Employee Frequently Asked Questions - University of Houston
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RETURN TO WORK ON CAMPUS

If an employee believes they are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, telework should be considered and used if possible, and the employee should contact their supervisor to pursue this work arrangement. If telework is not possible, then the employee should contact their supervisor. A leave request under these conditions may be determined necessary if other work arrangements are not feasible.

CDC Guidelines for COVID-19 >>

Managers should take a flexible approach when an employee voluntarily discloses that he/she has a specific medical condition or disability that puts him or her at increased risk of COVID-19-related complications. Although managers should not ask about the specific medical condition, the manager may ask him/her to describe the type of assistance they think will be needed to perform the essential functions of the job (e.g., telework or leave for a medical appointment). The manager must keep this information confidential. On a long-term basis, the employee should follow the process to request telework as a reasonable workplace accommodation, if possible. If there are concerns about the validity of the requests by the employee or if the employee cannot telework, then the manager should consult with Human Resources.

CDC Guidelines for COVID-19 >>

If an employee is concerned about being in the workplace due to possible exposure to COVID-19 then telework should be considered and used if possible, and the employee should contact their supervisor to pursue this work arrangement. If telework is not possible, then the employee should contact their supervisor. A leave request under these conditions may be determined necessary if other work arrangements are not feasible.

Managers should take a flexible approach when an employee expresses concern about being in the workplace due to possible exposure to COVID-19. Managers should listen to employee concerns and implement a telework arrangement if operationally feasible. On a long-term basis, the employee should follow the process to request telework as a reasonable workplace accommodation, if possible. If the employee cannot telework then the manager should consult with Human Resources.

If a member of an employee’s household believes they are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, telework should be considered for the employee and used if possible, and the employee should contact their supervisor to pursue this work arrangement. If telework is not possible, then the employee should contact their supervisor. A leave request under these conditions may be determined necessary if other work arrangements are not feasible.

CDC Guidelines for COVID-19 >>

Managers should take a flexible approach when an employee expresses concern about being in the workplace due to possible exposure to COVID-19. Managers should listen to employee concerns and implement a telework arrangement if operationally feasible. If the employee cannot telework then the manager should consult with Human Resources.

CDC Guidelines for COVID-19 >>

If an employee needs to take care of their school-aged child due to COVID-related school closures or unavailability of child care, telework should be considered for the employee and used if possible, and the employee should contact their supervisor to pursue this work arrangement. If telework is not possible, then the employee should contact their supervisor. A leave request under these conditions may be determined necessary if other work arrangements are not feasible.

Managers should take a flexible approach when an employee expresses the need to take care of their school-aged child due to COVID-19-related school closures or unavailability of child care. Managers should listen to employee concerns and implement a telework arrangement if operationally feasible. If the employee cannot telework then the manager should consult with Human Resources.


POTENTIAL EXPOSURE AND DIAGNOSIS

You should follow the COVID-19 Diagnosis/Symptoms Protocols. Remember that the employee will appreciate hearing your support while they recover from the illness.

You can anticipate that other employees may have heard about, or suspect that, someone is out sick with the COVID-19 related illness, and may be concerned about it. You should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace and acknowledge that there is an individual in the unit who has tested positive for COVID-19, without identifying the individual. You may also inform employees that an assessment will be undertaken to determine if there is indication for quarantine or further notifications as a precautionary measure.

In the meantime, you should send home any potentially exposed employees (as described in Potential Exposure to Coronavirus) and instruct them to complete the Reporting Potential Exposure to COVID-19 form and to follow the Self-Quarantine protocols. Inform them that they will need to submit a Request to Return to Campus form and be approved before they can return to campus as detailed in Completion of Self-Quarantine/Isolation. See COVID-19 Diagnosis/Symptoms Protocols for list of steps to follow.

A suspected but unconfirmed case of COVID-19 should be treated the same as a confirmed case. You should follow the COVID-19 Diagnosis/Symptoms Protocols.  

Since a fever above 100.0 degrees is a possible Coronavirus Symptom, you should advise the employee to stay home and follow the guidance in What to Do If I’m Sick. The employee should also submit the form Reporting COVID-19 Diagnosis/Symptoms and commence the Self-Quarantine/Isolation protocols. See COVID-19 Diagnosis/Symptoms Protocols for list of steps to follow.

The EEOC has confirmed that a supervisor can inquire into an employee’s symptoms, even if such questions are disability-related, as you would be considered to have a "reasonable belief based on objective evidence that the severe form of pandemic influenza poses a direct threat." Inquiries into an employee’s symptoms should attempt to distinguish the symptoms of COVID-19 from the common cold and the seasonal flu.

It is important to remember that you must maintain all information about employee illness as a confidential medical record in compliance with the ADA.

You may be contacted by a contact tracer who will work with the infected individual to identify and directly notify people who have been in close contact with the person testing positive.

You do not need to undergo Self-Quarantine unless notified that you were potentially exposed, but you should continue to perform a daily health assessment to be aware if any Coronavirus Symptoms develop and, if so, follow the guidance on What to Do if I’m Sick. You should also continue to follow the General Prevention and Workplace Prevention measures, such as social distancing, frequent handwashing and covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue.

If you have been in self-quarantine or self-isolation, you will not be allowed to return to work until you receive written approval following your submission of the form Request to Return to Campus. To be considered, at least 3 days (72 hours) must have passed since 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 symptoms first appeared. See Completion of Self-Quarantine/Isolation for further information.

No, individuals with confirmed cases of COVID-19 will not be identified in order to maintain confidentiality.


GENERAL

Employees should follow the preventive measures detailed in Prevention, Workplace Prevention and What to Do if I’m Sick. Employees should also follow the protocols detailed in Return to Work on Campus. Employees working in clinical areas will also be required to comply with site-specific protocols.

UH launched a four-phase reopening of the campus beginning May 5, with certain research labs voluntarily resuming operations. Pursuant to Dr. Khator’s letter of June 2, 2020, UH will begin Phase 2 of reopening its campus (including Katy and Sugar Land) on Monday, June 8, on a voluntary basis. If you would like to work on campus or access your office, you may do so starting June 8 following (1) completion of the COVID 19 mandatory training; (2) passing a self-health screening test; and (3) informing your chair/supervisor about your desire to work from your office.

As a public university, UH is fully supportive of this assistance where appropriate under state law. As outlined in an email to all faculty and staff April 1, it is important that all such requests be directed through Jason Smith, Vice President for Governmental Relations, so that it can be properly assessed and accounted for and so our Office of General Counsel can draft a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the University and the recipients. This step is not optional.

Employees may work from home to the extent you are able to perform your job functions remotely and with supervisor approval.

Approval of a flexible workplace arrangement will be considered by the employee’s immediate supervisor and next level leader on a case-by-case basis. The immediate supervisor and/or next level leader can discontinue the employee’s participation in the flexible workplace initiative at any time. In order for the employee to temporarily work remotely, the following form needs to be completed between the employee and supervisor. Additional information is available on the Human Resources COVID-19 FAQ page. Additionally, completion of the COVID-19 Telecommuting Form will be required.

Monthly employees who are approved to work from home do not have to report any time. Bi-weekly employees will need to continue to clock in and out. If you are a TCD user, you will have access to clock in and out via the web clock. Please see TRAM Employee Guide for instructions.

The University of Houston is restricting university-sanctioned travel for business or study through at least December 31, 2020. Exceptions will be processed by vice presidents for domestic business-related travel.