Faculty and Staff
March 23, 2020
In response to Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb’s Executive Order directing all Indiana residents to stay at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Saint Mary's College has announced the following change regarding teleworking. In support of this directive, effective March 24 as of 11:59 p.m. ET (i.e., the Wednesday work day), Saint Mary’s is requiring all employees to work from home, with limited exceptions (per the guidance below).
- Telework (working remotely) has been highly encouraged and, as of March 25, will now continue as a requirement across our campus until further notice. All employees who are able to work from home will be required to do so. On-campus personnel who are critical to maintaining essential campus operations during this time are the only employees who are to remain working on site. (If you are unsure as to whether you may continue to work on campus, please contact your supervisor.) To accommodate employees in a telework environment, Saint Mary’s will launch a new system for online time entry in Employee Self Service. Please be on the lookout for training opportunities, which we will offer by webcast next week.
- Leave benefits and continuity of pay for those employees who are not eligible to work from home or who do not have work to conduct from home will be allowed to use available personal time (up to 40 hours allocated from sick leave for full-time employees), followed by available vacation hours. After exhausting all available personal and vacation hours, as a temporary measure in response to pandemic conditions, the College will grant the allocation of an additional 40 hours of available sick leave as additional personal time. For employees with an excess of accrued sick leave hours, please consider donating a portion of your hours to our College Sick Leave Pool. This program will continue to provide additional benefit time to those most in need. Guidance on how to donate or request sick leave from the pool can be found on the Staff Portal under Human Resources.
- Student employment is effectively suspended, with exceptions granted only for exceptional cases that fulfill critical academic and business needs under our present operating conditions. We lament the financial impact that the discontinuation of student employment may have on some of our students; to support students and their families during this time, the College is working on a way to refund part of the room and board that students have paid. We will be presenting options to the Board of Trustees next week and anticipate a final decision by the end of the month. We believe that this is the most equitable and extensive way that we can support students and their families during this time.
For the most up to date information and the latest guidance on Human Resources, Payroll and Business Office-related questions, please refer to FAQs posted on the coronavirus emergency response page, https://www.saintmarys.edu/emergency-info. Many resources are also available through Christian Brothers for benefits-eligible employees, including Teledoc physician visits. Community Resources and guidance are also available through our Employee Assistance Program, New Avenues. We recognize that there may be times when employees require additional support. If you confront a difficult circumstance, contact your supervisor or the Office of Human Resources at email@example.com or (574) 284-4542.
This document provides guidance for employees working from home and their supervisors during this time. See frequently asked questions below.
Telework Resource Guide
Identify telework capabilities
Supervisors should survey all staff to determine telework eligibility, taking care to identify the following:
- Ability of the employee to fulfill their duties in a telework environment
- For those unable to fulfill their duties via telework, opportunity for amended or additional responsibilities that could be fulfilled in a telework environment
- Technological resources required for telework success
- Does the employee have a College-issued laptop?
- If no, does the employee have a home computer? (If home computer is the preferred option, VPN connection must be established; see below.)
- Home internet service
- Phone accessibility for call forwarding
For employees desiring to work from home who cannot do so due to technological limitations, please contact your supervisor to discuss options for securing the resources required.
Make a communication and accountability plan
Set a plan for the work you anticipate the employee to complete, how often they should send updates on work plan progress, and what those updates should include. Supervisors should also communicate how quickly they expect the employee to respond while teleworking and the best ways for the employee to contact the supervisor while working remotely. Current performance standards are expected to be maintained by employees.
Review work schedules
Be clear about your expectations with employees for maintaining their current work schedule or if you are open to flexible scheduling based on employee needs.
Review technology needs and resources
Identify technology tools staff use in their daily work and determine whether the resources will be accessible when working from home. Also, ensure employees know how to access the appropriate technical support should they need assistance.
- Employees with access to FERPA, HIPAA, or other confidential information must have appropriate access to ensure data security.
- Confirm that employees know how to set up call forwarding and how to access their voicemail from home.
- Determine which platform(s) you will use to communicate as a team, clarify expectations for online availability and confirm everyone has access to the technology tool(s) and support resources.
Establish the expectation regarding employee availability and how to maintain accessibility by phone and/or virtual meeting tools during working hours
For recommended resources to support telework capabilities, see the Telework IT Resource Bundle located on the Staff Portal.
Recommended resources include:
- Call forwarding and voicemail features
- Google Meet for meetings, including group meetings and live document sharing
- Secure VPN Access
- Mapping your network drives
- Office 365
- BitDefender antivirus software
For employees working from home using their own machines, ensure that Windows is up to date and BitDefender antivirus software is installed. In addition to downloading the secure VPN, employees may need to map your network drives and download Office 365. The staff member is responsible for ensuring all assigned equipment and institutional data used during the remote work period are properly used and maintained.
Time and Leave Reporting
Supervisors must ensure that hourly (i.e., non-exempt) teleworking employees track hours worked, including overtime. Hours worked and benefit time being utilized (vacation, sick, personal, FMLA, etc.) must be reported on the Telework Timesheet available on the HR Staff Portal, by the employee each pay period. Timesheets need to be approved and submitted by the designated pay period due date. Timesheets should be sent via email to your supervisor, with a carbon copy to the Division Vice President for approval. Supervisors will forward all approved Telework Timesheets via email to Payroll@SaintMarys.edu.
Requests to work overtime, schedule vacation, use sick leave, or leaves are subject to the approval of the supervisor and should be reported using the standard method (i.e., PRISM, accessed via my.saintmarys.edu).
The staff member remains obligated to comply with all pertinent College rules, policies and practices, and instructions that would apply if the staff member were working at their regular location at the College.
Employees who telework often learn that working remotely is different than they expected and that it requires specific skills and habits. The following tips will help you get to work while at home.
Define your workspace
Establish a workspace, even if it is your kitchen table, which gives your brain a cue that it is time for work. You should remain capable of reporting to work if your presence is requested by your supervisor.
Set daily goals, track them and share your progress
You may be surprised by how differently the workday passes without the comings and goings of an office to break things up or influence what you do next. Start each day of telework by writing down what you need to achieve and then track your progress. Pay attention to how long tasks take you and start adjusting your daily goals to match your current rhythm. Communicate with your supervisor and/or colleagues if you think your telework plan needs to be adjusted.
Home can mean pets, children or a favorite hobby are only a few feet away. Depending on your living arrangement, you may need to hang a “do not disturb” sign so your family members don’t interrupt you. Pets often need a closed door to keep them away and you might need headphones to block the noise when engaged in teleconferences or other phone calls.
Whether you are in your home or a common area, take five minutes to assess the privacy of your workspace.
Continue to employ security best practices
Many people say they do not call or instant message colleagues who are working remotely because they don’t want to bother them. Remember, they are working, not vacationing at home! You should feel confident about calling or messaging an employee who is teleworking anytime you would walk to their office or call them if you were working on-site.
Submit Working Hours and Leave Reporting
All hourly employees (i.e., non-exempt) approved to work from home, must submit hours worked, including overtime. Hours worked and benefit time being utilized (vacation, sick, personal, FMLA, etc.) must be reported on the Telework Timesheet available on the HR Staff Portal, by the employee each pay period. Please make sure to submit your timesheet by the designated pay period submission date. Timesheets should be sent via email to your supervisor, with a carbon copy to the Division Vice President for approval. Supervisors will forward all approved Telework Timesheets via email to Payroll@SaintMarys.edu.
Requests to work overtime, schedule vacation, use sick leave, or leaves are subject to the approval of the supervisor and should be reported using the standard method (i.e., PRISM, accessed via my.saintmarys.edu)
Saint Mary’s College is closely monitoring the rapidly changing situation with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and is continuing to actively plan and prepare our emergency response to this health concern. As additional information is made available, these frequently asked questions will be updated.
Preventing the Spread of Illness
Have there been any confirmed cases of novel coronavirus on the Saint Mary’s College campus? On Sunday, March 22, we received confirmation that an undergraduate student of Saint Mary’s College tested positive for COVID-19. Currently, the student is recovering at home under medical care and following quarantine guidelines. This is the first case of COVID-19 among our campus community. We will continue to monitor the coronavirus pandemic and provide updates as it relates to our community.
What can I do to protect myself? By taking everyday preventative measures, you can help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Follow the guidelines provided by the CDC.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow or tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
- If you are healthy, you do not need to wear a mask. Please consult with a doctor on best practices for using a mask.
When should I seek medical care regarding COVID-19? Call a medical provider, if in the last 14 days, you:
- Have traveled to an affected geographical area, as defined by CDC
- Have a fever (100.4F) or higher and have signs or symptoms of a lower respiratory illness (cough, shortness of breath), or
- Were in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 and have a fever or signs or symptoms of a lower respiratory illness (cough, shortness of breath, etc.)
- If you experience symptoms, isolate yourself, do not come to work, and seek medical attention by contacting a medical provider. Inform the provider of your symptoms and any recent travel or potential exposure before going to a health facility.
As with all contagious illnesses, limit the potential for exposure to other people and do not come to work. Please take the following actions:
- Notify your supervisor that you are ill and will not be able to work.
- Isolate yourself to keep from potentially exposing other people.
- Seek medical advice from a medical professional by calling ahead before visiting a health facility.
What should I do if I believe I might have the coronavirus (COVID-19) or think I have been exposed? If you have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, and especially if you have traveled to a CDC Level 3 travel advisory country or have been in close contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19, please contact your local health care provider by phone. The health care provider will determine if further evaluation and testing may be necessary at that time. Employees should not come to work. If a health care provider determines that a test for COVID-19 is necessary, persons will be required to follow self-quarantine guidelines while results are in process. Any person who tests positive for COVID-19 will shift to self-quarantine guidelines and be subject to monitoring by the local health department.
What if I am sick and am not sure if I am experiencing flu-like symptoms? Employees who are sick or ill should stay home and not come to work. Employees should follow standard leave-reporting protocol, which includes contacting their supervisor in advance to provide notification of their absence(s).
If I feel anxious and concerned about the coronavirus (COIVD-19), are there resources to assist me? If you are experiencing feelings of stress or anxiety about these events, please contact New Avenues, the College’s Employee Assistance Program. New Avenues will be able to refer you to provide emotional support as well as referrals to resources and services. To schedule confidential services, please contact New Avenues at 1-800-731-6501 or login to Newavenuesonline.com.
Pay, Time Off & Leaves
If I have an illness (including COVID-19) and cannot work, how will I be paid? Employees should continue to follow College procedures for requesting sick time off. Staff are required to utilize accrued and available sick hours. If sick hours are not available, please contact the Office of Human Resources at (574)284-4542 to discuss unpaid time off options.
I am at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 or am uncomfortable reporting to work, what are my options? The following options are available in order to receive pay, although not all options will be available in all situations depending upon the nature of the job responsibilities and the extent of the illness:
- Use personal/vacation hours
- Discuss possibility of remote work with Vice President
- lf no paid time off is available, request a leave without pay by contacting the Office of Human Resources at (574) 284-4542
What if a colleague or direct report is exhibiting symptoms? All employees are advised to practice basic preventative measures (practice good hygiene, including frequent hand washing, covering your nose and mouth with your sleeve if you cough or sneeze, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth with your hands). To prevent potential exposure of others, an employee may be asked to go home if they are showing symptoms of COVID-19. The symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The decision to send an employee home who is exhibiting these symptoms is to be made on a case-by-case basis. If possible, consult with the Office of Human Resources before sending an employee home.
What if my care provider for elder care or my child’s school closes or their care provider becomes unavailable? If you are unable to access alternate care and cannot work remotely, you may use the available paid time off programs including vacation and/or personal days. Bringing a child to work/campus is not permitted. Staff may choose to be absent without pay if paid time off options are exhausted.
Can employees work remotely? In response to Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb’s Executive Order directing all Indiana residents to stay at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Saint Mary's College has announced the following change regarding teleworking. In support of this directive, effective March 24 as of 11:59 p.m. ET, Saint Mary’s is requiring all employees to work from home, with limited exceptions. See guidelines and exceptions outlined at the top of this page.
Utilizing Your Healthcare Coverage
Will the Saint Mary’s College Christian Brothers healthcare plan cover the cost of a COVID-19 Test? Yes, if you and your dependents are currently enrolled in the health plan, and a medical provider orders a diagnostic COVID-19 Test for you, it will be covered at no cost under the Christian Brothers plan. This means that all copays, deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs are waived only for the focused test used to diagnose COVID-19. COVID-19 Testing is covered at 100% with no member cost share for both In-Network and Out-of-Network providers, effective immediately. Additionally, office visits for patients concerned they have COVID-19 symptoms billed with the proper diagnosis codes, will be completely covered with no member cost share. More details are available by accessing the Christian Brothers website at mycbs.org.