the Coronavirus concern/reason on your expense report.

I purchased a basic economy ticket to save money and now have to cancel, will I lose the entire value of my ticket.  Can I still be reimbursed? 

Yes, you can be reimbursed. Some airlines are providing waivers due to the Coronavirus, so once you are ready to reuse, work with a Fox agent to determine if there might be any waivers in place.

I want to schedule future travel for fall of 2020 but our institution is restricting travel due to the Coronavirus impact.  Should I book now to get a lower fare or wait until the last minute and pay a higher price? 

We recommend waiting. This is a very rapidly changing situation and each institution will likely be updating guidance as we better understand the longer-term impacts and how to best use the institutions unused airline tickets on file.

Are all unused tickets resulting from Coronavirus concerns being tracked?

Yes, Fox World Travel is helping us manage our unused tickets (tickets on file for future use) and we will continue to monitor balances over the upcoming weeks.  This is a benefit to the UW System’s managed travel program.

Is there a fee to cancel my airline ticket with Fox?

It depends. If you booked online and cancel online, there is no additional fee. If you booked online and call an agent to cancel, there is a $10 fee.  There is no fee if you booked with an agent and call an agent to cancel.

Is there an additional fee to rebook my airline ticket with Fox?

Yes, normal Fox agency ticketing fees apply.

Can I be reimbursed for trip insurance? 

No, except for the travel health insurance purchased through the UWS contract with Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI), which includes some travel insurance. Most trip insurance, including insurance purchased through CISI, does not cover epidemic/pandemic situations or "cancel for any reason.”

Change fees for flights are up to $400. Does the traveler/department/program/university bear the expense for all employee expenses? 

Yes, however Fox is working with our preferred airline carriers to waive fees when possible and is also tracking all of the current change fee waivers that are issued by airlines (and changing daily). 

Can the change fees and airline tickets for my family be reimbursed by the University since I was planning a work trip and the University has restricted travel? 

Unfortunately no, per IRS guidelines and our Accountable Plan, only University/business related travel can be paid (or reimbursed) with University funds

Are there emergency funds available to students to help pay for trips that are cancelled? 

Your campus’ Dean of Student office would be the best point of contact to determine if institutional funds are available.

I am a student who has been impacted by a study abroad trip being cancelled and I need additional guidance, who should I contact?

Please work with your institution’s Dean of Students office.

Do I need any sort of travel protection if I’m traveling internationally?

Yes, if you’re traveling internationally, please reference the International Travel Coverage web page at: Europ Assistance travel protection, and Chubb Identity Theft Protection is offered for all employee international travel.  It’s your responsibility to download and print the cards, and to carry the card while traveling.  CISI insurance is required for all students traveling internationally, and highly recommended for employees traveling internationally. Please work with your institution’s Dean of Students office.

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